Cream vs Crème FraÎche: Difference and Comparison

Milk has been used by living beings since the beginning of recorded time. Milk and the products made from milk have become an essential part of our daily lives.

These dairy products are used in a wide variety of food items, like cakes, shakes, desserts, etc. Usually, the byproducts of milk contain fat but vary in their concentration of fat. Cream and Crème FraÎche are two such products made out of milk.

Key Takeaways

  1. Cream is a dairy product with high-fat content, while crème fraîche is a cultured cream product made by adding bacteria to heavy cream.
  2. Crème fraîche has a thicker consistency and tangier flavor than regular cream, which is lighter and more neutral.
  3. Cream is better suited for whipped or sweet applications, whereas crème fraîche can be used in sweet and savory dishes and resists curdling when heated.

Cream vs Crème FraÎche

Cream is a rich dairy product that is the higher-fat layer skimmed from the top of milk before homogenization and used as an ingredient in mostly sweet foods. Creme fraiche is cream that has a culture added. It is slightly sour, thicker and creamier in flavour with a lower level of acidity and higher fat content.

Cream vs Creme FraIche

The cream is a dairy product that is made from butterfat skimmed from the top layer of milk.


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This is done prior to homogenizing the milk. It is the thickness of the Cream that determines whether it can be whipped or not. This Cream is used in various food products, such as ice cream, coffee, etc.

Crème FraÎche falls under the category of creams. It is a type of Cream that is produced after fermenting the Cream with lactobacillus.

This Cream is in some ways similar to sour Cream but is less sour and is comparatively thicker. It is used to add flavour to soups and is also used as a topping for various desserts.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonCreamCrème FraÎche
DefinitionIt is a dairy product made by skimming the high-fat top layer of the milk.It is a type of cream made by fermenting the cream with bacterial culture.
UseIt is used to prepare desserts like ice-creams and can be used in beverages like coffee.It is used to add flavor to soups or to add thickness in broths. It too can be used in desserts.
MakingIt is made by skimming the layer that appears on top of homogenized milk.It is made by fermenting the heavy cream, so a host of bacteria act on it.
ThicknessThe thickness of the cream depends on the butterfat content present in the layer.It is thicker than sour cream.
Fat contentThe thicker creams tend to have higher fat content.It has a fat content between the range of 10 to 35 percent.

What is Cream?

The cream is a dairy product that is made of butterfat skimmed from the top layer of the milk before it is homogenized. This top layer is quite rich in fat.

Homogenizing is a process in which the fat droplets are emulsified, after which Cream does not separate from the milk, thereby defeating the purpose.

 When the milk is not homogenized, the fat rises to the surface because it is less dense.

Cream industries often use “separators” and centrifuges to speed up this process. Different countries sell this Cream, categorizing it in several grades of fat content present.

It is used as a key ingredient in multiple dishes like soups, stews, sauces, etc. Its use in desserts and sweet dishes is popularly known. Light Cream is used as an add-on in coffee in the USA and Canada. It is also used in several Indian curries, such as Paneer dishes.

Based on the fat content, creams can be used to make different varieties of Cream. For example, if the Cream is thick enough, it could be turned into whipped Cream and served as a topping on multiple cuisines. Some other types of Cream include sour Cream, crème FraÎche, etc.


What is Crème FraÎche?

Crème FraÎche is a type of Cream that is made by fermenting heavy Cream. It turns into double Cream when a host of bacteria acts on it. It has a thicker texture when compared to sour cream. It is also less sour. It has fat content ranging between 10 – 45% of butterfat.

It is made by when heavy Cream is added to a starter culture. This means that bacteria are allowed to act upon it. It is left to stand at an appropriate temperature until the mixture starts to thicken.

The bacteria that acts on it changes the taste of the Cream, making it different from other types of Cream.

Crème FraÎche has a thicker and sort of velvety texture. It has a sharp, tangy taste but is less sour than sour cream. This mature kind of Cream is rich and thick. It has a pH value of about 4.5, which makes it slightly acidic.

Translated as fresh Cream, this type of Cream is loved and prepared all over the globe. It has its origin in France and is used both as hot and cold crème in French cuisines.

Its preparation slightly differs in France because there it is made by using unpasteurized milk, whereas, in America, it is made from pasteurized milk. It is used as a base layer for many desserts and as toppings in ice creams and other dishes.

creme fraiche

Main Differences Between Cream and Crème Fraiche

  1. The cream is a broader term used for the skimmed butterfat layer that appears on top of the milk before it is homogenized, whereas Crème FraÎche falls under the broad category of creams.
  2. Crème FraÎche is made by fermenting heavy Cream and allowing bacteria to work on it, while Cream is simply produced by skimming the top layer that appears on the milk.
  3. The cream can vary in thickness depending upon the fat content, whereas Crème FraÎche is known for its thickness.
  4. Crème FraÎche has a pH value of 4.5, which makes it slightly acidic as compared to the natural Cream.
  5. Crème FraÎche stands out because of its distinct nutty taste, while Cream is not that salty.
  6. The cream can be of various types based on the fat content present, whereas Crème FraÎche is a kind of Cream that has a fat content range between 10 and 45 percent.
Difference Between Cream and Creme FraIche

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