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You’ll want to bathe in this zesty cilantro lime crema! It’s ideal for drizzling on tacos, grain bowls, and roasted vegetables.

Cilantro lime crema
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Here’s a tasty sauce that’s begging to be drizzled on just about anything: Cilantro Lime Crema! This Mexican-inspired sauce is perfect for dolloping on tacos and burrito bowls. At the same time, it’s just as delicious as a dip for sweet potato fries and grilled shrimp. It’s full of zesty, herby flavor, and it’s quick and easy to mix up. Alex and I have taken to adding a little drizzle into our DIY quesadillas and it’s pretty darn heavenly. Here’s how to make it!

Ingredients in cilantro lime crema

This cilantro lime crema recipe has a short list of ingredients. It’s quick and easy, so you can whip it up when a craving strikes! Here’s what’s in this tasty sauce:

  • Sour cream or Mexican crema (see below)
  • Cilantro
  • Lime juice and lime zest
  • Garlic powder
  • Sugar (to balance the sour flavor)
  • Salt

Love cilantro? Here are our Top Cilantro Recipes.

Cilantro lime crema

What’s Mexican crema?

Mexican crema is a thickened cream often used in traditional Mexican cuisine to dollop over soups, tacos, burritos, enchiladas, and anything that needs a touch of richness. It’s creamy and slightly tangy, and falls somewhere between American sour cream and French crème fraîche. It’s richer than sour cream because it has a higher fat content.

Traditionally, a cilantro lime crema should be made with Mexican crema. You can find Mexican crema at the grocery store, but it’s sometimes hard to find. But guess what? You can make your own Mexican crema! It’s a fun kitchen DIY. Head to How to Make Mexican Crema.

Or, use sour cream!

A traditional cilantro lime crema would be made with Mexican crema. But if you don’t have it, never fear: sour cream is an easy substitute for Mexican crema! You can easily use sour cream and you won’t notice a significant difference.

Love sour cream? Try these Top Sour Cream Recipes.

Cilantro lime

Three methods: by hand, food processor & blender

The nice thing about this cilantro lime crema is that you can make it using various methods! You don’t need any special equipment and can easily blend it by hand. Or, use a food processor or blender to make quick work of it and a more beautifully green sauce. Here’s a breakdown:

  • By hand: This method requires no special equipment! You will need to spend a little time chopping the cilantro as finely as possible. Because you don’t blend it, the color of the sauce will be white with green flecks: not light green like the blended versions.
  • Food processor: If you have one, this is the preferred method because it’s easiest to blend small batch sauces. Throw it in and whiz it up!
  • Blender: A smaller blender or immersion blender works well, but a larger blender works too. Blending it all at once can make it runny. Start with about half of the sour cream, then stir in the remaining cream at the end to thicken it.


Looking for a vegan cilantro lime crema? Look no further than our Cilantro Sauce! This creamy sauce is completely plant-based: it uses cashews to make a creamy base. It’s just as good as this traditional version, so make sure to give it a try if you’re looking for dairy-free options.

Want other flavors? Try this Lime Crema: you can whip it up in just 5 minutes, no blender required. Or, try our Easy Avocado Crema with avocado or spicy Chipotle Crema.

Cilantro lime crema

Ways to serve cilantro lime crema

Once you’ve got a batch, the possibilities are endless! Here are our top ways to drizzle or dollop cilantro lime crema:

  1. Tacos: One of the best uses! Try Shrimp Tacos, Fish Tacos, or Cauliflower Tacos.
  2. Burritos: Drizzle in this Vegan Burrito.
  3. Fries: Use as a dipping sauce for fries! Try Crispy Sweet Potato Fries or Baked Avocado Fries.
  4. Loaded Potatoes: Top Mexican Sweet Potatoes with black bean salsa and green sauce.
  5. Roasted Vegetables: Dip with Epic Roasted Broccoli or Perfect Roasted Cauliflower.
  6. Chili: Try as a topping for Ultimate Vegan Chili or 3-Bean Healthy Chili Recipe.
  7. Bowl Meals: Drizzle over a Mango Quinoa Bowl or Vegetarian Burrito Bowl.
  8. Nachos: Add to Sheet Pan Nachos or Vegan Nachos.
  9. Quesadillas: Use as a topping for Chipotle Quesadilla with Avocado.
  10. Salads: Try on Easy Mexican Salad.

This cilantro lime crema recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free. For vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free, go to Creamy Cilantro Sauce.

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Cilantro lime crema

Cilantro Lime Crema

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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 ¼ cups 1x
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You’ll want to bathe in this zesty cilantro lime crema! It’s ideal for drizzling on tacos, grain bowls, and roasted vegetables.


  • 1 ¼ cup sour cream or Mexican crema
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice plus the zest of ½ lime (½ teaspoon)
  • ¼ cup loosely packed cilantro
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt


  1. By hand method: Finely mince the cilantro. Mix it together with the remaining ingredients.
  2. Food processor method: Place all ingredients in a food processor and whiz for a few seconds until combined.
  3. Blender method: In a regular blender or using an immersion blender, blend all ingredients starting with ¾ of the sour cream until combined. Stir in the remaining ½ cup sour cream (this prevents it from becoming too runny).
  4. Storage: Store up to 1 week in the refrigerator.
  • Category: Sauce
  • Method: Blended
  • Cuisine: Mexican
  • Diet: Vegetarian

More cilantro recipes

Cilantro recipes are some of the most delicious (we think!). Here are some more recipes starring this tasty herb:

  • Cilantro Lime Shrimp A healthy, easy dinner recipe that takes just 10 minutes! Serve with rice, in tacos, or as a Mexican-style salad topping.
  • Cilantro Lime Dressing This creamy cilantro dressing tastes incredible on just about anything.
  • Easy Cilantro Lime Dressing Fast to whip up and its zesty flavor is perfect for Mexican style salads. Try TWO versions: vinaigrette and creamy!

Want more lime recipes? Head to 15 Zingy Lime Recipes.

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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