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Cóctel de Camarones (Mexican Shrimp Cocktail)

Cook Time:
30 mins
Prep Time:
30 mins


Cóctel Base
  • 1 pint diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup diced red onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup chopped, seeded and stemmed serrano chile
  • 2 oranges, juiced
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 4 cups vegetable juice
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • salt, to taste
  • 3 pounds fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
    To Serve
    • 2 avocados, diced
    • saltine crackers, to serve

    Chef notes

    This recipe brings back and memories of going to La Viga seafood market in Mexico City, who popularized this traditional preparation of shrimp cocktail (which gives the commonly known and widely loved version a run for its money!). It was a treat reserved for one Saturday every month.

    Scrap the horseradish and lemon! This recipe is bright and full of texture. Onions, tomatoes and serranos balance out perfectly cooked shrimp with a game-changing secret sauce.

    Technique tip: If using pre-cooked frozen shrimp, follow instructions for safe handling and thawing, once they are ready to be eaten.

    Swap options: If you cannot find serrano chiles, feel free to use jalapeños. Also, for the shrimp, you can use fresh or frozen — whatever is more accessible to you and you feel most comfortable using.


    For the cóctel base:

    Combine all the cóctel base ingredients in a large bowl and stir to incorporate.

    For the shrimp:


    Bring a pot with 4 quarts of water up to a boil. Add about 3 tablespoons of salt.


    Prepare an ice bath on the side.


    Drop all your shrimp into the boiling water at the same time and stir constantly. Turn the heat off and set a timer for 4 minutes. To test a shrimp, pull one out of the water and into the ice; after a couple seconds, tear your shrimp in half. If it's still translucent, it'll need one more minute in the hot water. If its pale white, it's cooked all the way.


    Drain the shrimp and transfer from the pot to the ice bath. Let them cool down for a couple of minutes. Proceed to peeling and deveining them. Once done, chop them into bite-size pieces and toss in with the cóctel base. Stir and check for seasoning.

    To serve:

    Serve your cóctel in a bowl, garnish it with plenty of diced avocado scattered on top, surround it with lots of saltines, and serve it with a spoon.