Crema vs Sour Cream: What’s the Difference?

Published on July 19, 2023

While they may appear similar at first glance, sour cream and crema possess distinct flavours, textures, and culinary roles. In this blog post, we’ll uncover the differences between these two delectable dairy products and explore their significance in Mexican culinary traditions.

The Basics

Sour cream is a dairy product made by fermenting regular cream with lactic acid bacteria. The fermentation process lends it a tangy flavour and a rich, thick consistency. On the other hand, crema, often referred to as Mexican crema or crema Mexicana, is a Mexican-style cream with a slightly sweeter and milder taste compared to sour cream. It is typically made by fermenting a combination of heavy cream and buttermilk.

Sour cream has a thicker and denser consistency, often described as rich and velvety. Its thickness allows it to hold its shape when dolloped on dishes. Crema, on the other hand, has a thinner and more pourable consistency. It drizzles smoothly and effortlessly, adding a creamy touch without overwhelming the dish.

Culinary Uses

Both sour cream and crema have essential roles in Mexican cuisine, enhancing dishes with their creamy goodness. Sour cream is commonly used as a condiment, adding a tangy creaminess to tacos, quesadillas, and nachos. It can also be incorporated into dips, dressings, and baked goods. Crema, with its milder taste, is often drizzled over dishes to provide a smooth and creamy finish. It adds a touch of richness to salsas, soups, and stews, and is a popular topping for tacos al pastor and grilled corn.

Sour cream and crema, although similar in appearance, bring distinct flavours, textures, and culinary nuances to Mexican cuisine. So, the next time you’re visiting a Quesada near you, be sure to top your meal with tangy sour cream or our amazing house-made Cilantro Lime Sour Cream!