Cóctel de Camarones (Mexican Shrimp Cocktail)

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This delicious Cóctel de Camarones is the Mexican version of shrimp cocktail with a delicious tomato-based sauce, cucumbers, onions, lime juice, cilantro, and fresh shrimp.

230 CAL 16g CARBS 1g FAT 42g PROTEIN
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The perfect balance of tangy, spicy, and refreshing, this Cóctel de Camarones (Mexican Shrimp Cocktail) recipe makes the ultimate snack or appetizer. Made with flavorful ingredients like shrimp, lime juice, clamato juice, jalapeno, and cilantro, this zesty dish is guaranteed to be a crowd-pleaser.

The best way I can describe this dish is as a cross between an American shrimp cocktail, salad, and salsa. It’s got the fresh and tangy flavors of a shrimp cocktail with tons of veggies packed into a flavorful tomato sauce. It’s seriously delicious and SO perfect for the summertime. It’s similar to a Mexican style Fish Ceviche or Shrimp Ceviche but with more tomato flavor.

When I made this dish for the first time, I was blown away by how incredibly flavorful it was. The combination of the Clamato juice, ketchup, and lime juice as the base may seem a little strange but it works. Not only does it work, but it’s amazing.

For added flair at parties and barbecues, I love serving this dish in margarita glasses. It makes for an appetizer that is both eye-catching and delicious.

If you’re looking for a dish that’s easy to make, healthy, and crazy flavorful, you’ve come to the right place. Regardless of whether you serve this dish to your kids as an afternoon snack or to your friends at your next dinner party, it’s going to be a hit.

We also love making these classic Shrimp Tacos, Camarones RancherosShrimp Aguachile, and Camarones al Mojo de Ajo when we are craving Mexican-inspired shrimp recipes.

Mexican coctel de camarones with shrimp tossed in tomato sauce with cilantro, cucumbers, and onions.

What is Cóctel de Camarones?

Cóctel de Camarones, also known as Mexican Shrimp Cocktail, is the Mexican version of a shrimp cocktail. It’s similar to the American shrimp cocktail in that it involves shrimp, ketchup-based sauce, and acidity. Whereas the version we’re familiar with in the United States consists of steamed shrimp that gets dipped in cocktail sauce, the Mexican version is served with everything mixed up together.

Aside from the serving style, the two dishes also differ in terms of heat. Cóctel de Camarones gets its heat from jalapenos, rather than horseradish like in the American version of shrimp cocktail. I love both versions, but Mexican Shrimp Cocktail makes for a more show-stopping presentation at parties. It’s always fun to spice things up!

Key Ingredients

The key ingredients you will need for this vibrant dish include:

  • Shrimp: You’ll want to use cooked shrimp that is peeled and deveined for this recipe. You can buy it fresh or frozen, just defrost the frozen shrimp first.
  • Lime juice: The acidity in the lime juice brightens up the rest of the ingredients in the dish.
  • Clamato juice: This ingredient is a key component of Cóctel de Camarones. You can make your own, but I prefer to keep things simple and buy the store-bought kind.If you can’t find clamato juice, you can simply mix tomato juice and a splash of clam juice.
  • Ketchup: When mixed with the clamato juice and lime juice, this creates the base sauce for our tasty dish.
  • Veggies: We use a combination of diced white onions, cucumbers, and tomatoes in this recipe.
  • Cilantro: Fresh cilantro adds a ton of vibrant flavor that pairs beautifully with the rest of the ingredients in the dish.
  • Jalapeno: While shrimp cocktails you’ve had before probably used horseradish for heat, Mexican Shrimp Cocktail uses jalapeno. For even more heat, you can add a dash of hot sauce as well.

Serving Ideas and Substitutions

These are some of my favorite serving styles and substitutions for this dish:

  • This dish can be served on its own in a nice glass, on top of tostadas, or with tortilla chips or saltine crackers.
  • I like to garnish with lime wedges and fresh cilantro for a really nice pop of color and added flavor. It's also delicious with a dollop of this creamy shrimp taco sauce.
  • To add a creamy component, you can add avocado chunks just before serving the dish.
  • If you’re a big spicy food fan, you could also garnish with jalapeno slices.
  • If you can’t find clamato juice at the store, you can sub this out for V-8.
  • To add more heat to the dish, you can add your favorite hot sauce to taste. For a mild dish, try swapping out the jalapeno for diced bell pepper.
  • If you don’t have fresh garlic on hand, you can swap this out for garlic powder or leave out the garlic altogether.

How to Store Mexican Shrimp Cocktail

This dish can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2-3 days. I wouldn’t store it beyond that, as the acidity in the lime juice can break down the other ingredients and cause them to get mushy after a while. For the same reason, I wouldn’t recommend storing this dish in the freezer.

Mexican shrimp cocktail served in a white bowl with shrimp in a Mexican tomato sauce with onions, cucumbers, and cilantro.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below you will find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about this delicious dish:

Can you freeze this dish?

No. Over time, the lime juice will break down the proteins in the shrimp and cause it to get mushy. Veggies like tomatoes and cucumbers also have high contents of water, so they’ll end up getting mushy too. I highly recommend eating this dish while it’s fresh!

What is the difference between an American shrimp cocktail and a Mexican shrimp cocktail?

There are several differences between the two, but the main ones are the serving style and the type of heat used. Mexican Shrimp Cocktail combines everything together, rather than keeping the shrimp separate from the sauce. It also uses jalapenos for heat instead of horseradish, like in the American version of shrimp cocktail.

What can I use instead of jalapenos?

If you prefer mild flavors, you can use a diced bell pepper instead of jalapenos. On the other hand, if you want the dish to be spicier, then try adding in some diced serrano or habanero peppers. I would recommend just adding a little at a time until you’ve reached the level of heat you prefer.

Homemade coctel de camarones, Mexican shrimp cocktail, served in a white bowl with cilantro and limes.

More Mexican Seafood Recipes

If you liked this flavorful recipe, try these Mexican-inspired recipes next:

The Recipe
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Cóctel de Camarones (Mexican Shrimp Cocktail)

230 CAL 16g CARBS 1g FAT 42g PROTEIN
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  • 1.5 lbs cooked shrimp, shelled and deveined, coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup lime juice
  • 1/2 cup clamato juice (or V-8)
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup white onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup English cucumber, diced
  • 1/2 cup tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Salt and pepper

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Stir together the lime juice, clamato, and ketchup. Season with salt and pepper.

Clamato juice, lime juice, and ketchup being stirred in a bowl.

Add the shrimp, onion, cucumbers, tomatoes, cilantro, jalapeno, and garlic. Place in the fridge and let sit for at least 30 minutes for the flavors to deepen and combine.

Shrimp, onion, and cucumber being adding to Mexican shrimp cocktail sauce.

Serve with hot sauce to taste, fresh limes, and chopped fresh cilantro. You can also add avocado for some creainess. Coctel de camarones is normally served with tostadas or saltine crackers.

Lime juice being squeezed over coctel de camarones.
Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 3/4-1 cup
Amount Per Serving
Calories 230
Calories from Fat 2
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 1g
Saturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 322mg
Sodium 632mg
Total Carbohydrate 16g
Dietary Fiber 1g
Sugars 10g
Protein 42g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

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About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
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