Home » Ingredient Substitutes » Creme Fraiche Substitute (8 Ingredients You Can Use)

Creme Fraiche Substitute (8 Ingredients You Can Use)

Do you need a crème fraîche substitute to enhance your recipes with a creamy and tangy twist? No worries! We have a list of other ingredients that can step in if you do not have creme fraiche.

We’ve got you covered if you’re looking for a dairy-free alternative or simply craving to experiment.

Bowl with Creme Fraiche and toast next to it.

What Is Crème Fraîche?

Creme fraiche is basically soured cream. It is a delectable and tangy dairy product that results from the fermentation of heavy cream with bacterial culture.

Originally creme fraiche hails from France and traditionally uses unpasteurized cream. Today, however, cream fraiche manufacturers already use pasteurized cream as it is the safer option.

With its velvety texture and tangy flavor, creme fraiche tastes great in both sweet and savory dishes. It can enrich soups, sauces, and stews and serve as a base for dips and dressings.

Another popular way people use creme fraiche is by adding it as a topping for pastries and desserts. Creme fraiche is also a favorite addition to a fresh fruit bowl.

You can buy creme fraiche from grocery stores with an extensive dairy section. Look for it near the shelves for sour cream and yogurt.

Gourmet markets and specialty food shops may also have this creamy dairy product. Of course, you may also order it from various online retailers.

Top Crème Fraîche Substitutes

For individuals with dairy allergies or those following a vegan lifestyle, creme fraiche is a no-go. The good thing is that there are alternatives to creme fraiche they can use instead.

Here is a list of your best substitutes for Crème Fraîche.

1. Homemade Creme Fraiche

If you have the time to make a DIY crème fraiche, you have the best substitute within your reach.

Making homemade creme fraiche gives you full control over the ingredients that goes into it. That said, it allows you to select the highest quality ones and get the best outcome.

You may also customize the flavor and consistency by adjusting the proportions of your ingredients, giving you full flexibility.

Making your version is easy and more cost-effective instead of buying from the store. Combine a pint of heavy cream and 2 tablespoons of cultured buttermilk.

Whisk well, cover with a coffee filter or a cheesecloth. Let the mixture sit at room temperature for 24 hours, then refrigerate for another 24 hours before use.


Like regular creme fraiche, this homemade creme fraiche substitute won’t curdle in high heat. Use it the same way as you would do a store-bought version.

2. Sour Cream

Spoon filled with sour cream.

Among the best substitutes for creme fraiche is sour cream. This tangy ingredient shares many similarities with creme fraiche, after all.

Also, people often describe creme fraiche as a tangier and richer version of sour cream, so the substitution makes sense.

Like crème fraiche, sour cream has a slightly acidic taste that adds a touch of tanginess to recipes. This acidity helps balance flavors and enhances the overall taste of the dish.

Regarding texture, sour cream has a creamy consistency similar to crème fraiche. Its smooth and velvety texture can enrich sauces, dressings, and desserts.

Another advantage of sour cream is its wide availability and accessibility. You’ll find it in most grocery stores. That said, it is a convenient alternative when you’re in a pinch or don’t have easy access to specialty ingredients.


Depending on the brand, sour cream can be more or less tangy than creme fraiche. If yours is less tangy, add a dash of vinegar or lemon juice for a closer flavor match. On the other hand, if your sour cream is more tangy, use a smaller amount than what your recipe calls for.

3. Mexican Crema

Bowl with Mexican creama and fresh lime next to it.

Another excellent substitute for creme fraiche is Mexican crema. In fact, people describe this ingredient as a cross between creme fraiche and sour cream.

After all, Mexican crema has heavy cream, buttermilk, lime juice, and salt. It is basically creme fraiche with a few extra ingredients.

As a result, this ingredient is thinner and slightly sweeter. If you use it in place of creme fraiche, there will be a change in flavor and texture.

Still, it will pair well with most dishes that call for creme fraiche. Plus, it handles heat well and will not curdle if you add it to hot dishes.

One disadvantage is that Mexcian crema is usually only available in stores with extensive Mexican or Latin American sections.

You can always make it yourself, though, but it is not the best move if you’re in a hurry.


Because it has a thinner consistency, Mexican crema will only work as a 1:1 alternative if the recipe calls for only a small amount. Using it in dishes that call for a cup or even a half of it will make them too runny.

4. Cream Cheese

Toast with cream cheese topped with herbs.

Despite some differences, cream cheese is also a great swap for creme fraiche. It can lend a comparable richness and depth to dishes that call for crème fraiche.

Cream cheese seamlessly blends into desserts, sauces, and dips. It can deliver a similar creamy texture.

Regarding taste, cream cheese has a tanginess close to what crème fraiche offers. However, it is not an exact flavor match.

The great thing about cream cheese is that it is widely available. You may even have it sitting in your fridge already. That said, it is a convenient alternative in a pinch.

It is worth noting that cream cheese typically has a higher fat content and a noticeably thicker consistency. These characteristics can affect the outcome of a dish.


If your recipe can benefit from the thickness of cream cheese, use it as you would creme fraiche. In dishes that need a thinner ingredient, you might need to thin out the cream cheese. Thin it out with water, milk, lemon juice, or vinegar, depending on what flavor your recipe needs.

5. Full-Fat Greek Yogurt

Brown bowl with yogurt.

The ever-versatile Greek yogurt also comes in handy as an alternative to creme fraiche.

Like crème fraiche, Greek yogurt can add creaminess to dishes. Plus, the tangy flavor of the yogurt closely resembles creme fraiche. For this reason, it works as an addition to desserts, dressings, and sauces.

Its popularity and wide availability make Greek yogurt a practical choice for many home cooks.

Do note that Greek yogurt is prone to curdling. It is best to add it right before you serve the dish. If you must add it earlier, temper it first to avoid separating or curdling.


Greek yogurt is typically thicker than crème fraiche. If your recipe is better with a dense ingredient, go for a 1:1 ratio. If you need a thinner consistency, thin it with milk or cream. Add them until you achieve the desired consistency for your recipe.

6. Whipped Cream With Lemon

Whipped cream with lemon.

Heavy whipping cream alone is a suitable substitute for crème fraiche in specific recipes due to its creamy quality. By combining it with lemon zest or juice, you can achieve an even closer flavor and texture to crème fraiche.

The citrus juice provides a pleasant acidic note that enhances the dish’s overall taste. This tanginess brings brightness and balance to recipes, similar to the effect of crème fraiche.

The cream becomes light and fluffy when whipped to soft peaks and seamlessly blends into dishes.

The great thing about whipped cream with lemon is that it is simple. Plus, both are accessible, so this mixture is a quick and reliable swap you can use.


To get a light and fluffy texture when whipping the cream, begin with chilled heavy cream and use a chilled bowl. Whip the cream until soft peaks form, be sure not to overwhip.

7. Coconut Cream

Small dish with coconut cream.

If you are okay with a bit of a tropical flair, you can also use coconut cream to replace creme fraiche.

It shares the same milky white hue and has a comparable texture. It can provide a similar richness and a delightful twist that will elevate your dishes.

One significant advantage of using coconut cream as a creme fraiche substitute is that it is dairy-free. It is a suitable swap for vegans, lactose-intolerant individuals, or those looking to avoid dairy products.


It’s crucial to consider the compatibility of coconut flavor with your dish. The coconut flavor may overpower or clash with other flavors in some recipes. In that case, it is best to explore other creme fraiche substitutes.

8. Ricotta Cheese

Blue bowl with ricotta cheese.

Yet another ingredient you can use to replace creme fraiche in recipes is ricotta cheese. While it is not as smooth as creme fraiche, its tangy flavor makes it a decent swap.

Ricotta cheese is thicker and lumpier than creme fraiche. For this reason, it is not the best choice for recipes where the consistency of creme fraiche is significant.

The good thing about ricotta is that it has less fat, so people watching their fat intake will find it a great choice. At the same time, though, you shouldn’t expect your final dish to be as rich.


To give ricotta cheese a better texture, combine it with heavy cream. Use ¼ cup of heavy cream for every cup of ricotta. Mix well and use as a 1:1 substitute for crème fraîche.

How To Choose The Best Creme Fraiche Substitute

With the numerous alternatives presented above, choosing the best substitute for crème fraiche may be overwhelming. To help you in deciding, here is a quick guide.

1. Consider The Taste

People love crème fraiche for its tangy and slightly acidic flavor. If you want to maintain the same flavor of your recipes, opt for swaps that offer a similar taste profile. Sour cream, Greek yogurt, or Mexican crema are your top choices in this case.

2. Go For The Same Texture

For the best substitution experience, seek substitutes that can replicate the texture of creme fraiche. Sour cream and Greek yogurt can provide a smooth and velvety consistency close to creme fraiche.

3. Consider Dietary Restrictions

Be mindful of substitutes that might not suit people with certain dietary needs. Coconut cream is a great choice for vegans, while a plant-based Greek yogurt will be best for those avoiding dairy.

Can I Replace Crème Fraîche With Yogurt?

Yes, you can replace creme fraiche with yogurt. While these two are not an exact flavor match, yogurt can offer a tangy and creamy element to your recipes. For the best outcome, use Greek yogurt. It has a thicker consistency and richer flavor.

Can I Use Philadelphia Instead Of Crème Fraîche?

Yes, you can use Philadelphia cream cheese instead of creme fraiche in some recipes. Just remember that Philadelphia cream cheese has a denser texture. Plus, it lacks the tanginess of creme fraiche. You may need to adjust your recipe to achieve similar results.

Can You Use Normal Cream Instead Of Crème Fraîche?

Yes, you may use normal cream as a substitute for creme fraiche. However, you should prepare for differences in taste and texture. Creme fraiche has a tangy flavor and thicker consistency than regular cream. You may need to add a small amount of citrus juice or vinegar to the cream for a better match.

Is Creme Fraiche The Same As Heavy Cream?

No, creme fraiche is not the same as heavy cream. Creme fraiche is the result of adding bacteria to cream, resulting in a tangy flavor. Heavy cream, on the other hand, is a direct product of milk and does not need a bacterial culture to become an ingredient.


There are numerous options available if you need to substitute crème fraîche. For instance, crafting a homemade crème fraîche allows for control over ingredients, making it a top choice. Sour cream, Mexican crema, and cream cheese offer similar tanginess and creaminess, so they’re decent alternatives, too.

Coconut cream serves as a dairy-free choice. In a pinch, even cottage cheese will do a decent job. Remember to consider desired taste, texture, and dietary restrictions when choosing a crème fraîche substitute.

More Ingredient Substitutes

Natalia | Flavorful home
Natalia is a recipe developer, food photographer, and home cook. She started Flavorful Home to document her recipes and share home cooking tips. She loves creating flavorful and nutritious meals while keeping the cooking process simple and joyful!
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