Best Substitute for Creme Fraiche

Can’t find creme fraiche? Here’s our best creme fraiche substitute to use in recipes and for dolloping. As two cookbook authors and recipe experts, here are our top tips!

Substitute for creme fraiche

Crème fraîche is essentially a French version of sour cream, but it’s even richer and thicker. This velvety cultured cream is used in many ways: as a dip for veggies, for dolloping soups, or even a spoonful over fruit or a dessert. It doesn’t separate or curdle when heated, ideal for making creamy sauces.

In our opinion, if a recipe calls for crème fraîche it’s worth buying the real thing! It sweet richness makes it a unique ingredient. But what if can’t find it at the store? Here are a few of the best creme fraiche substitutes.

Best creme fraiche substitute

Note that how these options work depend on the type of recipe and how the creme fraiche is used.

1. Make it homemade!

You can make your own creme fraiche! All you need is 24 hours, heavy cream, and plain yogurt. Let the two sit in a warm place for a day and it will thicken into a homemade version of this delightful French cream. Go to Homemade Creme Fraiche.

2. Mascarpone (in desserts)

The best substitute for creme fraiche, other than making it yourself, is mascarpone. Mascarpone is an Italian cream cheese with a lightly sweet flavor, and its rich and creamy texture is very similar to creme fraiche. It tastes sweeter than creme fraiche without the subtle tang, so it works best in desserts.

3. Sour cream (easiest option)

The easiest substitute for creme fraiche is sour cream. It’s rich and creamy, though it has a slightly lower fat content than sour cream. and the flavor is a little tangier. You can experiment with sour cream in both baking recipes and dolloping. Use it as a 1:1 substitution.

4. Full fat Greek yogurt (in a pinch)

Another creme fraiche substitute in a pinch is Greek yogurt. But keep in mind, Greek yogurt is not nearly as rich and creamy, and the flavor is much tangier than creme fraiche. This substitution can work in baking recipes, but it will change the texture because there is less fat. It’s an easier substitute for dolloping soups. Use it as a 1:1 substitution.

If your recipe calls to add creme fraiche to a hot sauce or soup, beware! Yogurt has much less fat than creme fraiche, so it can curdle easier. Use a lower temperature when simmering, or turn off the heat and add it at the end of making the recipe.

5. Vegan option: cashew cream

Cashew cream can work as a non-dairy substitute for creme fraiche, but it has a much looser texture. We suggest using it for dolloping and not for baking.

Here are a few recipes made more perfect with creme fraiche:

Frequently asked questions

Which substitute is best for cooking vs. topping?

For cooking and baking, sour cream is a good option as it can withstand heat without curdling. For topping, Greek yogurt or mascarpone cheese can provide a similar creamy texture.

Are there any vegan substitutes for crème fraîche?

Yes, there are vegan options available:

Cashew Cream: Soaked and blended cashews create a creamy, slightly sweet base similar to crème fraîche.

Coconut Cream: The thick part of canned coconut milk can be used, but it will impart a coconut flavor so it is less ideal.