Skip to Content

Creme Fraiche Substitute UK

This post may contain affiliate links. Where I make a small commission on purchased items, at no extra cost to you. See my disclosure for details.

Looking for the best creme fraiche substitute? Not sure what alternatives will work well in various dishes or baked goods? Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about substitutions for crème fraîche…

Pots and bowls of ingredients with a linen napkin

What is crème fraîche?

Crème fraîche is a thick and creamy dairy product with a sour, tangy flavour. It’s a classic French ingredient, but is also used worldwide in a variety of dishes and baked goods.

That flexibility in it’s uses also means there are quite a lot of potential substitutes. We’ll dive deeper into that in this post…

What is crème fraîche in English?

Crème fraiche literally translates to ‘fresh cream’, but that’s not the whole truth. It’s not just fresh cream. It’s fresh cream with an added bacteria. That bacteria sours and thickens it, giving a slight acidic taste.

Someone stirring creme fraiche in a bowl

Creme fraiche uses

Creme fraiche can be used in lots of different recipes. It’s a delicious addition to soups and savoury sauces (like this creamy pesto chicken) – which are perfect for pairing with pasta and meats. It’s also commonly used as a tasty base for dips. And often used in baking, particularly cake recipes.

One of the perks of using creme fraiche over other ingredients is the longer shelf life. The high fat content and extra acidity not only makes it far less likely to split when heated, but also helps keep it fresh for longer. Just make sure you still consume it within the use by date.

What can I use if I don’t have creme fraiche?

This depends on what you’re making. For soups, sauces and dips, you can swap for things like soured cream, plain Greek yogurt and mascarpone cheese. However, in baking, the substitute you use could upset the delicate balance of ingredients. So you need to be really careful with your choices. (More on this later.)

A bowl of creme fraiche

Is sour cream the best substitute for creme fraiche?

In lots of instances, sour cream is a great substitute for crème fraÎche. Do note that, although they are both cultured and sour, it has a thinner consistency than crème fraiche. But still works well as a topping or dip.

Sour cream does have a tendancy to split when heated though. So if you’re using it in sauces or soups, you will need to add it towards the end, with the heat turned off.

As for the flavour, sour cream is slightly more tangy than creme fraiche. But creme fraiche has a higher fat content, which makes it richer and creamier. This means it’s probably not the best substitute in baked goods.

Can you replace crème fraîche with yoghurt?

Natural yoghurt and full fat greek yogurt can also be good substitutes for creme fraiche in some cases. It’s worth knowing the differences between them first though.

Yoghurt is made from milk and creme fraiche is made from cream. The different cultures used to make each one do effect the flavour – yoghurt is fairly tangy, crème fraîche a little moreso. But it’s definitely not as rich, creamy or smooth due to it’s lower fat content.

That lower fat content will also cause it to split when heated. So if you are going to substitute it in a sauce or soup, make sure you add it after the heat has been turned off.

Someone pulling a spoon out of a bowl of creme fraiche

Can you use cream instead of creme fraiche?

First of all, there are lots of different types of fresh cream. There’s single cream, double cream, whipping cream and even heavy cream in the US. I wouldn’t use single cream as a crème fraîche substitute, as it has a much thinner consistency and much lower fat content. But there are possible substitution uses for double, whipping and heavy cream.

All 3 have a much thinner consistency than creme fraiche and they aren’t sour in taste at all. So the flavour will certainly be affected. But the fat content is actually not that dissimilar. Crème fraîche has a fat content of around 30%, and whipping cream and heavy cream about 36%. Double cream however, comes in at a much higher 48-50%.

You could substitute creme fraiche for any of those 3 creams if it’s in a sauce. And if it’s for a dessert topping, you can absolutely used whipped cream instead. But I wouldn’t make that switch if you were creating baked goods, like cakes. Cream is too different, and just won’t react the same way as creme fraiche would.

A bowl of crème fraîche with a spoon on a wooden board

Can creme fraiche be substituted with mascarpone or fromage frais?

Mascarpone cheese, like double cream, has a much higher fat content than creme fraiche. (Around 45%.) Which makes it a more indulgent substitute for pasta sauces and soups. However, not the best alternative for dips or baking, as it will be far too thick. 

Fromage frais however, is made from milk and cream, and has a very low fat content. It’s often used in baked goods for its tangy flavour, take my chocolate orange cake for example. But not as a substitute for crème fraîche. Like soured cream and Greek yoghurt, fromage frais will also split when heated. So add it after you’ve turned off the stove.

Someone spooning a bowl of crème fraîche

Can buttermilk be used as an alternative to creme fraiche?

While buttermilk is cultured and has a tangy flavour, just like creme fraiche, it’s not as thick. Buttermilk is an acidic dairy ingredient that lends itself perfectly to creations like bread and pancakes, and is widely used in baking as a result.

Although buttermilk’s acidic tangy properties are akin to that of creme fraiche, it’s fat content is far lower. And therefore, not a great substitute for crème fraîche in baking. Despite already being a popular baking ingredient in it’s own right.

And as for adding it to soups and pasta sauces? Due to the lower fat content, it will likely split when heated. So if you are going to use it as a crème fraîche alternative in a sauce, turn off the heat and then add it.

A bowl of creme fraiche on a plate with salt and pepper

Best crème fraîche substitute for baking

Personally, I don’t think there is a good substitute for creme fraiche in baking. It has such a unique tangy flavour, high fat content and thickness, there isn’t really a suitable alternative that ticks the same boxes.

It would be much easier to find an alternative recipe that doesn’t include crème fraîche, than finding a substitute.

One strong word of warning – if dessert recipes call for creme fraiche, make sure you use full fat. Do NOT use low fat versions. I’ve said the same about using low fat cream cheese in no bake cheesecakes. It’s potentially a VERY expensive mistake to make. At the very least, using low fat crème fraîche will affect the texture. Worst case? It will be a total flop, as the fat content isn’t high enough.

What is a good creme fraiche substitute for pasta?

As I’ve said previously, there are plenty of good substitutes for creme fraiche in pasta sauce. Yoghurt, cream cheeses and fresh cream all work well. If you want to use soured cream, Greek/natural yoghurt, fromage frais or buttermilk, make sure you turn off the heat before adding it. As they are prone to splitting when heated.

A white bowl filled with crème fraîche scattered with parsley

Vegan creme fraiche substitute

The plant based market has come on in leaps and bounds the last few years. For a vegan alternative, you can simply buy a ready made creme fraiche at the supermarket, or you can make your own vegan creme fresca

Can you make crème fraîche?

You absolutely can! It’s actually really easy and fun to make. All it requires is 2 ingredients, some time at room temperature and a little patience. Check out this crème fraîche recipe if you want to give it a try.

Creme fraiche substitutes – quick guide

Ok, so I’ve supplied you with quite a lot of information there haven’t I?! Here’s a handy table to help you see the key points at a quick glance…

Please note that, while you can use these individual ingredients in a variety of dishes and baked goods in their own right, this table is specifically referring to whether they can be used as an alternative for crème fraîche in a recipe.

*On a mobile device? Rotate your screen to see the text more clearly!*

Substitutevs Crème FraîcheSoups, Sauces, DipsBaked GoodsDessert Toppings, sauces
Sour creamlower fat content, more sour, thinner consistency, splits when heated.YNY
Yoghurt (natural or Greek)much lower fat content, not quite as tangy, thinner consistency, splits when heated.YNN
Single Creammuch thinner consistency, much lower fat content, no tangy flavour.NNN
Whipping creamsimilar fat content, no tangy flavour, thinner consistency.YNY
Heavy creamsimilar fat content, no tangy flavour, thinner consistency.YNY
Double creammuch higher fat content, no tangy flavour, thinner consistency.YNY
Mascarponemuch higher fat content, slightly tangy flavour, much thicker consistency.YNY
Fromage fraisvery low fat content, slight tangy flavour, similar consistency, splits when heated.YNY
Buttermilkvery low fat content, tangy flavour, thinner consistency, splits when heated.YNN

As I mentioned before, there aren’t really any good substitutes for creme fraiche in baking. You would be better finding a different recipe that doesn’t use it, rather than trying to find a suitable alternative.

Love this ‘how to’? Pin it!

A bowl of creme fraiche topped with freshly chopped parsley. A text overlay says 'substitutes for creme fraiche'

If you like this how to article…

…you might also like:

Have your say!

Did you find this post useful? Thought of something I may have missed? Let me know! Get in touch via social media – on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. Or email me at I’d love your feedback!

About Emma Mason

Emma is a professional blogger. Utilising over 20 years of cooking experience, she’s passionate about making your life easier, one recipe at a time! Drawing on her 12+ year background in recipe research and development, photography, copy writing and marketing, Emma has turned into a successful career. Known as ‘the organisation queen’ among friends, she is passionate about creating easy to follow recipes that anyone can follow and enjoy. She lives in Nottingham (UK) with her husband, daughter and 2 naughty cats. In her spare time she can be found reading a good book, training at the dojo preparing for her black belt grading, or dreaming up the next crazy colour combo for her hair!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Saturday 25th of May 2024

Nice, this is very interesting!


Sunday 26th of May 2024

Thanks Saff! Emma x

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.