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How to Use Mexican Crema
Typically used as a garnish or condiment after cooking, Mexican crema adds a rich and tangy bite to soups, vegetables, and tacos.
- Add flavor to hot dishes. Mexican crema can add a tangy flavor to hot dishes. Crema has a high-fat content, so it won’t curdle when stirred into hot dishes like frijoles de la olla or pozole.
- Tame spice. Use crema to tame the heat in spicier Mexican dishes, like stuffed poblanos.
- Add freshness to heavy foods. Drizzle crema over nachos, quesadillas, or tostadas for a cool, mellow streak.
- Add a creamy element. Crema is a perfect creamy complement to pickled red onions, tangy, citrusy slaw, and the battered crunch of Baja-style fish tacos.
- Make a spicy crema dip. Add a teaspoon of puréed chipotle (or a similar chile), hot sauce, or avocado for a flavorful crema dip.
Substitutes for Mexican Crema
- Crème fraîche: The best substitute for Mexican crema is crème fraîche, thinned with a bit of lime juice or water. As a cultured cream, crème fraîche brings similar levels of complex tanginess to a dish.
- Sour cream: Sour cream has a slightly lower fat content than Mexican crema and a similar level of acidity.
- Plain yogurt: Plain yogurt may have less of a complex flavor profile, but it still brings the same cooling effect as Mexican crema.
Mexican Crema Recipe
Prep Time5 min
Total Time12 hr 5 min
Cook Time12 hr
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon buttermilk
- Fresh lime juice (from about 1 lime)
- ½ teaspoon salt (kosher salt works best)
- Combine the heavy cream and buttermilk in a medium-size bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and bring to room temperature. Place the mixture in a warm, dry spot overnight.
- The following morning, add lime juice and salt to the newly thickened cream and buttermilk mixture. Stir to incorporate. The consistency should be slightly runny.
- Taste, and adjust with more lime juice or salt as needed. Use immediately, or refrigerate for up to five days.
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