This easy creamy 6-ingredient Smoky Red Pepper Crema is an incredible Mexican-inspired sauce recipe with only 10-minutes of hands-on prep! It is the perfect homemade condiment to serve alongside sliced vegetables, drizzle over a taco, mix into pasta salad, or even simply as a chip dip.
The best smoky red pepper crema dip!
Dips can seem intimidating, but I promise this super simple bright and flavorful red pepper dip is super easy to make, you will want to make it over and over again.
This red pepper crema is also sure to impress anyone you serve it to! Even if you're not a kitchen-wiz, this sauce is so easy to make, I promise you will look like a chef!
Why you'll love this smoky red pepper crema
- Only 6 ingredients - With 6 simple ingredients (plus salt & pepper), this dip doesn't require anything fancy!
- Only 10 minutes of prep time - This recipe essentially consists of roasting red peppers and garlic, and blending them with a few other ingredients. Most of the recipe time is spent in the oven, so you'll only need 10 minutes on hands-on prep work.
- Serves a crowd - This make-ahead sauce makes 2 ½ cups, so it's an amazing recipe to make a day or two in advance to serve alongside chopped carrots, celery, broccoli & cucumbers at your next family or friends dinner party.
- Versatile recipe - This recipe is easy to adjust with a few simple recipe swaps or additions! Make it spicy if you like, or leave it more mild as-is.
- The best smoky red pepper crema dip!
- Why you'll love this smoky red pepper crema
- Recommended tools for making this recipe
- How to make smoky red pepper crema
- Expert tips
- Recipe substitutions
- Recipe variations & add-ins
- What to serve with smoky red pepper crema
- Recipe FAQS
- Storing and Reheating
- Recipes you may love
- Easy Smoky Red Pepper Crema
- Questions & Reviews
Here are the simple ingredients needed to make this smooth and flavorful red pepper crema.
- Red bell peppers - Hence the title "red pepper crema"! Any nicely sized red bell peppers will work.
- Garlic - Fresh garlic is essential to give this sauce tons of flavor.
- Sour cream - Use dairy or non-dairy sour cream!
- Olive oil - I like to use extra virgin olive oil, but feel free to use a neutral oil if you prefer.
- White vinegar - Vinegar adds the perfect tanginess which compliments the savoriness & sweetness of the recipe.
- Smoked paprika - We use smoked paprika to give the sauce a mild smoky flavor.
- Salt & pepper - Salt and pepper are always important to amp up the flavor in any good recipe.
Find the full list of recipe ingredients and instructions in the recipe card found at the bottom of this post.
Recommended tools for making this recipe
- Measuring spoons
- Sheet pan
- Aluminum foil
- Bowl & plastic wrap
- Food processor or blender
How to make smoky red pepper crema
This is one of the easiest sauces you will ever make! Here are the step by step instructions of how to make a smoky red pepper crema perfect every time.
Step one: Place the garlic cloves (with their skins on) in piece of foil with 1 tablespoon olive oil). Wrap the foil around the garlic/oil like a pouch.
Step two: Place the garlic foil pouch onto a foiled-lined baking sheet. Add the red peppers to the baking sheet and coat them in 1 tablespoon oil.
Step three: Roast the red peppers & garlic pouch on the baking sheet at 400°F for 35-40 minutes until the peppers look charred and shriveled.
Step four: Immediately, transfer the roasted peppers to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let the peppers "steam" in the bowl for 20 minutes. This will help loosen the skin and soften the peppers even more.
Step five: Carefully, peel the skins off of the peppers and discard the skin. Discard the seeds from the inside of the peppers too.
Step six: Open the cooled foil pouch and squeeze the garlic out of their skins.
Step seven: Place the peeled & seeded peppers into a food processor, with the garlic, sour cream, white vinegar, smoked paprika, salt and pepper.
Step eight: Blend 2-3 minutes until smooth. Then, transfer to the fridge for 2 hours to set and thicken.
- Make sure peppers cook until charred - Every oven is different, so be sure to keep an eye on the roasting peppers and ensure they're lightly charred before removing from the oven.
- Allow the peppers to cool in a bowl covered with plastic wrap - This step is important to make it easier to peel the skins off the peppers & make the peppers soften even more so they're easy to blend.
- Chill the crema in the fridge for 2 hours before serving - This sauce is ideal eaten cold or room temperature, once its had time to sit, thicken and meld the flavors.
- Red peppers - If you want to skip the roasting pepper step, simply use a jar of roasted red peppers. I recommend rinsing the jarred red peppers under water and then patting dry with paper towel, since they are sitting in flavored liquid. Be sure to reduce the amount of vinegar and salt if using jarred red peppers since they can already have some flavor. Once blended, taste and add more vinegar or salt if needed.
- White vinegar - Swap the white vinegar for lemon juice or lime juice!
- Olive oil - Use any other oil you like such as avocado oil or another neutral oil.
- Sour cream - As mentioned earlier, you can use regular dairy sour cream or opt for a dairy free sour cream. I love using Forager brand of dairy-free sour cream in this recipe to make it vegan! You can also use Mexican sour cream if you prefer.
Recipe variations & add-ins
- Make it spicy - If you love spicy food, add a pinch of cayenne pepper to blender. Or you can even roast ½ a jalapeño in the garlic pouch and then peel it and add it to the food processor!
- Give it a kick - Feel free to add ¼ to ½ teaspoon of chili powder for an added punch of flavor.
What to serve with smoky red pepper crema
There are so many ways to use this smoky red pepper dip whether that be serving it with chopped vegetables, drizzling it over nachos, dipping corn tortilla chips into it, and more!
- Drizzle over your favorite taco dinner! Even serve this sauce spooned over my Loaded Plantain Tacos.
- Boil a pot of pasta, drain it, add roasted veggies and then drizzle in this perfect red pepper sauce.
- Add a bowl of this incredible red pepper dip to a stunning Crudité board/platter or charcuterie board.
- Instead of ketchup, serve this dip with your crispy french fries.
- Drizzle over roasted veggies!
- Drizzle over fish or chicken.
This red pepper cream condiment is typically made with red peppers, an acid (such as vinegar, lemon juice or lime juice), salt, pepper, oil, sour cream, and some spices (such as smoked paprika and/or chili powder).
For sure! I chose to use sour cream since it can be easier to find in most grocery stores. But, you can likely find it in many grocery stores in the refrigerated section.
There are varying answers about the exact ingredient list listed online, but it seems the general ingredient list consists of red bell pepper, sour cream, lemon juice, salt and smoked paprika.
They can typically last in the fridge for 2-3 weeks. Be sure that the red peppers are completely submerged in the jar liquid thought to prevent them from growing mold. If you see mold growing on the peppers at the top of the jar, discard the entire jar.
Storing and Reheating
You can store smoky red pepper crema in the fridge for 1 week.
There is no need to reheat this sauce since it is best served cold or room temperature. If you do really prefer it warm, heat it in a small saucepan over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, stirring often.
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Have you tried this recipe? Consider leaving a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating in the recipe card right below and/or a review in the comment section further down the page? Thanks for visiting!
Easy Smoky Red Pepper Crema
- 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic in their peel
- 3 red bell peppers
- ½ cup sour cream dairy or dairy-free version
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 ½ teaspoon Kosher salt Diamond Crystals brand
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with foil.
- Make a foil packet with 4 garlic cloves (skin still on) and drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil. Scrunch up the foil around the garlic so it is like a little pouch. Place onto the baking sheet.
- Place bell peppers onto the baking sheet and drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Use your hands to rub the peppers with the oil so they’re well coated.
- Roast in the center rack of the oven for 35-40 minutes. Immediately after cooking, place roasted pepper straight into a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap for 20 minutes to allow it to steam. You can open the foil pouch of garlic and allow it to cool.
- Peel the now-steamed red peppers, to remove any skin and discard the seeds from the inside.
- Squeeze the cooked garlic from its skin.
- Place the peeled peppers, garlic, sour cream, white vinegar, smoked paprika, salt and pepper into a food processor. Blend for 2-3 minutes until smooth and creamy.
- Place in the fridge to set for 2 hours so the crema will thicken.
- Serve with your favorite chopped vegetables or over fish or chicken!
- Each serving is based off of ¼ cup portions. The full recipe makes 2 ½ cups of crema.