Mexican Crema | Delicious Condiment

Mexican crema is tangy, spicy, and deliciously creamy. This versatile condiment makes the perfect topping for everything from tacos to burgers and even salads!

Spoonful of crema over the jar. There is a tortilla covered with beans, onions and pesto in the background

There is a newish Mexican restaurant in the next town over that I love. And although I’ve eaten and made Mexican crema before, I’d never eaten it as a ‘salsa’ or dip. This restaurant serves their chips with three different salsas and when I dipped my chip in their Mexican crema sauce, I was hooked.

I’ve tried to duplicate their sauce and I think I succeeded. Although my Mexican crema is slightly thicker than theirs, it is still the perfect condiment. The reason I like it thicker is because I usually drape it over hot foods like quesadillas. As it warms, it thins out perfectly instead of getting too thin.

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What is Mexican crema?

Mexican crema is a condiment used much like sour cream or French crème fraîche to complement many dishes. The difference is that crema has a nice spice and slight tang.

How easy is it to make?

Like a lot of my recipes, it’s so easy. Just place all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk them together.

The hardest part is waiting the four hours it takes as it rests on the counter to thicken.

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Ingredients and substitutes

  • Heavy cream – You must use heavy cream because light cream will yield a thinner crema and we like it thick.
  • Sour cream – I always use full fat, though low fat would work just as well.
  • Lime juice – Freshly squeezed is the way to go.
  • Chipotle powder – If you’re not familiar with this delightful spice, it has a smokey flavor that is very satisfying. I use only 1/4 teaspoon but if you like it really spicy, use 1/2 teaspoon or even more if you can stand the heat.  If you don’t have chipotle powder, you could substitute regular chili powder but just know that you won’t have the smokey flavor that is associated with chipotles.
  • Salt – Only a dash is needed.

Helpful tips

  • Always wash limes before using them. Here’s how: use a natural, unscented hand soap. Squirt some soap in your hands and rub them over the fruit. Next, take a vegetable brush and brush the skin as you run cold water over the limes.  Make sure all the soap has been rinsed off before cutting into the limes.
  • This Mexican crema lasts for up to two weeks (or more) when stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

How to make this recipe


Get out a mixing bowl and whisk.

Step one

Gather the ingredients – heavy cream, sour cream, lime, chipotle powder and salt.

Cream, lime, sour cream and chipotle powder for the crema

Step two

Add one cup of heavy cream to the mixing bowl.

Cream poured in the bowl and a whisk in the background

Step three

Measure a heaping tablespoon of sour cream.

Sour cream measured out in front of the bowl of cream

Step four

Squeeze a lime and measure 1 tablespoon of the juice.

Lime juice measured out with a whisk, bowl of cream and limes

Step five

Measure 1/4 teaspoon of chipotle powder.

Chipotle powder measured out

Step six

Add a pinch of salt.

All the ingredients in the bowl for the crema

Step seven

Whisk for about a minute or until it is combined.

The crema whisked in a clear bowl

Step eight

Now, here’s the hard part: cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap and let it rest on the counter for four hours. During that time, it will thicken.

Transfer to a jar and either use it right away or store it in the fridge for up to two weeks.

I smear some refried beans on a tortilla, sprinkle shredded cheese over it and heat it in the toaster oven. I add Mexican pickled onions and avocado spread to the plate.

Crema in a glass jar ready to be used

I dribble my new batch of Mexican crema over the beans.

Crema on some beans and cheese in a flour tortilla with pesto, onions and a jar of crema in the background


I hope you enjoyed this Mexican crema recipe! It’s the perfect condiment and spices up any dish.

Other recipes to use this crema

And as always, may all your dishes be delish.

If you’ve tried this recipe, I’d love the know what you thought about it in the comments below. I love hearing from you! You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOKTWITTERINSTAGRAM and PINTEREST to see more of my delicious food and delightful cocktails!

Spoonful of Mexican crema - square

Mexican Crema

Mexican crema is tangy, spicy, and deliciously creamy. This versatile condiment makes the perfect topping for everything from tacos to burgers and even salads!
4.74 from 23 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: creama, Mexican crema
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Resting time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 5 minutes
Servings: 1 cup
Calories: 102kcal


  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream (heaping)
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice (freshly squeezed)
  • 1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • dash salt


  • Add heavy cream, sour cream, lime juice, chipotle powder and salt to the mixing bowl
  • Whisk for around a minute or until combined
  • Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest on the counter for four hours. It will thicken during this time
  • Dollop on some tacos or a quesadilla
  • Eat
  • Enjoy
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Serving: 2tablespoons | Calories: 102kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 176mg | Sodium: 109mg | Potassium: 179mg | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 3722IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 168mg
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From lighting up stages with her BA in theater to food journalist, Elaine Benoit's journey is a testament to passion's transformative power. As the CEO of Dishes Delish, she offers a blend of healthy, comforting recipes and exquisitely crafted cocktails. Beyond the kitchen, Elaine voiced her culinary adventures on her podcast, "Dishing," and co-owns Food Blogger Help, extending her expertise to guide budding food bloggers to success. Whether it's for a heartwarming dish or insights into food blogging, Elaine's diverse experiences make her a beacon in the culinary digital landscape.

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  1. I don’t think I’ve ever had Mexican crema but I love it! So versatile, I would like to use on tacos, or quesadillas, or burgers! And it’s so easy to make!

  2. I’ve been thinking of what to partner up with my burger and this Mexican crema recipe is just so perfect. I love that it’s both creamy and spicy.

  3. Oh I love me some Crema! It adds such a delicious zing to many different dishes! I am looking forward to trying your recipe.

  4. This Mexican crema looks terrific! So simple and so delicious! I am going to save your recipe and make it this weekend.

  5. This mexican crema looks like it would be delicious on just about anything. I love a good sauce especially when it is this easy to make!

  6. Oh yum! Crema really is such a wonderful final flourish on so many restaurant dishes – how nice to be able to make it at home now, too! I appreciated your point about how it’s actually beneficial to make it slightly thicker than you think you’d want to, so it thins out to be the absolute perfect condiment once it’s spooned over hot dishes. And great suggestions about little tweaks like making it a tad spicier or using reduced-fat sour cream!

  7. I love Mexican food but I have never tried crema. I like all the ingredients mentioned and you made it sound pretty easy also. SO definitely trying it.

  8. Mexican food is my favorite! I can’t believe I’ve never had Mexican crema before. I’m trying this ASAP! Love that it looks so easy. I could put this on EVERY thing!

  9. Really love how simple and delicious this Mexican Crema recipe is and already planing everything I’m going to use it on! And love how informative your writing is :)!

  10. Does this have to sit on the counter for 4 hours, or can I put it in the fridge overnight? I plan to use this tomorrow and I just made it and stuck it in the fridge. Just want to be sure that’s okay. Thanks!

    1. You can put it in the fridge Alexandra! I put it on the counter because I usually use it in the same day! 🙂 It will be fine. Play around with the chipotle powder – as I don’t use a lot because hubby can’t take the spice. But it’s so good with more spice in it.

  11. This is meant to be left out at room temp for 4 hours? With the cream and sour cream? It won’t go bad?

  12. Hi Elaine!

    My grocery store has chili powder but no chipotle powder. Is chili powder a good substitute (we like spicy) or should I try another grocery story to find chipotle?


    1. Sorry, Ashley. I didn’t see this until today. Chili powder is fine. I use chipotle because it’s a different ‘hot’ and it’s smokey! Good luck! Thanks for your question!

  13. This did not work out for me. After combining all the ingredients (no substitutions made), this came out way too thick. Thicker than sour cream would even be, and definitely unable to dribble it on anything. So disappointed. I tried two different recipes, this one and one other, and the other, even though made with a base of sour cream, came out thinner (although still not thin enough to “dribble”).

  14. This was perfect…I didn’t want to purchase a whole jar of crema…so I cut your recipe in half and ended up with the required 1/4 cup that was needed for the Mac and Cheese recipe I was preparing…this taste great…I think I’ll be using Mexican Crema more often now…thanks for sharing your recipe…

    1. You’re welcome, Theresa! You made my day and how fun to put crema in mac and cheese. I bet it was wonderful!

  15. I tried this Crema because TeresaS submitted it for play at Food, Friends & Fun’s “Best of 2023” tag game. I must admit that I was skeptical that there could be a DIY with these ingredients, but boy was I wrong! I made a half recipe and went light on the chipotle powder because I didn’t want it flavoring the crema. And the end result was tangy, thick, and delicious! I’m Hispanic and have eaten crema all my life, so I feel it’s safe to say that this is a very close approximation to the flavor and texture of the real thing – without the price tag or worrying that I won’t use it all up before spoiling. Thanks for sharing this keeper – it’s now going in MY Best of 2024 list for sharing with the group next January.

    1. Wow, thank you, Lori! Your comment made my day. We love crema and I make it regularly. I had my first crema years ago at a Mexican restaurant and then spent as much time as it took to duplicate it. Thank you so much for your awesome comment!

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