Mexican Shrimp Cocktail

Hello weekend! Sacramento can’t decide if it wants to be hot or cool right now. But the weather has been cooperating gloriously recently, with lots of sun, perfect for relaxing on the patio with tortilla chips or saltines and some coctel de camarones, or Mexican shrimp cocktail.

I love this version of shrimp cocktail, it’s sort of like a virgin bloody mary with cucumber, celery, red onions, avocados and lots of shrimp. Perfect for dipping, or eating with a spoon. Or picking out the shrimp pieces with a fork, then the avocado pieces, and then eating the rest with a spoon as if it were gazpacho. Enjoy!


Mexican Shrimp Cocktail Recipe

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4-6

If it's tomato season, use freshly chopped tomatoes with their juices, instead of the canned tomatoes.



  • 1 pound medium shrimp, raw or cooked
  • Salt
  • 1 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 cup peeled, diced cucumber
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 1 15-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, chopped OR 1 1/2 cups of freshly chopped tomatoes with their juices
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • Juice of a lime, about 2 Tbsp
  • Hot sauce (like Crystal or Tabasco) to taste (about 1 Tbsp to 1/4 cup of Crystal)
  • 1 avocado, cut into chunks


1 If you have pre-cooked, peeled and deveined shrimp you can skip to the next step. If you are working with raw shrimp, peel and devein them. If you have a little extra time and want your shrimp to be extra good, put the shells in 1 1/2 quarts of cool salted water, bring to a boil, then strain the shell stock into a separate pot and cook the shrimp in that liquid. If you want to skip that step, just bring a medium pot salted water to a boil (a tbsp salt for 2 quarts of water), add the shrimp, and cook for 2-3 minutes, until just cooked through. Reserve a cup of the cooking water and chill it.

2 Cut half of the shrimp into large chunks, leaving the other half whole (for a more attractive presentation). Put the chopped shrimp in a bowl with the chopped onions, cucumber, celery, jalapeno, tomatoes, ketchup, cilantro, lime juice and hot sauce. Gently stir to combine, and chill. Once the cooking water has cooled at least to room temperature, add a little at a time to the shrimp cocktail, until the shrimp cocktail is the consistency you want (use clam stock or lightly salted water—a third of a teaspoon of salt dissolved into a cup of water—if you are starting with already cooked and peeled shrimp).

3 To serve, add salt and more hot sauce to taste and gently mix in the chopped avocados. Dip the whole shrimp in the cocktail and arrange them on top. Serve in parfait glasses or in small bowls with tortilla chips on the side.

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Asian Shrimp Cocktail, from No Recipes

Shrimpo de Gallo, from The Pioneer Woman

Grilled Shrimp Cocktail, from Smitten Kitchen

Mexican Shrimp Cocktail

Showing 4 of 42 Comments

  • Marta @ What should I eat for breakfast today

    I could totally eat it now.

  • Cookiecrumb

    Jeez, Elise. It’s not even 7 a.m., and Kalyn reposted this on Facebook. We just made a shopping list! Guess what’s for lunch. :)

  • George

    Thanks for posting this recipe. This is one of our favorite summer meals. Using shrimp in their shells and making the shrimp shell broth makes the dish immeasurably better, and you can use quite a bit of the broth, yes, we prefer this a bit soupy. I use a mix of ketchup, good tomato sauce, and cocktail sauce for a bit more flavor. To our taste saltines are even better with this dish than tortilla chips, so offering both is a real treat.

  • Kevin @ Closet Cooking

    What a great summer treat! I can never get enough shrimp!

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