Mexican Crema Recipe

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


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  • 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!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon plain yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1/8 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,

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

11 Comments

  • Reply
    susan
    February 3, 2020 at 11:50 am

    i was bad and mixed everything together at once – will it still work?

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      February 4, 2020 at 10:18 am

      I’m not sure if the lime juice will inhibit the thickening. Let us know if it works out!

  • Reply
    Sara
    April 13, 2020 at 10:26 pm

    Is it plain yogurt or plain greek yogurt?

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      April 14, 2020 at 9:24 am

      We use standard yogurt, but greek should work too!

  • Reply
    Ksbrown23
    May 28, 2020 at 1:09 pm

    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!

    • Reply
      Amberlei Moon
      May 30, 2020 at 12:23 pm

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

  • Reply
    Ela
    May 29, 2020 at 10:04 pm

    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?

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      June 1, 2020 at 12:40 pm

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

  • Reply
    Ginger Hill
    July 13, 2020 at 1:11 pm

    Is regular salt ok?

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      July 13, 2020 at 3:01 pm

      Yes, but just use a tiny pinch!

      • Reply
        Anonymous
        July 14, 2020 at 6:02 am

        Thank you, Alex!

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