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7 Good Crème Fraiche Substitutes

The best crème fraiche substitutes range from sour cream to Greek yogurt to cream cheese.

With its rich and tangy flavor, crème fraiche adds a touch of elegance to countless dishes. Unfortunately, it’s not like milk or butter. Most people don’t always have it on hand. 

Bowl of Homemade Creamy Mascaporne with Fresh Berries
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So, what do you do if you’re in the middle of a recipe calling for crème fraiche and you don’t have it? Or what if you’re cooking for someone on a dairy-free diet?

Those are both excellent reasons to have a ready list of crème fraiche substitutes.  

What Is Crème Fraiche? 

If you aren’t familiar with crème fraiche, don’t feel bad. It’s a common ingredient in European cuisine but is rarer in the United States. 

It’s very similar to sour cream, although it’s thicker, creamier, and has a fresher, less tangy flavor. I prefer using it because I can add it to recipes while they’re still cooking. 

Unlike sour cream, it doesn’t curdle when added to hot pans. Instead, it gives the dish a thick, creamy consistency. That’s why it’s perfect for sauces and other liquid recipes.

You can use crème fraiche for sweet and savory dishes, in recipes, or as a topping. It’s also delicious when paired with fresh fruits or bagels. 

Best Crème Fraiche Substitutes

Finding crème fraiche has become easier over the past few years. However, it’s still not common enough for most people to have it on hand. 

But plenty of recipes list it as a key ingredient. So, here are a few substitutes you can use instead. 

1. Sour Cream

Bowl of Tasty Sour Cream and Green Onion on a Wooden Table

Because they’re so much alike, sour cream is a great replacement for crème fraiche. It has a similar taste, texture, and consistency. Plus, most people usually have some on hand.

You can substitute sour cream for crème fraiche in both sweet and savory recipes. However, add extra sweetener to sweet recipes.

Additionally, you won’t be able to add it as early in the cooking process as crème fraiche. Sour cream can curdle quickly when introduced to heat. So, add it near the end of the preparation. 

You should stick to full-fat sour cream when swapping it out for crème fraiche. The lower-fat varieties don’t work as well. 

How to Use It

Substitution ratio: 1:1 

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Whether you’re using the ingredient in a recipe or as a topping doesn’t matter. You can swap equal amounts of sour cream for crème fraiche. 

2. Full Fat Greek Yogurt  

Full Fat Greek Yogurt on a Wooden Bowl

Greek yogurt is another excellent substitute for crème fraiche. As with sour cream, use full-fat Greek yogurt only. Lower-fat varieties are thinner and contain more water.

It works in both sweet and savory recipes. Plus, it’s lower in fat than crème fraiche, so it’s a more nutritious option for your recipes. 

How to Use It

Substitution ratio: 1:1

As with sour cream, Greek yogurt can be substituted in equal measure for crème fraiche. However, the final texture of the dish will be slightly different. 

Even full-fat Greek yogurt is noticeably thinner than crème fraiche. Using it will result in less firm dishes than they would be with crème fraiche. 

3. Cream Cheese

Cream Cheese on a Clear Glass Bowl

Cream cheese won’t work as a replacement for crème fraiche as a topping or garnish. However, you can use it in recipes where you add the crème fraiche during the cooking process. 

Because of its high fat content, it won’t curdle when added to heat. Therefore, you can add it at the same time you’d add crème fraiche. 

It works best in sweet recipes and baking. However, you can also use it in savory recipes.

How to Use It

Substitution Ratio: 1:1

Before using cream cheese, let it sit at room temperature for at least half an hour. This will give the cheese time to soften and make it easier to work with. Remember to mix it well. 

4. Mexican Crema 

Homemade Creamy Mexican Crema Dip in a Bowl

Though Mexican crema has a similar taste and texture to crème fraiche, it isn’t as thick. Unfortunately, this means it doesn’t share crème fraiche’s capacity for thickening. It does, however, work well as a topping or drizzle.

How to Use It

Substitution ratio: 1:1

Only use Mexican crema as a garnish, topping, or drizzle. It also works best in recipes that don’t need a lot of crème fraiche. (A couple of tablespoons max.) 

5. Coconut Cream

A Jar of Coconut Cream and Coconuts on a Wooden Board

There aren’t many suitable vegan substitutes for crème fraiche. Coconut cream is the exception. Like crème fraiche, it’s high in fat, creamy, and thick. 

All these things make it an excellent replacement for crème fraiche as a cooking ingredient or a topping. However, it’s important to remember that coconut cream tastes like coconut. 

It will slightly alter the taste of your recipe. For that reason, it works best in sweet recipes and baked goods. You can also use it in savory recipes, but you’ll notice a faint coconut aftertaste.

How to Use It

Substitution ratio: 1:1

Substitute coconut cream for crème fraiche at a 1:1 ratio. However, be sure to give the coconut cream a good stir before adding it to your recipes. 

6. Mascarpone

Creamy Homemade Mascarpone Cheese in a Bowl

Mascarpone is another creamy, high-fat substitute for crème fraiche. It has a much sweeter flavor than crème fraiche. It works best in desserts and baked goods. 

Because of its high fat content, you can add it at any point in the cooking process. 

How to Use It

Substitution ratio: 1:1

Remember that mascarpone is much sweeter than crème fraiche. Reduce the additional sweeteners you add to compensate for that. 

7. Homemade Creme Fraiche

Homemade Creme Fraiche on a Clear Glass Bowl

What if you don’t want to substitute crème fraiche? What if you want the real thing but can’t find it anywhere? Simple! Just make your own. 

Here’s what you’ll need: 

  • 1 jar
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons cultured buttermilk

Simply pour the heavy cream into the jar. Then, add the buttermilk and stir to mix it. Cover the jar and let it chill for 2 days. After that, you have DIY crème fraiche! 

The Best Crème Fraiche Substitute

Sour cream is by far the best crème fraiche substitute. It’s the ingredient most similar to crème fraiche, and you can use it in all the same recipes. It also works as a topping. 

Both ingredients are thick, creamy, and tangy. Plus, the substitution ratio is a simple 1:1. Just remember to add a bit of extra sweetener if you’re using sour cream in a sweet recipe. 

Also, add sour cream later in the cooking process so that it doesn’t curdle.

You can also make the substitution the other way around. (Substituting crème fraiche for sour cream.) 

Crème Fraiche vs. Sour Cream 

Sour cream and crème fraiche are similar ingredients. Both come from adding cultures to dairy products to create soured cream. Still, they have their differences. 

Crème fraiche has a higher fat percentage than sour cream, making it better at withstanding heat. The higher fat percentage keeps crème fraiche from curdling when added to heat. 

Sour cream will curdle when heated. Therefore, you must use it later on in the cooking process. 

Additionally, crème fraiche is thicker and creamier than sour cream. It’s also more indulgent and not quite as tangy. Crème fraiche is typically the more expensive of the two, as well. 

7 Good Crème Fraiche Substitutes

Cream cheese, sour cream, Greek yogurt, and coconut cream are some of the best substitutes for creme fraiche.


  • Sour Cream

  • Full Fat Greek Yogurt

  • Cream Cheese

  • Mexican Crema

  • Coconut Cream

  • Mascarpone

  • Homemade Creme Fraiche


  • Select your favorite substitute.
  • Organize all the required ingredients.
  • Prep a delicious recipe in 30 minutes or less!
Crème Fraiche Substitutes

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author avatar
NaTaya Hastings
NaTaya Hastings is a food and recipe writer for Insanely Good Recipes. She’s an educator, boy mom, dog mom, and whatever-stray-enters-the-yard mom. As a result, she's constantly cooking for both humans and animals.

Luckily, she enjoys it!

Though born, raised, and still living in Alabama, her specialty is NOT down-home Southern cooking. Instead, she loves to experiment with Asian, Mexican, Italian, and other ethnic cuisines. She has two mottos when it comes to cooking. “The more spice, the better!” and “There’s no such thing as too much garlic!”

She’s also pretty good with desserts. Especially the easy, no-bake ones.

Her favorite things are cuddling with her four giant dogs, traveling, reading, writing, and hanging out in nature. She’s also pretty excellent at Dominoes.

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