If you're looking to take your meals to the next level, then you need to try our smoky red pepper crema recipe! This sauce is a game-changer, bringing together the perfect balance of sweetness and smokiness that will have you coming back for seconds (and maybe even thirds).
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Whether you're using it as a dip, a spread, or a topping, this sauce is sure to impress.
And the best part? It's super easy to make! It pairs perfectly with my pineapple pico de gallo recipe. So why settle for boring old meals when you can add some pizzazz with our smoky red pepper crema? Trust us, your taste buds will thank you.
📖Why This Recipe Works
First off, this easy recipe balances flavors it combines the smoky flavor of paprika with the sweetness of roasted red peppers and the tangy creaminess of sour cream. But the real hero is jarred peppers.
It can be a great way to use up an old bell pepper. But if I have to buy new I use jarred. Why? Because it is about 30% cheaper than buying fresh peppers and it takes way less time.
Plus you can save the oil from the peppers for making salad dressings and or frying eggs.
Roasted Red Peppers: You can use either jarred or freshly roasted red peppers for this recipe. If you choose to roast your own peppers, be sure to remove the skin and seeds before using them in the recipe.
Smoked Paprika: This is what gives the sauce its smoky flavor. If you don't have smoked paprika, you can use regular paprika or even chili powder for a slightly different flavor. But personally, I think it is worth buying the smoked paprika.
Sour Cream: This adds creaminess and tang to the sauce. You can use Greek yogurt as a substitute if you prefer. If you do this add a dollop of mayonnaise or a squeeze of lemon juice to get the tangy flavor crema is known for.
Other Spices: Garlic powder and onion powder add extra flavor to the sauce. And of course a little salt and fresh cracked black pepper.
See the recipe card for exact quantities.
If you want a general spicy flavor try adding cayenne. Start with a ½ teaspoon and add in ¼ teaspoon increments until you get to the desired level of heat.
If you want a Mexican red sauce type of flavor roast your own spicy peppers. You can use any mix like jalapeno peppers, poblano peppers, or even serranos. You can also add a dollop of chipotles in adobo sauce. Pair with a little lime juice and add ½ teaspoon of ground cumin.
I do not recommend adding hot sauce to make a spicy crema. I find the strong flavor tends to compete with the light smokiness of the paprika.
🍲How to Make Red Pepper Crema
If using jarred peppers be sure to fully drain them. Add all the ingredients except the salt and pepper to a high-speed blender or food processor. The blender will give you a smoother sauce.
Puree for 30 to 45 seconds or until the sauce is smooth and creamy.
How to Roast Your Own Red Peppers
To make your own roasted peppers cut the bell peppers in half. Remove the stem and seeds.
Rub with olive oil and bake face down until they are charred all over.
Allow to cool and remove the charred skin. Don't worry they will still of a delicious smoky flavor.
🥣 How to Use Red Pepper Sauce
Smoky red pepper crema is a versatile sauce that can be used in many ways. Here are a few ideas to use this creamy sauce:
- Use it as a delicious dip for sliced vegetables, tortilla chips or even taquitos, french fries, and chicken wings
- Spread it on a veggie sandwich
- Top grilled bavette steak or roasted vegetables with it
- Use it as a salad dressing for potato salad or pasta salad
- Use it as a warm pasta sauce
To use as a pasta sauce add to a pan and heat over low heat. Do not boil. Stir in cooked pasta and ½ cup of pasta water.
This recipe can be made in advance. it is great for meal prep, adding a little extra flavor to your meals.
Simply cover the container with a lid or place it in an airtight container and refrigerate it for up to 7 days. If you find that the crema has thickened up a bit after being refrigerated, don't worry – this is normal. Simply give it a stir before using it again, and it should return to its creamy consistency.
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💭 Frequently Asked Questions
You can thin the sauce down by adding a splash of heavy cream or whole milk.
The easiest way to thicken the sauce is to add an additional roasted pepper.
📖 Printable Recipe Card
Smoky Red Pepper Crema
- 2-3 red bell peppers
- Drain the jar of roasted red peppers and place them in a food processor or blender. Add the sour cream, smoked paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder.1 12-ounce jar of roasted red peppers, ½ cup sour cream, ½ teaspoon smoked paprika, ¼ teaspoon garlic powder, ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- Blend until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste.Salt and black pepper
- Transfer the crema to a serving bowl and serve immediately. Alternatively, you can cover or place in an airtight container and refrigerate the crema for up to 7 days.
Roasted Red Peppers (Oven Method)
- Preheat your oven to 400°F. Wash the peppers and pat them dry. Cut the peppers in half lengthwise and remove the stems, seeds, and membranes.2-3 red bell peppers
- Place the peppers, cut side down, on a baking sheet. Roast the peppers for about 20-30 minutes, or until the skins are blistered and charred in spots.
- Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the peppers cool for about 10 minutes. Once the peppers are cool enough to handle, use your fingers or a paring knife to remove the charred skin from the flesh of the pepper.
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