Whether you’ve heard of it before or not, media cream is an essential ingredient throughout many dishes in Mexican cuisine, including things such as stews, soups, and even sauces, which means that anyone planning on recreating some of their favorite Mexican dishes at home should always have some in their kitchen.
Made from a combination of cream and milk, it tends to have a slightly thinner texture than creams such as heavy cream.
However, it can also be somewhat tricky to find in stores, in which case, you’ll need to be able to find a suitable replacement so that you can still cook your favorite dishes.
In this guide, we’ll provide you with some of the best substitutions for media crema that you’ll be able to find near you.
What Is Media Crema?
Used throughout Mexican and other Latin American cuisines, media crema is an essential ingredient for many different dishes and sauces.
In English, its name literally translates to “table cream”, and is characterized by its tangy taste with a rich and silky texture, which is why it often draws comparisons to sour or heavy cream.
You’ll usually find this ingredient in the international aisle at the grocery store, where it’ll be in a small can.
This product differs from the other dairy products such as heavy cream and sour cream because of its fat content, which is 15 to 20% less than some of the other dairy products out there, making it a much healthier addition to your cooking.
Used as a garnish for enchiladas and tacos, as well as soups, media crema can also be used to make some desserts too, like flan, or tres leches cake.
If you are unable to find any media crema in a store near you then don’t panic, as there are plenty of things you can use to substitute it, without compromising on flavor.
Substitutes For Media Crema
Although it’s always best to try and use media crema where possible in your Mexican dishes, there are many other dairy products that you can use to substitute it, which should help to relieve you of any stress should you run out of it, or happen to forget it when shopping.
All of these products are fairly common, so you might just have them in your kitchen already!
1. Sour Cream
When it comes to versatile dairy products, sour cream is easily one of the most versatile of them all. This cream is characterized by its slightly tanger taste, as well as its perfectly creamy texture that makes it a great ingredient in both sweet and savory dishes.
Sour cream is used for many different things, such as sauces, dips, toppings, which means that you’ll easily be able to use it in place of media crema.
Plus, this cream tends to be much more widely available than media crema is, which means that you should have no issue finding it in your local grocery store should you need to use it instead.
A similarly easy to find dairy product, yogurt is another product that makes for an excellent media crema substitute should you have difficulty finding it in your local grocery store.
The only issue is, if you go into your local grocery store, you’re likely to be confronted with a ridiculous amount of different yogurts for you to choose from, including low fat versions, Greek yogurt, and even dairy-free options.
For the closest replacement to media crema, stick to using natural yogurt, which has a similar tangy taste and a nice creamy consistency.
The best thing about yogurt is that while it can easily be used in all of the same ways that media crema can be, you can also just eat it completely by itself, so you can be sure that there will be no wastage.
3. Creme Fraiche
For another excellent substitution for media crema, why not try creme fraiche instead?
The taste is somewhat similar to media crema, except being a cultured cream means that not only is the tanginess slightly more prominent, but that there is also a nutty undertone too.
Creme fraiche is actually closer to sour cream than it is to media crema, but creme fraiche has a much thicker texture as a result of its higher fat content.
This is something to be aware of when using creme fraiche to replace media crema, which has a significantly lower fat content, so you might want to hold back on the amount of creme fraiche you use.
As a general rule though, you’ll be able to use creme fraiche for all of the same dishes you would media crema, so as long as the additional fat content doesn’t bother you too much, it makes for a great replacement.
4. Half And Half Cream
Made using equal parts of both milk and light cream, half and half cream is arguably the closest replacement for media cream when it comes to trying to replicate its texture.
The cream itself has a looser, more liquid consistency, however unlike the slight tanginess of media crema, half and half cream has a sweet taste.
While this might discourage some people from using it as a substitute for media crema, the reality is that once you’ve incorporated it into your soups, stews, or other dishes, you probably won’t be able to notice the difference at all.
Half and half cream is a great choice of replacement for those who are looking for a cream with an even lower fat content, as it has a fat content between 10% to 18%.
You can replace your media crema with the exact same amount of half and half cream, although it might make the consistency of some sauces too thin, which you can fix by adding cornstarch.
5. Evaporated Milk
Our final suggestion for media crema substitutes is evaporated milk, which is a type of milk that has had as much as 60% of its water content evaporated through various processes, leaving behind a thick creamy liquid.
This milk has an extremely concentrated taste, and an almost velvet like texture that makes it a plausible replacement for media crema should the need arise.
It’s worth noting though that evaporated milk has a much higher fat content than media crema does, so it might be a replacement to avoid if you’re trying to follow a low fat diet.
Much like half and half cream, evaporated milk might make your sauces a little thinner than media crema does, which can easily be resolved with the addition of cornstarch.
The great thing about evaporated milk is that you should be able to find a can of it no matter where you are in the world, as it’s widely available, which means that you’ll be able to use it instead of media crema wherever you are.
Media crema or “table cream” is a unique ingredient that helps to create some delicious Mexican cuisine, but if you’re unable to find any near you, then you can easily substitute it with one of the options listed in our guide, good luck!