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Crème Fraiche vs Heavy Cream (Everything You Need To Know)

Crème Fraiche vs Heavy Cream (Everything You Need To Know)

If you are looking for the difference between crème fraiche and heavy cream or when and how to best use each of these popular dairy ingredients, you will find the answers to your questions right here.

Both crème fraiche and heavy cream can be used in similar recipes, but there are some important differences you should be aware of.

This article is broken down into the most common questions regarding heavy cream and crème fraiche, so you can skip ahead to your particular question to speed things up.

Related: Crème fraiche substitutes

What is difference between heavy cream and crème fraiche

top view of jar of crème fraiche

If you are trying to decide whether you should use crème fraiche or heavy cream in your recipe, it’s important to understand what makes them different from each other.

While either may work in your recipe, one could be better than the other.

Crème fraiche is produced by adding active bacteria to dairy cream. This thickens and adds acid to the cream, creating a soured cream.

This gives crème fraiche a sour flavor and consistency that is quite similar to sour cream found in the US.

Crème fraiche is popularly called for French cuisine, and is often used as a thickener or base for all types of recipes. It has a butterfat content of around thirty percent.

Crème fraiche is used to make savory dinners, sauces, soups, and even sweet desserts.

Related: Heavy cream substitutes

top view of bowl of whipped cream

Heavy cream on the other hand, is made by allowing the cream to rise to the top of fresh milk. The cream is then skimmed off the top.

Heavy cream’s fat content is higher than crème fraiche, usually between thirty five and forty percent.

Heavy cream is used in many types of recipes. It is often used to make homemade whipped cream and as a base for sauces, soup, and in many sweet dessert recipes.

Is heavy cream and crème fraiche the same?

The primary differences between crème fraiche and heavy cream is that crème fraiche has been soured and contains a higher fat content.

Related: How to freeze heavy cream

Can you use crème fraiche instead of whipped cream

view from above of bowl of whipped cream on table

Crème fraiche can be used in just about any recipe that calls for heavy cream. That includes making homemade whipped cream.

The main thing to keep in mind when using crème fraiche instead of heavy cream, is that it will impart a subtle sour flavor to your dish.

This tends to work best in sweet recipes, as the sour flavor works well with sweet ingredients.

When using creme fraiche in place of heavy cream, use a 1:1 replacement ratio.

Related: Dairy free substitutes for heavy cream

Can you substitute heavy cream for crème fraiche

bowl of whipped cream made with creme fraiche

While you can use heavy cream in any recipe that calls for crème fraiche, it will lack the sour flavor most recipes require.

This can be remedied by adding a tablespoon of lemon juice to your heavy cream. This will provide the acidity necessary to sour your cream.

Related: How to thicken heavy cream

Can you mix cream and crème fraiche

measuring cup of creme fraiche on table

Yes, you can use a combination of heavy cream and crème fraiche in any recipe that calls for one or the other.

If you are making a recipe that originally called for only heavy cream, you will get a sour flavor in your final dish by incorporating crème fraiche.

This will not be an issue in most recipes as the flavor will add complexity and interest to your dish.

Bottom Line

Heavy cream and crème fraiche can be used in similar recipes and are often interchangeable. The key thing to keep in mind is that crème fraiche is soured cream while heavy cream is not.

This means that using crème fraiche in a heavy cream recipe will impart a sour flavor, but that isn’t usually an issue.

Both crème fraiche and heavy cream can be used to make whipped cream and work in sweet and savory recipes.