crème fraîche | the vanilla bean blog
I’ve been making crème fraîche the same way for years: heavy cream and a little bit of buttermilk shaken in a jar, then left on the counter for 24 hours. I’ve changed my method, however, after coming across Renee Erickson’s version in her book A Boat, A Whale, & A Walrus. Here larger amounts of cream and buttermilk are whisked together, then covered in cheesecloth and left on the counter for 2-3 days. It may seem like a subtle difference, but 72 hours later I was greeted with the creamiest, dreamiest crème fraîche that I had ever made. It was rich and slightly tangy, and I was ready to dollop and smear it on everything within reaching distance.

Ms. Erickson’s book is quite beautiful, and I respected it even more after reading the introduction. “I’m…not a classically trained chef – actually, I’m not trained at all – so there aren’t a lot of rules about cooking in my kitchens. It’s more important to me that people are happy and comfortable than that they can crack an egg with one hand or slice a case of shallots in a minute flat. If I don’t want to do something, I don’t want to make someone else do it. I want my staff to have healthy lives and dynamic, interesting jobs that don’t entail someone hovering over them.” After working 15+ years in retail, coffeeshops, and kitchens I may have uttered a ‘thank you!’ upon reading those words.

Leave a comment below for a chance to win a copy of A Boat, A Whale, & A Walrus!

crème fraîche | the vanilla bean blog
Crème Fraîche
From A Boat, A Whale, & A Walrus by Renee Erickson
(the video above shows a half recipe being made)

3 cups heavy cream
1 cup buttermilk

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the cream and buttermilk. Cover the top of the bowl with 3 individual layers of cheesecloth (you can attach it to the bowl with a rubber band) and let the crème fraîche sit for 2-3 days, until thick. Gently stir it, then transfer the crème fraîche to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use, up to 1 week.
crème fraîche | the vanilla bean blog

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109 Responses to crème fraîche

  1. Isabella says:

    The video is beautiful! I have never made my own creme fraiche before… seems like a great project!

  2. Emily says:

    These photos are lovely, and I wish everyone had her approach to managing other people!

  3. I’ve used this technique to make cultured butter before, but I’ve never just left it as is. I’ll definitely have to try it!

  4. I’ve always wanted to make my own – your video is great!! Can’t wait to make this at home 🙂

  5. Tiffany says:

    I’ve always wanted to make my own creme fraiche but never thought it was this easy. Especially since I can’t buy it locally without driving at least 25 miles away.

  6. Marisa says:

    I’ve been using Dorie Greenspan’s recipe for some time now which calls for just a Tb of buttermilk to one cup cream. But I absolutely must try this version – you totally caught my interest at “creamiest and dreamiest”!! I spent about an hour yesterday pouring over this cookbook at the local bookstore – it’s absolutely gorgeous 🙂

  7. Uschi says:

    never thought that it is so easy. Thanks for the wonderful pictures.

  8. Never would have thought to make my own creme fraiche before. Thanks for the idea and inspiration Sarah, this is definitely something I need to try!

  9. Linda L. says:

    Wow! Who knew it was that easy? I’ll definitely be trying this. Only question – do I have to tell the folks who’ll be very impressed I made my own creme fraiche just how simple it was??

  10. Katie V says:

    I also love the old English word clabbering – for leaving milk out on the side to begin to ferment.

  11. Lidya says:

    I’ve never tried creme fraiche, would love to try it!

  12. hi, i have never had nor made creme fraiche, i had no idea it was so easy. i can’t wait to make it for thanksgiving, yum. thanks so much

  13. Judy Grubbs says:

    Great video. I will try this soon.

  14. I just love the cover of the book! And the title. 🙂
    Definitely making my own crème fraiche from now on!

  15. Deborah says:

    So lovely…..blessings for the giving of thanks next week.

  16. Magda says:

    What a great video, Sarah. I loved the music apart from the recipe instructions 🙂
    I find great creme fraiche where I live (the Netherlands) so I haven’t tried to make my own, but I am intrigued. Will give this a try, soon.

  17. It is impossible to find store bought crème fraîche here in Brazil, that is a life savior! Thank you for sharing!

  18. Barbara Langlois says:

    Great video. Perfect timing for the tutorial…creme fraiche for the holidays. Thank you. Love cookbooks…would be a lovely addition to my collection. Thank you.

  19. Christina says:

    What a beautiful book! I’ve always meant to try to make creme fraiche – it’s so good with everything, sweet and savory. It’s hard to find in grocery stores here, and I love the idea of making it myself.

  20. Mimi says:

    Yummy recipe for Crete fraiche. I collect cook books and have not seen this one. Seems like my kind of cookbook.

  21. Tjaša says:

    This creme fraiche looks absolutely perfect! I had home made creme fraiche on my to-do list for a while now and I guess this weekend I will finally scratch it off. Can’t wait to taste this creamy perfection! And the book is just amazing, I’ve also been eying it for some time.

  22. Austenne says:

    I’m super sensitive to dairy (silly digestive system). However, there exist recipes that aren’t the same with substitutions. I will definitely be making creme fraiche soon.

    Thanks for sharing and have a happy day 🙂

    <3 Austenne

  23. Katherine says:

    I’m never sure what to do with crème fraîche! Sounds like an easy recipe though, I might try it anyway.

  24. Carol says:

    I love your marble! I’m starting to ferment things now so leaving it out longer sounds good to me 🙂

  25. Janice says:

    I cannot wait to try this creme fraiche recipe. This will be the perfect something extra to dollop on those Thanksgiving pies. Thank you for including the quotes from Renee Erikson’s intro.

  26. Katie McCleery says:

    I would love to win a copy of that beautiful book!

  27. Laura Biscaro says:

    I’ve always wanted to make my own crème fraiche, but I would also have to make my buttermilk from scratch (there’s no buttermilk in my country) and I’m a very lazy cook hahaha but that video made me excited to try it, though…

  28. CarolP says:

    I came across an online recipe for zucchini bread from the same book. It was amazing, and called for creme fraiche to serve alongside. This version looks wonderful – thanks for posting. The book looks great!

  29. Maryna says:

    thank you so much for sharing! i’ve been looking for this recipe for s long, because I’ve never seen creme fraiche in Ukrainian stores.

  30. I’ve never even thought to try to make my own creme fraiche, it looks so fun! I totally geeked out over your video – thanks for inspiring me to try this!

  31. Demi-Brooke says:

    Oh how delightful! This looks so yummy, and the sweetest book. Thanks for the recipe/chance to win. xx

  32. Perfect timing! We have recently moved out of the U.S. and I’m missing some of the food items I’ve grown accustomed to using in the States.

  33. I’m so glad you’ve started making videos! It makes it so much easier to follow along 🙂

  34. Suzanne Gordon says:

    I could do this!

  35. Chloé says:

    Wow. The book looks awesome. + Thank you for this yummy recipe 🙂

  36. Erin says:

    Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  37. Vittoria says:

    I can’t wait to read this book!

  38. Cindy says:

    Love the cover of this book…..such whimsy! What would it be like to work with someone that leaves headed and grounded…….hmmmmm. The creme fraiche looks amazing. Tanks so much for sharing this book.

  39. Lauren says:

    Always good to have a way to make creme fraiche at home!

  40. Maneesha Pradhan says:

    Nice to know can do this at home when I don’t have any on hand.

  41. Jane Downes says:

    Beautiful, encouraging video. Now I’ll definitely be making crème fresche for Thanksgiving! Thanks. I’m completely intrigued by the title of the giveaway cookbook. Sounds like a winner!

  42. sabine says:

    C.f. is a constant inhabitant of my fridge, yet I never ever made it myself. What a shame, it seems. Thank you for this wonderful idea!

  43. Kelli says:

    What a lovely simple yet Glorious concoction. Love the video. Make more 🙂

  44. Dana says:

    I used to make crème fraiche but never used it up before it went bad. Maybe I’ll give it another go. Thanks for the giveaway.

  45. Stardancer says:

    I have never made creme fraiche at all, but I expect that it will happen someday as I expand my cooking horizons!

  46. Mandi Flake says:

    Ooohhh! Now I can skip the hour’s drive to trader joe’s & just make my own, HOORAY!

  47. Rachel says:

    What a beautiful post. I’m inspired to try the recipe now!

  48. Danielle says:

    So simple! I will have to try this, for sure.

  49. Kelly says:

    I’ve never made my won crème fraiche, but I love it! Thanks!

  50. Lauren says:

    What a beautiful book! We’re contemplating a move up to Seattle in the near future. I would love to eat at her restaurants and try my hand at some of her recipes.

  51. amanda says:

    I love all the recipes you post so I’m sure I will love this one too!!

  52. cynthia says:

    This is so lovely, Sarah!! That video is beautifully serene (and you have such graceful hands!) And love your words on Renee’s book — her philosophy and her creme fraiche sound equally wonderful.

  53. Kinga champion says:

    Thanks for the recipe. I love recipes like these. Can you freeze it?

  54. I had no idea Crème Fraîche was so easy to make! I found your blog on Steller and I am loving it!

  55. Miri says:

    As I need creme fraiche for a dinner party soon and only had sour cream – there is no creme fraiche in Oz – it must have been destiny that I opened your blog and stumbled upon this simple recipe. Just followed the instructions of your video and can’t wait till it’s done 🙂

  56. Constance says:

    I’ll have to give this a whirl, sounds delicious.

  57. STOP IT! You have NO IDEA how excited I am to make this! I make my own ricotta, and it is exponentially better than anything I’ll ever get from a store. I can only imagine what homemade creme fraîche tastes like!

  58. Katie says:

    It had never crossed my mind that I could make my own crème fraîche. Now I have to try it!

  59. Smart! It never even occurred to me to make my own creme fraiche. Love this idea and will be doing it this weekend. Thank you!

  60. sabrina says:

    Wow! I’ve got to give this a go. Love creme fraiche.

  61. Meghan says:

    Never did I think a 58 second video of hands preparing creme fraiche would be so beautiful & serene. But you have a way of doing that; making this beautiful where least expected. I’ve lusted after this cookbook ever since I read the title, and after reading that excerpt, I’m convinced I have to have it one way or another. Thank you, Sarah!

  62. Sandra says:

    Never made creme fraiche before. I’m going to try it.
    The video is so amazing! Thanks for sharing it! I really like the book, such a great title!

  63. bernice says:

    Great thanksgiving idea!

  64. Michelle says:

    Awesome!!! Thanks for the info. Definetly on the to do list!

  65. Britney Loren says:

    I am now inspired to make my own creme fraiche! I was going to make my favoite lemon poundcake this weekend, too, which calls for creme fraiche. I am sure the addition of this home-made deliciousness will make it even more fabulous. Thank you!

  66. Lisa A says:

    I’m going to have to try this! I’ve always bought it in the past, but I love making things myself when I can.

  67. Khadija M. says:

    Heyyyy hello ok hi 😛 What do you think the shelf life is for the creme fraiche? xxx K.

  68. Madeline says:

    I’ve heard some great things about this book, would love the chance to cook from it!!

  69. Miriam says:

    I finally might just give this a shot…thanks bunches 🙂

  70. Deloras says:

    The book sounds like it might be the dreamiest, also. Thank you for the crème fraiche recipe.

  71. Stephanie says:

    I love this! Creamiest and dreamiest? YES PLEASE! And that cookbook would make a perfect gift.

  72. Elisa Wolff says:

    I very much appreciate Ms. Erickson’s approach to cooking. Cooking is something everyone can do, and demystifying it and making it okay to do what works for you is a huge step in getting everyone preparing their own food!

  73. christiana says:

    I am SO going to try this as creame fraiche is very expensive in Australia!
    Thanks for sharing x

  74. Love this; the video, the recipe, and the book! I’ve been wanting to make crème fraîche for so long now but somehow I still haven’t. You know those want-to-make projects that you have only to realize a couple of months (or years!) later that you still haven’t made them happen. Not even when they’re so very effortless to make like crème fraîche or ricotta? I *really* need to make homemade crème fraîche.

  75. cori says:

    Wow that’s creme fraiche? Dannng!

  76. I should try this recipe because it’s hard to find crème fraiche around here.

  77. Terra says:

    Can’t wait to try this!

  78. Nickie Gorsky says:

    hmmm…creme fraiche…lovely stuff…thanks for the giveaway chance for this beautiful worthy book…

  79. I’ve always wondered how to make this—but I guess not wondered enough to check it out. Ha. Thanx for the chance to win such a beautiful book.

  80. Caitlin says:

    creme fraiche is hard to find, so this may come in handy

  81. Rebecca says:

    I never realized it was so easy to make! Yum 🙂

  82. Jennifer P. says:

    At Whale Wins (one of Renee Erickson’s restaurants), they put this creme fraiche on a piece of butter-roasted zucchini bread and sprinkle it all with a little salt. And it’s magical. Yes, magical. Sweet, tangy, salty and a little crunchy. Love at first bite for me. Now, with this recipe in hand, I’m feeling inspired to try making a version her zucchini bread dessert at home. Thanks for the sharing!

  83. Katie says:

    Looks like a beautiful book.

  84. Gina Guthrie says:

    Thanks for this recipe. It’s so hard to find creme fraiche in most stores.

  85. This is so informative!! I will 100% be making this. Can’t thank you enough for this post!!!

  86. I haven’t made creme fraiche in quite a long time. I think I followed the recipe you mentioned at the beginning. Thought that was the only way! I need to try this version… it looks and sounds perfect!

  87. Lyndsey says:

    I’ve never made creme fraiche, but I do love it. This book looks wonderful, too.

  88. Emily says:

    Thanks for sharing the video! I’m currently living in Santiago, Chile and miss my Trader Joe’s creme fraiche… This looks like an even better substitute 🙂

  89. MFree says:

    Thank you for sharing this cute video. Dying to get my hands on the cookbook!

  90. Toni McCann says:

    so simple. so yummy. definitely going to be giving this a try.

  91. Lindsay says:

    I work at a small business and the girls and I are getting together to make my boss and his wife a basket of home-made goods for Christmas. This sounds like a good option for my part. How fun!

  92. Najee says:

    That almost looked too easy! 🙂 Nomnomnomnom.
    (also, what an adorable title for a cookbook!)

  93. Renee Kemps says:

    Oh wauw. So easy to make! Can’t wait to try it out!

  94. Adrienne says:

    I’m hearing a lot of buzz about thus book, looks like a great read. I finally got around to reading An Everlasting Meal this Fall. The cookbook meats memoir meets food philosophy format is very interesting!

  95. Lilia says:

    I’ve been wanting to make my own for so long!!!! This post is a sign that I have to make it happen!

  96. Katie says:

    What a wonderful video–thank you!

  97. […] crème fraîche recipe can be found on The Vanilla Bean Blog. The photos on Sarah’s blog are always my […]

  98. Bridget says:

    I’ve been making crème fraîche for 7 years with heavy cream and sour cream 1:1.
    Now I’ve tried this version 48 hours ago and YES – just perfect. Light and creamy and much, much better than my version. It’s now in my cookbook. Thank you!

    By the way: I didn’t know how calming it can be to watch a 58- seconds-video about making crème fraîche 🙂 The music, the movements, it was just relaxing.

  99. Ellie says:

    Hi! Thanks so much for posting the recipe, I’m 15 and really into baking and until now I’ve never been able to try anything with creme fraiche as it’s never in the house! Will definitely try this next time I find a nice looking recipe for it- any suggestions?

  100. Ram Nieto says:

    Love the concept of the website. Hope you could find time to visit my website and critic it. Thanks! Happy Holidays!

  101. […] filling than needed, but the filling also makes a great dip. You can use sour cream in place of the crème fraîche, and goat cheese in place of the cream cheese. The mozzarella isn’t necessary, but I like the […]

  102. […] From Renee Erickson’s A Boat, A Whale and A Walrus as seen on The Vanilla Bean Blog […]

  103. farah says:

    So, since room temperatures differ, Would it be ok to leave it at room temp for 2-3 days in the hot summers too?

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