Camarones a la Diabla: Shrimp In A Spicy Red Chile Sauce

camarones a la diabla
Also known as Mexican deviled shrimp or Diabla shrimp, Camarones a la Diabla is an authentic spicy shrimp Mexican recipe featuring large shrimp in a spicy red pepper and tomato sauce traditionally made with dried chile de Arbol and guajillo peppers.

What Is Camarones a la Diabla?

In Spanish, it means ‘deviled shrimp.’ Camarones a la Diabla is a meal made by cooking shrimp in a red chile sauce that is flavorful and spicy.

camarones a la diabla

The spicy shrimp dish is so prevalent in Mexico that you will find it in most seafood restaurants, especially in states close to the Gulf, Pacific, and Caribbean.

Its origin is unknown, though most of the ingredients used for this recipe are from Mexico.

In Spanish, Camarones is the plural of shrimp and Diabla means she devil.

These words would then give the recipe its name, devil’s shrimp or Diabla shrimp.

The dish’s sauce is a tomato-based, spicy sauce popular in Spanish cuisine.

In ancient days, Camarones a la Diabla was made with meat juice, onions, pepper, and vinegar.

There are a variety of sauces under the name ‘devil’s sauce’ today, including steak sauce that uses brown sugar and soy sauce, and a sauce combining mayonnaise and hot sauce that is traditionally served with crab cakes.

What Are The Two Main Ingredients In Camarones a la Diabla?

Camarones a la Diabla has two primary ingredients:


Jumbo shrimp are best for this recipe. However, you can use prawns or any other type of shrimp. You must adjust the cooking time for smaller shrimp for any shrimp recipe.


The most common chilies for Camarones a la Diabla are guajillo chiles and chile de arbol peppers, which is a very hot Mexican pepper.

Is Camarones a la Diabla Spicy?

Yes, Camarones a la Diabla is spicy.

If you are worried about the heat level, here is a quick comparison between the peppers used for Camarones a la Diabla and some of your favorite peppers, like the jalapeno.

Guajillo chiles is a mild to medium heat level chili with a Scoville heat unit range of 2,500-5,000. Comparing that to a jalapeno’s Scoville heat unit range of 2,500-8,000 indicates that the two peppers are roughly equivalent in heat.

Dried chiles de arbol is packed with heat, ranging from 15,000-30,000 on the Scoville scale. This is about 3-6 times hotter than the average jalapeno pepper.

You can customize spice level by:

Making it less spicy – Start with half or even a quarter of the amount of chilies de arbol your recipe calls for. Taste the sauce before you can add any more dried chilis. Add more tomato puree to dilute the heat if the sauce is too spicy.

Making it spicier – For extra heat, add more chiles de arbol or 1-3 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce for extra smokiness. You can also use habanero peppers if chiles de arbol are not readily available.

chile de arbol

What Shrimp To Use In Camarones a la Diabla

Authentic Camarones a la Diabla uses jumbo shrimp.

When shopping, look for the lowest number next to the shrimp. Jumbo shrimp are typically labeled 21/25, which denotes the approximate number of shrimp per pound. This would equal about 5-6 shrimp per 3oz serving to help you plan your recipe.

What To Serve With Camarones a la Diabla

You can serve Camarones a la Diabla as a main dish with some sides or as an appetizer.

Here are some recommendations for serving Camarones a la Diabla:


Camarones a la Diabla is often served with white rice and vegetables or a side of buttery Mexican rice (Arroz a la mantequilla).

Cilantro lime rice is more prevalent in Mexican restaurants outside of Mexico.


Mexican macaroni salad pairs well with Camarones a la Diabla.


The dish has a creaminess that helps to mellow the spiciness of Diabla shrimp.

Spaghetti verde (with a creamy poblano sauce) and creamy spaghetti blanco also pair well.


Serve Camarones a la Diabla in a bowl and add a squeeze of lime. Use toothpicks or appetizer sticks for guests to serve themselves.

The meal can be enjoyed with a cold drink like agua fresca de tamarindo, agua de mango, or michelada.

Other Sides

Camarones a la Diabla can be served as a main dish with corn tortillas or corn chips as sides.

Cebolla curtidas (Mexican pickled red onions), sliced avocado, shredded lettuce, and other fresh vegetables turn the protein into yummy tacos.

How To Make Camarones a la Diablo

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camarones a la diabla

Camarones a la Diabla

  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x


Camarones a la Diabla is one of the easiest meals to make. Most ingredients are easily found in the Latin section of your local supermarket, a Mexican market, or online.


Units Scale


  • 1 tbsp light cooking oil, like canola or vegetable
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • 6 dried guajillo chile peppers , destemmed and deseeded, chopped into coarse pieces
  • 2 dried ancho chile peppers , destemmed and deseeded, chopped into coarse pieces
  • 2 large tomatoes, deseeded and diced
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed orance juice
  • 1 tbsp chicken bouillon


  • 2 lbs raw jumbo shrimp or prawns, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 2 minced garlic cloves


  1. Heat oil in pan and cook onion until it is tender, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add dried chiles, stir until fragrant. Add tomatoes, cook until slightly softened, then add water. Reduce heat and simmer until chiles are soft, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add chile mixture, orange juice, and bouillon to a blender and blend until smooth. Strain and discard solids.
  4. Season shrimp with salt and pepper, and sautee with oil and butter until just browned – about 3 minutes. Remove shrimp to a plate.
  5. Add sauce to the pan and simmer until thickened, about 2-3 minutes.
  6. Add shrimp back to the pan and simmer until cooked through, about 5 minutes for jumbo shrimp.
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Category: Main Course

Different Recipes For Camarones a la Diabla

Different recipes for Camarones a la Diabla are available. Here is one that uses chipotle and a surprising ingredient: ketchup!

Courtesy of Food Network


ErIka didn’t grow up with gardening or peppers but she’s turned out to be a spicy foods enthusiast. Today, she not only loves super-hot chilies but also finds solace growing hot peppers. She grows different types of peppers using growing devices, automated indoor gardens, and containers. Keep it here for all matters peppers!

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