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Shrimp Cocktail Soup

Updated: Aug 2, 2022

Coctel De Camerones! Mexico's delicious invention where you can eat chilled shrimp with a spoon! Seriously one of my favorite Mexican dishes and I especially love it in the heat of summer. It's like eating a chilled Gazpacho but better. There are many recipes out there that involve Clamato Juice which is fine in a pinch... but try this recipe and see what you think.


Shrimp Boil:

1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined, medium to large works well. Reserve shells.

1 lemon, quartered

1 stalk celery, cut into big chunks

1 Tblsp whole peppercorns

Kosher salt


2 Tbsp salt, more or less

1 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper

¾ cup ketchup (yes... ketchup)

¾ cup clam juice

2 to 3 Tbsp lime juice (or to taste)

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Mexican hot sauce, to taste (think Cholula)

2-4 medium tomatoes (Roma's work well)

1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped (I usually do two of those bad boys, but that's me)

1 medium size cucumber, seeds removed, diced small (about 1 cup)

1 stalk celery, finely chopped

1 small red onion, finely chopped

2 medium avocados, peeled, pitted and chopped

1 cup chopped cilantro, loosely packed

lime wedges and cilantro springs for serving


  • Devein and peel shrimp. We have a handy dandy tool for that or you can just use kitchen shears.

  • For your shrimp boil, add water to a three quart pot. Toss in the shrimp shells that you just peeled, the lemon, celery, peppercorns and a good hefty pinch of Kosher salt. Bring to boil over medium-high heat about 5 minutes until fragrant. Add shrimp and bring to a slow boil. Cover the pot and remove from heat and let stand 3 minutes until just cooked through. Transfer just the shrimp to an ice bath with a slotted spoon.

  • Combine salt, pepper, ketchup, clam juice, lime juice, Worcestershire and hot sauce and give it a good stir.

  • Add chilled shrimp, tomatoes, onion, jalapeño, cucumber, celery, avocado, and cilantro and combine.

  • Refrigerate for AT LEAST 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.

  • Serve in large, wide-rimmed glasses with a few shrimps on top. Garnish with a lime wedge, cilantro springs and maybe a tortilla chip or two.

  • Makes four servings.

Items available at The Pot Rack to assist in the making of this dish:

Maine Man Shrimp Peeler and Deveiner

RSVP Jalapeno Corer

Wusthof Classic Ikon Nikiri

Editors Note:

Did you ever wonder why the appetizer known as Shrimp Cocktail is not drinkable? I mean it’s a “cocktail” right? Well, it was a cocktail originally, but it was not served with shrimp. The first protein associated with this delicious concoction was the oyster!

Oysters were hugely popular in 1800’s America. "The Dictionary of American Food and Drink claims that Americans at the time were "oyster mad." So many bivalves were shipped on stagecoaches between Baltimore and Ohio that the route was dubbed the Oyster Line.” It is claimed that a miner created the oyster cocktail in 1860’s San Francisco when he dipped his oyster in ketchup. From there people started to drink their oysters in “cocktails” as a “morning bracer” by mixing oysters in a glass with ketchup, Tabasco, Worcestershire and vinegar.

The oyster cocktail had a pretty good run until the 1930’s when pollution took its toll on the oyster crop. But along came modernization and freezers and the shrimp industry was born. From a flavor profile, shrimp was a great substitute for the oyster except for one small problem … you can’t guzzle shrimp. So, chefs turned the drinkable sauce into a dippable sauce and that’s how it is presented today.

Where you will find the slurp-able Shrimp Cocktail today is in the form of soup (spoon needed) in Mexican restaurants. They continue to pay homage to the original origins of the dish by serving it in a cup or glass rather than a bowl. I love a full circle story 😊

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