This authentic Mexican camarones a la diabla recipe is super easy to make. Also known as Mexican diablo shrimp (as well as many other names), this spicy, saucy, shrimp dish takes 30 minutes to come together for an easy weeknight dinner. Plus, it’s naturally gluten free, keto and low carb!Jump to Recipe
Are you looking for a spicy Mexican shrimp recipe for a busy weeknight? You’ve come to the right place, because this recipe for camarones a la diabla is both spicy and super easy to make!
Don’t be alarmed by the bright red color of the sauce, the spiciness level can be easily adjusted to taste.
While there are many variations for Shrimp a la Diabla, you’ll need a couple of key ingredients to get that signature bright red sauce. If you’re not familiar with the ingredients listed below, I suggest finding your nearest Mexican market and paying it a visit.
If you don’t live near a Mexican market, you can find a lot of these products on Amazon (I’ve linked to them below).
Chili Peppers Used in This A La Diabla Sauce
The main two peppers used in this sauce are dried guajillo chile peppers and chile de arbol. Guajillos are bigger, dried chili peppers that have a mild, earthy flavor. Because they’re dried, they need to be reconstituted by soaking in near boiling hot water for 10 minutes before using in the sauce.
Chile de arbol (arbol peppers) are small dried bright red peppers that add the all of the heat and spice to the sauce. You should also soak these alongside the Guajillo peppers. I used 6 chiles de arbol in my sauce because I like a good amount of spice, but you can start with one or two and increase the spice level by adding more chiles.
Note: you can add habanero peppers to increase the amount of heat in the dish. If you accidentally make the sauce too spicy, add more tomatoes to tone it down.
Tips for Making Camarones a la Diabla
- Charring the tomatoes, onions and garlic cloves before you throw it all in the blender help add more complexity to the sauce. You don’t need to char on the grill. I char all my veggies in this heavy cast iron pan and it doesn’t take very long. You can skip this step if you’re pressed for time, but I suggest you don’t.
- Use a good pair of kitchen shears to cut the tops off the dried chile peppers to remove the seeds before soaking. The seeds should come out easily – and don’t stress about getting out every single seed!
- Buy bigger shrimp (16ct to 21ct) if you’re buying them with their shells on. Have you ever peeled a bunch of tiny shrimp? I have, and it’s SUCH a pain and super time consuming.
- Pat your shrimp dry before cooking. You don’t want to add a bunch of sloppy wet shrimp to this dish. After you peel and devein the shrimp, line a cookie sheet or plate with paper towels and pat the shrimp dry.
- Don’t be afraid to use salt liberally in this recipe. I cook with kosher salt and always adjust to taste. If you’re new to cooking I know that salting to taste can be scary, but it’s something you need to learn. Pour a bit of salt on your hands and add a pinch at a time, tasting as you go. This will help you get more comfortable salting to taste.
- Strain the sauce. Seriously, don’t skip this step. The chiles don’t fully disintegrate in the blender, and you’ll end up with small (but annoying) chile flakes everywhere. Use a fine mesh strainer like this one or some cheesecloth to strain your sauce.
Camarones a la Diabla Recipe
- 6 dried Guajillo chiles (tops and seeds removed)
- 6 dried chiles de arbol (tops and seeds removed)
- 1/2 small white onion
- 3 large roma tomatoes
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh oregano
- 1/4 cup water (reserve the water the chiles soaked in)
- 1.5 pound shrimp (peeled and deveined)
- 1 tablespoon oil
- Using kitchen shears or a knife, cut the tops off each of the chile peppers and remove the seeds;
- Warm up a large skillet over medium heat and lightly toast the chile peppers, tomatoes, onions and garlic for a minute or two, turning to ensure both sides are exposed to the heat;
- Set the chiles aside in a large mixing bowl;
- Completely cover the chile peppers with scalding hot water, using thongs to ensure the peppers are fully submerged;
- Cover the mixing bowl with aluminum foil and set aside for about 10 minutes;
- While the chiles rest, peel and devein your shrimp if you need to. Set it aside in a bowl for later;
- Reserve 1/4 cup of the chile water and drain the rest;
- Place the reconstitued chile peppers to a blender, and add the onion, tomatoes, garlic, salt, oregano, and water;
- Pulse for about 10 seconds, or until the sauce comes together;
- Using a fine mesh strainer or cheese cloth, strain the sauce. You'll see little pieces of chile peppers (you'll toss these);
- Heat up a large skillet over medium heat, add a tablespoon of oil and cook the shrimp for a few minutes, until they turn pink on both sides;
- Remove the shrimp from the heat and set aside. In the same skillet, add the sauce from the blender and cook for 2-3 minutes;
- Add the cooked shrimp to the sauce and stir together until the shrimp are fully coated in the sauce;
- Serve with rice, beans and tortillas for a full Mexican meal!
How Long Does Cooked Shrimp Diablo Keep in the Fridge?
Cooked shrimp doesn’t last long in my house (we’re lucky if we ever have leftovers!) but in general, I would keep cooked diablo shrimp in an airtight container (I have these ones and they’re great) for no longer than 3 days.
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