Cilantro Lime Crema

Plain old sour cream can't compare to this zesty cilantro lime crema recipe. It's easy to make, and it adds bold, bright flavor to tacos, burritos, and more!

Cilantro lime crema

Skip the sour cream—this cilantro lime crema is the BEST way to add a burst of tangy flavor to tacos, burritos, nachos, and more. I love it because it’s more complex than regular sour cream or my go-to alternative, Greek yogurt. The lime juice gives it zesty brightness, the cilantro freshens it up, and a little onion powder adds addictive savory depth. And the best part? To make this cilantro lime crema recipe, you just need 7 simple ingredients and less than 10 minutes. The next time you want to jazz up Mexican or Tex Mex fare (or even grilled veggies!) you can easily make a batch.

Cilantro lime crema recipe ingredients

What is crema?

Before we dive into the recipe, I want to share some background on Mexican crema in case you’re not familiar. Traditional Mexican crema is cultured heavy cream, similar to French crème fraîche. It has a rich, sour flavor and a texture that’s slightly thinner than sour cream. It adds richness and acidity to tacos, enchiladas, or whatever it’s spooned over.

Homemade crema is commonly made with a combination of heavy cream and buttermilk, but in this zesty twist, I use Greek yogurt and mayo, both of which I always keep in my fridge. I wouldn’t call it authentic, but it yields a tangy, creamy sauce I love. I think you’ll enjoy it too!

Creamy sauce and fresh cilantro in food processor

How to Make Cilantro Lime Crema

This cilantro lime crema recipe is SO simple to make!

Gather the ingredients:

  • Plain Greek yogurt – It creates the creamy base. I recommend using full-fat yogurt for the richest flavor. Substitute sour cream if you prefer!
  • Mayonnaise – It loosens the yogurt and adds richness.
  • Fresh lime juice – For tangy flavor.
  • Garlic – It gives the sauce a garlicky bite.
  • Onion powder – For savory, umami flavor.
  • Cilantro – For fresh flavor and pretty flecks of green.
  • And sea salt – To make all the flavors pop!

Place the yogurt, mayo, lime juice, salt, garlic, and onion powder in a food processor, and process until smooth.

Add the cilantro, and pulse until the sauce is smooth but green flecks are still visible.

That’s it! Season to taste and enjoy.

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

Tip

No food processor? A blender works here too! Just like you would with a food processor, add all of the ingredients except for the cilantro to the blender first. Blend until smooth. Then, pulse in the cilantro until you have a creamy sauce with green flecks.

Cilantro lime crema in food processor

How to Use Cilantro Lime Crema

Once you try this cilantro lime crema recipe, it will become a staple in your kitchen. The creamy, zesty condiment is delicious on so many dishes! Here are a few of my favorite ways to use it:

How do you like to use this tangy cilantro lime crema sauce? Let me know in the comments!

Storage

Got leftover crema? You’re in luck! It will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. You’ll love having it on hand to liven up whatever you’re cooking!

Cilantro lime crema recipe

More Zesty Sauces You’ll Love

If you love this cilantro lime crema, try one of these zesty sauce recipes next:

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Cilantro Lime Crema

rate this recipe:
5 from 17 votes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Serves 6
This easy cilantro lime crema is a delicious zesty topping for tacos, enchiladas, grilled veggies, and more. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole milk Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro

Instructions

  • In a food processor, place the yogurt, mayo, lime juice, garlic, salt, and onion powder. Process until creamy.
  • Add the cilantro and pulse until the sauce is smooth but green flecks are still visible. Season to taste.

Notes

Yield: about 1¼ cups

10 comments

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Rate this recipe (after making it)




  1. Rebecca
    03.19.2024

    I can’t eat mayonnaise. Is there a substitute or can I leave it out?

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      03.21.2024

      Hi Rebecca, you can skip it or sub more yogurt or sour cream.

  2. L~
    02.24.2024

    5 stars
    This. Is. Amazing! Yum!!! Solid keeper. Absolutely delicious as written. Thank you for this! 🙂

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      03.01.2024

      Hi, I’m so glad you loved it!

  3. Sarah
    01.29.2024

    5 stars
    Made just a portion to go with tacos and teenage son begged me to make more to dip chips. I didn’t process just combined in a bowl and stirred. (Chopped cilantro before stirring) A win!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      01.30.2024

      ha, I’m glad it was a hit 🙂

  4. Inna
    12.31.2023

    Question: about how long would you say it should take to process for it to get creamy? To be honest, this is my first time using food processor too so not sure how long it should take. It’s been processing for about 10-15 minutes but it’s still very runny. I wonder if it supposed to take longer than that or if I did something wrong.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      01.01.2024

      Hi Inna, it should just process for 30 seconds or so, just until everything is combined. It should be a drizzleable consistency, it’s not super thick. Was your yogurt runny? Or perhaps was your cilantro wet after washing it?

  5. santosh
    09.15.2023

    5 stars
    Absolutely love the sound of this cilantro-lime crema! I can’t wait to try it out. By the way, after trying out some of these delicious recipes, if anyone’s looking for a getaway, holidaytourspackage.com has some delightful travel deals. A culinary trip inspired by these recipes would be fantastic. Thanks for sharing, and keep the flavorful recipes coming!”

  6. Melodie SwopeJohnson
    09.13.2023

    Made this last night and we loved it…I did sub part skim ricotta for the yogurt (saved a trip to market 🙂 bumped the lime for extra tang since ricotta is very mild…I’ll be making this on a regular basis for taco night…Thanks and👍👍

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.