Mexican crema

Mexican Style Cream

Mexican cream is rich, thick, tangy and slightly salty. It used to be hard to find in the US, but now you can find it in Latin or International stores, but also mainstream stores! In Mexico, you can find it in any grocery store, and there are richer versions in small towns and ranches, where the cream earns its name “Crema Fresca” and I bet you would feel like me: that you can finish a whole pint in spoonfuls.

If you can’t find it, you can substitute it for other kinds of Latin cream, such as the Salvadoran, they are very similar.

You can also opt for French Crème Fraîche if you can’t find Latin style creams. Crème Fraîche and Mexican cream are similar, though the former is thicker and less tangy and salty than the latter. Depending on the dish, if it is used for a topping, you can substitute it for sour cream. Yet if it is used for cooking, I prefer to substitute it for regular heavy cream.

In the photo above, you can see the consistency of Mexican cream, as well as its shine. It really adds another layer or flavor to so many dishes.


34comments inMexican Style Cream

  1. Gloria Carrera

    Oct 20

    I see that you have a recipe for Flan that uses Crema. Are there any other desert recipes that can use Crema?

    1. Pati Jinich

      Nov 02

      My favorite which is just plain bananas sliced topped with crema and sugar! Or you can do this with fried plantains as well. Oh and how about Fresas con Crema? Yum!

  2. Tom

    May 05

    When I was looking in stores for Mexican Crema I found a few recipes on the internet. They seemed to use things like buttermilk or milk and also cream. I tried one recipe from the web that uses a small amount of sour cream added into a larger amount of warmed up milk. After trying it out I adjusted it for my own tastes to be a little more tangy and a little more salty; you could also adjust the thickness of it. I hope I can learn about the true authentic process some day. Meanwhile I was pretty happy with the taste of what I made; it came out close enough to the local store-bought brand that is available here. And the recipes are still published on the web so I hope this helps someone.

    1. Pati Jinich

      May 13

      Thanks so much for sharing this Tom, it is very kind of you!

  3. Marianne

    Sep 15

    Love your show and Mexican foods! The show is so inspiring! On one episode you made flan using Media Crema and said it made the flan super creamy. I have several cans and cannot locate the recipe using it. So my question is what would I substitute this for in your basic flan recipe – I’m assuming the evaporated milk?

    1. Pati Jinich

      Oct 04

      Yes you can substitute the evaporated milk with media crema or any other heavy cream Marianne, enjoy!

  4. Nancy

    Jul 06

    I love Mexican food. Never heard of Mexican cream and was reading on your page. U are so interesting.. Love that u explain this to us.. Thank you.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jul 08

      Thanks to you Nancy for following!

  5. Vicki O

    Oct 02

    We have Mexican Creame’ in our store. There’s sour cream and table cream. What’s the difference or which should I use?

    1. Pati Jinich

      Oct 26

      When I say Mexican crema, I am referring to the Mexican-style cream, that is thicker, saltier and tangier than sour cream.

  6. Delia

    Sep 20

    I recently went to a market that makes fresh Mexican crema and of course I had to buy some. But when I asked for a pound the clerk asked if I wanted with salt or without. I had no clue which to take as I’ve always bought it at my local market in a prepackaged container. Is there a difference in texture or is it as simple as one has salt the other no salt. When your recipes call for crema, which is your preference?

    1. Pati

      Sep 25

      ​Delia, this is the first time I hear of this option, but definitely go for the one with salt…

  7. Mary

    Mar 06

    I recently bought Mexican style sour cream brand called LALA and to me it smells and tastes kind of a musty taste. Is this how it is supposed to be? I thought on Patis program she says it is sweet and creamy. This is creamy but surely not sweet. Now I have to figure out how to use it.

    1. Pati

      Mar 10

      Hola Mary, it should be tangy, salty, and creamy. There are so many delicious recipes you can use it in. Here are a few:

  8. Fran @ G'day Souffle'

    Jan 21

    I recently posted a recipe for Esquites (Mexican Corn Salad)- using mayonnaise. Most recipe that I have researched use mayonnaise, however is it proper to use crema instead? Thank you.

    1. Pati

      Jan 30

      Yes, of course, many people add both!

  9. Yadi

    Jan 03

    Due to my husbands job we currently live in a place where Mexican products aren’t available at our neighborhood grocery stores and shipping from online places is not possible. My family misses the Mexican cream with and without salt and the cream salvadorena. Is there a way I can get the recipe? Please!

    1. Pati

      Jan 05

      I will try to post a recipe for this soon! =)

      1. patty

        May 05

        HI Patti

        Still waiting for that recipe. THANX!

        1. Pati

          May 06

          Oh I started working on my new cookbook….but it will be a while….

  10. Sandy

    Jun 06

    Hubby just picked some up somewhere, for once I’m thankful for the random things he brings home from the store. This stuff is awesome. We mixed about a teaspoon with 1/3 cup non-fat greek yogurt and it is a perfect substitute for sour cream. I am thinking I may add some agave or truvia to that mixture for a whipped cream substitute. And some almond flavor to the cream itself for my coffee! Super good stuff!!

    1. Pati

      Jun 08

      Love those ideas, Sandy!

  11. Denise Walker

    Mar 09

    I would like the thick cremá recipe please and thank you in advanced and by the way my husband Loves your show.

    1. Pati

      Mar 12

      That is great news! For Mexican cream, try to find it at your grocery store. Either that or any other Latin style cream. If you don’t find it, you can use heavy cream or sour cream, depending on the recipe.

  12. Thomas U.

    Jul 20

    I use it in many dishes..soups of all kinds..and specifically in spaghetti sauce…makes everything a little better 🙂

    1. Pati

      Jul 20


  13. Luis

    Jan 13

    Can you please leve the recipes so we can make then thank you

    1. Pati

      Jan 13

      Hi Luis, Let me know what recipes you are looking for, I will give you the links…

  14. John Smith

    Jan 01

    I substituted heavy cream in the Tequila Shrimp and it was fantabulous. Next time I am at the international market I’ll be getting Mexican cream. I really would like to try your Enchilada Verde recipe. It looks great!

  15. Denise

    Dec 31

    Hello Pati, I love your show and website!

    I am confused about Mexican Crema. I know that it is slightly sour, similar to creme fraiche, and I love it. I actually make it from scratch often, adding a little buttermilk to heavy cream and letting it sit out overnight.

    Is there a cream in Mexico that is NOT sour, like whipping cream in the US? And if so, what is it called?

    Thank you!


  16. Joan Wallace

    Dec 12

    Want to try your Tequila shrimp but cannot find Mexican Style Cream anywhere. I have found a mexican “table” cream. Would that be the same? Can I substitute heavy cream with some lemon juice?

    1. Pati Jinich

      Dec 18

      Hola Joan, You can substitute creme fraiche or heavy cream.

  17. Crystal

    May 03

    I was at a local Mexican grocery store and they had something called jocoque which was tangy and lightly salted too. Is it the same thing with a different name?

    1. Pati Jinich

      May 11

      Hola Crystal,
      Jocoque is not the same as Mexican cream, it is a bit thinner and more sour. Both are tangy and a little bit salty!

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