This delicious Cilantro Lime Crema Sauce Recipe is easy to make and delicious! Perfect for fish tacos, tacos, burritos and on salads as a dressing. It comes together quickly in under 5 minutes and is made with just 5 ingredients.
This is popular year-round and is a classic favorite for salads and tacos, burritos, power bowls and more. Better than Don Pancho and faster to make than driving to the grocery store, you'll love this recipe!
Try topping this on various salads, like our Jennifer Aniston Salad. It will really enhance the flavor.
Crema is a delicious Mexican sour cream replacement, usually quite runny and not nearly as thick as sour cream. It can be made a lot of different ways. Usually the base is made from buttermilk and heavy cream, but can be made from other things like sour cream, mayonnaise, avocado or like we are doing in this recipe: plain greek yogurt. If you don't have plain Greek Yogurt, check out my substitutions below for other ways to make it. Cilantro Lime Crema is our favorite version of Mexican Crema.
Honestly, I love this recipe and have been making it for over a decade. We love Costa Vida and Cafe Rio and this mixed with a little ranch on a salad brings me straight back to memories of going to those places with friends and family.
Below is a list of ingredients needed for this recipe. Follow our tips on each ingredient for best results.
- cilantro- for this recipe to turn out, you must use fresh cilantro. I have made this recipe so many times, and I have tried to make it with freeze dried cilantro other substitutions, but it just doesn't work.
- lime juice- fresh squeezed has more flavor, but we regularly use bottled when we're out of fresh limes.
- garlic- we recommend fresh or minced, however garlic powder (use ⅓ the amount) will work in a pinch.
- Greek yogurt- we love this with greek yogurt. It's full of protein and gives it a delicious tang. However, you can feel free to switch all of the yogurt or half of the yogurt with any combination of sour cream and mayonnaise.
- salt- we used regular table salt. Different salts have different levels of saltiness. If using a different kind of salt, adjust accordingly.
See recipe card for quantities.
How to Make Cilantro Lime Crema
Use these process shots to help get the results you are wanting. The pictures can help with texture and be a visual guide for best results.
1. Place Greek yogurt in the bottom of a blender cup. Chop cilantro, if desired. You absolutely don't need to chop the cilantro first, but you can.
2. Add the cilantro and pour in the lime juice into the blender cup.
3. Add the garlic and the salt to the blender cup. We recommend fresh or minced garlic for the best flavor.
4. Blend until smooth. Depending on your blender, this should take anywhere from 10 seconds to 2 or 3 minutes. Pour into a jar or salad dressing container and serve!
Hint: The longer the sauce sits in the refrigerator the more the flavors combine and intensify, so this is a great one to make ahead of time.
We love switching things up when we're in the kitchen. Try any of these variations for something a little different.
- Spicy Cilantro Lime Crema - add jalapeños to make it spicy and delicious! We love it with a whole jalapeno. Leave part or all of the seeds in for more spice.
- Less Cilantro - if you don't like a robust cilantro flavor, make it using half the cilantro called for.
- Avocado- Try our Avocado Crema for another smooth green sauce.
- Mayo, Sour Cream, Mexican Crema, Vegan Yogurt - these ingredients can all be substituted for all or part of the Greek yogurt.
What To Eat It With
Cilantro Crema is a staple in our house. Here are our favorite things to eat it with.
- Tacos, burritos, fajitas, quesadillas, chimichangas, taquitos, etc
- Salads and Veggies - the crema is great on a salad, especially a taco salad or salad with beans/ sweet potatoes, etc. It's also great to use as a dip for veggies.
- Power Bowls/ Quinoa Bowls - we love this on power bowls as a dressing! It's so yummy!
- Soup - drizzle some on taco soup or enchilada soup for a yummy, creamy topping.
- Meats - I love using it as a dip for grilled chicken or on other meats that need a little boost in flavor.
Learn From Us
This is a refrigerator staple in our home, I make it all the time. One time I needed some and didn't have any cilantro. I didn't feel like going to the store so I decided to try to make it with freeze dried cilantro. It was not the same and didn't work. Fresh cilantro is the only thing that works.
Store in the refrigerator in a jar, dressing container or other airtight container for up to 2 weeks. It will separate as it sits, but is still delicious. Just give it a little shake to mix it up and enjoy!
Make sure you blend long enough to get all the little pieces chopped so that it's nice and smooth.
Looking for other recipes like this? Try these:
These are my favorite dishes to serve with [this recipe]:
Cilantro Lime Crema Sauce
- 1 Blender
- ½ cup plain Greek yogurt I use nonfat, but any will do. May also use sour cream or mayo, see notes below.
- 3 Tablespoons chopped cilantro packed
- 1 ½ Tablespoons lime juice freshly squeezed for best results
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon minced garlic or ¼ clove fresh garlic
- Chop cilantro. You don't technically need to chop the cilantro, but it helps!
- Place all ingredients in a smoothie blender and blend for 30-60 seconds until everything is pureed. If you don't have a smoothie blender, use a full size blender- we recommend making a double batch if this is the case so that it blends well. See photos above for some great visuals.
- Serve immediately or refrigerate.
- Store in the refrigerator. The longer it sits the more the flavors permeate. If it starts to separate, just give it a stir.
- You may substitute sour cream and/or mayo in this recipe. Our favorite variation is ¼ cup greek yogurt, 2 Tablespoons sour cream and 2 Tablespoons mayo. You may use all sour cream, half sour cream, half mayo or any combination of the 3 ingredients. All mayo is not recommended.
- Do not substitute dried or freeze dried cilantro for fresh. It won't be the same or even close!
- If using Mexican Crema, be careful not to beat too long in the blender. It can have a tendency to start to thicken up and try to become butter.