Many people assume that they have to buy pre-made crème fraîche, but it’s actually incredibly easy to make your own homemade version. This is by far the best substitute, since it’s essentially just a fresher, DIY version of what you’d pick up in the dairy aisle. It’s also usually significantly cheaper, since crème fraîche’s expensive-sounding name usually comes with a price tag to match.
The best crème fraîche recipe only requires two simple ingredients: buttermilk and heavy cream. All you have to do is add a splash of buttermilk to your heavy cream, and let the miracle of fermentation get to work for you. The only thing that’s difficult about this method is that you do have to plan ahead. Letting the mixture sit in a cool, dark place for at least 24 hours is crucial, so this swap won’t work if you’re in the middle of cooking dinner when you realize you don’t have any crème fraîche on hand.
However, if you have the time, making your own crème fraîche from scratch is delicious, and you can rest assured knowing the finished product is free of any coagulants or additives that you might find in store-bought brands. We recommend using the absolute freshest dairy you can find for this, even if it means making a trip to the farmers market. Trust us, it’s worth it!