This Mexican Shrimp Cocktail is a fun and festive party snack! Big chunks of shrimp in a saucy pico de gallo mixture layered with avocado, cilantro, and fresh lime juice.
A restaurant near us added a Mexican-style shrimp cocktail to their menu and thankfully, I had the sense to order it. The delicious concoction had quite the impact on me. The concept is so simple and obvious that I couldn’t believe I hadn’t considered making it before.
This recipe is my version of coctel de camarones, also known as Mexican Shrimp Cocktail, and it’s just the thing to serve at your next summer shin-dig. Freshly made pico de gallo is combined with cocktail sauce and garnished with chunks of avocado and cilantro to create a seriously crave-worthy flavor combination. Serve this fresh, summery shrimp cocktail with a Mexican twist with a big bowl of tortilla chips for scooping and wash it all down with cold Mexican beer or bubbly Ranch Water.
Summer party perfection!
- Tomatoes – Roma tomatoes are slender, firm and less watery than other varieties. They are a great choice for making pico de gallo.
- Diced red onion
- Diced jalapeno – Remove all or part of the seeds and ribs before dicing to control the heat level.
- Cocktail sauce – I highly recommend making your own homemade cocktail sauce (so easy!) but you can grab a jar of your favorite brand at the store if you’d like.
- Peeled and deveined shrimp – You can use large fresh, frozen, cooked or raw shrimp. See the instructions below for how to quickly cook raw shrimp. Please be sure to carefully follow package directions for thawing frozen shrimp and keep it refrigerated until ready to use.
Authentic coctel de camarones usually includes diced cucumber. It’s a nice addition for a little crunch!
How to Make Mexican Shrimp Cocktail
- For the pico de gallo – Combine the tomatoes, onion, cilantro, and jalapeno. Squeeze the juice from one lime over the top and season it with a little salt.
- Make the sauce – Toss the pico de gallo with the cocktail sauce and place the bowl in the refrigerator.
- Prepare the shrimp – If using raw shrimp, rinse them in a colander with cold water and drain well. Remove the tails, if necessary. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil on the stove. Add the shrimp and cook for two minutes or until white with pops of pink. Drain the hot water from the pot and cover the shrimp with cold water to cool them down and stop them from cooking further and then drain well. Transfer them to a cutting board and chop each shrimp into 2 or 3 chunks.
- Combine – Transfer the cooked and cooled shrimp to the chilled cocktail sauce mixture and stir well to combine.
You can get most of the prep for this Mexican Shrimp Cocktail recipe out of the way several hours in advance of your gathering. After combining the pico de gallo with the cocktail sauce, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve. Reserve the cooked shrimp and avocado to add just before serving so it will be super fresh.
How to Serve Mexican Shrimp Cocktail
Coctel de camarones is commonly served with saltine crackers but I think it’s delicious to scoop it up with sturdy tortilla chips.
The easiest, fuss-free way to serve Mexican Shrimp Cocktail for a big group is in one serving bowl next to a big bowl of tortilla chips or a plate of saltine crackers. When ready to serve, chop the avocados and squeeze lime juice over the top to help prevent them from browning. Garnish the top of the shrimp cocktail with the avocado, a little cilantro and a few pieces of shrimp.
For an indoor party, use margarita or martini glasses with appetizer forks. For a summer cookout, small disposable plastic cups with plastic cocktail forks are the perfect choice and cleanup is a breeze! Layer a heaping spoonful of the shrimp cocktail mixture in the bottom of each glass. Add a generous layer of avocado and fill the glasses to the top with more shrimp cocktail. Garnish each serving with a little avocado, cilantro and a piece or two of shrimp.
Party Menu Ideas
Mexican Shrimp Cocktail perfect for a tapas or small bites menu and substantial enough to make a light meal with the addition of a few more menu items. My favorite way to eat! Here are a few ideas for rounding out your party menu.
- Baked Chicken Taquitos
- Crock-Pot Cocktail Meatballs
- Antipasto Skewers
- Cheesy Hot Crab Dip
- Buffalo Chicken Tortilla Pinwheels
Mexican Shrimp Cocktail
- 3 Roma or plum style tomatoes, diced
- ½ cup diced red onion
- ⅓ cup chopped cilantro, plus additional for garnish
- 1 jalapeno, seeded as desired and finely diced
- 2 fresh limes
- salt, to taste (plus additional to cook shrimp if needed)
- 12 ounces cocktail sauce, homemade or your favorite brand
- 1 pound large peeled and deveined shrimp, cooked or raw (see instructions below for raw shrimp)
- 2 ripe avocados, chopped
- tortilla chips or saltine crackers, for serving
- In a large mixing bowl combine the diced tomatoes, diced onion, chopped cilantro, and finely diced jalapeno. Squeeze the juice of one lime over the top, season with a little salt, and toss it together with a spoon. Add the cocktail sauce and stir until combined. Place the bowl in the refrigerator to chill while you prepare the shrimp.
- If using cooked shrimp, skip to next step. If using raw shrimp, place them in a colander, rinse with cold water, and drain well. Remove tails if necessary. Bring a large pot of water to boil on the stove. Drop in about one tablespoon of salt. Add the shrimp and cook for about two minutes or until the shrimp is white with pops of pink. Drain the hot water from pot and cover the shrimp with cold water to cool them down and stop them from cooking further. Drain well and transfer the shrimp to a cutting board.
- Cut each shrimp into two or three pieces. Reserve some of the shrimp for garnish and transfer the rest to the chilled cocktail sauce mixture. Stir well to combine.
- When ready to serve, remove the pits and chop the avocados. Squeeze the juice from the remaining lime over the top of the chopped avocado.
To Serve in a Bowl
- To serve in a large bowl, garnish the top of the shrimp cocktail with the avocado, the reserved shrimp, and a little cilantro and allow people to serve themselves.
For Individual Servings
- Layer a heaping spoonful of the shrimp cocktail mixture in the bottom of each glass. Add a generous layer of avocado. Fill the glasses to the top with more shrimp cocktail. Garnish each serving with a little avocado, cilantro and a piece or two of shrimp.
Make Ahead Instructions
- You can get most of the prep for this Mexican Shrimp Cocktail recipe out of the way several hours in advance of your gathering. After combining the pico de gallo with the cocktail sauce, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until you're ready to serve. Reserve the cooked shrimp and avocado to add just before serving so it will be super fresh.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated using generic ingredients, and is an estimate not a guarantee. For more accurate results, please refer to the labels on your ingredients at home.