Shrimp Cocktail with Habanero Sauce / Coctel de Camarones

Mexican Shrimp Cocktail  recipe
When you grow up in a seaport city, you know that seafood is going to be a big part of your life, and more so if you happen to live between the Navy Yard and a seafood packing warehouse. Believe it or not, I actually didn’t like eating fish and seafood as a child! I thought we ate it a little too often, especially that summer that my older brother took a job next door at the seafood warehouse. Almost every other day he would come home from work carrying a big bucket of shrimp. Fried shrimp, steamed shrimp, garlic shrimp, shrimp in sauce, shrimp cocktails, shrimp with rice… my mom made it all. I felt like I was Bubba from Forrest Gump! I was eager for classes to start again, that way my brother could go back to high school and we could finally take a break from all that shrimp.

My hatred of seafood changed over time, however, when I moved to Southern Mexico. There I was introduced to the ways people from the Yucatan Peninsula prepare and spice up their dishes, including their use of the famous Habanero. If you have been reading this blog for a while, then I’m sure you’ve noticed how much I love hot sauces, and you might’ve also seen some of the Habanero recipes, too. The combination of seafood with Habanero takes me back to the city of Chetumal in the State of Quintana Roo and brings back memories of the blue sea and the white beaches. And of course, of the seafood.

The shrimp and clam cocktails are among the most famous seafood cocktails found in Mexican seafood restaurants. You can also find shrimp and clam together in a mixed cocktail. The shrimp is usually prepared raw and marinated with lime juice, or a mix of lime juice and orange juice. For the sauce, there are some slight variations that use diced tomatoes and other types of peppers, according to the region.


Shrimp cooking*
  • 1 1/2 lb. uncooked shrimp heads off*
  • 1/2 onion
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 small thyme branch
  • 2 cups of Ketchup
  • 1 Tablespoon Habanero Sauce
  • 1/4 cup Lime juice
  • 1 1/2  cup Shrimp cooking broth**
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 Avocado, diced
To Serve
  • 4 –6 Lime wedges
  • Hot Habanero Sauce 
  • Olive oil

  • * If you prefer to use already cooked and peeled shrimp on this recipe, use 1 pound of already-cooked shrimp and one bottle of clam juice to substitute for the shrimp broth.
  • **Add 1 cup of shrimp broth; if it’s too thick for your taste, then add the other 1/2 cup.
  • You can also use another type of hot sauce instead of Habanero sauce. 

Mexican Shrimp Cocktail recipe
1. Rinse the shrimp in a colander under cool running water. Remove shrimp shell and tails. It is easier to peel the shrimp starting from the underside, by the swimming legs. The shells come off very easily that way.
2. With the help of a pairing knife, devein the shrimp, making a shallow cut along the back of the shrimp. Remove the exposed vein and wipe knife blade with a paper towel.

Mexican Shrimp Cocktail recipe
3. Start boiling 6 cups of water in a large stock pot with 1/2 a medium onion, 1 bay leaf, and a small Thyme branch. Once it starts boiling, add the shrimp and cook for 2 minutes.
4. After 2 minutes, remove the pot from the heat, and move the shrimp into a colander to drain. Let the shrimp cool for at least 1/2 hour. Reserve about 1 1/2 cup of the shrimp cooking broth.

Mexican Shrimp Cocktail
 If you can’t wait to try the shrimp until they’re cooled, you can just eat them as a snack with lime and Habanero sauce!

coctel de camaron mexicano

5. In a large bowl, place the ketchup sauce.

Mexican Shrimp Cocktail recipe

 6. Add the Habanero Sauce, lime juice, and shrimp broth. Season with salt and fresh ground pepper.

Mexican Shrimp Cocktail recipe
7. Once the shrimp has cooled, divide into four (4) cups, pour some sauce over the shrimp, and top with the avocado, onion, and cilantro. For everyone’s personal taste, serve alongside olive oil, Habanero Sauce, lime wedges and Saltine Crackers.

Mely Martínez

Leave a comment and share your experience with the recipe.

If you are on Pinterest, check our boards with hundreds of delicious ideas I'm pinning for you! Or if you are on Instagram, check out the meals pictures or stories ideas. 


  1. Qué rico Mely! Me dan ganas de ir mañana al mercado a comer coctel de camarón. Yo lo hago igual pero, pongo a cocer los camarones sin pelar (así queda más bueno el caldito) Luego los meto en un baño de agua con hielo, los pelo y los limpio para hacer el coctel


  2. Wow, that looks so good! I like your recipe, very different than mine, I will be looking for El Yucateco!

  3. Can not wait to try this recipe. Thanks! #client

  4. Just made it and it was phenomenal. Thank you for sharing these wonderful recipes.

  5. Just made it and it was phenomenal. Thank you for sharing all these wonderful recipes.


Your comment will take some time to appear. Note: Your email address will not be published.