Use It or Lose It? Helping Crème Fraîche Last

How Long Does Crème Fraîche Last?

Crème Fraîche has long been thought of as a “chef’s secret” ingredient and for good reason.

Its texture is light and creamy, it possesses an ideal smoothness placing it halfway between sour cream and yogurt. Adding to that is a hint of tanginess, making its taste profile well-suited for a wide variety of recipes.

From savory dishes to decadent desserts, hot or cold and everything in between, it’s a must have ingredient for adding an extra dimension to your recipes.

While how you use it is your choice, it’s smart to have an idea of how long you can expect to last in most situations.

For store bought crème fraîche, you can expect to last for around seven (7) days after it’s been opened. Obviously, this assumes you will be keeping the unused portion refrigerated – which you absolutely should!

Note that this seven-day window only applies to crème fraîche after it’s been opened.

This is different from the “best by” date you will find on the packaging. The “best by” date only refers to unopened crème fraîche. Once the seal on the packaging has been opened, the clock starts running so to speak.

The “best by” date doesn’t apply any longer and now you’ll need to make a note of the date you opened it so you can accurately count the seven-day window afterward. 

Can You Use Crème Fraîche After Its Expiration Date?

The answer is that it depends.

Although there is little risk in taking a taste of crème fraîche that is past the expiration date, you might find the flavor to be different than what you expected.

Prior to taking a bite, give the container a quick whiff.

The most important thing to watch out for is an overly strong aroma of sourness. If you detect it, the chances are pretty good it’s no longer safe to eat.

Also, if the crème fraîche seems more watery than you’d expect, this might be an indicator that it’s probably not a good idea to use it.

How Long Does Crème Fraîche Last Once Opened?

Assuming you don’t intend to use all of your crème fraîche and have access to refrigeration, you can expect it to last about seven days after it’s been opened.

Does Unopened Crème Fraîche Expire?

Yes, it can if not used by the “best by” date the manufacturer applies to the packaging.

However, the good news that since crème fraîche is a cultured bacteria product (similar to yogurt), it tends to take longer for it to spoil in an unopened state. In some cases, unopened crème fraîche can last for a six to eight weeks.

The best thing to do is to give the crème fraîche a stir and a smell when you open it. If there’s an overpowering sour aroma on the air, the chances are good you’ll want to throw it out.

If not, it’s probably just fine.

Does Crème Fraîche Need To Be Refrigerated?

Yes, since crème fraîche is a fresh product, refrigeration is required if you’re not planning on eating it or using it in a recipe.

How Long Can Crème Fraîche Sit Out?

It’s best to limit to the amount of time that crème fraîche sits out at room temperature to not longer than a couple of hours, the shorter the better.

Since crème fraîche is a fresh product, allowing it to sit out can lead to changes in the taste and texture over time.

How Do I Know If Crème Fraîche Is Bad?

As mentioned previously, two indicators are the smell and the texture.

Crème fraîche that’s gone bad will have a noticeably sour aroma to it. With crème fraîche, a hint of sourness is expected but when it becomes overpowering, the chances are good that it’s no longer a good idea to use it.

Aside from the obvious scent indicators, another thing to be aware of is a noticeable change in the consistency of the crème fraîche. It should be roughly the consistency of yogurt but if you notice a very watery consistency, this could be another indicator that it’s probably not good.

What Does (or Should) Crème Fraîche Smell Like?

For the most part, you won’t notice a strong aroma with crème fraîche unless it’s going bad. Crème fraîche that’s safe to consume or use will have a mild, tangy aroma to it.

Is Crème Fraîche Pasteurized?

Yes, most commercially available brands of crème fraîche are made using pasteurized milk.

Why Does My Crème Fraîche Curdle?

The reason crème fraîche tends to curdle is that it has a high fat content which makes it sensitive to changes in temperature.

Most curdling occurs as a result of blending crème fraîche with ingredients that have a different temperature. To minimize this, try to ensure that all the ingredients you plan on using are as close to room temperature as possible.

Can You Eat Curdled Crème Fraîche?

Yes, assuming that the crème fraîche wasn’t expired prior to using it in your recipe, eating it in a curdled state, while not visually appealing, is just fine.

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