Mexican Shrimp Cocktail — Chilled shrimp, tomatoes, cucumber, onion, jalapeno, creamy avocado, and more are combined in a tomato-based sauce, along with a bit of Mexican hot sauce for some kick! Perfect for entertaining or as a no-cook lunch, snack, or dinner – especially when it’s too hot to cook!
Mexican Shrimp Cocktail Recipe
This Mexican-inspired shrimp cocktail is just what you need on those days when it’s too hot to cook.
Or when you’re in the mood for something light yet loaded with flavorful. Shrimp cocktail makes a great afternoon snack or light no-cook, no-fuss dinner.
Shrimp, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, avocado, and more are submersed in a tomato-based broth made with ketchup and Clamato juice. The layers of flavor are extraordinary!
Mexican-style shrimp cocktail is also a great addition to your menu when you’re entertaining casually. Keep it in a big bowl with ice underneath and people can help themselves.
Keep this Mexican recipe in mind for Cinco de Mayo, too!
What Makes Mexican Shrimp Cocktail Different Than Other Versions?
When I first started spending lots of time in Mexico, I would go to restaurants and order “coctel de camarones” and what I would receive looked nothing like the American version of Shrimp Cocktail I was accustomed to — cooked and chilled shrimp positioned and propped up over a large glass, with tails dangling down, and the glass filled with cocktail sauce.
As it turns out, Mexicans have a whole different take on shrimp cocktail.
Their shrimp cocktail includes shrimp, along with other vegetables like diced tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and chiles, in a tomato sauce-based broth that includes ketchup, Mexican hot sauce, Clamato juice, clam juice, lime juice, and cilantro. It’s very soup-like, but served very chilled.
Also Mexicans tend to eat coctel de camarones with saltine crackers, not tortilla chips. It’s fine with totopos or tortilla chips, but not as traditional.
Two totally different versions of shrimp cocktail and I love them both!
Ingredients in Mexican Shrimp Cocktail
For this ultra flavorful Mexican-inspired shrimp cocktail, you’ll need the following ingredients. The list is longer, but each ingredient plays a role in creating authenticity as well as contributing to overall depth of flavor.
Everything is easy to find at well-stocked supermarkets:
- Shrimp – I prefer to buy frozen cooked shrimp and thaw them
- Red Onion – Although white or yellow are okay
- Jalapeno – Use a serrano chile if you like more heat
- Black pepper
- Kosher salt
- English cucumber – Although other versions of cucumbers are fine, but remove the seeds
- Tomato – I like to use Roma tomatoes but any is fine
- Cilantro – Adds extra fabulous flavor but can be omitted if allergic
- Clamato Juice – Spicy or regular
- Ketchup – Any brand
- Clam Juice – Adds lots of flavor, found near the canned shrimp and tuna
- Mexican Hot Sauce – Such as Valentina or Tapatio
- Lime juice – Freshly squeezed is best
- Olive Oil – Adds flavor and a silkiness to the overall mouthfeel
- Worcestershire sauce – For flavor
- Avocado – Ripe but still firm avocado
- Saltine Crackers or Chips – For serving
- Lime Wedges – For serving
How to Make Mexican Shrimp Cocktail
What I love about this making Mexican coctel de camarones is that it’s so easy!
Literally add all the ingredients to a large bowl, except the avocado, and stir to combine.
Taste and check the flavor balance and add what you think it needs such as more lime juice, more hot sauce, more jalapeno or serrano, more cilantro, and don’t forget that if it tastes at all bland, it likely needs more salt for sure.
After it tastes the way you like, add the avocado, and gently stir. Cover and refrigerate it for an hour before serving.
I use previously cooked and then frozen shrimp that I allow to thaw. It’s more economical than buying fresh shrimp and then cooking them.
However, if you want to cook fresh shrimp to use for this recipe, go for it. Clean them, flash boil them, and chill them while you prep and chop the remaining ingredients.
You definitely want to use cooked shrimp in this recipe, not raw. This isn’t Shrimp Ceviche where there is enough lime juice to “cook” raw shrimp.
I use medium-sized shrimp, about U20-25 size range is what I aim for.
I realized that clam juice isn’t likely something one tends to keep in their pantry.
However, I do recommend adding it for the depth of flavor it adds to the Mexican shrimp cocktail recipe.
You can find it in any well-stocked market, usually where canned tuna is kept.
If you do need to omit it, you will need to make up that liquid volume — since it’s three-quarters of a cup — with something else. You can try extra Clamato, lime juice, hot sauce, and ketchup in ratios that make sense to you.
In Mexico, you can find this shrimp appetizer at most restaurants under the name “coctel de camarones.”
Shrimp ceviche is made with raw shrimp that’s “cooked” using an acid like lime juice or vinegar, whereas Mexican shrmip cocktail is made using pre-cooked shrimp. (Ceviche is also very popular throughout Latin America, it’s not exclusive to Mexico!)
Tips for the Best Mexican Shrimp Cocktail
- The Mexican shrimp cocktail is much better if allowed to refrigerate for an hour before serving both to get it really well-chilled, as well as to allow the ingredients to have to marry.
- I recommend starting with cold ingredients especially the clam juice, Clamato, and chilled vegetables. It reduces the amount of chill time needed.
- Leave a few tails on the shrimp for an added touch when serving. It’s not necessary but is a nice visual aide.
- Rinse the diced onion under cold water to take a bit of the bite out especially if you’re a person who’s sensitive to the flavor of raw onion. This is a great trick to minimize it.
- When selecting the avocado, make sure it’s ripe but firm. Save the super soft ones for guacamole.
- Always add the avocado last so it doesn’t get stirred too much, and therefore mushy.
What to Serve with Mexican Shrimp Cocktail
This recipe is perfect as a quick Mexican shrimp appetizer, but it can also be enjoyed as a main dish! Try serving this shrimp cocktail with one or more of the following:
- Appetizers: Chicken Enchilada Sliders, Baked Beef Taquitos, Mexican Street Corn Dip
- Mains: Salsa Verde Chicken Enchiladas, Pozole Rojo, Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken, Beef Taco Salad Bowls
- Sides: Tomatillo Avocado Salsa, Instant Pot Black Beans, Instant Pot Refried Beans, Grilled Mexican Corn (Elote)
- Desserts: Tres Leches Cupcakes, Tres Leches Cake
- Drinks: Margaritas, Beergaritas, Horchata (non-alcoholic)
Pin This Recipe
- 1 ½ pounds medium U20-25 count shrimp, cooked (some with tails on, optional)
- 1 cup red onion, finely diced (white or yellow onion may be substituted)
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced (use serrano chile for more heat)
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste if deseired
- 1 teaspoon garlic, finely minced
- ½ English cucumber, diced (or another cucumber that is seeded)
- 2 medium Roma tomatoes, small diced
- 3/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely minced or to taste
- 32 ounce bottle Clamato Juice (spicy or regular)
- ¾ cup ketchup
- ¾ cup clam juice
- ¼ cup Mexican hot sauce (such as Valentina or Tapatio)
- 2 to 3 tablespoons lime juice (freshly squeezed preferred)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 large or 2 small avocados, small cubes
- Saltine crackers or tortilla chips, for serving
- Lime wedges, for serving
- To a large bowl, add all ingredients except the avocado, stir to combine.
- Taste, check for seasoning and flavor balance, and make adjustments as necessary* (See Notes)
- Cover and refrigerate for an hour before serving with cracker or chips as desired.
- Recipe can be made up to 4 hours in advance and kept covered in the fridge until ready to serve. Best consumed within 8 hours of making it.
* If it tastes at all flat or bland I first recommend adding salt, then lime juice, then something spicy like more jalapeno/serrano or hot sauce. Often another few pinches of cilantro can help out too in Mexican recipes to balance the flavor.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 225Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 34mgSodium: 1173mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 5gSugar: 12gProtein: 7g
More Mexican Shrimp Recipes:
Shrimp Ceviche — The EASIEST way to make traditional shrimp ceviche and it tastes the BEST!! Ready in 30 minutes, great as an appetizer, side, or as a healthy main course that everyone LOVES!!
Lime Cilantro Shrimp and Black Bean Salad – Tender juicy shrimp, black beans, avocado, cilantro, and more coated in a lime sauce that’s a FIESTA in your mouth!! An EASY and HEALTHY Mexican-inspired salad that’s ready in 10 minutes!!
Shrimp Stuffed Avocados – If you like ceviche, you’re going to LOVE these EASY avocados stuffed with a mixture of shrimp, tomatoes, cucumber, red onions, and more – plus some hot sauce for a touch of heat!! There’s a time-saving shortcut so these are ready in 15 minutes with no fuss!!
Sheet Pan Shrimp Fajitas – EASY, ready in 30 minutes, tastes AUTHENTIC, and made on ONE sheet pan to keep things simple – especially on busy nights!! You don’t need to go out to a Mexican restaurant when you can make fajitas this GOOD and healthier at home!!
Avocado Mango Shrimp Salad — With tropical fruit, avocado, red onion, lime juice, cilantro, and plump JUICY shrimp, this EASY 15-minute recipe will become a new FAVORITE!!