Camarones a la Diabla (Diablo Shrimp)

Camarones a la diabla is a Mexican dish made of shrimp simmered in a spicy and hearty chili sauce. The dish is packed with tons of flavor and the recipe is very simple to make.

Camarones a la diabla in a cooking pan and some red chilies on the background.

What Is Camarones a la Diabla?

Camarones a la diabla is a Mexican popular dish made by cooking shrimp in a spicy and flavorful chili sauce.

In Mexico, especially in those states by the Gulf, Caribbean, or Pacific, this dish is very popular and you’ll find it at any restaurant that serves seafood and fish.

The recipe varies from state to state, this is because in some places some types of chilies are more popular than others.

For example, in Veracruz, morita and chipotle peppers are very common in the traditional cuisine, while in Colima, the sauce is made mostly with chile de árbol and sometimes it also has extra chili peppers sautéed with the shrimp.

Diablo shrimp, aka camarones a la diabla on a plate.

Camarones is the Spanish plural for shrimp, and diabla (female for diablo) translates in English to devil. So, the combination of those words would give this recipe a name like devils shrimp or diablo shrimp.

Why You Should Make This Recipe

  • Quick and easy: The whole recipe comes out in just 30 minutes, and this includes making the sauce. If you make it ahead you can throw dinner in as little as 15 minutes.
  • Spicy: Perfect for spicy lovers! You can adjust how much chile you add, but overall it has a nice spicy kick.
  • Versatile: You can use any type of chili peppers available to you, including chili powder.
  • Healthy: The recipe is gluten-free, packed with protein and healthy fats, and just about 280kcal per serving.

Related: Is Shrimp Good For You? By Health Line.

The Ingredients Needed For Diablo Shrimp

  • Shrimp. You can use large shrimp, prawns, or any type of shrimp, just make sure to adjust the cooking time.
  • Chilies. I am using two types of dried chiles, such as chiles guajillo and chile de arbol peppers. The amount of chilies depends on how much you can handle spiciness, chile de árbol is very spicy, so take in mind that.
  • Tomatoes. Plump red tomatoes to tone down the spiciness a bit.
  • Onion. I used white onion, but feel free to swap for red or yellow onion if you want.
  • Spices. Garlic, black pepper, cumin seeds (optional), and salt.
  • Butter. This gives a nice creamy touch to diablo shrimp. If you want to make this recipe dairy-free, substitute butter with olive oil or your favorite vegetable oil.
Ingredients for diabla sauce labeled with names and displayed on a marble surface.

Now, let’s see how to cook diablo shrimp with this easy and authentic Mexican recipe…

How To Make Camarones a la Diabla

  • Remove the stems and seeds from the chilies. 
  • Place tomatoes in a pot and add enough water to cover them.
  • Boil until tomatoes are tender (about 10 minutes).
  • Turn off the heat, add chilies and push them down with a spoon to soak them into the hot water.
  • Allow to rest for 10 minutes or until the chilies are soft and everything has cooled down.
Tomatoes and chilies boiled on a pot to make camarones a la diabla sauce.

Add tomatoes and chilies to a blender with garlic, cumin, and onion. Add one cup of water and blend until you will have a smooth sauce. Set aside.

Diabla sauce fully blended.

Melt butter in a sautéing pan or a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp and season with salt and pepper.

Raw shrimp just added to the pan.

Sauté until shrimps change color, about 1 minute. Take care to not let the shrimp cook for more than that, or they will become rubbery.

Sautéed shrimp on a cooking pan.

Pour over the diabla sauce and add a pinch of salt. Allow simmering for about 5 minutes while stirring from time to time.

Simmering shrimp in the diabla sauce.

After the diablo sauce has thickened, adjust seasonings to taste and turn off the heat.

Fully cooked camarones a la diabla in a pan.

Serve Mexican deviled shrimp as suggested below.

Recipe Notes

  • Add a smoky touch. Before soaking the chilies, lightly toast them in a griddle or comal.
  • Avoid irritation. Wear gloves when handling the chili peppers or wash your hands immediately after.
  • Extra flavor. Try a bit of oregano for an earthy touch. Or add a bunch of chopped cilantro for freshness.
  • Try other chilies. To make the red chile sauce, such as ancho chile, morita, or mulato peppers; some have a mild spice level compared to chile de arbol.
  • Make it ahead. You can make a double batch of diablo sauce and store the leftovers for a quick dinner on a busy day, read below for storing tips.
Close up of  camarones a la diabla in a pan.

How To Serve

You can serve this camarones a la diabla recipe as a main dish with some sides or as an appetizer. Here are our recommendations for an authentic Mexican eating experience:

Rice: A side of buttery Mexican rice (arroz a la mantequilla) or white rice with vegetables is how is served in Colima. While this cilantro lime rice is more popular in Mexican restaurants abroad.

Pasta: Mexican macaroni salad pairs nicely because the creaminess in that dish helps to tone down the spicy diablo shrimp. Other types of pasta that go well are spaghetti verde or creamy espagueti blanco.

Appetizer: Serve in a bowl with a squeeze of lime and enjoy with a cold drink, we recommend tamarind fresca, agua de mango, or a cold michelada.

Other sides: Corn tortillas are perfect if you serve as a main, or corn chips if you’d like to serve as an appetizer. A few slices of avocado or some Mexican pickled onions on top are good options too.

Camarones a la diabla served with rice and lime wedges on a white plate.

How To Store And Reheat

You can make the diablo sauce up to 3 days ahead and store in the fridge. Or you can also store it in the freezer for up to 3 months.

When needed, thaw the sauce, sauté the shrimp, and use it as instructed in the recipe.

You can also store camarones a la diabla leftovers for 2-3 days in a glass airtight container.

I don’t recommend freezing leftovers but if you really have to, just make sure to transfer them to a bag and vacuum the air as much as you can, then label the bag with the cooking date and store for up to 2 months.

Reheat leftovers in a pan over medium heat stirring from time to time. If the sauce gets too thick, add a splash of water to loosen it up.

A pan with camarones a la diabla.

Camarones a la diabla (diablo shrimp)

author Maricruz
Shrimp simmered in a spicy tomato and chili sauce. An easy recipe ready in about 30 minutes!
prep 5 minutes
cook 25 minutes
total 30 minutes
serving 4

Ingredients 

  • 1.5 lb large raw shrimp (peeled, deveined, and with tails left on)
  • 3-4 chile de árbol (stems and seeds removed)
  • 4 guajillo chilies (stems and seeds removed)
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • ½ small onion
  • 2 garlic cloves (peeled)
  • ¼ tsp cumin seeds (optional)
  • 3 Tbsp butter (or olive oil)
  • salt
  • pepper

Instructions
 

  • Place tomatoes on a pot and add enough water to cover them. Boil until tomatoes are tender (about 10 minutes).
  • Turn off the heat, add chilies and push them down with a spoon to soak them in the hot water.
  • Allow to rest for 10 minutes or until the chilies are soft and everything has cooled down.
  • Add tomatoes and chilies to a blender with garlic, and onion. Add one cup of water and blend until you will have a smooth sauce. Set aside.
  • Melt butter in a sautéing pan over medium heat. Add shrimp and season with salt and pepper.
  • Sauté until shrimp change color, about 1 minute.
  • Pour over the diabla sauce and add a pinch of salt. Allow simmering for about 5 minutes while stirring.
  • Adjust seasonings to taste and serve.

Notes

  • Before soaking the chilies, lightly toast them in a griddle or comal, for a smoky touch.
  • Wear gloves when handling the chili peppers or wash your hands immediately after.
  • Try a pinch of cumin or a bit of oregano for an earthy touch. Or add a bunch of chopped cilantro for freshness.
  • Use other chiles, such as ancho chile, morita, or mulato peppers; some have a mild spice level compared to chile de arbol.
  • You can make a double batch of the spicy sauce and store the leftovers for a quick dinner on a busy day.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 249kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 35g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 296mg | Sodium: 452mg | Potassium: 689mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1801IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 124mg | Iron: 1mg
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FAQ

Is this recipe spicy?

Yes, of course. I could tell you to not add chilies at all, but you’ll end with just shrimp in tomato sauce. So, for the sake of traditional food and because I know you’d like to try authentic recipes, I’ll suggest making it only if you really enjoy spicy food.

Can I use store-bought salsa?

Yes. Try ranchero salsa or salsa taquera, or any other type of bright red chile pepper sauce.

Do I need to leave the tails on the shrimp?

No. I leave them because is extra flavor, but feel free to remove them.

Can I use frozen shrimp?

Yes, you can. Thaw them a bit in cold water before you cook them.

More Mexican Seafood Recipes

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Recipe Rating




2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Amazing and easy recipe, my camarones a la diabla were perfectly spicy, not too much, neither too little. The video helped a lot because I could see how easy is to make and went ahead and bought all ingredients. Served my shrimps with steamed rice. Thank you!

  2. 5 stars
    Easy to make but will definitely make an extra batch with less chili for the wife (white girl… LoL).