Crème Fraîche

By Katrin Koelle
Updated on 29. Jul. 2020

Crème fraîche is a culinary staple in France for good reason; this rich cream adds delicious texture and creaminess to a range of recipes.

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Crème fraîche...

  • ...strengthens bones and teeth. Crème fraîche is a rich source of calcium, which helps keep bones and teeth strong.
  • ...helps keep cells healthy. Crème fraîche contains vitamin A, which helps protect the body’s cells against damaging free radicals.
  • ...contains protein. Crème fraîche is a good source of dairy protein.
  • ...contains lactose. Like many other dairy products, crème fraîche contains lactose (milk sugar) which can lead cause stomach problems in those who have an intolerance.
  • ...contains cholesterol. Crème fraîche is high in fat and cholesterol, which over time can lead to problems in the heart and cardiovascular system. As a result, crème fraîche should be eaten in moderation.
  • ...is high in calories. Crème fraîche’s delicious, creamy flavor and texture is a result of its high fat and calorie contents. A 100 g serving packs in nearly 300 calories.

What You Should Know About Crème Fraîche

If you understand a little French, you know what crème fraîche means: "fresh cream".  However the name is a bit of a misnomer, as crème fraîche is characterized not by the freshness of the cream it's made with, but its ultimate flavor and texture. Crème fraîche is richer in fat and therefore creamier and velvety than similar products like sour cream and half and half. As a result, its an integral ingredient to adding flavor and creaminess in many rich dishes.

Origin

As the name suggests, crème fraîche originates from France.

Season

There is no special season for créme fraîche. It is produced and sold all year.

Taste

Crème fraîche tastes pleasantly fresh and sour. Its consistency is between that of sour cream and double cream. 

Find all our crème fraîche recipes here.

How Healthy is Crème Fraîche?

As you might have guessed, crème fraîche is not exactly a diet food. It's delicious, rich flavor and texture are a product of it high fat content (around 30%) and calorie count. Lower-fat alternatives are available in many supermarkets, with fat contents ranging from 14-15 percent, however these tend to be distinctly less flavorful than the full-fat varities.

On the upside, though, crème fraîche is a good source of protein and calcium. 

crème fraîche NUTRITIONAL INFO (100 g)  
Calories 298
Protein 2 g
Fat 30 g
Carbohydrates 5 g
Fiber 0 g

Shopping and Cooking Tips

Purchasing

Crème fraîche is available in any grocery store, and is usually sold in containers around 150-200 g. Low fat varieties are now available in many stores, as are crème fraîche with herbs and spices mixed in.

Storage

As with all fresh dairy products, crème fraîche should always be kept in the refrigerator, where it will stay fresh for about a week.  

What to Make with Crème Fraîche

In France, crème fraîche is a culinarly staple, used to add flavor and creaminess to sauces, soups, vegetables and ragouts. Since it's so rich in fat, crème fraîche doesn't curdle immediately even at high temperatures. However, you should always stir crème fraîche into hot liquids only at the end, otherwise it may seperate. This is especially true for the low-fat varieties!

Crème fraîche isn't just for warm dishes, though, but tastes delicious in cold recipes as well. Try substituting mayonaisse for crème fraîche in your next pasta or potato salad for added richness and a craveable tart flavor. Crème fraîche is also a great alternative as a spread instead of butter or margarine, especially when paired with a jam or compote. 

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