Homemade Crema Mexicana (Mexican Sour Cream)

Looking to liven up your Mexican dishes? Look no further than my Mexicana Crema, sometimes also referred to as Mexican Sour Cream. Cool and just a touch tart to balance out those spicy flavors in Mexican recipes.

Homemade Crema Mexicana made with just a handful of ingredients you have in your pantry. Perfect for tacos, burritos, and Street Corn Salad! #crema #cremamexicana www.savoryexperiments.com


Perfect for tacos, burritos and Street Corn Salad!

What is Mexican Sour Cream?

Think of Crema Mexican as the Mexican version of French crème fraiche or American sour cream. It is slightly thinner and a bit sweeter and often served along with cotija or queso fresco cheeses.

Some might call is Mexicana crema or just plain crema.

Just like other types of cream, you can add a little bit of flavor by blending in other flavors. Some of my favorites are:

  • cumin
  • fresh cilantro
  • lime juice or zest
  • lemon juice or zest
  • chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
Homemade Crema Mexicana made with just a handful of ingredients you have in your pantry. Perfect for tacos, burritos, and Street Corn Salad! #crema #cremamexicana www.savoryexperiments.com

How Do You Make Crema Mexicana?

Crema Mexicana can be found in many Latin supermarkets and some mainstream stores. That side, my store was fresh out so I needed to make my own. Don’t worry, it is super simple!

The traditional crema recipe calls for heavy cream blended with buttermilk and given 24 hours to thicken up. Again, I was tight on time.

The quick version of crema Mexicana uses 1/4  cup of sour cream. I opted for a middle of the road experiment – a little bit of buttermilk AND a little bit of sour cream.

Homemade Crema Mexicana

Let it Thicken

It needs to sit in a warm place to thicken. Near the stove or oven (if you are using it,) on top of the refrigerator, or in my case,  outside on a beautiful 80-degree day all work just fine.

The end result will be thinner than yogurt or sour cream, so don’t be concerned if it seems a bit more loose in terms of texture than what you were expecting.

I used this batch for Mexican Street Corn but you can also use it on my favorite Totchos. It also tastes great on Chicken Fajitas or Smothered Burritos.

close up of mexican street corn on a plate

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Homemade Crema Mexicana made with just a handful of ingredients you have in your pantry. Perfect for tacos, burritos, and Street Corn Salad! #crema #cremamexicana www.savoryexperiments.com

Sour Cream vs Mexican Crema

What is the difference between crema mexicana and sour cream?

It is just the Mexican version of American sour cream or French crème fraîche.

It is a slightly soured thickened cream, but thinner than sour cream.

Can I use sour cream, crema Mexicana and crème fraîche interchangeably?

You can use all three interchangeably, but remember they have a slightly different texture. Sour cream is the thickest.

Mexican crema on top of nachos

Can I use plain yogurt instead? You can! In fact, I love using yogurt in place of any of the three soured creams. However, for my purposes, I usually need something a little thinner.

Storage & Shelf Life

How long is homemade crema Mexicana good for? Just like most dairy products, it will be good for about a week if kept refrigerated.

How long can crema Mexicana be out at room temperature? The FDA recommends it being out for no longer than 2 hours.

I do not recommend freezing this recipe.

Homemade Crema Mexicana made with just a handful of ingredients you have in your pantry. Perfect for tacos, burritos, and Street Corn Salad! #crema #cremamexicana www.savoryexperiments.com

Homemade Crema Mexicana Recipe

4.78 from 22 votes
Homemade Crema Mexicana made with just a handful of ingredients you have in your pantry. Perfect for tacos, burritos and Street Corn Salad!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 5 minutes
Servings: 1 cup



  • In a microwave safe container, heat heavy cream for 40 seconds. Meanwhile, stir together sour cream and buttermilk in a glass bowl.
  • Add heavy cream, stirring until smooth. Mixture will be watery, but you will notice it starting to thicken already while stirring.
  • Allow to sit in a warm place, set lid loosely on the top, or use plastic or aluminum foil. Allow to breath, but to keep covered and free from any floating particles near by, especially if placed outside. Do not let crema mexicana go over 100 degrees.
  • Allow to sit for 4-6 hours to thicken. Add flavor, if desired, using a stick blender.
  • Drizzle over your favorite Latin dish.
  • Blending in cumin, cilantro, chipotle peppers, lime and/or lemon juice or zest to flavor your crema are all optional.



Calories: 832 kcal, Carbohydrates: 7 g, Protein: 5 g, Fat: 88 g, Saturated Fat: 55 g, Cholesterol: 328 mg, Sodium: 106 mg, Potassium: 178 mg, Sugar: 1 g, Vitamin A: 3500 IU, Vitamin C: 1.4 mg, Calcium: 172 mg
Author: Jessica Formicola
Calories: 832
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: crema mexicana, mexican cream, mexican sour cream
Did you make this recipe?I’d love to see your recipes – snap a picture and mention @savoryexperiments or tag #savoryexperiments!
Jessica Formicola in her ktichen

About the Author

Jessica Formicola

Jessica the mom, wife and food lover behind Savory Experiments. She is obsessed with butter, salt and bacon and spends all her time in the kitchen and behind a camera. Jessica is a contributor to PopKitchen by Parade, Better Homes & Gardens, The Daily Meal Food + Travel and more!

Read More About Jessica

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Recipe Rating

Questions and Reviews

  1. 5 stars
    Oh, how interesting. I can put this on tacos and nachos and all my favorite Mexican dishes. Lovely. Can’t wait to try this.

  2. 5 stars
    I love using Mexican crema on enchiladas, taquitos and nachos. We use it once a week and this recipe is so much better than the store bought kind.

  3. 5 stars
    Fantastic recipe, we added cumin and lemon zest as you suggested and it came out perfect 🙂
    Thanks for sharing!!

  4. 5 stars
    I was so tired of driving to the edge of town to find crema mexicana! I’m so glad I found your recipe as it worked perfectly in my suiza enchildas!!

  5. I always buy crema mexicana and love the brand I get but when ever I can’t find it, is now good to know how to make it at home. Sooo simple. Thanks!

    1. It is simple- still a little time consuming since the “quick” version takes 4 hours, but in a pinch, it works!

  6. Thank you! I so badly needed a recipe to make my own crema… I madly love Mexican food, but I don’t always have time to travel to the other side of town where there all of the Latin markets are located to pick up some of the harder-to-find ingredients. I already learned to make my own tortillas, so between that and this recipe for crema, I’m basically set! 🙂

  7. I have never heard of this before but it sounds delicious!! Sadly, I can’t have too much dairy but I’ll make it for our next Latin themed party — sounds like a winner to me!!

  8. This is fantastic. I love Latin and Mexican recipes and find it refreshing to find this recipe for Quick Crema Mexicana! Will come in handy in several areas! Pinning!!

  9. I had no idea how to make crema! I often need it and, of course, don’t have it on hand. Love to learn something new every day – thanks!

  10. I’ve never tried Crema Mexicana but i looks incredible and can be used in so many ways! Like on top of my quesadillas!