Mexican Prawn Cocktails

This Mexican prawn cocktail is fabulous for Christmas Day entertaining. It’s cooling, fresh and, as you can make it in advance super easy. On the day, serve it with the vegetable accoutrement on the side – it allows your guests to customise their own and fosters the interaction at the table.


4 starter sizes

what you’ll need

  • 1 – ½ lbs. large prawns
  • 1 medium size red tomato, small dice
  • 1 small white or purple onion, small dice
  • 1 medium seedless cucumber, small dice
  • ¼ cup finely chopped corriander
  • 1 chile, Serrano or Jalapeno with seeds.
  • 1 small Hass avocado
  • The juice of one small Valencia orange
  • 3 large limes + 1 or 2 more to garnish
  • 2 celery stalks
  • ¼ wedge of a white onion
  • 2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼-1/2 cup ketchup sauce
  • A few dashes of your favourite Mexican Bottled Hot Sauce, I prefer Cholula, Valentina or Huichol.
  • Saltine crackers/corn chips for serving
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My Mexican prawn cocktail is to die for. Fresh, delicious, and savoury; it’s the perfect simple meal to include as a starter for your Christmas feast.

What makes it Mexican? Well, the whole combination of vegetables, accoutrement, and the cold broth. It’s a savoury broth made with prawn shells and seasoned with fresh orange and lime juice, ketchup, and some dashes of hot sauce. The result is a light fresh liquid that goes incredibly well with the prawns.

It’s fabulous for entertaining, because you can make it in advance, since it is served cold in chilled glasses. On the day, serve it with the vegetable accoutrement on the side – it allows your guests to customise their own.

I can assure you that this Mexican prawn cocktail will refresh and invigorate you and your guests comes Christmas Day. And for many other summer ones to come. Enjoy!

mexican shrimp cocktail recipe pepper passport


Place four glass serving bowls in the freezer.


Peel and de-vein the shrimp, reserve the skins and leave 4-6 unpeeled, tail-on shrimp for garnish.


In a non-reactive pan place the shrimp skins, along with the celery stalks, onion wedge, thyme, a pinch of sea salt and some cracked black pepper. Add 3 cups of water and simmer for about 15- 20 minutes.


Meantime, prepare all your vegetable accoutrement. Dice and chop the tomato, cucumber, onion, serrano or jalapeno peppers, limes, avocado and cilantro. Set aside, separately in small bowls.


Check on your broth. With a slotted spoon, remove the skins and all the vegetables from the broth. Add the peeled and deveined shrimp to the hot broth and simmer the shrimp for about 2-3 minutes or until they change color and curl up. Shrimp cook very fast so be attentive! You do not want rubbery overcooked shrimp!


With a slotted spoon, pull out the shrimp a little before you think they are ready. They will keep cooking with their residual heat. Place the shrimp on a plate with ice underneath.


Fill a bowl halfway with ice and place a metal or glass bowl on top of the ice. Place a fine sieve on top of the bowl and drain the broth. With a wooden spoon, start whisking to cool off the broth until the temperature of the broth feels fresh and cooler.
You should have around 2 to 2-1/2 cups of broth left, transfer the broth into a liquid measuring cup if you have more than 2 ½ cups discard the extra broth.


Start seasoning the broth. Squeeze the juice of 3 limes, the juice of 1 small Valencia Orange, add Ketchup, a couple of dashes of hot sauce, the sea salt, and whisk. Taste and adjust flavour for salt or pepper.


Pull out the frozen glass serving bowls and start arranging your cocktail. Start by layering the ingredients and add the seasoned broth at the end. No rules here! You can add as much or as little veggies as you want. Avocado is a must, highly necessary! A little extra squeeze of lime juice, sprinkle some coriander and an extra dash of hot sauce…

Image credits: Ian McEnroe. Be sure to visit Yes, more please for step by step imagery that accompanies this recipe. It’s a gorgeous endeavour by Ian and Mariana to communicate to their readers that their recipes are easy to follow, achievable and meet expectations.  


Ian and Mariana McEnroe are the creators of ‘Yes, More Please!
Ian has a Fine Arts degree from The University of Texas where he studied painting and photography. He has been working in the photographic industry for 15 years as a sales consultant and teacher.
Mariana is an Architect who graduated from ITESO in Guadalajara, Mexico. She also holds a Culinary Arts degree from Arizona Western College and has been cooking since she could reach the kitchen counter. Mariana has worked and taught in the culinary world and also created specialty baked goods.
Ian and Mariana married in 2008 and in 2013 created ‘Yes, More Please’ after much encouragement from friends and a need to explore and share inspirational recipes. They currently work and reside in Austin, Texas. 


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