Mexican Crema

4.75 from 4 votes

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

Mexican Crema is a slightly thick, tangy, milk-flavored cream made with only four ingredients! Drizzle over enchiladas, chilaquiles and more. A perfect condiment to balance spicy dishes.

mexican crema in bowl with wooden spoon


Although it is sometimes referred to as Mexican sour cream, crema is not the same thing as sour cream. But they do have some similarities.

For example, both are made from dairy products, and both crema and sour cream have a tangy, rich flavor. The primary difference between the two condiments is their consistency and texture. Mexican crema is typically thinner than sour cream. Think of crema as a thickened cream that’s like a combination of sour cream and French crème fraîche. 

Also, sour cream is made by adding bacterial cultures to milk, while the culturing process for crema uses a natural ingredient; lime juice.

You only need 4 simple ingredients to make traditional crema from scratch:

  • Buttermilk
  • Heavy cream (also known as heavy whipping cream)
  • Juice of one lime or small lemon
  • Kosher or sea salt
mexican crema in mason jar with lime


  1. Heat the heavy cream. You won’t be cooking the heavy cream, but rather, bringing it to room temperature.
  1. Remove pan from heat and add the buttermilk. After you add the buttermilk to the pan of cream, give it a stir. Then, pour the contents into a glass jar (I use a mason jar) and seal it with a lid.
  1. Store in a warm place for 24-48 hours. I usually keep the jar on top of a refrigerator, but any warm location works.

NOTE: It isn’t necessary to refrigerate the contents because the acid in the citrus juice prevents any unhealthy bacteria from growing.

  1. Add lime juice and salt. After you add the lime juice and salt, seal the jar again. Then, shake the jar to mix everything until well combined.

That’s it! You can use it right away or store it in the refrigerator. It will stay good refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

mexican crema in bowl with wooden spoon

Learn more about other Mexican Cheese and their uses in my post A Complete Guide to Mexican Cheese.

Use it as one of the toppings for your Chilaquiles Verdes

overhead: plate of chilaquiles verdes

Drizzle it over Enchiladas Rojas

enchiladas rojas with crema drizzled on top

Squeeze it over my Battered Fish Tacos

fish tacos on corn tortillas

You’re going to love this condiment to top so many spicy dishes and temper the heat.

For other flavored versions, try my Avocado Crema, Habanero Crema, Cilantro Lime Crema and Chipotle Crema, too. Enjoy!

Still Hungry?

Subscribe to my Newsletter, follow me on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube for all my latest recipes and videos.

mexican crema in bowl with wooden spoon

Mexican Crema

4.75 from 4 votes
Mexican Crema is a slightly thick, tangy, milk-flavored cream made with only four ingredients! Drizzle over enchiladas, chilaquiles and more. A perfect condiment to balance spicy dishes.
Servings: 8
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 3 minutes
Ferment Time: 12 hours



  • Heat heavy cream to room temperature in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and add buttermilk. Stir and pour into a jar and seal (I use a mason jar).
  • Keep jar in warm place (on counter or on top of refrigerator) for 12-24 hours.
  • Add lime juice, salt and seal again. Shake to mix until well combined.
  • Keep refrigerated or use right away. Good refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.


Calories: 84kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 23mg | Sodium: 105mg | Potassium: 93mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 228IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 73mg | Iron: 1mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Course: condiments
Cuisine: Mexican
Have You Made This Recipe? Let Me Know on InstagramTag @keviniscooking or tag me #keviniscooking!
mexican crema in colorful bowl with wooden spoon


Whether in the kitchen or on the grill, you’ll find me cooking American favorites with a love for BBQ, Mexican and Tex Mex. I’m passionate about making tasty food because life’s too short to be bland!

Free Bonus
5 Secrets to True Tex Mex
Essential recipes & tips for delicious Tex Mex cooking!

email image

Explore More

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. soooo… I forgot I started making the crema and left the buttermilk mixture out on top of the stove for 4 days. do you think I need to throw it out? sorry this might be obvious to some folks but considering it didn’t need to be in the fridge in the first place throws me off!

  2. 4 stars
    If you want a thicker cream, heat the cream/milk to 190-195F and or hold at that temp for 10-20 minutes, DO NOT simmer/boil the cream or milk, you want it just below the bubbling point. Cool to 105F and add the buttermilk (culture) and hold at 105F. The heating will denature the proteins and thicken the resultant ferment, the longer held up to about 20-30 minutes, the thicker the result.

    For those with dietary issues, using milk and heating as described will give a lower fat, lower calorie result with very similar smooth thickness and flavor depending upon time at temperature. If you do not have buttermilk, use your favorite yoghurt as culture. The longer the ferment, the more sour the result (due to the action of aceterbacteria). Under 4 hours milk-sweet, over 8 hours sour notes, over 24 hours solidly sour background taste.

  3. 5 stars
    Was looking for a way to make this after not being able to find it in my local stores for a while. It was so easy! I did what that one commenter said and used the microwave and did everything else exactly as you said. Came out so perfect I almost cried LOL. 💕

    1. So sorry for the late reply as I have been away on a much needed vacation outside the USA. Needless to say, about your comment…Thanks so much Nikki. Appreciate you coming back to let me know!

  4. 5 stars
    This is sooooo good. It is really easy to heat the cream to room temp in the microwave. It takes about 30 seconds.

  5. 5 stars
    You know, Kevin, that your recipe, as written, does include adding a bacterial culture to your dairy. It’s coming from the buttermilk. Modern buttermilk, which accounts for almost all the buttermilk on the market, is made with bacterial cultures.