Crème Fraîche / Mexican Crema

Cook's Illustrated refined the technique found on Epicurious, and added the option of turning it into Mexican style Crema. This is great stuff to have around. Put it on fruit, crepes, sourdough pancakes, fish, or almost anything.


  • 1 cup whipping cream, pasteurized (see note)
  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk


Combine whipping cream and buttermilk in a glass container. Cover container tightly and let stand at warm room temperature (about 75-80°F) from 12 to 24 hours, or until very thick. Cooler temperatures will lengthen fermentation time. Stir well before covering and refrigerate up to 2 months.


Avoid ultra-pasteurized cream, as it has been heated to higher temperatures, killing enzymes and bacteria and even altering the cream's protein structure, making it hard to achieve the right texture.

You will know it is ready when your shake the container and the contents sort of shimmy rather than ripple. It should be thickened, but still pourable.

For Mexican Crema: Dissolve 1/8 teaspoon salt in 2 teaspoons of lime juice and add to the finished crème fraîche.

Whip it with some sugar (white, 10x or brown) a wee pinch of salt and flavorings (or you can make it savory by adding salt and herbs/spices).  When you whip it, it will thin out considerably and then whip up like whipping cream, so don't despair if you think it's not going well.

Use it in place of sour cream in recipes. Creme fraiche is great because, unlike sour cream, it doesn't curdle if it comes to a boil

Substitute it for buttermilk, cream or sour cream in baking recipes. When subbing for heavy cream, add an additional 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda for each cup of creme fraiche to neutralize the acid in the creme fraiche and keep the recipe balanced.

Whip it half and half with heavy cream to impart a subtle tang to your topping.


Servings: 6

Source: Cook's Illustrated


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