This post may contain affiliate links, which help keep this content free. (Full disclosure)
This bright and fresh Mexican shrimp cocktail recipe will be one of your favorite easy Mexican recipes. It features a simple, zesty shrimp cocktail sauce that’s made with fresh ingredients, bright flavors, and a hint of spice… plus perfectly cooked juicy shrimp. It makes a healthy appetizer or snack that’s perfect for any party!
What Is Shrimp Cocktail?
Traditional shrimp cocktail serves up cold cooked prawns or shrimp in a glass with a zesty, spicy tomato sauce. Mexican shrimp cocktail, called coctel de camarones in Spanish, pairs a salsa-inspired cocktail sauce with the same juicy shrimp.
If you like flavorful mains like shrimp fajitas or appetizers like shrimp ceviche, this is the perfect dish for you.
Why You’ll Love This Mexican Shrimp Cocktail Recipe
- Light, fresh, zesty, and spicy flavor
- Crunchy veggies, tender shrimp
- Ready in just 15 minutes
- Made with simple and fresh ingredients
- Naturally low carb, gluten-free, and healthy
Shrimp Cocktail Ingredients
This section explains how to choose the ingredients for the best shrimp cocktail, what each one does in the recipe, and substitution options. For measurements, see the recipe card below.
- Medium Shrimp – This will be labeled 41/50 at the grocery store, but you can use smaller or larger shrimp if you like. For larger or jumbo shrimp, it’s best to dip the shrimp into the cocktail sauce instead of stirring in. Choose peeled, deveined shrimp for convenience, or do it yourself. Fresh or frozen shrimp will both work — just thaw your shrimp if it’s frozen. You can also buy cooked shrimp to save time and skip the cooking step in this recipe for shrimp cocktail.
- Lime Juice – The acid is used for “cooking” the shrimp if you want to marinate it. This is not required if you’ll be poaching the shrimp to cook it.
- Sea Salt & Black Pepper
Mexican Shrimp Cocktail Sauce:
- Red Onion – I prefer red onion, but you could also use white onion. If you want it a little more mild, soak in cold water for 5 minutes, then drain and pat dry.
- Cilantro – I highly recommend fresh cilantro leaves here, but if all you have is dried, you can replace the 1/3 cup fresh cilantro in this shrimp cocktail recipe with 1 1/2 teaspoons (a.k.a. 1/2 tablespoon) dried cilantro instead.
- Tomato – Roma tomatoes work really well here, but you could also use any type, as they will be diced.
- Jalapeno – Remove seeds for less heat, or leave them in if you want it spicier.
- Ketchup – I used homemade sugar-free ketchup, but you can use any type.
- Hot Sauce – Any Mexican hot sauce, like Tabasco sauce, Valentina, or Tapatio, works well.
- Lime Juice – Use fresh lime juice for best flavor, or bottled lime juice for convenience. If you don’t have any on hand, lemon juice works fine.
- Sea Salt (or kosher salt) & Black Pepper
- Avocado – Look for a ripe and slightly soft avocado. Cut into cubes.
Other common additions to cocktail sauce for shrimp include Worcestershire sauce (1-2 tablespoons), horseradish (2-4 teaspoons), garlic (2 or 3 minced garlic cloves or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder), or finely diced celery (2 tablespoons).
How To Cook Shrimp For Shrimp Cocktail
There are two main ways to cook shrimp for shrimp cocktail — you can choose which you like best.
No matter which method you use, follow these steps first:
- Defrost. If you shrimp is frozen, defrost it in the fridge overnight, or in a bowl of cold water on the counter.
- Peel. If your shrimp is not already prepared this way, go ahead and peel and devein it. Cut through the shell with kitchen shears, unless your shrimp is labeled “easy peel”, where this is typically already done. Hold onto the the tail of the shrimp and peel off the shell right next to it, then slide off.
TIP: Decide if you want to leave the tail intact.
If you plan to stir the shrimp into the cocktail sauce (and dip with chips or crackers), go ahead and remove the tail. If you’ll be serving the sauce on the side and dipping the shrimp into it, leave the tail on.
Option 1 – Poach Shrimp:
Shrimp is very easy to overcook, so we don’t want to cook it in boiling water. Instead, we’ll boil the water first, turn off the heat, and only then add the shrimp to let it cook using the residual heat.
- Prep. Peel and devein the shrimp if you didn’t purchase it that way.
- Cook shrimp. Boil water and add shrimp to the pot. Turn off heat and let sit until shrimp is cooked through.
- Chill. As soon as the shrimp is cooked through, immediately plunge it into an ice water bath to stop the cooking process. This will also prevent rubbery shrimp.
TIP: For more flavor, add things to the water.
Try bay leaves, fresh herbs (like parsley or cilantro), and lemon wedges (or just lemon peel).
Option 2 – Marinate Shrimp:
If you prefer a shrimp ceviche-style flavor, you can marinate the shrimp with lime juice to “cook” it — no heat required.
- Mix. Place the shrimp in a large bowl. Add the lime juice, salt, and pepper.
- Marinate. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, until the shrimp turns pink — this means it’s “cooked”.
TIP: You can marinate the shrimp for up to 8 hours.
Longer than that might make it mushy.
How To Make Mexican Shrimp Cocktail Sauce
- Mix. In a large bowl, stir together the vegetables (onion, tomato, and jalapeno), cilantro, ketchup, hot sauce, lime juice, salt, and pepper. (If you’ll be serving the shrimp on the side, you can use a small bowl instead.)
- Finish. Gently fold in shrimp (if you want it mixed in) and avocado.
- Serve. Divide the Mexican shrimp cocktail among individual glasses (I think the martini glasses shown here look so pretty!), or for larger shrimp, serve the shrimp on the side and dip into the Mexican cocktail sauce. See below for more serving suggestions.
VARIATION: Make a runnier consistency.
If you like your Mexican shrimp cocktail more runny, you can add clam juice a little at a time at the end. If you don’t have clam juice, the water you used to cook the shrimp would also work.
How To Serve Shrimp Cocktail
- Shrimp Cocktail Platter – Don’t mix the shrimp into the sauce. Instead, serve the cooked shrimp in a shallow bowl of ice (or a bed of greens if it will be eaten quickly), with the homemade shrimp cocktail sauce in the middle. Garnish with fresh lime wedges or lemon wedges.
- Chips – Tortilla chips are the classic Mexican choice. (You can also make keto tortilla chips if you like.)
- Crackers – Saltine crackers or almond flour crackers.
- Veggies – Mini bell peppers, sliced English cucumbers, or celery are excellent for scooping.
- Store: Keep Mexican shrimp cocktail in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- Freeze: You can freeze many shrimp cocktail recipes, but this particular one is not great for freezing, since it has a lot of fresh ingredients and the textures can change.
How Long Does Shrimp Cocktail Last In The Fridge?
Shrimp cocktail recipes will last up to 1 day in the fridge.
If you want to make this dish ahead, don’t add avocado until right before serving to extend the shelf life.
More Healthy Shrimp Recipes
If you like this cocktail shrimp recipe, you might also like some of these other ways to make shrimp:
Easy Mexican Shrimp Cocktail Recipe
Mexican Shrimp Cocktail Recipe (10 Minutes!)
This easy Mexican shrimp cocktail recipe takes just 10 minutes, with simple ingredients. It has the best zesty, fresh shrimp cocktail sauce!
Recipe VideoTap on the image below to watch the video.
Like this video? Subscribe to my YouTube cooking channel for healthy recipes weekly! (Click the bell icon to be notified when I post a new video.)
Tap underlined ingredients to see where to get them. Please turn Safari reader mode OFF to view ingredients.
Shrimp Cocktail Sauce:
Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
To Poach Shrimp (Option 1):
Bring a medium pot with salted water to a boil, then turn off the heat.
Add the shrimp to the hot water. Let the shrimp sit in the water for about 3 minutes, or until it turns pink and is cooked through. Meanwhile, prepare a bowl of ice water.
Remove the shrimp from the water with a slotted spoon and immediately plunge it into the ice water to prevent overcooking.
To Marinate Shrimp (Option 2):
Place shrimp in a large bowl. Add the lime juice, sea salt, and black pepper.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, until it has turned pink, or for up to 8 hours.
Mexican Shrimp Cocktail:
In a large bowl, stir together the red onion, cilantro, tomato, jalapeno, sugar-free ketchup, hot sauce, lime juice, salt, and pepper.
Gently fold in the avocado and cooked shrimp. Serve with chips, crackers, or veggies. Alternatively, don't add the shrimp to the sauce and instead serve the shrimp on the side over ice and dip into the shrimp cocktail sauce.
Last Step: Leave A Rating!
Share your recipe picture by tagging @wholesomeyum and hashtag it #wholesomeyum on Instagram – I’d love to see it!
Serving size: 3/4 cup
Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy. Have questions about calculations or why you got a different result? Please see our nutrition policy.
Want to save this recipe?
Create a free account to save your favorite recipes!Sign Up To Save Recipes
© Copyright Maya Krampf for Wholesome Yum. Please DO NOT SCREENSHOT OR COPY/PASTE recipes to social media or websites. We’d LOVE for you to share a link with photo instead. 🙂
I’ve had shrimp cocktail a million times at restaurants, but this was waaaay better. Let me tell you, I can’t cook, never mind follow a recipe the right way. But this broken down so easy, even I killed it! It came out wicked good!!! I will definitely be making this again!!!! (Oh and the Keto ketchup was on point!)
This recipe is super easy and extra delicious! I fell in love with Mexican Shrimp Cocktail at a Mexican restaurant and always wanted to try and make it myself. Now I can enjoy it whenever I want, and I do!
Made this last night. Spicy, crunchy with the creamy avocado it was just delicious. The shrimp were perfect. My daughter said “Restaurant Quality”. If I could post a picture I would.
I made the recipe MEXICAN SHRIMP COCKTAIL for my husband last night. I cooked the shrimp both ways that the recipe called for. We both are garlic lovers so I added some fresh grated organic garlic to the salsa. That is the only thing that I changed. Well, I am sorry to say that my husband and I fought over who would eat more shrimp!! I should have made a double batch. Thank you for this recipe!
Delicious! I used Cholula hot sauce, added a little extra lime juice, & omitted the diced onion (just personal preferences) I absolutely loved it, thank you for sharing!!
First off, I made your keto ketchup! Then made recipe as you posted it and it was a success! Shrimp and avocado are a staple in my household, and this is a truly wonderful addition to our low carb lifestyle, tart with enough spiciness to please! Bravo Maya!!
Mexican Shrimp cocktail: I absolutely love shrimp cocktail!!! This recipe is a wonderful change up of flavors…I never thought of putting avacado on top but that makes it all pop!!! A little too spicey for me so the second time I toned down the spice a bit and it was perfect!! My go to from now on!
The recipe is easy and tasty. Serving tonight with tacos.
Made with white onion instead of red, also used oregeno instead of cilantro, my husband does not like cilantro, loved the cubed avocado in it and used chopped garlic in it. Oh My Yumm,y it was so good, we used, already cooked shrimp also. My hubby loves shrimp cocktail bought from the store and he really loved this. Thanks for the recipe.
I made this recipe last night for my company and it was a big hit! I did poach my shrimp and added some lime juice to the water to pump up the flavor a bit. I also liked the suggestion of the garlic (instead of horseradish). I added three cloves for that extra punch and to keep with the Mexican flavor profile. Since I used larger shrimp I put them around the edge of the glass. I strongly suggest the fresh cilantro. Love this combination!
This recipe is so delicious! I thought I will bring the left overs to lunch nope nothing was left and I was asked is there any more I want a second serving
Love a shrimp cocktail but never thought to give it a Mexican spin. I love the flavours. I added a bit of Tajin to mine ❤️
I wanted to try the recipe as is because it looks so delicious but I don’t eat shrimp so I thought and thought and I finally decided to make the recipe using scallops. Wow, it was amazing!
Thank you for this recipe! This is my favorite Mexican dish that runs about $15 to order out! Now I can make it at home for a lot less😋
Great recipe – more refreshing and better for you than a standard seafood sauce! Marinating would be even simpler; might try that next time.
This was so yummy – I usually don’t like lime, and I’m acquiring a taste for it, and I think that was a huge success – saucy, delicious and fresh!!
Simple way to make shrimp ceviche and so good! yum!
This was great made it for myself and friends.
Lida Gonzalez Solis0
Look delicious and so easy to do. I can’t wait to do it for my next party.
This was absolutely soooo tasty! So bright & fresh!
This is very easy to follow and make. Tuesday is taco night and this was super good minus the avocado. Next time I will try and mash the avocado and see if the family will notice it.
Not for me..1 I am a super taster .to me cilantro tastes like soap. Makes it hard to swallow..🤢 Also don’t like a avocado at all. I would have to alter some of your ingredients to my own tastes.
This recipe is awesome. We love shrimp and Mexican food. I don’t care for cilontro but otherwise yes yummy. Gonna share with my daughter who was recently diagnosed with Type II Diabetes and has switched to eating Keto. We are very proud of her as she has lost 17 lbs already!
I’ll have to type this quickly as I’m off to the store to pick up all the ingredients! This sounds beyond delicious!!
Can’t wait for tonight! We are having this for dinner because I have everything I need!!! We love Shrimp Cocktail and never thought to make it. We are so excited!! Thank you!!!
So good. Love the easy way to make it.
Amazing fresh and clean flavors! I’m cajun and fortunate to have fresh quality seafood always available. I plan on doing this with fresh fish also! It will be a regular go to in my menu rotation.
This took no time to make and so delicious. 🤤
Have leftovers to freeze to enjoy later.
For some reason I only think of Shrimp Cocktail when ordering an appetizer in a restaurant or having for a party, This was a very nice twist on the usual. Light and refreshing without weighing you down. This is something I will make often and ranks right up there with my pickled shrimp as a new go to recipe. Thank you!
So easy and delicious. It was a hit at our taco night with friends.
I actually order this at our local taqueria and never thought of making it at home. Your recipe is super easy and love the flavor of the sauce.
Love this spin on shrimp cocktail, the lime is perfect and so refreshing!
Super easy and a real hit at the party we threw! Will make again!
Such a fun themed dinner appetizer! We had these for our last party and everyone loved them! Great flavor combination!
I made these for my daughter and her friend and they loved them! They thought they were amazing!! Her friend had just come back from spending some time living in mexico and wanted to enjoy some good tasting food. They said these hit the spot!
Couldn’t believe how easy this recipe was – the sauce was tangy while the avocado added a creamy note. My husband loved it! Will be making again.
This was perfect for an appetizer at my dinner party! So fresh and flavorful and healthy.
This was so easy and delicious! We loved it and I used sliced lemons, as you suggested, when poaching the shrimp and that is a GAME CHANGER!
This is such a great way to serve shrimp! We served it as a starter to a Mexican meal with friends and all were impressed.
Great recipe! Even my kids ate this up. Will definitely be making it again soon.
This shrimp cocktail looks so tasty and flavorful. Seems like a great appetizer or party dish.
Lori | The Kitchen Whisperer0
What a yummy appetizer! So light yet full of flavor! We all loved it!
I love this twist on a shrimp cocktail! The more spice the better!
I saw this and immediately thought it looked just like the one at our local Mexican restaurant, and yes it looks like it, but I have to say tasted even better!
This is so delicious and easy to make! I love shrimp and love how flavorful and fresh this recipe is. That cocktail sauce is divine!
What a refreshing and tasty alternative this was to traditional shrimp and cocktail sauce. It makes a great side dish for tacos or enchiladas.
I love shrimp cocktail with plain cocktail sauce, but this was a delicious change. It went perfect as an appetizer with birria tacos. Definitely a keeper!
I was so intimidated to make this at home until I found this recipe. It was so easy and it turned out AMAZING! Loved it.
This is such a great one to have on hand for get togethers with friends!
This was delicious! It was so easy to make. Everyone loved it.
Read more comments:
1 2 »