Crema De Leche

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Crema De Leche Or Thickened Cream Preparations

Thickened cream preparations are awesome to know how to make. They come together in a couple minutes, they’re simple in that there is almost never more than 2 or 3 ingredients, and they work just like cultured cream but taste even better.

Depending on the application I make thickened with either lemon juice or lime juice. I haven’t bought crema, sour cream or creme fraiche in years. When I know I am going to need it I pick up a quart of organic cream.

Technically, this is not the traditional method for making crema. The original ingredients for crema is similar to the ingredients for creme fraiche. Essentially heavy cream and buttermilk. 

I make it this way for a couple of reasons, the first being time. This recipe comes together and is ready to go in under a minute. Whereas, traditional preparations take hours to thicken up. The second reason I use this method is that I really like the subtle lime flavor that imparts into the cream. Another reason I prefer this method is that it is fairly easy to find organic cream and organic lemons and limes in the grocery store but finding organic crema or organic sour cream is near impossible, in many places.

I mentioned thickened cream preparations because this is not technically a cultured cream. In order for it to be cultured cream you need to use lactic acid bacteria not citric acid from limes and lemons.

Ingredients for crema: heavy cream, lime juice, and salt.

Ingredients for crema: heavy cream, lime juice, and salt.

Mexican crema in a measuring cup.

Combine all ingredients and stir until thickened.

Mexican crema in a measuring cup.Crema

Thickened Cream And Cultured Cream Recipes

Crema De Leche Or Crema

  • Yield: 1 cup
  • Prep Time: 2 minutes


  • 1 cup / 250 milliliters heavy cream
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon / 2.5 grams salt


  1. Combine all ingredients into a 2 cup measuring cup or bowl. Stir until thickened, about 30 seconds.
  2. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.


  1. This recipe produces a very thick cream. If you want a thinner cream use less acid, aka lime juice. So, the more acid present the thicker the cream, the less acid the thinner the cream.
  2. You can also use vinegar to thicken cream. For example, if I wanted a thickened cream for apple pie I might go with cider vinegar or cider vinegar and lemon, and possibly a bit of sugar.

This Is A Recipe For Cultured Crema Creme Fraiche Or Sour Cream

  • Yield: 1 cup
  • Prep Time: 2 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 to 7 minutes


  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon buttermilk


  1. Add the cream and buttermilk to a 1 quart pot. Stir to combine and heat gently to 85º F.
  2. Remove from heat and place in a warm spot in your kitchen. The mixture needs to stay between 60 and 85 degrees until thickened up.
  3. Then, stir gently and refrigerate until ready to use.


  1. Whether you choose whole buttermilk or low-fat buttermilk makes no difference, it's the bacteria in the buttermilk that you want.

Tags: crema de leche, creme fraiche recipe, easy creme fraiche, sour cream recipe, how to make sour cream