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Cilantro Lime Crema adds a fresh and vibrant touch to sour cream or Mexican crema, transforming it from a simple sour cream into a standout component. With the zesty brightness of fresh lime juice and the earthy undertones of cilantro, this creamy sauce stands out in both taste and texture.

Cilantro Lime Crema served in a white bowl with a silver spoon.

In less than 10 minutes, you can enhance tacos (ideal for Chorizo Tacos), grilled meats, or even roasted vegetables. Whether you’re spicing up your favorite Mexican dishes or adding a unique flair to a salad dressing, this crema is both versatile and memorable.

Ingredients You Need to Make Cilantro Lime Crema

Cilantro Lime Crema Ingredients on a white marble board.
  • Sour Cream: Opt for full-fat sour cream for the best texture and flavor, or choose Mexican crema as a close alternative.
  • Lime: Ensure it’s fresh and juicy. For the zest, look for limes with smooth, bright green skin without blemishes.
  • Cilantro: Fresh and vibrant in color without wilted leaves. Stems should be firm and not slimy.
  • Garlic: Choose a fresh garlic clove that is firm to the touch with unblemished skin. Avoid sprouting cloves.
  • Kosher Salt: or half the amount of fine sea salt

What is Crema?

Crema (the Spanish word for cream), in its traditional form, is a staple in Mexican cuisine. While it is similar to American sour cream, traditional Mexican crema is a bit runnier and has a slightly tangy flavor. In the United States, where traditional Mexican crema might not always be readily available, sour cream has become a common substitute for home cooks, offering a similar texture and taste.

Recipe Options

  • For a perfectly smooth version, process all ingredients in your food processor or blender.
  • If you don’t have sour cream or Mexican crema, Greek yogurt makes a creamy and slightly tangy alternative.
  • Prefer a citrusy variation? Try adding a bit of fresh orange or grapefruit juice alongside the lime.
  • For a spicier kick, blend in a small jalapeño or a dash of cayenne pepper.
  • Not a fan of cilantro? Parsley or a mix of parsley and mint can be refreshing substitutes.
  • Enhance the depth of flavor with a touch of ground cumin or coriander.
  • Introduce a smoky element with a sprinkle of smoked paprika.

Customize Consistency

  • For a Thicker Crema: You can reduce the lime juice slightly or add a bit more sour cream. 
  • For a Thinner Crema: Add a splash of lime juice or a small amount of water or milk to reach your desired consistency.

How to Store

Store Cilantro Lime Crema in an airtight container in the refrigerator and use within 5 days.

More Must Try Condiments

Serve With

How to Make Cilantro Lime Crema

In a medium bowl, whisk all recipe ingredients to combine. Cover bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Recipe Video

Cilantro Lime Crema

5 from 1 vote
Prep: 5 minutes
Total: 5 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Calories: 29
Servings: 16 tablespoons
A zesty, creamy sauce that elevates any dish with its refreshing tang and velvety texture.

Ingredients  

  • 1 cup sour cream or Mexican crema
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from about 1 large lime)
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest or more to taste
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 small garlic clove minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt plus more to taste

Instructions 

  • Whisk sour cream (or Mexican crema), lime juice and zest, garlic, cilantro and kosher salt together in a medium bowl until smooth. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Notes

  • Makes about 8, 2-tablespoon servings. Store refrigerated in an airtight container and enjoy within 5 days.

Nutrition

Calories: 29kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 0.4g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 8mg | Sodium: 77mg | Potassium: 22mg | Fiber: 0.02g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 107IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 15mg | Iron: 0.02mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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2 Comments

  1. David @ Spiced says:

    5 stars
    I once made a crema “from scratch” using cream that sat in a hot place for a couple of days. It was Alton Brown’s recipe if I recall. It worked great, but it was a process. Sour cream is the way to go for quick flavor, and I love cilantro + lime here. Now I want tacos for dinner!!

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      haha…I pretty much always want tacos for dinner. Thanks, David!