Homemade Crème Fraîche

Sweet or savory, use this tangy sauce in limitless combinations

Crème fraîche is one of my favorite ingredients! Whether a sweet or savory application, the balance of sweetness and tang is both unexpected and versatile.

Crème fraîche is a cultured cream, one that is as easy to make at home as it is delicious. Straight up, it serves as an exquisite topping for fruit or desserts. It thickens and enhances pan sauces and gravies without splitting, and acts as a mother sauce for limitless combinations of creations to adorn everything from fish to asparagus.

It takes a day to make, so plan ahead. It will keep a couple of weeks in your refrigerator.

In just one day, the mixture has thickened and you can start using it!

In a glass canning jar or bowl, combine a cup of heavy whipping cream (NOT ultra-pasteurized, you will need local cream for this) and 2 heaping tbsp. sour cream or buttermilk. Both work equally as well, but I prefer sour cream simply because I am more likely to have it on hand than buttermilk. If you find yourself with leftover buttermilk from another recipe, this is a good way to use it up.

Put the lid on the jar and shake until combined, or whisk if using a bowl.

Let sit out on the counter overnight, then refrigerate. The cream will thicken and have a beautiful nutty tang, and it will continue to thicken as it ages. A great delight of life, and much cheaper than store bought!

creme fraiche two days thickened
After two days, we’re more than ready to mix this with some orange marmalade to make a quick topping for fruit or other desserts.

For many recipes, crème fraîche is great as is, nothing else needed. However, there is much you can do with it. Here are a few ideas, but let your imagination and creativity go wild with this!

            Marmalade and Crème Fraîche Sauce: To one cup of crème fraîche, add 1/4 cup of orange marmalade and a tbsp of orange liquor. I use a really bitter marmalade here. This is incredible on poached fruits, or to top pound cake that has been doused with orange liquor.

You can use whatever your favorite jam or preserve here.

Lemon Crème Fraîche Sauce:  Combine the zest and juice of a lemon with a cup of the crème fraîche. This is absolutely delicious on a berry salad. Combine a cup each of blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries and lace with a couple of tablespoons of raspberry liquor. Top with the lemon crème fraîche.

Crème Fraîche and Mustard Sauce:  A must recipe, and family favorite! Combine 1 cup of crème fraîche, 2 tbsp. grainy French mustard, a tsp. of lemon juice, and freshly ground pepper. Add dill and capers if you like or any fresh herb that goes with your fish or vegetables.

Crème Fraîche herb sauce:  A little lemon, a little zest, some minced flat-leafed parsley and any type of herb you want for your recipe. This is lovely with tarragon for a fish sauce, or sage and thyme for poultry.

Crème fraîche horseradish sauce:  The tang and heat of this sauce is wonderful on roasted vegetables, especially potatoes! But, you can use it on just about anything. One cup crème fraîche and however much prepared horseradish that you like. Start with 2 tablespoons, and taste. You will most likely need more, but if the horseradish is strong, you might be good here. Add finely minced chives and a few grinds of pepper and you have perfection.

Fancy Chocolate Sauce:  Not your usual chocolate sauce. Combine one cup crème fraîche, 1/3 cup chocolate sauce, and 1/3 cup maple syrup. Use over ice cream, a fancy cake, or sliced fruit for an exotic dessert.


Straight up with no enhancements, this lovely sauce brings everything together on a a simple dish of fresh pears, blue cheese crumbles, and toasted pecans.