Mexican crema is a thickened cream for dolloping over tacos and soups! Creamy and slightly tangy, it’s easy to make at home!

Mexican Crema Recipe

When it comes to dolloping, Mexican crema is where it’s at! This sumptuous thickened cream is at home over tacos and in burrito bowls: basically any Mexican-inspired cuisine benefits from a little crema! Alex and I love dolloping it on all sorts of recipes to add a little richness. Mexican crema can be purchased in stores, but it can also be made at home. It’s truly easy, but involves a little wait time: almost like a science project! Keep reading for the recipe.’

Want a plant based option? Try Vegan Sour Cream.

Mexican Crema Recipe

What is Mexican crema?

Mexican crema is a thickened cream often used to dollop over soups, tacos, burritos, enchiladas, and anything that needs a touch of richness. It’s creamy and slightly tangy, and falls between American sour cream and French crème fraîche.

What’s the difference between sour cream and Mexican crema? Sour cream has about 20% butterfat and an acidic flavor. It’s less stable under heat and tends to curdle easily (so it’s best in cold preparations or added as a dollop at the end).

Crème fraîche is richer and has a higher fat content, about 30%, which gives it body and thickness. It works in soups and sauces; it melts easily and won’t curdle. Mexican crema is similar to crème fraîche: it’s a littler runnier and tastes even more tangy. It’s essentially crème fraîche with lime and salt added!

Related: Spicy Chipotle Sauce | How to Make Vegan Nacho Cheese

Mexican Crema Recipe

How to make Mexican crema

Mexican crema is very easy to make, but it does involve some waiting time. Up to 2 days, in fact! The base recipe for a crema is making crème fraîche: then it’s mixed with lime and salt.

To start, stir together heavy cream and a bit of yogurt. Then cover the bowl and let it sit at room temperature for 36 to 48 hours, until it becomes very thick! Sound a little odd to leave out dairy on the counter? The mixture won’t spoil on the counter, since the acid in the mix prevents bacteria associated with dairy products.

Note: If it’s winter and the bowl is by a cold window, the thickening won’t happen as quickly. Make sure the bowl is in a room temperature location, not by a cold window.

Once the Mexican crema is thickened, stir in the lime juice and salt. It’s that easy! You can use the Mexican crema for up to 2 weeks.

Mix it up: cilantro lime crema!

Want to step up your crema? Try cilantro lime crema: it’s full of tangy, fresh flavor! It’s a citrusy spin that’s perfect for dolloping on tacos, burritos and quesadillas. To try it, go to Cilantro Lime Crema.

Cilantro lime crema

Recipes to serve with Mexican crema

Mexican crema is at home on so many different Mexican inspired recipes! Here are a few of our favorite recipes that would love a dollop of creamy goodness:

This recipe is…

This recipe is vegetarian and gluten-free.

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Mexican Crema Recipe

Mexican Crema Recipe


  • Author: Sonja
  • Prep Time: 2 days
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 days
  • Yield: 1 cup 1x

Description

Mexican crema is a thickened cream for dolloping over tacos and soups! Creamy and slightly tangy, it’s easy to make at home!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon plain yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

  1. In a sealable container, stir together the cream and yogurt. Cover and let sit at room temperature for 36 to 48 hours, until it becomes very thick*. (The mixture won’t spoil on the counter, since the acid in the mix prevents bacteria associated with dairy products.)
  2. Mix in the lime juice and salt. Taste and adjust lime as necessary. Mexican crema keeps in refrigerator for up 2 weeks, and will continue to thicken while refrigerated.

Notes

*Note: If it’s winter and the bowl is by a cold window, the thickening won’t happen as quickly. Make sure the bowl is in a room temperature location, not by a cold window.

  • Category: Essentials
  • Method: Mixed
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Keywords: Mexican Crema, Crema Recipe, Sauce Recipe,

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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15 Comments

  1. We only had half-and-half. So I used just under a cup of that, plus I added a tablespoon of softened butter and whisked it together. Came out great!

    1. Thank You for this as I only have half and half too! It’s also much cheaper than heavy whipping cream where I live!

  2. Everything look great, my cream think beautifully after 48 hours, I mix with the Lemon and salt, so far so good but I decided to add some salt and them was a disaster, the cream look like cottage cheese, what happened? What was wrong?

    1. Hi! The extra salt probably caused it to split. Try chilling it before stirring in extra next time.

      1. My mixture has been sitting for about 46 hours at this point, it has thickened nicely, however it has a bit of an unpleasant smell. Like sour milk, is this normal?

        1. Hi! It should smell slightly sour and tangy, but not bad like sour milk. Sometimes you can get a bad bacteria in there that ruins the recipe. I’m sorry!