Enjoy this Caldo de Camarón, a traditional Mexican shrimp soup loaded with earthy flavors, chunky vegetables, and whole shrimp. The recipe is super easy to make and is cozy, tasty, and fulfilling.

Caldo de Camarón is a popular Mexican soup made with shrimp and vegetables simmered in a tasty and earthy broth prepared with tomatoes, chilies, and spices.

This classic Mexican shrimp soup is infused with sea flavors and the tomato and chipotle broth add an awesome punchy flavor! The soup is really well balanced with a nice, bright taste.

Caldo de camarón is absolutely perfect for any night of the week. Best of all, it’s really easy to prepare! I like serving it with warm tortillas, a squeeze of lime, and a spicy Mexican salsa.

Caldo de camarón in a bowl with various garnishes placed around in bowls.

Caldos are brothy soups very popular in Mexico, my favorites are caldo de pescado and caldo de res.

Ingredients

  • Shrimp. You can use fresh shrimp or frozen and thawed shrimp. I prefer leaving the tails on but feel free to remove them.
  • Chilies. Use dried chipotle chiles and guajillo for the amazing smoky flavor and bright color. If you can’t find those chilies you can substitute them with canned chipotle en adobo peppers and 2 teaspoons of smoked paprika.
  • Tomatoes & onions. To make the sauce, use the ripened tomatoes you can find or substitute them with canned tomato sauce.
  • Vegetables. You will need carrots, potatoes, and cauliflower for this recipe, but other vegetables work fine too, such as green beans, calabacitas (zucchini), chayote, celery, etc.
  • Seasonings. Garlic, black peppercorns, cumin seeds, epazote, oregano, and salt.

For the broth/fumet (optional):

  • Shrimp. You will use the heads and shells of the cleaned shrimp.
  • Vegetables. Use any scraps from the vegetables you will add to the soup. I used cauliflower scraps, onion, and some carrots.
  • Seasonings & herbs. Garlic, bay leaves, and salt.

How To Make Caldo de Camarón

Clean the shrimp

  • Start by removing the head with a gentle twist. 
  • Then remove the shell by digging your thumb where the legs are attached to release it. 
  • Lay the shrimp down and run a paring knife along its back. Don’t cut too deep, just enough to take out the vein with the tip of your knife.
  • Repeat the process with each shrimp, once done rinse thoroughly under cold water and place them in a bowl with ice until needed.
  • Wash well the shells and heads and set them aside.
Shrimp cleaned in a bowl and two more bowls containing the shrimp heads and shrimp shells.

Make the shrimp broth (optional)

  • In a large stockpot heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  • Add onion, garlic, and vegetables/scraps. Cook for 3 minutes stirring constantly.
  • Stir in the heads and shell of the shrimp you reserved before and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Pour 8 cups of water, add the bay leaf, and bring to a gentle boil. Season with salt and simmer for 25 minutes.
  • Carefully strain the broth into a bowl and set it aside until needed.
A collage with 4 fotos showing the steps to make camarones shrimp broth.

Make the chili sauce

In a large frying pan add 4 tablespoons of olive oil and heat over medium heat.

Add onions and garlic and cook stirring constantly for 4 minutes. Add the guajillo peppers and cook for 2 more minutes.

Tip: Make sure the heat is not too high or it will burn the chiles.

Next, add black peppercorns and cumin seeds and cook for a few seconds, just enough for the spices to release their flavor.

Onions, chilies, and spices cooking in a pan.

Stir in the tomato chunks and cook for 3 minutes or until the tomatoes soften a bit. Pour in 1 cup of water, then add chipotle peppers and oregano.

Simmer for 5 minutes then turn off the heat and allow the mixture to reach room temperature.

Ingredients for chili sauce fully cooked in a pan.

Transfer everything to a blender with half a cup of water and blend until you’ll have a thick and smooth sauce.

Chili sauce blended in a blender.

Make the shrimp soup

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large stockpot. Place a strainer over the pot and carefully pour in the sauce. Simmer for 2 minutes.

Chili sauce cooking in a pot.

Add the diced vegetables (carrots, potatoes, and cauliflower), the shrimp broth you made before, and cilantro.

Vegetables added to shrimp camarones soup.

Bring to a boil cooking for 15-20 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked through.

Add the fresh shrimp and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, depending on the size of the shrimp you use. Adjust salt to taste.

Fully cooked caldo de camarón.

Your Mexican shrimp soup is ready, serve immediately as suggested below.

Expert Notes

  • If you want to speed up cooking you can use cleaned frozen shrimp, but in that case, you will need shrimp bouillon to flavor the broth.
  • Make sure you don’t overcook the shrimp or they will become rubbery.
  • Many versions in Mexico may include camarón seco (dried shrimp) to give an extra punch of flavor. I didn’t include them because they’re not too easy to find here, but if you do, add them to the soup with vegetables or blend them into the sauce.
  • If you use dried shrimp, make sure you remove the eyes as those add a bitter taste to the soup.

How To Serve

Ladle caldo de camarón in a large bowl making sure you add lots of broth. Top with chopped onions, cilantro, and chiles. Then serve with a squeeze of lime and warm tortillas de maíz.

Other toppings and sides that go perfectly with this recipe are:

Close-up of caldo de camaron.

How To Store

Place caldo de camarón leftovers into an airtight container and store them in the fridge for up to 3 days. Or pop them into suitable containers and store them in the freezer for up to 3 months.

For reheating the shrimp soup just add it into a stockpot and reheat it on the stove over medium heat mixing one or two times.

More Shrimp Recipes

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Caldo de camarón recipe.

Caldo de Camarón (Mexican shrimp soup)

4 servings
Caldo de Camarón is a Mexican shrimp soup with chunky vegetables and whole shrimp. The recipe is super easy to make and is cozy, tasty, and fulfilling.
prep 30 minutes
cook 1 hour 10 minutes
total 1 hour 40 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 2.2 lbs shrimp (cleaned, tail on)
  • 3 guajillo peppers (seeds and veins removed)
  • 2 chipotle in adobo peppers
  • 1 lb tomatoes (cut into chunks)
  • 1 small onion (cut into chunks)
  • 2 medium potatoes (cut into cubes)
  • 2 large carrots (cut into chunks)
  • ½ small cauliflower (cut into large florets)
  • 2 garlic cloves (peeled)
  • ½ tsp black peppercorns
  • ½ Tbsp oregano
  • ¼ tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 bunch cilantro (or 2 sprigs fresh epazote)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • salt (to taste)

For the shrimp broth (optional)

  • shrimp heads and shells (from cleaned shrimp)
  • vegetables (carrots, onion, celery, scraps from other vegetables)
  • 1 garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

For serving

  • onion (chopped)
  • cilantro (chopped)
  • green chili peppers (chopped)
  • limes (juice)

Instructions
 

Make the shrimp broth (optional)

  • Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a stockpot.
  • Add the vegetable scraps, onion, and garlic. Cook for 3 minutes stirring constantly.
  • Stir in the shrimp heads and shells and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Pour 8 cups of water and bring to a boil. Add the bay leaf, and salt. Reduce the heat, and simmer for 25 minutes.
  • Carefully strain the broth into a bowl and set it aside until needed.

Make the chili sauce

  • Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a deep pan over medium heat.
  • Add onions and garlic and cook stirring constantly for 4 minutes.
  • Add the dried peppers and cook for 2 more minutes. Then add black peppercorns and cumin seeds and cook for a few seconds.
  • Stir in the tomato chunks and cook for 3 minutes or until tomatoes soften a bit.
  • Pour in 1 cup of water, add chipotle peppers and oregano. Simmer for 5 minutes then turn off the heat and allow the mixture to reach room temperature.
  • Transfer everything to a blender with ½ of water and blend until you’ll have a thick and smooth sauce.

Make the shrimp soup

  • Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large stockpot. Place a strainer over the pot and carefully pour in the sauce. Simmer for 2 minutes.
  • Add the diced vegetables, the shrimp broth you made before, and cilantro.
    2 medium potatoes, 2 large carrots, ½ small cauliflower
  • Bring to a boil and cook for 15-20 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked through.
  • Add the fresh shrimp and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, depending on the size of the shrimp you use. Adjust salt to taste.
  • Serve in bowls and garnish with chopped onions, cilantro, and chilies. Enjoy with a squeeze of lime.

Notes

  • If you want to speed up this recipe, use cleaned frozen shrimp and shrimp bouillon to flavor the broth.
  • Make sure you don’t overcook the shrimp or they will become rubbery.
  • Caldo de camarón leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Just take in mind the shrimp texture will change and become a little rubbery.
Nutrition Information
Serving: 1 serving | Calories: 518kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 57g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 402mg | Sodium: 1533mg | Potassium: 1798mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 10119IU | Vitamin C: 63mg | Calcium: 240mg | Iron: 4mg
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Maricruz Avalos Flores is a Mexican cook and photographer living in Italy where she shares authentic Mexican & Italian recipes that can be easily made at home using easy-to-find ingredients.

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Recipe Rating




4 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Love this! I had a variation of this soup in a restaurant and wanted so much to make it at home. This recipe is so good! Next time I make it, I need to have it with some arepa con queso 😍 Are there other traditional uses for that sauce? It’s so good. I’d love to make a large batch and use it throughout the week.

    1. Hi Jen, you can use the sauce to add flavor and color to other soups, check out my “sopa de conchas”, “sopa de coditos” and “sopa de verduras” recipes. Or you can use them as regular salsa for tacos, quesadillas, and sopes.

  2. 5 stars
    I had frozen whole shrimp in my freezer and today I made this caldo camaron, it was really tasty! the broth is super delicious and with a slightly spicy touch, the shrimp were cooked to perfection thanks to the instructions about adding them only at the end, after the vegetables were fully cooked. Thank you for the recipe and will share it with my mom and sisters!