I’ve always been curious about creme fraiche and how it differs from sour cream. Most recipes say they can be used interchangeably. The only way for me to see what the difference is was to make some myself since it’s not readily available in a standard grocery store.
The main difference is that sour cream is soured by curdling it with something acidic, like lemon juice, leaving it out at room temperature to give it time to do so. It’s usually needs to be thickened a little to get a desirable consistency. I use glucomannan or xanthum gum as lowcarb options, but many store-bought ones use corn starch, tapioca flour, or other high-carb ingredients. Check out my sour cream recipe to see how I make it.
Creme fraiche, on the other hand, is fermented using a small amount of buttermilk containing active bacterial cultures, it takes a little longer to make, and needs to be maintained at a certain temperature for the cultures to consume the lactose in the buttermilk and proliferate, causing the cream to thicken.
They taste pretty similar, but I think I prefer the sourness of the creme fraiche. That being said, if I don’t have the 24 hours required to make, homemade sour cream is great to make in a pinch
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons cultured buttermilk (*Must have active bacterial cultures!)
- Combine cream and buttermilk in a glass jar. Cover tightly with paper towel or cheesecloth (or any breathable material) and allow it at room temperature (70 to 75 degrees F (21 to 24 degrees C)) for 24 hours. Stir, screw on lid, and refrigerate for 24 hours before using. If it’s not warm enough in your home, put it in your oven on the opposing side of the oven light with the oven light left on.
Did you make this homemade creme fraiche recipe? If so, please let me know how it turned out in the comments. Or if you share pics of your creations on Instagram, please tag me so I can see them. Enjoy!