Easy Homemade Crema Mexicana Recipe

Crema Mexicana, also known as Mexican style sour cream or Mexican crema, is rich, smooth, slightly sweet and pourable.  It works great as a condiment or as a substitute for sour cream, creme fraiche or plain yogurt in dips, dressings and sauces.

homemade crema mexicana with fresh cilantro and lime

Why this is my favorite crema Mexicana recipe

After trying a few different versions of this recipe I landed on this one because of its ease, not needing to sit overnight and still having a great flavor and texture.  If you are like me and usually in a rush for dinner I tend to buy crema Mexicana at our local grocery store.  My favorite brands are Cacique (available on Amazon), Olé and Verolé and they tend to be the most readily available.  At my restaurant, Whiskey Bird, we use the Verolé brand when making sauces with Mexican crema. However, if you have the time to make it at home it is definitely worth it!

Crema Mexicana vs sour cream

What is sour cream? Sour cream is fermented cream which creates a thick and sour product as a result of the formation of lactic acid. This is called souring. Sour cream has a thick consistency similar to greek yogurt.

What is crema Mexicana? Crema Mexicana is Mexican style sour cream. It is rich, smooth, and pourable. It has a thinner and sweeter consistency than sour cream or plain yogurt. It is slightly fermented and but not as much as sour cream.

When to use Crema Mexicana and when to use Sour Cream? My general rule comes down to consistency or pourability.  If you want something you can drizzle on top of a dish and use as a sauce or dressing, I gravitate towards Crema Mexicana. If you want something thick to dip chips or veggies I use sour cream.  Keep in mind you can always thin out sour cream with a little heavy cream or buttermilk, and you can always mix in some sour cream or mayo to your crema to help thicken it up. 

Other substitutes to crema Mexicana and sour cream include creme fraiche and plain yogurt. You can use them interchangeably depending on what you have in your fridge.

Ingredients in homemade crema Mexicana

This recipe is super simple and only uses 3 ingredients: buttermilk, heavy cream, and sour cream.  You can always add additional flavorings and spices after it is made such as chipotle in adobo, cilantro, lime juice, jalapeno, cumin, chili powder.

Heavy Cream: this is the main ingredient and gives it the creamy, slightly sweet and pourable consistency

Buttermilk: this gives it a little tang and acidity

Sour Cream: this adds a little thickness and again increases the acidity

ingredients measured out to make homemade crema mexicana including sour cream, heavy cream and buttermilk

How to make homemade crema Mexicana

This homemade crema Mexicana is super easy to make.  The key step is allowing it to sit out at the right temperature to allow it to thicken.

let the homemade crema mexicana sit out and rest

Step 1: Heat heavy cream in a microwave-safe container for 60 seconds.  

Step 2: Mix the buttermilk and sour cream in a glass mixing bowl

Step 3: Pour the warmed heavy cream slowly into the bowl with sour cream and butter milk while stirring or whisking to make sure everything is combined and the cream mixture will start to thicken.

Step 4: Cover loosely with a lit or plastic, you do not want it to be airtight as the mixture needs to breathe.  Store in a warm place (about 80 degrees) like over your fridge, by the stove, or outside.

Step 5: Let Rest, allow the crema to rest for 4-6 hours so that the mixture can thicken.  The mixture will still be pourable and will not be as thick as sour cream or yogurt.  Some recipes do not use sour cream and as a result require a longer rest time.  This recipe is designed to be able to be used that same day.

Step 6: Spice it up, feel free to add any additional flavorings or spices such as chipotle in adobo, cilantro, lime juice, jalapeno, cumin, chili powder. Here is a recipe for my fresh cilantro and lime dip recipe

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Easy Homemade Crema Mexicana Recipe

  • Total Time: 4 hours 2 minutes
  • Yield: 2.5 cups 1x

Ingredients

Scale

2 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons sour cream

3 tablespoon buttermilk

Instructions

  • Author: Anthony Vipond
  • Prep Time: 2 mins
  • Cook Time: 4 hours
  • Category: Condiments
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Keywords: crema mexicana, sauce, condiment, Mexican cuisine

Anthony Vipond

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