How to Make Crème Fraîche (in One Easy Step!) Recipe

All you need to make crème fraîche at home is cream, buttermilk, and a little patience.

A jar of homemade crème fraîche.

Serious Eats

Crème fraîche is soured cream, or cream that has been thickened and acidified by the growth of bacterial cultures. Often sold at specialty markets, crème fraîche can be used in a number of ways in the kitchen. For example, you can serve crème fraîche alongside fresh fruit, or you can stir crème fraîche into soups or sauces to add a little bit of dairy richness and thickness; it also contributes a bright bit of acidity to any dish.

Crème fraîche is incredibly simple to make at home: You simply combine cream with a small amount of buttermilk and allow it to rest in a covered container at room temperature for about 12 hours. The ratio of cream to buttermilk doesn't really matter all that much; add more buttermilk and you'll need less time for the cream to thicken (but it'll be less creamy). Add more, and it takes longer, but tastes better. We found one tablespoon of buttermilk per cup of cream (that's a 1:16 ratio) to strike the best balance.

This crème fraîche gets super rich and creamy at right about the 12-hour mark. You can also halt the process early by just refrigerating it to stop the bacterial action. This is useful if you want a thinner Mexican-style crema agria for drizzling over tacos or sopes. For those of you worried about cream spoiling at room temp, that's the idea: it's the good bacteria from the buttermilk multiplying in there that prevents the dangerous bacteria from taking over.

Recipe Facts



Prep: 5 mins
Active: 1 min
Resting Time: 12 hrs
Total: 12 hrs 5 mins
Serves: 16 servings
Makes: 2 cups

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  • 1 pint (16 oz) heavy cream

  • 2 tablespoons (1 oz) cultured buttermilk


  1. Combine buttermilk and heavy cream in non-reactive container. Cover and allow to rest at room temperature until thickened to desired texture, about 12 hours. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.


  • The bacterial cultures in buttermilk thicken and acidify the cream, while also preventing bad bacteria from taking over.

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
102 Calories
11g Fat
1g Carbs
1g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 16
Amount per serving
Calories 102
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 11g 14%
Saturated Fat 7g 34%
Cholesterol 34mg 11%
Sodium 12mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 1g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 22mg 2%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 31mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)