Camarones a la Diabla (Mexican Deviled Shrimp)
Tender, juicy shellfish and fiery red chiles combine forces in this tasty recipe for Camarones a la Diabla. Made with just 7 ingredients in less than 30 minutes, these Mexican deviled shrimp are perfect for busy weeknights!
Why I Love This Recipe
Camarones a la Diabla is one of my favorite things to order at any Mexican restaurant. If you have yet to try this delectable seafood dish, it’s high time to change that. Jumbo shrimp are cooked to juicy perfection and doused in a spicy tomato and chile sauce that is downright divine.
The name sounds so much prettier in Spanish — it translates to “Devil’s shrimp,” which sounds so gothic and corny in English. Some people also refer to it as “deviled shrimp” (like deviled eggs). No matter what you call it, though, one thing remains true: shrimp a la diabla is a real crowd-pleaser.
I love shrimp because it is so versatile, but this particular recipe is one of my favorites because it is so saucy, flavorful, and spicy, not to mention so easy to make at home. All you need are 7 simple and easy-to-find ingredients and less than 30 minutes to get it on the table.
Similar to making red chile sauce, you boil dried chiles until tender and blend them up with chile de arbol peppers, garlic, and tomatoes. All that’s left to do after the sauce is made is to sear the shrimp with olive oil in a skillet, pour in the sauce, and simmer until the sauce is hot and the shrimp is thoroughly cooked. Diablo shrimp cooks fast — you’ll be at the stovetop for under 5 minutes!
The inexpensive recipes is also easily scalable, meaning you can feed a big crowd with little extra effort. Even better, it’s a dish that can be served all year round!
All that’s to say, if you’re on the hunt for a tasty pescatarian dinner, this is the one you should try.
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Large or Jumbo Shrimp – The key to the best Camarones a la Diabla is to splurge on extra-large shrimp. You can get either fresh or frozen, but I do recommend getting them deveined so you don’t have as much prep work to do.
- Kosher Salt – For seasoning. If you use a different type of salt, use a conversion chart to help you measure properly.
- Guajillo Chile Pods – Feel free to swap in New Mexico chile or California chile. Whatever you have on hand will be delicious for this recipe.
- Garlic – Fresh is always best, but you can swap in jarred minced garlic in a pinch.
- Chiles de Arbol Peppers – Optional, but perfect for people who like their dishes nice and fiery! Omit these if you have youngins or spice-sensitive folks to feed. 😉
- Roma Tomatoes – Any meaty tomato variety will work well here. If you’re out of tomato season, greenhouse-grown cherry tomatoes on the vine are always a safe bet — just swap in about 12-16 cherry tomatoes for the Romas.
- Olive Oil – Just your normal cooking oil will work splendidly.
How To Make Camarones a la Diabla
Step 1: Prep Shrimp. Peel and devein shrimp. Sprinkle the shrimp evenly with salt and set aside.
Step 2: Simmer Chiles. Add the chiles to a pot and add enough water so they are just covered. Bring water to a boil. Lower the heat and cover. Simmer for about 20 minutes or until softened. Drain the cooked pods and discard the water.
Step 3: Make Diabla Sauce. Purée the softened chiles with ½ cup fresh water, garlic, and tomato, in a blender until smooth and set aside.
Step 4: Cook Shrimp. Heat a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat and add olive oil to the pan. Add shrimp to the pan, and cook for 1 minute per side. Once the shrimp turns pink, it is cooked so be careful not to overcook.
Step 5: Warm Sauce. Slowly and carefully add the chile sauce to the pan. Bring to a boil and then simmer on low for 4 to 5 minutes. Enjoy!
These shrimp a la diabla taste fabulous as the main entrée served with cilantro lime rice and some sliced avocado. You can also tuck them into corn tortillas, stuff them into burritos, or add them to your favorite grain bowls, taco bowls, and salads.
Or, remove the tails and use them to make Sheet Pan Spicy Shrimp Nachos. Yum!
- As soon as the shrimp turn pink and opaque, they are completely cooked. Make sure not to overdo it. If they start curling into tight “O” shapes, that’s a sign that you are overcooking them. If you see this start to happen, remove them from the heat immediately!
- To quickly defrost frozen shrimp, place them in a colander in the sink and run cool water over them, tossing every 2-3 minutes. They should be defrosted in 10 minutes or less.
Frequently Asked Questions
Shrimp is best when it is freshly cooked, especially since it has a tendency to get overcooked and chewy upon reheating. That said, you can feel free to make the diabla sauce in advance — it’ll keep for up to 5 days in the fridge or up to 6 months in the freezer.
Chiles de arbol are my secret firepower in this deviled shrimp recipe. If you prefer a milder dish, stick to milder guajillos. If you want it to be spicier, add an extra chile de arbol!
More Mexican Shrimp Recipes
- Camarones en Salsa de Crema Picante (Spicy Shrimp in Cream Sauce)
- Coctel de Camarones (Mexican Shrimp Cocktail)
- Camarones a la Veracruzana
- Chiles Rellenos de Camarones y Queso (Cheese and Shrimp Stuffed Poblanos)
- Spicy Shrimp Tortas
- Shrimp Tacos
- Mexican-Style Shrimp Scampi
- Shrimp Ceviche
Camarones a la Diabla
- 1 ½ pounds raw large or jumbo shrimp, peeled, deveined and tail-on
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 to 8 guajillo, California, or New Mexico, red chile pods, rinsed, stems, seeds, and veins removed
- 1 to 3 chiles de arbol peppers , optional for added spice
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 roma tomatoes, quartered
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Peel and devein shrimp.
- Sprinkle the shrimp evenly with salt and set aside.
- Add both kinds of chiles to a pot and add enough water so they are just covered. Bring water to a boil. Lower the heat and cover. Simmer for about 20 minutes or until softened.
- Drain cooked pods and discard water.
- Puree softened chiles with ½ cup fresh water, garlic, and tomato, in a blender until smooth and set aside.
- Heat a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat and add olive oil to the pan.
- Add shrimp to the pan, and cook for 1 minute per side. Once the shrimp turns pink, it is cooked so be careful not to overcook.
- Add the chile sauce slowly. Bring to a boil and then simmer on low for 4 to 5 minutes.
Photography by Jenna Sparks
Originally published: April 2019.