We love using creamy toppings when the timing is right and the meal is meant for it. From snack foods to soups to meals and more, these toppings play a big role in many kitchens.
You can choose whipped topping (or whipped cream), sour cream, or something like crème fraiche.
These are all very particular substances and even similar overall when you consider the ingredients and the way they are made. Crème fraiche is certainly a specialty option that many people aren’t even aware of – but they should be.
When it comes to crème fraiche, a little bit goes a long way. If you make or purchase it, it’s easy to wind up with leftovers.
Can you freeze crème fraiche? You can freeze crème fraiche if you are willing to put work into keeping the consistency right. Since this is a high-fat dairy product, it will take some work to maintain after freezing.
In this guide, we will share with you the steps and tips that you need to know and understand in order to successfully freeze crème fraiche. There is a lot to know about the process to get it just right but it’s not overly complicated.
Keep reading to learn how to freeze crème fraiche and more!
How to Freeze Crème Fraiche
People will freeze just about anything and with good reason! It’s always nice to be able to preserve an item rather than having to toss it out. We freeze whipped topping so why shouldn’t we be able to freeze crème fraiche right?
The philosophy here is on target. However, in overall composition, crème fraiche is actually more similar to sour cream but not quite as sour.
Let’s talk just a moment about what is in crème fraiche. The ingredients make a significant difference in the freezing process.
Remember that crème fraiche is high in butterfat and that what makes the freezing process slightly more challenging as those tend to lose consistency viability and even separate when stored.
Crème fraiche is often described as homemade sour cream. It is not exactly like sour cream but it is very similar as far as ingredients and texture goes.
If you ever make your own, you know that there is a lengthy process that actually takes a couple of days.
If you buy crème fraiche from the store, it might actually freeze a little better than the homemade version. This is just because of the processing that takes place as it is produced. It is easier to preserve in the end.
You can store crème fraiche in the fridge for quite a while if you seal it tightly and store it appropriately when you aren’t using it. They are stamped with a “best by” date but crème fraiche can typically last in the fridge for about 8 weeks.
Here are the basic steps for freezing crème fraiche:
- We recommend separating the cream into smaller portions. Scoop it into an ice or herb freezing tray and pop that in the freezer for 2-3 hours or until it is solid.
- Then pop the frozen cubes out and place those into an airtight container or a heavy-duty freezer bag.
- Label and date your storage packaging.
- Pop the crème fraiche in the freezer, where it should be good for up to 4 months.
Tips for Freezing Crème Fraiche
There are some specific things we want to point out here.
If you think you will use that cream within the allowable time frame, then skip the freezer and just store it in the fridge using the proper temperature and storage recommendations.
Our freezing steps recommend separating the cream into portions and pre-freezing it. This is because if you just want a spoonful or a small portion when you’re ready to use it, it is so much better to just take out what you need.
Once you defrost it, you cannot refreeze it.
Here is another tip, if you know you are going to need to freeze some crème fraiche, then the sooner you freeze it the better.
You can try to string it along but the longer it is in the fridge before it is frozen, the more noticeable of a difference you will see in the end.
You also will not want to let your crème fraiche every sit out for extended periods of time on the counter or anything like that.
The longer it sits out at room temperature and the longer it hangs out in the fridge, the more it could lose shelf life over time.
If you prefer not to separate your cream into the ice trays and follow that process, you can just scoop it into freezer bags and freeze it that way. No pre-freeze process would be required.
The real trick to successfully freezing your crème fraiche comes in how you handle it after it has been frozen so let’s talk about that.
Using Crème Fraiche After Freezing
Here comes the truth to testing your frozen cream. Remember that is a heavy-fat dairy cream.
If you’ve ever tried to freeze any of these before, they freeze just fine. But when you thaw them out you notice separation and a different consistency than when you placed it in the freezer.
Not to worry! We’ve got you covered with some tips for taking care of these issues. You will be pleasantly surprised at how well your cream will come back to life if you follow these steps that we’ve put together for you:
- Allow the crème fraiche time to thaw in the fridge. Move it from the freezer to the fridge and give it several hours. Overnight would even be a great option!
- Allow the crème to thaw fully so that you can rework the cream and restore its intended consistency.
- Once the crème has thawed out, pour it into a mixing bowl and grab a good, sturdy whisk.
- Here comes the really important part. Whisk the crème vigorously for several minutes until it regains the smooth and creamy consistency that it should have.
The whisking vigorously is what will really bring that crème fraiche back to exactly what it should be.
If you just let it thaw and then try to use it as is, it will look clumpy and awful. It will also most likely have separated qualities. It will be a disappointing mess.
However, a couple moments of vigorous whisking should restore it to almost as good as new!
Things to Know About Crème Fraiche
This is a heavy cream product that is similar to what you might get if you purchase heavy whipping cream. It is a specialty item that was originally a French dish.
However, it has made its way into the U.S. and is readily available in many grocery stores, particularly specialty grocery stores.
This crème fraiche translates to “fresh cream.” It’s commonly used to make decadent sauces and is certainly one of the most versatile heavy creams on the market. It can be used for sauces, fruits, and vegetables.
You will also find that it has varying textures. Some crème fraiche will be almost like sour cream while others might be thick and hard like stick butter at room temperature.
If you make it at home, it may not last as long as far as overall storage goes. Homemade crème fraiche really is only good for a few days in the fridge. From there, you should freeze it or toss it out.
If you’re not familiar with the process of making crème fraiche, it is made using a pasteurized cream. The cream is given a starter culture and left to sit until it thickens and sours. The overall process is very similar to that of yogurt.
We hope that you find this guide to freezing crème fraiche to be a helpful resource to take care of your needs. Remember, it’s not a hard process as long as you know the appropriate steps to make it work for you!
Take a quick look at our question and answer section for some additional information!
Can I Use a Substitute for Crème Fraiche?
The closest substitute there is to crème fraiche is really sour cream.
The biggest difference is that sour cream is sourer by nature and flavor than crème fraiche is and that could affect your dish. Some people prefer to substitute original or plain Greek yogurt or even cream cheese spread.
Where Can I Find Crème Fraiche?
Check out your local grocery store to see if they have it available. You will most likely find it in the area of all other dairy but its exact location in the dairy section could vary.
Crème fraiche has a lot of great uses and it really does freeze well if you understand the process.
We say freezing is the easy part, it’s handling the crème when you defrost it so you can get it back to its original consistency, or at least close to it.
The process is pretty simple. If you’re willing to put in a little bit of elbow grease to keep your crème fraiche looking and tasting great, then you should have no issues when freezing it!