How to Make Coctel de Camarones

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A big bowl of cóctel de camarones (Latin American shrimp cocktail) is the perfect light lunch or appetizer for a hot summer day. It’s refreshing, sweet and sour at the same time.

Cóctel de camarones is different from the classic shrimp cocktail made in the US. Usually, a shrimp cocktail is boiled shrimp accompanied by a tomato-based sauce.

In Latin America, it’s more similar to shrimp ceviche. We add teeny tiny pieces of onion, cucumber, tomato, and cilantro to get a chunky and refreshing mixture. This version is way more filling than just the shrimps with the cocktail sauce.

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How to cook the shrimps?

If you’ve cooked shrimps before you will probably know that they cook really fast. They can become rubbery in a matter of seconds. So, you have to be careful and monitor the cooking time closely.

This recipe calls for plain boiled shrimps. To cook them, you need to boil enough water to cover the shrimps. The shrimps must cook for 2 minutes exactly. More time than that and it will definitely be overcooked.

An important tip is to add the shrimp with water in full boiling, not in a slow simmer.

To finish the cooking process immediately, place the cooked shrimps in a bowl with water and ice as soon as you remove them from the boiling water. This way the shrimps get a firm and perfectly cooked result.

What veggies to use for coctel de camarones?

The key to achieving a tasty and enjoyable coctel de camarones is to cut the veggies really small. It can be really uncomfortable to bite a big chunk of onion.

I’ve already mentioned the veggies used but here is the complete list:

  • Tomatoes: I like to use Roma tomatoes because they are more firm and have a fresh flavor, especially good for salads.
  • Cucumbers: If using regular cucumber, I suggest you peel it to avoid any bitter aftertaste. In case you use English cucumber, (sweet cucumber) you can chop it with its peel. It gives a great texture and a refreshing touch. Cucumber is 98% water.
  • Onion: The basis of this recipe. It gives a ton of flavor. Preferably use purple onion.
  • Avocado: Optional but highly recommended.

How to make the coctel de camarones’ sauce?

The sauce where the shrimps will be soaked in is the core of the flavor in this recipe. The ingredients are fairly common and they are just three:

  • Ketchup
  • Lime’s juice
  • Worcestershire  sauce

You can control how watery you like you shrimps cocktail by adding a bit of the water where you cooked the shrimps.

5 from 1 vote
How to Make Cóctel de Camarones (Shrimp Cocktail)
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
2 mins
A big bowl of coctel de camarones is the perfect light lunch or appetizer for a hot summer day. It’s refreshing, sweet and sour at the same time.
Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican, Peruvian, Venezuelan
Keyword: coctel de camarones, shrimp cocktail
Servings: 3 people
  • 500 gr shrimps peeled and deveined
  • 1 small cucumber
  • 1 onion
  • 1 ripe firm tomato
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 limes
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt to taste
  • Avocado (optional)
  1. Boil a pot of water with enough water to cover the shrimps. When it starts to boil, add the shrimps and let them cook for 2 minutes. Transfer the shrimps to a bowl with cold water and ice. Let them cool while making the rest of the recipe. Save a bit of the boiling water (¼ cup).
  2. Cut the tomato, the onion, and the cucumber into tiny cubes. Chop the cilantro too.
  3. In a big bowl mix the ketchup, the Worcestershire sauce, and the lime’s juice. Add water used to cook the shrimp according to your desired final result for the sauce. Toss all the veggies, the shrimp and the cilantro. Mix well, add salt to taste, and serve.
  4. Optionally you can top with some avocado.

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