How To: Creme Fraiche.

30 May

Alrighty. Creme fraiche. So it turns out creme fraiche is ridiculously easy to make. All you need is some heavy cream, culture, and a warm-ish windowsill. Emphasis on the warm-ish windowsill. I made this stuff in early May and Boston was still dealing with some shitty weather, so although I left my jar out for almost two and a half days the creme fraiche did not thicken correctly. I ended up sticking it in the fridge and then leaving it out for again for about an hour when the sun finally showed up, and it thickened almost immediately. Bacteria yay?

It is very fun to make. Very. It doesn’t involve much active process, but you feel triumphant anyway. Like an ass-kicking pioneer woman who is about to blow your bloody MIND.

1 container heavy cream

1 TB buttermilk or 2 TB yogurt – I used yogurt


This picture makes me believe that the cream is ready to conquer the WORLD.

So. Pour all of your cream into a jar and add the buttermilk or yogurt. I used 2TB of greek yogurt. I had read that the cultures in yogurt aren’t as “strong” as the ones in buttermilk so I doubled the recommended amount. The yogurt you use will impart a slight flavor to your finished creme fraiche. For example, I used a tart greek yogurt and my creme fraiche was likewise slightly tart.

Stir in the yogurt/buttermilk and leave it (preferably uncovered, unless you’re worried about bugs) at room temperature for 24-48 hours. Keep in mind that it will continue to thicken slightly once you move it to the fridge.

I left it out longer (2.5 days).  On a warm day I would probably leave it for 12 and then check on it to ensure that it is thickening correctly, but you likely won’t need to leave it out for so long. Mine, even after 2.5 days, was initially very thin. I then left it out in the sun for maybe an hour and it thickened right up.

This is how it looked after 2.5 days.

As you can see, it wasn’t coagulating correctly. It still tasted good, it just didn’t quite have the texture I was after. If you end up with runny creme fraiche, remember that you can always whip it like whipped cream if you wish. I was actually planning on doing that until the sun finally showed up.

You can use the finished product in so many ways, just be sure to use it up in a week-ish. (I’m a little lax with expiration dates…I basically use something until it starts to smell.) (TMI?) Things I made:

Scrambled eggs


Creme fraiche/nutella strawberry dipping sauce (you just swirl the two together).


❤ stef

5 Responses to “How To: Creme Fraiche.”

  1. elizabeth May 30, 2011 at 3:36 pm #

    yep, you just blew my mind. =)

  2. steffanyf May 30, 2011 at 7:28 pm #

    (That’s your brain exploding.)

  3. solange February 5, 2012 at 5:26 am #

    Excellent! I can’t wait to try it. Thanks.

  4. Nancy February 5, 2014 at 1:59 pm #

    I’m still trying to get mine thick. I used low fat 1% buttermilk. Could that be my problem also, my kitchen is not real warm. I started it yesterday and it has been out ever since. I did heat it up to 165 degrees like it said to do in one recipe. There are so many recipes that its a bit confusing. I’m at a loss. I will leave it out tonight and see what it’s like in the am.

    • steffanyf February 5, 2014 at 2:48 pm #

      Just since yesterday? I left mine out for almost three days. It really does need to be warm or the cultures won’t activate so that might be the problem. It could also be that your buttermilk is ultra pasteurized which is no good for creme fraiche/yogurt/cheese making. I also don’t know how the heat could have affected the initial culture. I didn’t heat mine at all. Maybe just try to find a warm place in your kitchen (or your bedroom!) and see what it looks like tomorrow.

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