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If you’re looking for a vegan Mexican crema recipe that’s rich, creamy, and tangy, you better buckle up.
Fair warning — you will soon be topping all your favorite dishes with this sauce.
Table of Contents
Once you try a taste of Mexican crema (vegan-style), you’re going to be guzzling it by the spoonful!
It’s perfect to top all your favorite Mexican antojitos with to tame down the spicy flavors.
What is it?
Mexican crema has a consistency slightly thinner than sour cream with the tartness of crème fraîche.
It usually contains four common ingredients: heavy cream, buttermilk, lime, and salt.
Is it vegan?
As you can tell, Mexican crema is not very vegan-friendly.
But since moving to Mexico, we’ve made it our goal to re-create Mexican staples into dairy and meat-free versions.
This one is made of cashews, which provide an ultra-creamy and pleasantly rich taste.
Curious why the vegan Mexican crema version is better than the original?
It’s not only easier to make, but it also requires zero dairy products (saving most of us from bloating and stomach issues).
This Mexican crema recipe is vegan, gluten-free, and oil-free. It’s perfect for all occasions, but it does come with a warning…
It may disappear quicker than anticipated.
Mexican crema is widely used to tame the spicy flavors of chile peppers, and it’s especially delicious on crispy antojitos like gorditas, sopes, enchiladas, and corundas.
You can also use it to top off meals like sopa de frijol, or sopa de lentejas.
It’s not just used for antojitos either. With a small tweak, it’s perfect for sweet recipes like fresas con crema.
And here’s a little secret for you…
A spoonful or two of Mexican crema is delicious when making guacamole to add a little extra flavor and richness (you’ll thank us later).
Whatever way you choose to use Mexican crema, we know it’s going to become a staple in your home!
🍲 Key ingredients
For a complete ingredient list and step-by-step guide, scroll down to our recipe card.
Taste: cashews have a rich, nutty flavor. When blended, they transform into the creeeeamiest texture, which is perfect to replace dairy. We love cashews.
Health: cashews help your brain, bones, and energy production centers thanks to their copper, magnesium, and manganese content. They also contain heart-healthy fats that have shown to decrease LDL cholesterol (the bad kind).
Taste: acidic, tangy, and slightly sweet. Yup, that’s lime juice! We wanted to keep this Mexican crema recipe as close to the original version as possible, which is achieved with lime (obviously).
Health: in such a small package, limes are full of vitamin C, antioxidants, and many other nutrients. Squeeze lime into or on anything to enjoy a blast of vitamins and minerals.
Taste: one of the five universally accepted flavor profiles. It would be hard to describe salt any other way than “salty”. In any case, it’s used in cooking to enhance taste and bring out natural flavors.
Health: did you know salt is essential for our bodies to function? It helps our nerves work properly and allows our muscles to contract (sounds pretty important). Some people aren’t affected by sodium, while others may develop high blood pressure and bloating. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting salt to 2300mg per day.
If you have questions about this vegan Mexican crema recipe, don’t forget to check out our FAQ section at the bottom of this post.
Step 1: it’s very important to soak your cashews overnight, especially if you don’t own a high-speed blender. You’ll know they’re ready when you can easily split them in half (like butter). Once your cashews are nice and soft, drain them and add everything to your blender.
Step 2: blend your sauce on high until the cashews are smooth. Be patient! This process can take anywhere from 3-10 minutes depending on your blender. Make sure you stop and scrape down the sides a few times to catch all the little cashews bits.
Step 3: if the crema is a bit thick for your liking, add in more water a tablespoon at a time until you achieve your preferred consistency. Serve your cashew crema over sopes, tacos, spaghetti, soup, rice dishes, etc.
Fridge: vegan Mexican crema will keep in the fridge for up to 4-6 days. We usually keep ours in a mason jar with an airtight lid.
Freezer: if you go through this sauce slowly, try freezing it for up to 6 months! Just make sure you store it in an airtight container or freezer-safe bag.
Thaw: Once you take the Mexican crema out of your freezer, thaw it in the fridge overnight. The next day, stir or quickly re-blend it, and bam! Good to go.
💭 Pro tips
Time to share our tips and tricks we learned while perfecting this recipe for you:
- Allow the cashews to soak for the full 12 hours. If you don’t have time to leave them overnight, soak them for 1-2 hours in boiling water.
- Bulk stores usually have better prices for broken cashew pieces and halves, which work equally as well in sauces.
- Start slow and work your way up with the water. You can always add more, but you can’t take it away!
- If money or calories are important, measure out your servings to avoid going overboard.
🍴 Tasting notes
We are head-over-heels for this Mexican crema, and we know you will be too. It’s:
If you try our vegan Mexican crema recipe, please rate it and leave us a comment below! Want to stay up-to-date with new recipes? Subscribe to our newsletter or connect with Broke Bank Vegan on social media. Happy eating!
Vegan Mexican Crema
- High-speed blender
- Mason jar
- Small bowl
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked ($1.72)
- ¾ cup water ($0.01)
- 1 ½ tbsp lime juice ($0.09)
- ½ tsp salt ($0.01)
- ⅛ tsp onion powder ($0.01)
- To begin, soak the cashews in room temperature water for about 12 hours, or overnight (they should be very soft and split easily). After they've soaked, drain the cashews and place in a blender with the water, lime juice, salt, and onion powder.
- Blend on high until completely smooth, which takes anywhere from 3-10 minutes depending on your blender. Make sure to stop and scrape down the sides of your blender a few times. If it's too thick for your liking, add more water in 1-2 tbsp at a time (it will thicken up in the fridge).
- Serve this crema over sopes, tacos, soups, burritos, rice dishes, etc. Transfer to an airtight container or jar for storage.
- If you don’t have onion powder, don’t worry! It’s not 100% necessary, but it does give the recipe a rich, well-rounded flavor.
- Optional ingredients are not reflected in the price or calories of our recipes.
- We calculate nutritional information for our recipes with Cronometer.
- Recipe cost calculations are based on ingredients local to us and may vary from recipe-to-recipe.
- All prices are in USD.
♻️ Similar recipes
For more tasty dips and dressings, check out our:
- Avocado cream sauce to swap out cashews for this buttery-smooth fruit.
- Chamoy for a sweet, tangy, spicy, and salty sauce to have with fruit, drinks, and more!
- Salsa roja for a simple Mexican staple you need to master to level up all your favorite foods.
- Salsa verde for a tart, spicy, and tangy sauce to put on all your favorite Mexican dishes.
You can use a basic cashew cream sauce (cashews and water), or check out our spicy chili aioli. For non-vegans, the closest thing to Mexican crema is crème fraîche.
You can try making this recipe with almonds, but you won’t be able to achieve as smooth a consistency as with cashews.
Yes, this recipe contains no oil. It’s just cashews, water, lime, salt, and onion powder!
Yes, this Mexican crema is gluten-free.
This crema is delicious! My only regret is that I didn’t make a double batch. I have sofrito black beans just waiting for a “drizzle,” haha, of this stuff on top. I’ll use it constantly! So many thanks for the recipe.
That sounds like a delicious combo! We’re really happy you enjoyed the recipe! Thanks so much for leaving a comment 🙂
How long will this last in the fridge? BTW. Just made this, and it’s so good! I let the nuts soak in boiling water for an hour, and it did well in my vitamix. Tastes like the crema I buy from the Mexican grocery store.
We’re so glad you like it! Yes, you can get away with much less soak time when you have a high-speed blender (so nice!). It will keep in your fridge for at least 4-6 days, but we find ours usually lasts longer. Hope that helps!
Your video shows coconut oil blended into the cashews but your recipe doesn’t include coconut oil. I’m planning to omit it and hopefully it will be delicious.
Wow, the coconut oil is 100% not supposed to be included in this recipe! Thank you for catching that mistake. It will definitely taste delicious without it as it shouldn’t even be in there! We will post an updated video soon.
👍😋 and indeed it does taste great!
Very nice, thanks for sharing.
Of course! Thanks for the comment!
When you unthaw the sauce from the freezer, can you refreeze it?
Yes, that should be fine to refreeze it.
I made this crema to add to an enchilada sauce recipe. The final sauce was delicious and creamy. Used the crema as a garnish also.
That sounds incredible! We’re so glad you enjoyed the recipe!