How great is crème fraiche? I mean, it’s one of those jack-of-all-trades ingredients that can be used in almost anything. It’s just as much at home when used in a fruit parfait as it is in an asparagus soup. However, my personal favorite use for it is when making a rich and creamy spaghetti carbonara.
The fact that it can be a key ingredient in such different foods shows its flexibility. Not many foods are so versatile. While its near-twin sister sour cream is also quite versatile it still can’t compare to the usefulness of crème fraiche.
As such a multifaceted food, it’s one of those ingredients you should always have on hand. Whether you want to make a dessert or dinner main course, it can provide the extra creaminess that you are looking for. Because of this, you may be wondering if it’s possible to freeze crème fraiche so you can easily always have it on hand. The good news is, yes, you can most certainly freeze crème fraiche. However, since it’s a high-fat dairy product it can require a little bit of extra work to freeze it properly.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about freezing crème fraiche!
How Long Does Crème Fraiche Last?
Since it’s a dairy product, closely related to yogurt and sour cream, it’s somewhat fragile. This means that you should treat it relatively carefully to keep it from going bad quickly.
How long crème fraiche lasts varies depending on how it’s stored and if it’s been opened or not. Once opened, it has a very short lifespan and you should use it within 3 or 4 days after opening. However, some brands of crème fraiche claim that theirs can stay edible for up to 15 days after opening if stored properly in the fridge. So, you should look up what the specific brand says regarding use after opening – which may be stated on the label as well. To be on the safe side though, earlier is better.
If you keep crème fraiche in the fridge tightly sealed in its original container it can be good for up to 8 weeks. Again, this can vary between brands of crème fraiche. Some say that it can stay good up to 12 weeks unopened.
However as a rule, using unopened crème fraiche within 8 weeks is better to reduce the likelihood of it spoiling before you have the chance to use it at all. Which would be a major bummer! Right?
Lastly, frozen crème fraiche can stay good for up 4 months, assuming that you have taken the proper precautions and froze it properly.
How to Tell If Crème Fraiche Has Gone Bad
You can tell if crème fraiche has gone bad by the occurrence of mold or an off smell. However, separation isn’t a cause for concern. If that happens all you need to do is mix it up to make it homogenous again.
Does Crème Fraiche Freeze Well?
Crème fraiche freezes relatively well, but how well depends on a number of factors like if it’s homemade or store-bought. The store-bought variety generally will be more suited to freezing than its homemade counterpart.
Additionally, the higher the fat, the worse it will freeze. This is because with more fat comes more separation.
Lastly, how well it freezes depends on how you handle it before you freeze it. While you can technically further extend the overall lifespan of crème fraiche by waiting to freeze it, the quality of the defrosted product will be noticeably different.
Another thing to keep in mind is how long it hasn’t been refrigerated. If you move it in and out of the fridge and leave it for extended periods of time on the counter or elsewhere that’s not refrigerated, this can also have a negative impact on how well it freezes. But, if you freeze it early and keep it refrigerated then it should be a very similar quality after you defrost it and take the necessary steps defrosting it and prepping it for use – more on that later, however.
How to Freeze Crème Fraiche
I said before that you need to be somewhat careful with crème fraiche. But the good news is that it’s still a generally easy process to freeze it and is only made up of a few steps.
- Scoop it into an herb freezing tray or an ice tray. Similar to other homogenous items that you freeze, I recommend that you first separate the cream into portions so that you can take only what you need without having to defrost everything.
- Put the prepared tray in the freezer for a few hours until solid (generally between 3-4 hours).
- Pop out the frozen cream cubes and put those into a freezer-safe container or a heavy-duty freezer bag.
- Label the bag or container with the date you put them in the freezer.
- Put the container in the freezer. It should be good for up to 4 months.
If you plan on using it all at one time then you can save some time and you won’t need to follow the aforementioned preparation process. Instead, you can just scoop it directly into a freezer bag and remove the air and then place the labeled bag in the freezer.
Tips for Freezing Crème fraiche
Here are some additional tips for freezing crème fraiche to ensure the best quality:
- Freezing store-bought crème fraiche can produce better results for longer storage due to more preservability – which doesn’t mean preservatives – but it depends on the brand.
- Freeze it sooner rather than later. The longer you wait to freeze it, the reduced quality the defrosted cream will be.
- Be cautious about freezing a sauce if there is crème fraiche in it. It will negatively impact the texture of the sauce. I recommend that you freeze the sauce without the crème fraiche in it if possible. Then stir it in after it’s thawed and prepared. (which I’ll discuss in the next section)
How to Defrost Crème Fraiche
I briefly mentioned the necessary steps you need to follow when you defrost it and use it – these are perhaps the most important aspects to having quality defrosted crème fraiche. If you don’t follow them then the cream could be chunky or clumpy and look awful. So here are the steps to properly defrost and prepared the cream.
- Give the crème fraiche plenty of time to defrost in the fridge. Simply take it from the freezer and place it in the fridge and give it several hours, or even leave it overnight. So you’ll need to plan ahead.
- Allow it to fully thaw so you can bring the cream back to its original texture and consistency.
- After it’s been fully thawed out, pour it into a mixing bowl. Then grab a strong whisk.
- Proceed to vigorously whisk the cream for several minutes – this is the most important part of bringing it back to life. After these minutes of whisking, you’ll notice that it will eventually return to its creamy and smooth consistency. Once it’s reached that, it’s ready to use.
If you skip the whisking step you’ll be left with the clumpy mess that I talked about. Which can’t only be unsightly but also can have a negative impact on the texture of the food that you are combining the crème fraiche with.
How to Use Crème Fraiche After Freezing
After you defrost crème fraiche, it’s completely safe to eat and you can use it pretty much just as you would before it was frozen. That is if you have whisked it back to some semblance of its former glory – as mentioned above.
However, like most things that you freeze, the freezing process may slightly impact the overall structure and texture of the food itself. But if you have followed the practices previously mentioned like vigorous whipping, not freezing sauces that contain crème fraiche, and freezing/defrosting it sooner rather than later then you should have crème fraiche that is not too different from the original.
There are a number of ways that you can use crème fraiche after freezing. You can make a creamy salad dressing by mixing it with spices and herbs.
You can also mix it into soups or pasta (like my favorite spaghetti carbonara) to give them a lovely flavor as well as giving them a creamy texture to die for. Yum!
Some other ways to use crème fraiche are to keep your baked goods moist and it can also provide an interesting flavor to scones, muffins, or bread.
Lastly, you can also keep it simple and light by mixing cream with various fruits for a sweet and tasty fruit bowl. Perfect for a summer day snack!
In short, there is no shortage of ways that you can use crème fraiche after it’s been frozen. But remember to whisk it before you use it! I know I may sound like a broken record but this can’t be overstated.
When Should You Use Thawed Crème Fraiche?
Be sure that you don’t wait too long to use it after it’s been defrosted.
For the best results, you should ideally use crème fraiche directly after it has been defrosted and whipped. Any longer than a couple of days can leave it not suitable for consumption.
To check if it’s still good, you can use the classic sense tests by checking for mold, smelling to see if it’s spoiled, or tasting a tiny amount to check if the taste is off.
Can You Refreeze Crème Fraiche?
No! This goes for not only crème fraiche but there are few foods that you can refreeze and you should only do so even in certain circumstances. This is particularly true with fragile foods like dairy products. Even ice cream should not be refrozen if it has melted and it’s made to be frozen!
The only instances that foods are safe to refreeze are baked items like bread and cookies or fruits, fruit juices, and vegetables. However, the quality will be much lower as the texture will be extremely affected by the refreezing.
So no, you certainly shouldn’t freeze crème fraiche. But since it’s such a useful and tasty addition to so many foods, I don’t think that you’ll have to!