Differences Between Crème Fraiche and Heavy Cream: Which Is Better?

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Crème fraiche and heavy cream are both dairy products that are widely used across the globe. They serve numerous functions and, like sauces, are a prized complement to many cuisines. They do, however, vary, and you cannot always swap one for the other. So, what are the distinctions between crème fraiche and heavy cream, and which is superior?

Crème fraiche and heavy cream are both dairy milk derivatives. Yet, their goals are completely different, and it is almost hard to argue that one is superior to the other. Crme fraiche is cultured heavy cream, while heavy cream is just buttermilk.

Since these two forms of cream are readily accessible and frequently utilized, they may be found in many houses and restaurants. I like experimenting with their applications, although such attempts are not always fruitful. Therefore I’ll explain the distinctions between them, as well as their intended functions and nutritional benefits.

Crème Fraiche vs. Heavy Cream: Differences

Despite the fact that they are derived from the same source, dairy milk, crème fraiche, and heavy cream are considered distinct varieties of cream. Heavy cream, made from the top layer of milk that separates when heated, is the fattier option, containing 36 to 40% fat, whereas crme fraiche includes approximately 30%.


The method of manufacturing heavy cream is relatively straightforward, and there are several recipes available for making it at home. The milk is heated until the top fatty layer separates from the less dense portion of the milk. The butterfat is scraped from the milk before it homogenizes, and voilà, heavy cream.

Crme fraiche, on the other hand, is prepared from heavy cream, which undergoes a fermentation process driven by bacterial culture. This procedure alters the flavor, consistency, and texture of heavy cream by introducing Lacto bacteria (milk bacteria). Depending on the rate of thickening, the fermentation time might range from 12 to 24 hours.


Crème fraiche has a thick and creamy texture, and it curdles. It has the consistency of thick yogurt or mayonnaise. While heavy cream is rich, it is not as thick as crème fraiche. The quantity of buttermilk in the top layer of the dairy milk determines the thickness of the heavy cream.

Nonetheless, the general rule is that crème fraiche is thicker but not as heavy as heavy cream, while heavy cream is fattier but not as thick. As a result, heavy cream is more of an extremely thick liquid than stable cream.


Crme fraiche and heavy cream taste different in addition to their varied consistency. Heavy cream has a more neutral flavor and is used in both sweet and savory recipes. Yet, it has a unique rich, buttery, and creamy flavor. Crème fraiche is a different tale; tart, somewhat sour, and faintly salty, it is more limited in its use.


Heavy cream, with its neutral but rich taste, is ideal as a sauce base, thickening, or additive to custard desserts. It’s also a great complement to any meal that requires creaminess, for making homemade cheeses like ricotta and paneer, and anytime you want to add the buttery richness of heavy cream.

Crème fraiche has fewer combinations than heavy cream, but it still has a large variety of possibilities. It’s not a sauce basis, but it works great as a sauce thickening, salad dressing, or roasted meat topping, as well as on top of fruit salads with a touch of sugar. It’s also fantastic in omelets or slathered on top of baked items.


Since sour cream and crème fraiche contain considerable levels of fat and calories, you should exercise caution while consuming them. [1] [2]

Despite its allure, crème fraiche is heavy in saturated fats, with just two tablespoons providing 35% of your daily fat requirements. It is not high in vitamins and minerals, although it does have a high calcium content. It does, however, have some advantages since it is low in carbs, making it a good option for a low-carb diet.

While it has less calories than heavy cream, crme fraiche should be used in moderation and not as a regular staple. Creme fraiche is helpful for your gut health because of the Lacto bacteria, but it doesn’t do much for your general health. [3] It is also quite poor in protein.

Heavy cream has more saturated fats and calories than crème fraiche, but its health advantages are more diverse. Heavy cream includes fat-dissolving vitamins A, D, E, and K, as well as calcium, chloride, and phosphorus. It also has a low carbohydrate and protein content, with a higher protein value than crme fraiche.

While it is good for bone health and a good source of vitamins in general, it should be used in moderation.

Generally, crme fraiche and heavy cream should be used sparingly. Both should be used sparingly and in small amounts.

Below is a table that summarizes the differences between heavy cream and crème fraiche.

Heavy cream Vs. crème fraiche- differences Heavy cream  Crème fraiche 
Production  Skimmed from dairy milk. Fermented heavy crème.
Texture  Thick, but still liquid. Thick and creamy.
Use  As a thickener, sauce base, whipped cream, desserts, or anywhere to add creaminess. As an addition to sauces, salad dressing, meat topping, on top of fruit salads, as an addition to baked goods or omelets. 
Nutrition value  High fat, high calorie, a rich source of vitamins A, D, E, and K. It also contains Calcium, Phosphorus, and Chlorine. Low amount of carbohydrates and protein. High fat, high calorie, but still lower than heavy cream. It contains significant amounts of calcium, but it doesn’t contain vitamins. Low in carbohydrates and protein.
Health impact Good bone health and overall health benefits from the high amounts of vitamins. However, it should be consumed in moderation because of the high-fat amount. Good for gut health, it doesn’t have other health benefits. It isn’t as fatty and caloric as heavy cream.
Taste  Rich buttery taste, but still neutral. Tangy, slightly sour, and mildly salty.

Crème Fraiche vs. Heavy Cream: Which Is Better?

Either option you choose is inaccurate. Both crème fraiche and heavy cream have benefits and drawbacks, and their usage is determined by the end objective and the preferences of the user. It is hard to choose one above the other simply because it is superior.

Crème fraiche goes well with baked products, fruit salads, salad dressing, roasted meat toppings, and pan sauces. Basically, crme fraiche is a great complement to meals that require a little extra flavor, sharpness, and zest.

If more creaminess and thickness are required, heavy cream is the ideal answer. It’s fantastic as a sauce base, thickening, or in custard desserts. It’s also wonderful for making your own cheese.

Crème Fraiche vs. Heavy Cream: Which Is Better for Chili?

Chilly may be a touch watery since it doesn’t include any thickeners, so using heavy cream instead of flour or cornstarch is a good option.

Crème fraiche would not work well in this recipe since it would provide tang and mild sourness, which is not a suitable taste combination. Also, the crme fraiche’s thick texture would overpower the meal.

Crème Fraiche vs. Heavy Cream: Which Is Better for Pasta?

Heavy cream is the clear winner here, since one of its principal functions is as a sauce foundation. It thickens even more when gently cooked, making it ideal for any white spaghetti sauce. However, crème fraiche might be a great garnish to the main heavy cream sauce.

Crème Fraiche vs. Heavy Cream: Which Is Better for Scrambled Eggs?

Crème fraiche goes well with scrambled eggs. It thickens the consistency of the eggs and adds tastes that complement the taste of pan-fried eggs perfectly. Heavy cream would not work here since it would make the omelet runny rather than creamy.

Crème Fraiche Vs. Heavy Cream: Which Is Better for Soup?

In general, both may perform well in this area. Crme fraiche, on the other hand, is more often used as a soup ingredient since it provides sourness and zest. On the other hand, heavy cream might also be used to increase creaminess, so this is really a matter of taste choice.

Crème Fraiche vs. Heavy Cream: Which Is Better for Frosting?

Because of its neutral and buttery flavor, heavy cream has an advantage in this situation. Creme fraiche, on the other hand, is no stranger to frosting. Yet, since frosting is often served on top of sweet-tasting foods, heavy cream is a safer choice.

Can You Substitute Crème Fraiche for Heavy Cream?

Since they originate from the same source, crème fraiche may be used in place of heavy cream, but not everywhere, and the recipes will not taste the same. Crme fraiche is not the finest thickening for a sauce foundation since it curdles, but it works well as a frosting or soup addition.

Can You Substitute Heavy Cream for Crème Fraiche?

This may be OK in certain circumstances, such as soups or icing, but it is not acceptable in omelets, dressings, or pastry smears. Heavy cream has less utility as a replacement for crme fraiche than crme fraiche since it is less thick.

While using crème fraiche instead of heavy cream would provide some sourness and maybe a few curdles, doing so would result in watery meals without the crucial zest and tang.


Can I use crème fraîche instead of heavy cream?

Mascarpone, sour cream, or crème fraiche

With a few exceptions, these three components may be used in lieu of heavy cream in a one-to-one ratio. Sour cream adds acidity to your food, and if you use it in soups or other hot dishes, add it at the end to prevent curdling.

Why is crème fraîche healthier than cream?

Crème fraiche is often used as a healthier, lower-calorie substitute for fresh cream. Nevertheless, although crème fraiche has less fat than cream, it is not necessarily an appropriate substitute for dieters since it is still heavy in calories.

What is a healthier option than heavy cream?

Try replacing it with milk mixed with Greek yogurt, olive oil, or cornstarch for a lower-fat alternative. Consider coconut cream, cashew cream, silken tofu, and plant-based milk for a healthier vegan and dairy-free alternative.

Is cream fresh the same as heavy cream?

Raw cream has around 25% fat, but whipped cream contains approximately 30-35% fat. Fresh cream cannot be used as whipping cream since it has just 18-25% milkfat (whipping cream contains around 35% milkfat).

What is the closest thing to crème fraîche?

Sour cream (which has less fat) is the best and simplest substitution, but it lacks the richness and tanginess of crème fraiche. Full fat plain Greek yogurt is another option, although it lacks the same smooth texture and mild taste.

What is crème fraîche used for?

What Is the Purpose of Creme Fraiche? Creme fraiche does not curdle when boiling due to its high fat content, making it excellent for use as a thickening in sauces and soups. Crème may also be used to complete sauces and soups, or spooned over fruit or warm sweets like cobblers.

Which is better cream or crème fraîche?

Double cream has a greater fat level – roughly 48-50% – and is not widely accessible in the United States. Crème fraîche, on the other hand, is cream with a culture added to it, giving it a somewhat sour flavor. It has around 40% fat. Cream, on the other hand, is not a common component in healthy cooking.

Is crème fraîche good for your gut?

Crème fraiche is a fermented milk product that contains numerous beneficial microorganisms and lactic acid. This is administered directly to the gastrointestinal system. These beneficial bacteria serve to keep diseases at bay as well as aid in the most complete digestion of the meals we consume.

Is Philadelphia crème fraîche?

Crème de Philadelphia

It is a good alternative for crème fraiche and does not separate at high temperatures, according to some.

What are the negatives of heavy cream?

The majority of the fat in cream is saturated fat. Many studies have connected an excess of saturated fat to an increased risk of elevated cholesterol. And if you consistently overdo it on the cream, your waistline will suffer.

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