A drizzle of vegan crema is the special extra touch to your Mexican favorite dishes. This dairy free, nut free and soy free Mexican vegan sour cream recipe needs just 5 ingredients and it’s incredibly easy to make.
What is Mexican Crema
Crema or crema fresca is Mexico’s equivalent of France’s crème fraîche and Eastern Europe’s smetana.
These are all are types of “sour” cream but without the same tartness of American-style sour cream.
In a pinch you could interchange them, but if you’re looking for that extra tartness of the American version you won’t find these as strong, and so the American kind may not suit all recipes.
Types of Mexican Crema
If you’ve ever been in a Mexican food store chances are you’ve seen crema Mexicana, crema fresca and crema agria.
The difference between these Mexican cremas is in the way they are produced, and the level of tartness they each have.
Just crema Mexicana and fresca tend to be on the milder more neutral taste but still have a tartness to them, and as for the agria it’s more like American sour cream.
Mexican Vegan Crema and Vegan Sour Cream
You’ll notice in the recipe that I’ve given you two options for this crema recipe.
The first option is for “sour” cream, which is made tart by simply adding lime juice to get that slight tartness of sour cream.
The second option is for “neutral” crema, which isn’t tart and can be used for desserts or recipes where you don’t want that slight tartness.
You could prepare the recipe then separate half before adding the lime juice and have two different creams to use each version for your different needs!
How to Make Vegan Crema at Home
While it’s easy to go out and buy vegan crema alternatives, making it at home is quite easy. An added benefit is that you’ll be sure no strange ingredients went into it.
Almond Vegan Sour Cream
The magical main ingredient used to make this crema is almonds.
Yes, almonds, isn’t that crazy?!
Some people like to use cashews but those aren’t as easy to find raw and unsalted, plus they’re a lot more expensive than almonds.
Blanching The Almonds
Blanching means to quickly submerge something in hot liquid, you’re not cooking it nor killing off vital vitamins and nutrients. In the case of these almonds all we’re doing it helping to release the skin for peeling.
You could use store bought blanched almonds but I highly recommend blanching them yourself so you can insure optimum freshness of the almonds.
Watch my video on how to easily and quickly blanch almonds here.
Blending The Ingredients
Once you’ve blanched the almonds it’s really just a matter of gathering the ingredients to blend them before moving on to the third step.
The other 4 ingredients needed in this 5 ingredient vegan sour cream recipe are: water, corn starch, lime juice and a little bit of salt.
(Add lime juice at the end, if using.)
Everything is placed in the blender and pureed until a smooth texture is achieved.
Don’t Toss Out The Almond Pulp
Make sure you save all of the almond pulp from this recipe. I use it to make a delicious vegan almond “cheese”.
The cheese can be made and used like a dairy-free cheese spread or a vegan cotija alternative.
Get the recipe by going to the page here.
Cooking The Crema
Once everything is blended the vegan crema needs to be cooked in a large pan.
This step is done to help thicken it up and give the mixture that thicker and creamy smooth texture of regular crema.
This step is probably the most involved because you’ll have to keep stirring to prevent bubbling over and burning of the crema.
The last step, once the desired consistency has been achieved, is to remove the pan from the heat and mix in the lime juice if you’re wanting to make this a sour cream or crema agria. Add salt as desired and give the crema a taste test.
Next pour it into a container and allowed to cool down.
Once it has come to room temperature the crema may be stored in the refrigerator to use cold later or to storage the cream.
How Long Will Vegan Crema Keep
This crema will last in your refrigerator for about 5 to 7 days or longer if stored covered and in a cold refrigerator. Well, that is if you don’t eat it all before then!
Ways to Use Vegan Crema
- Espaguetti Verde or Creamy Poblano Pepper Pasta
- Rajas con Crema or Poblano Pepper Strips in Cream Sauce
- Top desserts with the less tart crema
- Use it on Esquites
- Top Tortas de Milanesa
- Tinga Tostadas
- Enchildas or Enfrijoladas
Easy to Make Mexican Vegan Sour Crema Recipe
This recipe is quite simple, but I urge you to watch the guided video and read through the recipe and notes before testing it out yourselves.
There are a few important tips that will help your first vegan crema be a smashing success!
Vegan Crema | Vegan Sour Cream
- spatula or spoon
- glass container with lid for storing
- Soak the almonds overnight or for 8 hours until they plump up and become softer, drain before using.
- One by one being removing the skin off of all the almonds. Place the almonds in the blender, half the salt, and 1/2 cup of water and blend for a couple of minutes. Add all the cornstarch, the remaining water and blend until completely smooth. Place a colander over a small bowl and pour the mixture into and strain into the bowl. Squeeze out as much water from the remaining pulp and set the pulp aside to make my almond cheese.
- Pour the strained liquid into a large deep pan and over medium heat cook the mixture until it thickens. This will take about 10 minutes. It's very important that you keep stirring the whole time to prevent it burning or bubbling over. As it cooks you'll notice that little by little the cream begins to form as the mixture thickens. You'll know that the crema is ready when it has a thick creamy consistency. When ready, remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes while you keep stirring it.
- Once allowed to cool slightly, little by little add freshly squeezed lime juice and salt to the crema. Stir until well combined, allow to sit a couple of minutes, then taste and if needed add a bit more lime juice and/or salt until you get the tartness you're happy with.
- Pour into a container and if serving it right away allow to cool a bit more, otherwise store in the fridge covered for up to 7 days. Enjoy it over all of your favorite Mexican dishes, or as desired.
To Make a Neutral Crema:
- If you want a more neutral tasting crema you can simply omit the lime juice and additional salt. Let cool completely before storing.
What Does Vegan Crema Taste Like
The result is a creamy, thick texture that spreads on smoothly.
The taste, well it’s insane how much like regular dairy this crema tastes. It doesn’t have a strong almond or almond milk taste.
This crema makes the best non-dairy sour cream substitute I have tasted thus far!
Thank you amigos for stopping by, I really hope you give this crema a try sometime. Have a beautiful day!!