Smoky red pepper crema is the creamy condiment you didn’t know you were missing. Give simple burgers, tacos, chips, and veggies some masterpiece energy with a pop of rich flavor!
One of my favorite parts of cooking is making simple meals really special without using tons of expensive ingredients or adding lots of steps. Sometimes you’re craving really good food but need to get it on the table without too much time or fuss. Smoky red pepper crema tastes amazing and uses ingredients that are probably in your pantry already.
We love Mexican and Tex-Mex recipes, and this crema recipe is an absolute winner. It’s an easy and unique dip for chips, veggies, and other appetizers like air fryer stuffed mushrooms.
It is also amazing for tacos and taco salad or as a smear on burgers or sandwiches. I will be honest — I was completely unprepared for how good this is on roasted sweet potatoes!
Red pepper crema is relatively mild, but if you like it spicy, it is easy to adjust to your family’s preferences. When we have friends over, I often split the recipe into a smoky version and a spicy version so everyone is happy!
How to Make Smoky Red Pepper Crema
A full printable version of this recipe with ingredient measurements is available at the bottom of this post.
STEP ONE: Place roasted red peppers, Mexican crema, sour cream, olive oil, paprika, salt, and garlic powder in the bowl of a food processor.
STEP TWO: Pulse until creamy and enjoy!
What to Serve With Red Pepper Crema
- Impossible Burger in the Air Fryer
- Air Fryer Tortilla Chips
- Flautas in the Air Fryer
- Taco Salad
- Ninja Foodi Chili
- Chicken Fajita Wrap
- Mexican Air Fryer Sweet Potatoes
Variations for Smoky Red Pepper Crema
- Turn up the heat! Add a pinch of spicy cayenne pepper or a dash of hot sauce to your smoky red pepper crema.
- Brighten the flavor. Add a handful of cilantro and juice from 1 lime. I especially love this version on fish tacos!
- Adjust the consistency. To make it thicker, skip the Mexican crema and replace it with all sour cream. For a thinner red pepper crema, skip the sour cream and use all Mexican crema.
- Want a smokier flavor? Try ground chipotle chili pepper in your crema.
- Add fresh garlic. The pungent, spicy flavors pair perfectly with smoky red pepper crema. Simply toss a clove or two into the food processor with the other ingredients. Just be sure to start with a little — you can always add more if needed.
Storing Leftover Red Pepper Crema
Store this smoky sauce in a mason jar or airtight container and remove just as much as you need each time.
It will keep in the refrigerator for 4-5 days when kept tightly sealed. This also gives you a great make-ahead option for party planning — just give the sauce a good stir before serving.
Unfortunately, smoky red pepper crema cannot be frozen. Dairy tends to separate when frozen and then thawed, which means the texture would be too unpleasant to eat.
What is Smoky Red Pepper Crema Made Of?
This Mexican-inspired condiment is made from roasted red bell peppers, smoked paprika, Mexican crema, sour cream, a little oil, and a few spices.
We keep it easy by using a jar of roasted red peppers from the pantry, but you can just as easily use fresh red bell peppers. Roast them in the oven until they blister, then remove the skin before adding them to the food processor.
What is the Closest Thing to Mexican Crema?
Creme fraiche is close to Mexican crema, only slightly thicker.
Thin it with a little water or lime juice if that is all you can find at your local store. If neither are available, you can make red pepper crema with sour cream.
Where Do I Find Mexican Crema?
Mexican crema is the only ingredient in this red pepper crema recipe you might not have regularly rotating through your pantry.
It is available in the refrigerated section of most grocery stores or near the prepared queso. And you’re guaranteed to find it in a Mexican or Latin American market!
Other Sauces and Dips You’ll Love:
- Tzatziki Sauce with Sour Cream
- Avocado Crema
- Cocktail Sauce without Horseradish
- Lemon Herb Tahini
- Honey Buffalo Sauce
- Yogurt Fruit Dip
- Cool Whip Fruit Dip
- 1 jar (12 ounces) roasted red peppers, drained
- ¼ cup mexican crema (see notes)
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- Place all of the ingredients (roasted red peppers, mexican crema, sour cream, olive oil, paprika, salta, and garlic powder) in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until your desired consistency.
- This crema can be used as a dip with chips, as a topping for tacos, or the dressing on a salad. Enjoy as desired.
You can use creme fraiche with a little lime juice OR just a little more sour cream in place of Mexican crema if you cannot find it at your local grocery store.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 277Total Fat: 27gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 42mgSodium: 482mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 1gSugar: 5gProtein: 2g
This nutrition information is based on the exact products I used in this recipe. Brands and sizes of products could alter exact nutrition and should always be calculated independently.