Chipotle Lime Crema

By Ann Fulton

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Fashioned after a friend’s recipe for lime crema, which she uses as an awesome finishing touch on her chili, this easy sauce adds the smoky heat of a chipotle pepper.  The spiced-up version is perfect for chili and most anything based on south-of-the-border flavors.

I use this versatile condiment on a couple of recipes that are coming very soon.  Because its uses are many, I wanted to share it as its own unique recipe.   Reach for it anytime you want to add a punch of flavor.  Though chipotles are spicy, the sour cream tames the heat and the amount of pepper can be adjusted to personal preference.

Use it on chicken, fish, chili… it also makes a super tasty dip for sweet potato fries!


Chipotle Lime Crema
I have made this versatile sauce with Greek yogurt in place of the sour cream. Sour cream is my first choice, but for a healthier, protein-rich option, Greek yogurt works extremely well.

Yields 1+ cup.
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce plus 1 teaspoon of sauce (see notes* for details and substitution option)
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice plus the zest of 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  1. Blend all of the ingredients in a jar with an immersion blender or using a regular blender or food processor. Scrape down the sides, as needed, blending until the mixture is smooth. (If you’d like to cut this recipe in half, I recommend not using a regular blender or food processor because the smaller portion is almost not enough to catch in the blending mechanism and fully blend. As an option, mince the garlic and chipotle by hand. Wear rubber gloves or wash your hands immediately after handling the pepper.)
  2. The crema may be prepared in advance and refrigerated, where it will keep for 5 to 7 days.
  • The lime will be easier to zest when cold but will be easier to juice at room temperature. Once zested, you may warm the lime in the microwave for 20 seconds if you have trouble squeezing a full two tablespoons from the cold lime.
  • * I have used chipotle chili powder as a quick substitute for the chipotle pepper in adobo sauce. In this case, I recommend starting with 1/2 teaspoon and adding more to taste.
  • * Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce are jalapeño peppers that have been smoked and canned in a red sauce. Small cans (often 7-ounce) can be found in the international aisle of most large grocery stores. Freeze leftover chipotle peppers individually with some of the sauce in an ice cube tray or in foil cupcake liners. Once frozen, transfer to a zip-top bag for future use. If gluten-free, make sure to check the can of chipotles in adobo to make certain it does not contain wheat.
  • In terms of spiciness, one chipotle pepper puts this sauce in the medium-hot range. If you think that may be too spicy, start with half a pepper. Once the mixture is fully blended, taste and adjust to preference, adding sauce and/or additional pepper as desired. (Most of the heat is in the actual pepper as that is where the seeds are.) If you prefer more spice than the one pepper called for, feel free to add another chipotle pepper and/or more sauce. For more lime flavor, add more zest. For more tang from the lime, add an extra squeeze of juice, and so on.
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The Fountain Avenue Kitchen
Chipotle Turkey Lentil Chili

For another healthy, satisfying way to enjoy the smoky flavor of chipotle chili peppers, you may wish to try Chipotle Turkey Lentil Chili…and a dollop of the crema would be a delightful finishing touch!

Chipotle Lime Crema

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  1. Natasha

    Unbelievably delicious and easy to make-thank you so much! Made it to pair with pulled pork nachos (gluten free) & everyone loved it!!

  2. Cheryl

    This is the best tasting dipping sauce. Excellent combination of citrus, sweetness and heat. I did not alter the recipe at all. I made baked zucchini cheese fritters and dipped them in this sauce. This sauce would be good on hamburgers, seafood, etc. Thank you.

    1. Ann Post author

      Terrific news, Cheryl! I’m delighted this was a hit. The baked zucchini cheese fritters you served it with sound pretty fabulous, too!

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  4. Trudy

    I’m thinking Sunday BBQ with corn on the cob! Leftovers of both on a salad with black beans and your crema as dressing. Thanks for two dinner ideas!
    Re: Kids and Cooking I have raised 4 boys who are fabulous cooks and their wives appreciate it/me. Sometimes you have to MAKE them, whether they show interest or not. Have them help you so you can teach them the basics: chopping, browning, steaming, measuring and where you keep stuff (pots/pans, spices, tools, etc). Then remain nearby but busy (reading, computer work, paying bills) so that you are near for questions but not hovering and critizing. I’m guessing your expertise might be a bit intimidating!
    Then assign them an easy meal to make, like sloppy joes, pot roast, etc. Then THEY will feel that pride and joy from sitting down to a family meal they prepared.
    PS You have to say YUM no matter what 😉
    HINT I learned from my mother to clean up after them in the beginning. Good luck.

    1. Ann

      I’m so glad you will be trying and think your plan for round two sounds perfect! Thank you also for your insight on kids and cooking. The fact that your four boys all enjoy cooking is a credit to you and an inspiration to me!

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  6. Mary Lou Keller

    This sounds fabulous and so EASY! I have seen the chipotle lime crema on restaurant menus of late, so I will have to make some of this. YUM!