I want to make creme fraiche. I have 2 cups of heavy cream, but I can't find any buttermilk in my Country. I've read that it can be substituted with lemon juice, or vinegar mixed with milk. The problem is that for creme fraiche you need the bacteria from the buttermilk right?

So how can I substitute my buttermilk for this recipe?

  • 1
    I doubt that you will get creme fraiche this way. The only difference between creme fraiche and other cultured creams like schmand and full-fat sour cream is that it uses special creme fraiche cultures. I doubt that your buttermilk is made with creme fraiche cultures. You will get a cultured cream indeed, but assuming that there is a different cultured cream with sufficient fat percentage in your supermarket, it won't be worth the hassle - your buttermilk-cultured cream won't be a better approximation of creme fraiche.
    – rumtscho
    Dec 22, 2014 at 10:25

4 Answers 4


This recipe! found here , calls for buttermilk or sour cream. Perhaps you can find sour cream.

Crème fraîche

  • 1 cup heavy or whipping cream, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon buttermilk or 1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature

In a jar with a lid, place whipping cream and buttermilk (or sour cream); cover securely and shake 15 seconds. Set aside at room temperature for 24 hours or until very thick. Stir once or twice during that time. NOTE: Cream will thicken faster if the room is warm.

Stir thickened creme fraiche well. Refrigerate at least 6 hours before serving. Cover tightly and store in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

  • 1/2 cup of sour cream is a lot for 1 cup of heavy cream no? Will it change the taste compared to 1 tablespoon of buttermilk? I am planing to use 2 cups of heavy cream, therefore 1 cup of sour cream
    – Napster
    Dec 21, 2014 at 21:28
  • @Cindy's recommendations are correct. I'll add that it helps if you can find cream that is pasteurized, but not ultra-pasteurized - but it will work either way. If your kitchen is really warm, it should thicken-up in less time, but in a normal kitchen the cream will take on a desirable consistency and flavor in roughly 24 hours. Is there a difference in taste between the buttermilk version and sour cream version? Technically...a little - just as your result will also differ in taste from commercial crème fraîche. Cream that is soured is a substitute - but a great and cheaper substitute. Dec 21, 2014 at 22:06
  • Do I leave the lid open went I set it aside for 24h?
    – Napster
    Dec 22, 2014 at 2:15

Well if you are not getting buttermilk, why not try making it yourself!! The method is really very simple and just needs two things - Full Cream Milk and a Blender/Mixer.

All you have to do is keep a pot full of cold drinking water besides you. Then pour the milk in the blender jar and blend it until the fat separates from the milk and starts to form lumps. Once these lumps are formed, you can filter the mixture to get the buttermilk. Also the lumps of fat is the butter so you can squeeze the lump together and float it in the cold water pot for sometime so that it keeps set like that.

Only thing to take care is that milk should be cold preferrably out of the fridge so that the fats don't melt.

I hope you ll be able to get some fresh buttermilk this way!!


This is a very local method of separating buttermilk in my country. If it doesn't suit your purpose you might want to look at the following page:


  • 2
    Sadly, this won't work at all. First, maybe you are not aware, but in current usage, "Buttermilk" means just cultured milk, not the original meaning of "liquid left after the butter has been removed". And in this case, it's very obvious that the buttermilk is needed for the culture in it, not because it has little fat. Second, your suggestion is unlikely to impossible to work for making the "old" buttermilk, unless you have access to raw milk. Nowadays, the milk in the supermarket is homogenized, and cream often has carrageenan added, to prevent fat separation.
    – rumtscho
    Dec 22, 2014 at 10:21
  • I din't realize that I shared a local method! I have edited my answer to make it more relevant now.
    – Neels
    Dec 22, 2014 at 10:29
  • The page with substitutes is still not an answer. It is indeed intended to create a substitute for the "modern buttermilk" and not the "old one" you are making with your local method. But the result is actually a cheese with the approximate tang and thickness of buttermilk. It still contains no cultures and so cannot be used as a starter for creme fraiche.
    – rumtscho
    Dec 22, 2014 at 10:36
  • Okay..can't argue on creme fraiche!! So I leave it to the OP to do whatever he/she wants to do!
    – Neels
    Dec 22, 2014 at 10:44

I added two tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to a cup of cream and let it sit for eight hours and produced a lovely creme fraiche. Also, I did the the same procedure with lemon juice and it turned out similarly. One never can produce what is consumed overseas so by using your local ingredients, a product will be produced specific to you. Try fruited vinegars like pear or berry for a unique dessert dip.


On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen has the following recipe:

A home version of crème fraîche can be made by adding some cultured buttermilk or sour cream, which contain cream-culture bacteria, to heavy cream (1 tablespoon per cup / 15ml per 250ml), and letting it stand at a cool room temperature for 12 to 18 hours or until thick.

Therefore for the magic to happen the bacteria must be present. Check ingredients of your cream base: it should list cultured cream or, sometimes, cultures themselves. And absolutely not UHT.

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