Make this refreshing, zesty cilantro lime crema made with 5 ingredients in 5 minutes, and use it to replace your everyday sour cream on everything from tacos, and burritos to salads and grilled veggies!
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Creamy Mexican Sauce
It’s socially acceptable to have a healthy obsession with Mexican food, right? I mean, the flavors, the herbs and spices, the tacos, fajitas, enchiladas, and of course, the toppings and sauces! From the pico de gallo and salsa to this delicious lime crema. I love it all! Especially when it’s fresh, homemade, and much more cost-effective than eating out or using store-bought.
If making delicious restaurant-quality food at home is your jam as much as it is mine, you’re going to love adding this cilantro lime crema recipe to your list of easy homemade condiments that you keep on hand. This refreshing, vibrant sauce tastes amazing on everything! It’s thick, creamy, tangy, and zesty and is the perfect finishing touch on any Taco Tuesday topping, especially these delicious skirt steak tacos or tilapia fish tacos.
If you’ve ever had my cilantro lime dressing, you’ll notice the taste is similar, but the crema has a thicker consistency. It is basically a sour cream replacement anytime you’re looking to jazz up your flavors. The combination of cilantro and lime together gives your food a pop of citrus and herb that keeps you wanting more.
What is Crema?
As you’ve probably guessed, In Spanish, crema is a direct translation for cream. Traditionally, it’s made with Mexican crema which requires buttermilk and cream, but it’s not always readily available in local grocery stores. You can, of course, make your own Mexican crema, but we can also take a little shortcut to get us to where we need to be. Enter, sour cream! It’s the tangy creamy fat we need to give our cilantro lime crema its thick and rich consistency.
Crema is a sauce that can be used as a drizzle (or a pour depending on your style) on everything from tacos, enchiladas, burritos, soups, salads, and grilled vegetables, you name it!
Cilantro Lime Crema
This simple cilantro lime crema is so simple to make and great for storing too! It has just the right balance of a sweet and savory white sauce. Add this sauce to all your favorite recipes!
Find the full printable recipe with specific measurements below.
- Sour cream: This is the base of the crema sauce. It is thick and creamy.
- Cilantro: Lemon and peppery taste makes this homemade sauce enjoy kick and flavor.
- Lime: A zesty lime flavor adds just the right amount of tart and sweet balance.
- Garlic clove: Balances out the flavors.
- Salt and pepper: Just a pinch to taste!
How to Make Cilantro Lime Crema Recipe
Let the food processor or blender do all the work! Simply add all the main ingredients together and blend until smooth. It is the easiest way to make a sauce full of flavor!
- Blend. Combine the sour cream, cilantro, lime juice, and lime zest, as well as the garlic in a food processor. Blend until smooth.
- Add in. Add salt and pepper to taste. I use about 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add more cilantro and lime to taste if needed.
- Serve. Place in a bowl and cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Tips for Making Cilantro Lime Crema
These tips are helpful and will help make the lima cream recipe last even longer! Follow these guidelines to make this quick and easy sauce that is the perfect consistency and flavor.
- Greek yogurt. Substitute Greek yogurt for sour cream, or you could do half and half if you’d like.
- For a spicy kick. Add in some chopped jalapeno. The more seeds you add, the hotter it will be!
- Be patient. The longer this sauce sits in the fridge the more the flavors meld, so feel free to make it in advance.
- Substitute. To make a creamy avocado crema, use blended avocado as a sour cream replacement.
- Mexican crema. If you can get your hands on Mexican crema, go ahead and use it instead of sour cream, for an even more authentic crema!
- Thick or thin. It will thicken as it sits, so before using it, you might consider adding a squeeze of lime juice to thin it out a bit.
Ways to Use it
This crema is, of course, amazing on any Mexican dish and is my first choice with southwestern egg rolls, but it definitely works for all kinds of dishes. It’s worth exploring!
- Tacos: Try it on one of these favorite taco recipes starting with Instant pot chicken taco bowls, Taco salad, Chicken taco soup, and Slow cooker chicken tinga tacos.
- Burritos: Breakfast burritos, Baked chicken burritos, and Green chili burritos are all different styles of burritos.
- Veggies: Grilled sweet potatoes, Mexican street corn, and Stuffed sweet potatoes perfect for side dishes.
- Salad & Rice: BBQ chicken salad, Cilantro lime rice, Mexican salad best for lunch, and side dishes for any taco night.
Cilantro lime crema is made with fresh cilantro chopped into small pieces, freshly squeezed lime juice, and sour cream if you do not have Mexican crema. It is the perfect combination!
Mexican crema has a naturally sour taste to it. It is thick and creamy. The taste and texture are very similar to sour cream or even French creme fraiche.
Mexican crema can be hard to find. Using sour cream or creme fraiche is the best substitute for it. Mexican crema is thick but can be thinned out with fresh lime juice or even water. Sour cream has a lower fat content compared to Mexican crema but has the same level of acidity.
5 star review
“This is my new favorite sauce! I made a batch and keep putting it on EVRYTHING, so delish!”-Macie
This sauce will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days in an airtight container. The longer the flavors sit together, the longer they infuse, and the tastier it gets!
Looking for more easy sauce recipes to use for taco night?! Try this fish taco sauce!
More Recipes to Use it in
Cilantro Lime Crema
- ½ cup sour cream , or Greek yogurt
- ¼ cup cilantro
- 1 lime , zested and juiced
- 1 clove garlic , or 1/2 teaspoon minced
- salt & pepper , to taste
- Combine the sour cream, cilantro, lime juice, lime zest and garlic in a food processor.
- Blend until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. I use about 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add more cilantro and lime to taste if needed.
- Place in a bowl and cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.
Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!