Crema is the Spanish word for cream. In the United States, or in the English language, it is sometimes referred to as crema espesa (English: "thick cream"),[1][2] also referred to as crema fresca (English: "fresh cream") in Mexico.[3] Crema fresca or crema espesa is a Mexican dairy product prepared with two ingredients, heavy cream and buttermilk.[4] Salt and lime juice may also be used in its preparation.[1][5] Crema's fat content can range between 18 and 36 percent.[6] In Mexico, it is sold directly to consumers through ranches outside large cities, as well as being available in Mexican and Latin American grocery stores in the United States. Crema is used as a food topping, a condiment and as an ingredient in sauces. It is similar in texture and flavor to France's crème fraîche and sour cream.


Outside of the larger cities in Mexico, crema is sold directly to consumers by ranches that prepare the product.[3] In the United States, commercial preparations of crema are typically pasteurized, packaged in glass jars, and sold in the refrigerated section of Mexican and Hispanic grocery stores.[a][6][7][8]


Crema is used as a topping for foods and as an ingredient in sauces.[4] It can be spooned or drizzled atop various foods and dishes.[9][10] For example, crema is added as a condiment atop soups, tacos, roasted corn, beans and various Mexican street foods, referred to as antojitos.[1][2][5] Its use can impart added richness to the flavor of foods and dishes.[5] It may have a mildly salty flavor.[3] In Mexican cuisine, rajas are roasted chili peppers that are traditionally served with crema.[11] The creaminess of crema can serve to counterbalance the spiciness of dishes prepared with roasted chili peppers, such as chipotle.[7]

Similar foods

Crema is similar to the French crème fraîche in flavor and consistency.[4] Compared with sour cream, crema has a softer and tangier flavor, and has a thinner texture.[3][4] Some recipes that call for the use of crema state that sour cream or crème fraîche can be used as a viable substitute.[3][8]

See also


  1. ^ "Crema espesa is an authentic (and tastier) version of the sour cream served on Americanized Mexican restaurant plates. Found in jars in the refrigerator section, this mild garnish is traditionally drizzled over beans, roasted corn, ..."[2]


  1. ^ a b c Lorens, M.E.C. (1993). Maria Elena's Mexican Cuisine: Authentic Mexican Dishes Made Easy. General Store Publishing House. p. pt117. ISBN 978-0-919431-73-7. Retrieved May 25, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c "Vegetarian Times". Vegetarian Times. Vegetarian Life & Times: 82. 2010. Retrieved May 25, 2016.[full citation needed] (subscription required)
  3. ^ a b c d e Jinich, Pati (2013). Pati's Mexican Table. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 135. ISBN 978-0547636467. Retrieved 24 May 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d Bard, S. (2015). The Gourmet Mexican Kitchen- A Cookbook: Bold Flavors For the Home Chef. Page Street Publishing. p. 15. ISBN 978-1-62414-105-8. Retrieved May 25, 2016.
  5. ^ a b c Best Mexican Recipes. America's Test Kitchen. 2015. p. pt72–74. ISBN 978-1-940352-25-1. Retrieved May 25, 2016.
  6. ^ a b Castro, L. (2009). Eat, Drink, Think in Spanish: A Food Lover's English-Spanish/Spanish-English Dictionary. Potter/TenSpeed/Harmony. p. 36. ISBN 978-1-58008-401-7. Retrieved May 25, 2016.
  7. ^ a b Hae-Jin Lee, Cecilia (2011). Quick & Easy Mexican Cooking. Chronicle Books. p. 96. ISBN 9781452105376. Retrieved 24 May 2016.
  8. ^ a b Poore, Marge (2011). 1,000 Mexican Recipes. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. pp. pt775. ISBN 9780544189157. Retrieved 24 May 2016.
  9. ^ Valladolid, Marcela (2011). Mexican Made Easy. Clarkson Potter. p. 55. ISBN 9780307888266. Retrieved 24 May 2016.
  10. ^ Bayless Rick; Bayless, Deann Groen (2005). Mexican Everyday. W. W. Norton & Company. pp. 220. Retrieved 24 May 2016.
  11. ^ Creasy, R. (2000). The Edible Mexican Garden. Tuttle Publishing. p. 68. ISBN 978-1-4629-1765-5. Retrieved May 25, 2016.