Best Authentic Mexican Shrimp Cocktail Recipe – Coctel de Camarones

Best Authentic Mexican Shrimp Cocktail Recipe - Coctel de Camarones

Discover the vibrant flavors of this Mexican-inspired shrimp cocktail, a perfect balance of tangy and sweet that will transport your taste buds south of the border!

This delightful Coctel de Camarones is a refreshing twist on the classic shrimp cocktail. It’s a popular appetizer in Mexico, featuring succulent shrimp in a zesty tomato-based sauce with a hint of citrus. Perfect for warm summer days or as a crowd-pleasing party starter!

Our version strikes the ideal balance between tart and sweet, using a combination of ketchup and tomato purée to create a more complex flavor profile. The addition of fresh lime juice, orange juice, and crisp white onion brings a burst of freshness to every bite.

Zesty Mexican Shrimp Cocktail (Coctel de Camarones) Recipe


  • 1 3/4 pounds shrimp, shelled and deveined (see notes)
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 6 tablespoons fresh juice from about 8 limes, divided, plus more as needed
  • 1 cup diced white onion (about 1/2 large onion)
  • 3/4 cup tomato purée
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems
  • 2 tablespoons fresh juice from 1 orange
  • 1 jalapeño or serrano pepper, stemmed, seeded, and finely diced
  • Saltines, for serving
  • Diced avocado, for garnish
  • Mexican-style hot sauce, such as Tapatío, for serving


  1. Start by giving your shrimp a flavor boost. In a large bowl, combine the shrimp with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and baking soda. Toss until evenly coated, then pop them in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. This quick brine will ensure plump, juicy shrimp.
  2. While the shrimp are chilling, let’s create our zesty sauce. In a medium bowl, mix together 4 tablespoons lime juice, diced onion, tomato purée, ketchup, chopped cilantro, orange juice, and diced jalapeño. This vibrant mixture is the heart of our coctel, bringing together tangy, sweet, and spicy notes.
  3. Now for the star of the show – cooking the shrimp! In a medium pot, combine 2 quarts cold water with the remaining 2 tablespoons lime juice and 2 tablespoons salt. Add your brined shrimp to this flavorful poaching liquid. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the temperature reaches 170°F (77°C) on an instant-read thermometer. This gentle cooking method ensures perfectly tender shrimp. Be careful not to let the temperature exceed 170°F.
  4. Once cooked, drain the shrimp carefully and give them a quick rinse under cold running water to stop the cooking process. After draining well, chop the shrimp into bite-sized 1/2-inch pieces. Gently fold the shrimp into your prepared sauce, ensuring each piece is well coated. Give it a taste and add more lime juice if desired – remember, we’re aiming for that perfect balance of flavors!


Don’t stress too much about deveining if your shrimp don’t have visible dark veins. A handy trick: you can often remove the veins with tweezers from the head end of the shrimp without having to slice them down the back. Of course, the traditional back-slicing method works well too.

The amount of lime juice needed may vary depending on the brands of tomato purée and ketchup you use. Trust your taste buds and adjust accordingly to achieve your ideal flavor balance.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
265 Calories
7g Fat
19g Carbs
32g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 265
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7g 9%
Saturated Fat 1g 7%
Cholesterol 279mg 93%
Sodium 1691mg 74%
Total Carbohydrate 19g 7%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Total Sugars 9g
Protein 32g
Vitamin C 18mg 88%
Calcium 146mg 11%
Iron 1mg 8%
Potassium 663mg 14%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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