Skip to Content

Creme Fraiche vs Yogurt (What’s The Difference?)

Dairy products are staples in most cuisines. Most of us use at least one of these products, from milk to heavy cream, when cooking and preparing foods. Some of them might seem interchangeable and nutritionally similar.

For example, yogurt and crème fraiche seem alike, so many recipes suggest that they can be substituted for each other. But are these two really that similar? Is one of them better for you?

Creme Fraiche vs Yogurt

While both of them are dairy products, crème fraiche and yogurt are actually different. They are made from different ingredients and have different nutritional profiles. Because of that, some recipes might not turn out the same if you use yogurt instead of crème fraiche and vice versa.

What are the differences between crème fraiche and yogurt?

The main difference between crème fraiche and yogurt is how they’re produced. Yogurt is made from milk, whereas crème fraiche is made with heavy cream.

This changes the flavor and texture of the final products. Because of that, yogurt tends to be runnier than crème fraiche, which is thicker and creamier.

Generally, crème fraiche has fewer ingredients than yogurt. This is because yogurt needs to be thickened and stabilized by various substances and compounds to maintain its nutritional value and stand in the fridge for a while.

Crème fraiche doesn’t have that problem since it’s naturally thicker due to the unique culturing process it undergoes.

Both yogurt and crème fraiche are cultured, which means that they contain active probiotics. These help keep your stomach healthy and feed the ‘good’ gut bacteria that prevent indigestion and the inflammation of your digestive system.

On the other hand, yogurt usually contains more probiotics than crème fraiche due to the presence of milk instead of heavy cream.

Creme Fraiche
Creme Fraiche

These two also have different fat content. For example, a one-ounce serving of plain yogurt contains less than 1g of fat, while the same serving of crème fraiche contains a whopping 12g of fat. While neither is better or worse, this huge difference in the fat content makes a difference in the recipes you can use these dairy products for.

For example, crème fraiche will do better for soups and sauces as it will thicken them. On the other hand, yogurt is usually used in desserts to give it texture and milky flavor.

Is yogurt healthier than crème fraiche?

Firstly, yogurt contains fewer calories than crème fraiche. One ounce of crème fraiche contains 112 calories, while the same serving of yogurt contains fewer than 20 calories.

This makes a huge difference when preparing meals using these two, as calories can add up easily. While you’re more likely to eat a full serving of yogurt, and barely anyone eats a whole cup of crème fraiche, this difference is still worth keeping in mind.

Yogurt With Strawberries And Oats
Yogurt With Strawberries And Oats

Yogurt is also way higher in protein than crème fraiche. Protein is the building block of your muscles, which require this macronutrient to function properly.

A diet high in protein also helps you stay full after eating, preventing overeating and weight gain. As a result, if you can substitute crème fraiche with yogurt, it might be better to do so as it’s more filling.

Crème fraiche is also higher in sodium. This mineral, while necessary, can be harmful to your overall health. A diet high in sodium can lead to high blood pressure and an increased risk of stroke and various cardiovascular conditions.

Crème fraiche doesn’t contain nearly enough sodium to be dangerous to your health, but yogurt is way more nutritionally balanced when it comes to minerals.

Another big difference is that yogurt contains three times as much calcium as crème fraiche. This is an essential mineral that helps keep your bones healthy and strong while boosting your immune system.

Calcium is especially important in children’s diet as they need it for bone growth and healthy teeth. Adults still need to take in enough, though, and dairy products, such as yogurt, are a great source of it.

On the bright side, both yogurt and crème fraiche contain probiotics that help keep your digestive system and gut bacteria healthy. This might prevent various health conditions, including indigestion, acid reflux, and even certain forms of cancer.

Because of that, by adding any of these two dairy products to your meals or dishes, you can reap health benefits from probiotics.

Overall, yogurt is healthier than crème fraiche since it’s made with milk instead of heavy cream. It’s higher in essential nutrients and minerals while being lower in calories. But these nutritional differences shouldn’t scare you from adding crème fraiche to your dishes.

After all, in most cases, you need just a few spoons. If your recipe allows for it, though, it might be more beneficial to use yogurt as long as it doesn’t change the dish’s taste.

Can you replace crème fraiche with yogurt in recipes?

Some recipes might turn out OK if you substitute crème fraiche with yogurt or the other way around. But, for soups, sauces, and cakes, it’s probably best to use the dairy product listed on the recipe. This is because the fat content and creaminess can alter the result of your meal if you don’t add the right ingredients.

In addition, yogurt tends to taste sweeter than crème fraiche. Because of that, it’s usually more common in desserts and sweet dishes, whereas crème fraiche is favored for sauces, soups, and meats.

If you really want to substitute one for the other, make sure to check whether the final product’s flavor won’t be affected. To do that, check the recipe or do an online search – that way, you’ll be able to see other recommendations, such as using sour cream.

Even though they can often be substituted for each other, crème fraiche and yogurt aren’t the same. They have different flavors, textures, and even nutritional values, which all contribute to how well they fit into the dishes you make.

What’s more, yogurt contains more vitamins and minerals, making it a healthier choice. At the end of the day, though, if you use small amounts of these dairy products, both should be perfectly OK for the dishes you’re making and your health.

Don’t know what to drink? We made a list of more than 20 most and least acidic juices and 20+ alcoholic drinks ranked by acidity levels.