Cilantro Lime Crema (Easy 5-Minute Recipe!)

This quick and tangy Cilantro Lime Crema recipe is ready in just 5 minutes. Better than sour cream, this Mexican condiment is flavored with fresh cilantro and lime juice to create a creamy and vibrant dressing, taco topping, or dipping sauce.

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If there’s one condiment to keep in your fridge at all times, it’s this Cilantro Crema! Blended with sour cream, mayo, cilantro, lime, garlic, cotija cheese, and a handful of aromatic ingredients, this Mexican sauce is easy to make and can be used on hundreds of dishes.

Traditional Mexican crema is made with only a handful of ingredients. I decided to take it up a notch and blend in cotija cheese, pepitas, and red wine vinegar to give it a boost. These creamy and punchy additions made this recipe a winner!

This zesty lime crema is the perfect addition when you need a bump of flavor on Street Corn Chicken Tacos, Tortilla Chip Crusted Chicken, Grilled Shrimp Skewers, Cauliflower Tacos and so much more. You can even serve it for breakfast, with these Migas or Air Fryer Quesadillas.

All you need to do is blend all of the ingredients together and you’re done! Eat it right away or keep the bottle in your fridge at all times.

What is crema?

This Mexican condiment is thick, tangy, and very similar to sour cream and crème fraîche. It’s made from a base of mayonnaise and sour cream, then flavored with add-ins, like cilantro, lime, jalapeno, avocado, spices, and more. 

Just like sour cream, Mexican crema is used as a condiment to provide dishes with a hint of tang, zest, and creaminess. Use it on tacos, burrito bowls, enchiladas, quesadillas, salad, and more!

Hand dipping spoon into cilantro lime crema.

Ingredients needed

  • Sour Cream – You can use regular or fat-free sour cream. Or, swap in some Greek yogurt.
  • Mayonnaise – Regular or fat-free mayo works. Or, just use extra sour cream.
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Lime – We’ll use the zest and juice of one lime.
  • Garlic
  • Red Wine Vinegar – Or, extra lime juice, white wine vinegar, or apple cider vinegar.
  • Pepitas – Aka pumpkin seeds. These are optional, but they make the sauce a bit thicker and more hearty. You can also use almonds or cashews.
  • Cotija Cheese – Or, queso fresco or parmesan cheese.
  • Salt

How to make it

Add all of the crema ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Taste and season with additional salt if needed.

Go ahead and use the crema immediately with your favorite meals or bottle it up and keep it in your fridge.

How to use it

The options are practically endless. Just like sour cream, lime cilantro crema is a vibrant condiment that can be used to boost the flavor of meat, seafood, and vegetable dishes. Here’s how I recommend using it:

Crema in small wooden bowl on grey plate next to lime wedges.


  • Vegan cilantro lime crema: Swap the sour cream and mayonnaise with plant-based alternatives. Omit the cheese entirely or use a vegan parmesan instead.
  • Cilantro lime crema with yogurt: Use plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream or mayonnaise.
  • Avocado lime crema: Replace the sour cream and mayonnaise with avocado instead.
  • Spicy Mexican crema: Add in half of a jalapeno or serrano pepper (seeds and veins removed) to give the sauce some spice.
  • Chipotle crema: Add in some smoky chipotle peppers for some heat and flavor.


Store the cilantro crema sauce in a sealed jar or squeeze bottle for up to 5 days in the fridge. The longer it sits, the better it will taste!

The texture of the crema will naturally thicken as it sits in the fridge. If it’s too thick, stir in a little lime juice or a splash of water until it thins out.

Crema arranged on plate with limes and cilantro.

More recipes to enjoy with your crema

More homemade sauces

Did you make this cilantro crema recipe?

If you loved this lime cilantro crema, I would appreciate it so much if you would give this recipe a star review! Also, be sure to snap a picture of your finished dish and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #platingsandpairings and tagging me @platingsandpairings.

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Looking for more sauces for tacos? Check out these 9+ tasty taco sauces!

Crema arranged on plate with limes and cilantro.

Cilantro Lime Crema

This quick and tangy Cilantro Lime Crema is ready in just 5 minutes. Better than sour cream, this Mexican condiment is flavored with fresh cilantro and lime juice to create a creamy and vibrant dressing, taco topping, or dipping sauce.
5 from 24 votes
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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 6 people


  • ¾ cup sour cream (regular or fat-free)
  • 2 Tablespoons mayonnaise (regular or fat-free)
  • ½ cup cilantro
  • 1 lime (zested and juiced)
  • 1 clove garlic (peeled)
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup pepitas
  • ¼ cup crumbled cotija cheese or queso fresco
  • Salt (to taste)


  • Place all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Season with salt, to taste.
  • Transfer to a jar or squeeze bottle and serve immediately, or refrigerate until ready to serve.


Pepitas and cheese are optional
Did you make this recipe?Mention @platingsandpairings or tag #platingsandpairings!


Food processor


Calories: 104kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 17mg | Sodium: 54mg | Potassium: 75mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 274IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 1mg

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