Crema is the traditional garnish for many Mexican foods. In the United States, sour cream is often used as a substitute. Prepare Crema 24 hours in advance. It can either be spooned over or piped onto the top of soups and other dishes in various designs, such as cacti, zigzags, etc.



  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk

Avocado Crema

  • 1 fresh avocado
  • 1 cup Crema
  • Juice of 1 Mexican lime

Chipotle Crema

  • 2 cups Crema
  • 1 clove garlic, roasted and peeled
  • 2 tablespoons canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce

Red Chile Crema

  • 4 whole dried red chiles
  • 1 cup water


  1. Crema: Heat the cream in a small saucepan just until the chill is off the cream (do not heat above 100 degrees F).
  2. In a small glass jar, combine ingredients. Cover the jar loosely. Let it stand at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours, until the cream is thickened and tart.
  3. Stir the crema well, cover it, and refrigerate it to complete the thickening. Refrigerate.

Use as needed. It keeps for up to 10 days.

Use instead of sour cream to garnish dishes.

Avocado Crema: Put ingredients in a blender and pulse until combined.

Chipotle Crema: Puree ingredients in a blender.

Red Chile Crema: Place dried chiles on a baking sheet and roast at 325 degrees F for 5 minutes. Remove seeds, and boil in 1 cup of water until soft. Puree in a blender and season with a pinch of salt.