Best Smoky Red Pepper Crema Recipe You’ll Love

The smoky red pepper crema recipe has a rich, smoky flavor that goes great with various dishes. 

This red pepper crema recipe is a versatile condiment guaranteed to become your new favorite dipping sauce as soon as you try it. 

Just add it to your tacos, mix it into pasta, dip tortilla chips in it, or use it as a topping for mashed potatoes. You can also spread it on sandwiches for the perfect enjoyment. 

So, how do you come up with a homemade smoky red pepper crema recipe? Let’s go through this together. It will reveal everything you need about this recipe and how to make it. 

What is Smoky Red Crema Pepper?

Smoky red crema is a traditional Mexican sauce with red peppers or tomatoes, olive oil, and fresh herbs

It is an excellent accompaniment for chicken breast, fish, or almost any vegetarian main dish.

The recipe is rich, slightly sweet, super smoky, and a little spicy too. 

It could be served as a condiment to accompany all kinds of dishes like these air fryer tortilla chips and sweet potato tacos, as a dip for these vegan roasted potatoes. 

For this recipe, simple ingredients of roasted bell are blended together to achieve a savory flavor that you can spice up as much as you like. 

You can find these Traditional Mexican red sauces as a canned product in the Mexican aisle of your grocery store; making it fresh is always better. 

Lastly, it is healthier and allows you to tweak your sauce if you like it spicier, smokier, or sweeter.

How to Make Smoky Red Pepper Crema 

In this section, we will discuss the equipment, ingredients, and cooking instructions to make this recipe. 

Equipment Needed

  • Baking Sheet
  • Mixing Bowls
  • Food Processor

Ingredients Needed

This homemade red pepper crema sauce requires just a handful of simple ingredients you can find at most grocery stores or may already be in your kitchen.

  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup of sour cream
  • ¼ cup of mayo
  • 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • ½ teaspoon of  garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon of lime juice

Ingredients Note

  • Red Bell Peppers: This red pepper crema gives flavor to this ingredient and also adds a bit of sweetness to this sauce.
  • Olive Oil: Olive oil helps bring out the flavor of the red bell peppers as they roast.
  • Sour Cream: The sour cream adds to the traditional flavor of Mexican crema.
  • Mayo: Mayo, when combined with sour cream makes this recipe rich, creamy, and flavorful.
  • Smoked Paprika: Smoked paprika gives a smoky flavor with a little bit of spice and a little bit of sweetness.
  • Garlic Powder: Garlic powder will add an intense, concentrated garlic flavor to this smoky red pepper crema recipe.
  • Lime Juice: Lime juice is optional, but it adds a crisp, citrusy, and fresh flavor to this creamy sauce.

Ingredients Variations and Substitute

  • Smoky Red Pepper Crema: A good substitute for smoky red crema is to mix sour cream with smoked paprika. 

You can add something like cayenne pepper, black pepper, siracha sauce, or other hot sauces to spice it up or for a little extra flavor.

  • Spicy Smoky Red Crema: If you love spicy food, you can add more spicy flavors (chili powder, cayenne pepper, white pepper, or hot sauce) 
  • Lower Calorie Crema: For lower calorie crema, use low-fat or fat free sour cream and light mayo for this recipe.
  • Roasted Poblano Pepper Crema: Roasted poblano peppers are even less spicy than using fresh poblano.  

You can make this crema variation when you use the same recipe, but leave out the smoked paprika and red bell peppers and use poblano peppers instead.

  • Vegan Red Pepper Crema: You can use vegan sour cream and vegan mayo to make this sauce vegan the easy way.

Instructions on How to Make Smoky Red Pepper Crema 

Step 1:

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F / 190 C. Coat the bell peppers in oil and place on a baking sheet, then roast for 40 minutes. 
  • Turn it halfway to ensure even cooking.

Step 2: 

  • Remove from the oven and place the peppers into a bowl while still hot, and cover with plastic wrap.

Step 3:

  • Allow the bell peppers to cool for 10 to 15 minutes. 
  • Remove the stems, seeds, and charred skin from the bell peppers and cut them into slices.
  • Pat dry with a kitchen paper towel.

Step 4:

  • Place all ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth.
  • Adjust seasoning as needed, and serve immediately.

Cooking Information

  • Prep time: 20 mins
  • Cook time: 40 mins
  • Cooling time: 15 mins
  • Total time: 1 hr 15 mins

Expert Tips

  • Drying the roasted peppers with a kitchen towel helps to reduce the moisture content.
  • You can add some cayenne pepper to spice it up a little.
  • If your sauce is too thick, you can add a splash of water or vegetable stock to thin out the consistency. 

Also, you can change the consistency depending on what type of dish you’re using this for. 

  • Avoid letting water get into your crema while storing, or it will spoil faster.
  • You can also modify the amount of sour cream you add. You can add 1/4 cup instead of a half cup.
  • Set aside some of the peeled roasted bell peppers, chop them up, and fold them into the blended sauce you would like to make a chunkier or textured sauce
  • You can also add some chili peppers to the mixture if you want to make a spicy sauce. 

Nutritional Information per 1 Tablespoon

  • Calories: 35kcal 
  • Carbohydrates: 2g 
  • Protein: 0.4g 
  • Fat: 3g 
  • Saturated Fat: 1g 
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g 
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 1g 
  • Trans Fat: 0.002g 
  • Cholesterol: 5mg 
  • Sodium: 105mg 
  • Potassium: 46mg 
  • Fiber: 0.4g 
  • Sugar: 1g 

How to Serve Smoked Red Pepper Crema

You can serve Smoked red pepper crema as a dip or drizzle it over different kinds of meat, such as white fish, grilled chicken, and even steak. 

Also, it is a great way to add extra flavor to something simple, like a rice and beans dish.

You can mix it into pasta dishes, drizzle over mashed potatoes, and use it as a dip for roasted potatoes or other vegetables.

You can also add it to tacos, carnitas, fajitas, or any other Mexican or American dish. 

How to store Leftover Smoky Red Pepper Crema

Store smoky red pepper crema sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days. 

Freezing this sauce might change in texture and flavor when it’s defrosted or thawed.

So, you are advised to eat within five days. the fresh ingredients won’t taste the same after that.


Smoky red crema is a Mexican sauce made with a combination of roasted red peppers, tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, sour cream, and mayo. 

You can add any other seasonings, spices, and herbs that you like on top of this base recipe as you desire. This red pepper crema sauce has a rich, smoky flavor that goes great with a wide variety of dishes. 

It can be added to your tacos, mix it into pasta, dipped tortilla chips (or fries), used as a topping for mashed potatoes, or spread on sandwiches and used as a dip for roasted potatoes or other vegetables.

Store smoky red pepper crema sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days. 

Freezing this sauce might change in texture and flavor when it’s defrosted or thawed.

So, you are advised to eat within five days. the fresh ingredients won’t taste the same after that.

We hope you have fun trying this recipe. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the best substitute for Smoky Red Pepper Crema?

Red pepper hummus is probably the best substitute for the smoky red pepper crema. 

What is Hellofresh Smoky Red pepper crema made of?

The HelloFresh recipe for smoked red pepper crema sauce contains roasted red bell peppers, sour cream, smoked paprika, lemon juice, and salt. 

How Long Can You Keep Roasted Red Pepper?

You can store them inside the fridge for up to 5 days. You can also store them inside a marinade (or just oil) in an airtight jar if you want to keep them for longer. 

What is red pepper sauce made of?

Even though there are several versions of this recipe, it always features roasted red bell peppers, aromatics (shallot/garlic), stock (or broth), and Italian seasonings. 

However, some versions may include heavy cream, butter, parmesan, and fresh herbs, such as basil.

What are the benefits of red pepper on the body?

The recipe contains vitamin A and beta-carotene, which is a good support for your overall vision and eye health. 

Vitamin A also helps in supporting skin cells, healing wounds, and boosting white blood cell growth.

How do you thicken red pepper sauce?

If you want to change the thickness of the red pepper sauce, you can slowly simmer it on the stovetop over medium heat to reduce and thicken the sauce. 

Also, you can use starch, such as cornstarch, to thicken the sauce quickly without reducing it.

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