This smoky red pepper crema recipe is incredibly easy to make, very versatile, and loaded with savory, slightly sweet, and super smoky flavors. You can change the consistency to your liking and adjust the spiciness too.
Give it a try, and let me know what you think!
What Is In Smoky Red Pepper Crema?
Virtually every red pepper crema recipe contains the same 4 ingredients for the base. They include red peppers, olive oil, garlic, and salt.
Then, you can add whatever else you want. This can include aromatics, spices, broth or stock liquids, and seasonings like tomato paste, tahini, or hummus.
It is an incredibly versatile condiment that pairs well with a million dishes! This includes a topping or dressing for Crispy Chicken Salad, Roasted Crispy Potatoes, and even something like Spinach Feta Empanadas.
So, most of you will likely ask “What does red pepper crema taste like?” The answer is very versatile and also objective.
The smoky red pepper crema ingredients for this recipe are simple. But together, they create a slightly sweet, mildly spicy, and overall savory herbaceous flavor. Let’s look at what goes into this sauce.
Many people are unsure what is being referred to when a recipe says “red peppers.” Is it spicy peppers or bell peppers?
According to Wikipedia, red pepper includes any red-colored capsicum. That includes chili powder, crushed red chili flakes, cayenne pepper, bell peppers, and fresh chili peppers.
Personally, the way I was taught is that red pepper means bell pepper. Even the Hello Fresh smoky red pepper crema (which is where I got the inspiration from) uses red sweet bell peppers.
The sour cream will add a tangy flavor to the sauce. It will also add moisture that will help thin the consistency of the blended roasted red peppers.
You can adjust the amount you like to change the flavor profile slightly. You can also substitute the sour cream with plain yogurt, heavy cream, creme fraiche, or cream cheese.
For this smoked red pepper crema recipe, I’ve only added smoked paprika, garlic, salt, and pepper.
The smoked paprika will help add more smokiness on top of the roasted charred peppers. The garlic, salt, and pepper are must-add ingredients that help create a savory flavor.
Vegetable stock or broth
This ingredient is optional and adjustable depending on the consistency you want your sauce to have.
How To Make Smoky Red Pepper Crema And Variations
This red pepper crema recipe has two parts. The first is to roast the red bell peppers and the second is to make the sauce.
You can use store-bought jarred roasted red peppers if you’d like. Personally, I prefer making my own because it tends to have a smokier flavor. You can also smoke the red peppers in a smoker.
Once the peppers have been made and peeled, you can either blend all of them or create a textured sauce.
Making the actual sauce is easy. You can blend the ingredients together in a food processor, which will help leave some texture in a sauce. A blender will make it completely smooth.
This is also where you can adjust the consistency of your sauce with the vegetable stock.
Tips And Tricks To Make This Smoky Red Pepper Crema Recipe
- The biggest adjustment you can make to this recipe is its consistency. This isn’t a very thick sauce, but it’s also not runny. If you add more vegetable stock (and blend the sauce for longer), it will become runnier. But, you don’t have to add any vegetable stock at all.
- You can also adjust the amount of sour cream you add. I don’t recommend leaving it out completely. But you can add 1/4 cup instead of a half cup.
- A very runny red pepper crema sauce will be perfect for mixing into pasta, noodles, or use as a salad dressing.
- A thick sauce (without any stock) will be better as a dipping sauce, garnish, or general condiment.
- If you would like to make a chunkier or textured sauce, simply set aside some of the peeled roasted bell peppers. Chop these up and fold them into the blended sauce.
- Finally, you can add some chili peppers to the mixture if you want to make a spicy sauce. This is completely optional and adjustable to your preference.
What is a smoky red pepper crema substitute?
Red pepper hummus is probably the best substitute or alternative. However, nothing comes close to this smoky red pepper crema recipe. You can check out this alternatives list.
How long can you keep roasted red pepper?
If you are making roasted red peppers from scratch, you can easily store them inside the fridge for up to 5 days. If you want to keep them for longer, you can store them inside a marinade (or just oil) in an airtight jar.
Do you have to peel the roasted red peppers?
I highly recommend doing so. If they don’t peel easily, you haven’t roasted them for long enough. By peeling them, your sauce won’t have black specs inside and it won’t taste burnt (from the charred bits).
More Snacks Ideas
Quick Smoky Red Pepper Crema Recipe – A Tasty Versatile Sauce
For the smoky red bell peppers
- 3 medium red bell peppers
- 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp sea salt flakes
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
For the red pepper crema sauce
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 2-3 tbsp vegetable stock broth, to adjust the consistency, optional
- Sea salt flakes, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Fresh parsley or cilantro, for garnish, optional
Roast the red bell peppers
- Firstly, preheat your oven to 450ºF (230ºC). Line a baking sheet with non-stick baking paper or foil.
- Cut your bell peppers into quarters. Remove the seeds and stems from any section. You can also leave them as a whole and take the seeds after baking.
- Place the quartered pieces onto the lined baking sheet. The outside skin should face upwards.
- Drizzle the olive oil, salt, and black pepper over the bell peppers.
- Roast the bell peppers for roughly 15-20minutes or until their skins are charred.
Peel the roasted bell peppers
- Leave the roasted peppers to cool for 10 minutes at room temperature. Weigh out and prepare the remaining ingredients at this time.
- Once you can work with them, peel off the charred skin. It is very easy and it will slide off effortlessly.
Make the red pepper crema sauce
- Place the prepared roasted (peeled) red peppers into a food processor. Add the sour cream and spices. Do not add salt, pepper, or vegetable stock.
- Blend the ingredients together until you have a uniform mixture.
- Adjust the consistency of your red pepper crema sauce by adding some vegetable stock. You don't need to add any at all if you don't want to. See my tips section for this recipe.
- Finally, season your sauce with sea salt flakes and black pepper to taste. You can serve this sauce with some freshly chopped parsley or cilantro if you'd like.