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This Mexican Shrimp Cocktail is a perfect no-cook party appetizer! It’s otherwise known as Cóctel de Camarónes and is shrimp combined with a slightly spicy tomato sauce and some crunchy veggies to make a fun and light appetizer.
This appetizer recipe is so easy and there’s no cooking required. Just dice, mix together, and chill. Mexican Shrimp Cocktail is perfect for a hot summer day, served in tall margarita or martini glasses.
Table of Contents
Why It’s Great
- No Cooking – Use pre-cooked shrimp for an easy no-cook recipe.
- Fun to Serve – Serve the shrimp cocktail in margarita or martini glasses for a fun presentation.
- Prep it Ahead – The shrimp cocktail mixture is best after it chills in the fridge for an hour or two so you can prep it earlier before the party.
Ingredients for Mexican Shrimp Cocktail
Grab fresh and flavorful ingredients to make this fun appetizer.
- Onion – red or white onion
- Lime Juice – fresh is best, but jarred is okay if that’s what you have on hand
- Cooked Medium Shrimp – I just buy them pre-cooked because it’s so much easier. If you want to go through the peeling, deveining and cooking part, you can certainly do that. They only take a few minutes to cook.
- Fresh Roma Tomatoes – Slice in half, scoop out the seeds, then dice.
- Celery – to make celery easy to cut and easier to eat, I like to peel off a thin layer first.
- Jalapeno – you’ll remove the seeds to bring down the spice level
- Salt and Pepper
- Clamato Juice – This is usually found with the alcohol because it’s commonly known as a drink mixer. However there is no alcohol in it. You can often also find it where you find the regular juices, like tomato juice.
- Ketchup – I buy low sugar with no added corn syrup.
- Fresh Cilantro – you’ll remove the stems and chop up the leaves, but I like to leave a few whole leaves for garnish
- Mexican Hot Sauce – My favorites are Cholula or Tapatio
- Fresh Avocados
How To Make Mexican Shrimp Cocktail
Be sure to check the recipe card below for full ingredients & instructions.
- Marinate Onions – Start by mixing together the onion and lime juice and let sit for 10-15 minutes. This will soften the onions slightly, but also tone down their bite.
- Mix Shrimp and Veggies – In a large bowl toss together the shrimp, tomatoes, cucumber, celery, cilantro, jalapeno and salt and pepper. Stir in the onions and lime juice.
- Make Tomato Sauce and Combine – In a different bowl, whisk together the Clamato juice, ketchup, and hot sauce then pour over the shrimp mixture and stir to coat. Finally, gently fold in the diced avocados.
- Chill – Cover the bowl and chill in the fridge for 1-2 hours before serving.
While the two have some similarities, they use different ingredients and are made differently. The big difference is a shrimp cocktail uses cooked shrimp that are tossed with tomato sauce and other veggies. While ceviche uses raw seafood that is ‘cooked’ in fresh citrus juice.
Clamato is a drink, found in most major grocery stores, that is made from tomato juice and clam juice. It’s commonly used in bloody mary recipes. If you can’t find it in your store, you can easily make your own.
For a fun presentation, serve the shrimp cocktail in big margarita or martini glasses garnished with a lime wedge on the rim and a sprinkle of extra cilantro. It’s best to serve it chilled right out of the fridge. For easy eating, set out small spoons so guests can really dig in.
To pair with the shrimp cocktail, I like to serve crispy tortilla chips, or saltine crackers are another popular, traditional choice. If you want other appetizer options for a big spread, these Mexican pinwheels are a great addition.
This is best eaten soon after making it due to the fresh shrimp and avocado. However, you can store leftovers in the fridge for up to 1 day.
- Use cold ingredients – To help cut down on the chilling time, I like to start with cold ingredients where I can. Such as popping the clamato juice in the fridge beforehand.
- Pre-cooked shrimp – It’s important to use cooked, not raw shrimp in this recipe. While you can cook up shrimp yourself, I find that buying pre-cooked shrimp is a worthwhile time saver.
- Adjust the spice level – You can easily adjust the spice by using more or less hot sauce. You can also put out the bottle of hot sauce when serving so guests can always add a bit more if they want to kick it up a notch.
Mexican Shrimp Cocktail
- ⅓ cup chopped red or white onion
- ¼ cup lime juice or more to taste
- 1 pound cooked medium shrimp
- 3 Roma tomatoes seeded and chopped
- 1 cucumber peeled and finely diced
- 1 large stalk of celery finely diced
- 1 jalapeno seeded and minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 ½ cups Clamato juice chilled
- ¾ cup Ketchup chilled
- 1 bunch cilantro stems removed and leaves chopped (reserve some whole leaves for garnish)
- 1-2 tablespoons Mexican hot sauce such as Cholula or Tapatio
- 2 avocados diced
- In a small bowl, combine onions and lime juice. Set aside to marinate for 10-15 minutes.
- In a large bowl, gently toss the cooked shrimp, tomatoes, cucumber, celery, cilantro, jalapeno and salt and pepper until combined. Stir in onions and lime juice.
- In another bowl, whisk together the Clamato juice, ketchup and hot sauce. Pour over the shrimp mixture and stir to coat.
- Gently fold in the diced avocados.
- Cover and chill for at least 1-2 hours. Serve in cocktail glasses or margarita glasses with garnishes like lime wedges and cilantro leaves.