Shrimp Diablo

Shrimp Diablo is made with tender shrimp that are tossed in a homemade spicy chili pepper sauce. Serve these Mexican spicy shrimp over rice, pasta, or alongside your favorite side dishes!

Do you like spicy food? Do you like seafood? Then you’re going to love this recipe for Shrimp Diablo! This dish is packed with flavor, and it’s sure to spice up your next dinner.

Making Mexican dishes at home is one way to get a seriously delicious meal. Mexican food has many layers of flavor including savory herbs and lots of spices that make them truly satisfying.

Shrimp Diablo is a spicy Mexican dish made with tender shrimp and a homemade chili pepper sauce that includes three different types of chili peppers. Blend them into a sauce along with tomatoes and cooked shrimp for a high-protein dish that’s packed with a punch. 

Serve shrimp diablo over a bed of cooked rice or your favorite pasta to make it a complete meal. You can also serve this shrimp as a party appetizer or throw them into a quesadilla, burrito, or tacos for a spicy twist.

White serving bowls filled with shrimp diablo.

How To Make Homemade Shrimp Diablo

  1. Add canola oil to a skillet over medium heat. Once the oil becomes shiny, add the onion and saute for 5-7 minutes or until it becomes translucent. Then, add the garlic and cook for an additional 60 seconds or until fragrant. 
  2. To the garlic and onion mixture, add the peeled shrimp. Saute until they are no longer opaque and have a pink color. Remove from the pan and set aside. 
  3. While the shrimp is cooking, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the 3 chili peppers and boil for 10 minutes. Drain the peppers in a colander.
  4. To a high-speed blender, add the boiled peppers, tomatoes, apple cider vinegar, and dried spices. Blend until creamy and smooth. Pour the sauce through a fine-mesh strainer and pour into the pan that was used to cook the shrimp.
  5. Heat the sauce over low heat and bring to a low simmer for 5 minutes. Add the cooked shrimp and saute for another 3-4 minutes or until the sauce thickens.
  6. Serve over pasta or rice while hot and garnish with fresh cilantro, lime juice, and sour cream if desired.
Collage showing how to make shrimp diablo.

Recipe Tips

  1. Do not use shrimp that is already cooked for this recipe as pre-cooked shrimp can get rubbery when overcooked.
  2. Make sure to use dried spices when making this recipe as they have a stronger, more pronounced flavor compared to their fresh counterparts.
  3. Do not add salt until after you’ve tasted the sauce because canned tomatoes can already be quite salty.
  4. If your shrimp are larger than 16-20 count per pound, cut them in half before cooking so that they are not too large.
  5. If the sauce becomes too thick, add a little bit of water to thin it out.


  • Shrimp Diablo can be served over pasta, rice, or quinoa for a complete meal.
  • Don’t like seafood? Try making this dish using diced chicken breast.
  • To make this dish vegetarian-friendly, substitute the shrimp with chunks of extra firm tofu that have been drained and patted dry. 
  • Add a can of black beans to the shrimp diablo for an extra boost of protein and fiber.
  • If you’re looking for a spicier dish, add more chile peppers or use hotter varieties like jalapeno peppers. 
  • In place of the apple cider vinegar, try using white vinegar or red wine vinegar for a different flavor profile.
  • If you’re in the mood for a smoky flavor, add some chipotle peppers to give this recipe an extra kick.
  • Add bell pepper chunks along with the garlic and onion to the shrimp diablo sauce if desired.
Skillet filled with diablo shrimp.

Storing and Freezing

Storing: Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days. This dish can also be made in advance and served at room temperature or cold. Simply let it cool completely before refrigerating or freezing.

Freezing: Freeze shrimp diablo in an airtight container for up to two months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating.

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Two bowls of shrimp diablo.

Shrimp Diablo

5 from 1 vote
Print Pin
Author: Kim
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 Servings


  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • ½ white onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 24 ounces large shrimp, peeled with the tail on
  • 3 dried pasilla peppers, seeded with the stems removed
  • 2 dried chile de arbol, seeded with the stems removed
  • 1 guajillo peppers, seeded with the stems removed
  • 6 roma tomatoes, cut into fourths
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried coriander
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste


  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the canola oil and onion, and cook until the onion becomes translucent.
    1 tablespoon cooking oil
    ½ white onion
  • Add the garlic, and cook until it becomes fragrant, about 1 minute. Then add the shrimp, and cook until they start to curl and turn pink. Remove the shrimp from the pan, and set aside.
    2 garlic cloves
    24 ounces large shrimp
  • While the shrimp cooks, bring a large pot of water to a boil, add the pasilla, chile arbol, and guajillo peppers, and boil for 10 minutes.
    3 dried pasilla peppers
    2 dried chile de arbol
    1 guajillo peppers
  • Drain the peppers, and add them to a large blender along with the tomatoes, apple cider vinegar, cumin, coriander, oregano and salt. Blend until smooth.
    6 roma tomatoes
    2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
    1 teaspoon cumin
    1 teaspoon dried coriander
    1 teaspoon dried oregano
    ½ teaspoon salt
  • Strain the sauce through a fine mesh sieve into the pan that was used to cook the shrimp. Cook for 5 minutes or until the sauce begins to come to a low simmer.
  • Stir in the shrimp and cook for another 3-4 minutes or until the sauce reaches the desired thickness. Serve with freshly chopped cilantro for garnish and Mexican rice or pasta if desired.
  • See post for storage options.


*The calories listed are an approximation based on the ingredients in the recipe card and a serving size of 1 ¼ cup shrimp diablo. Actual calories will vary.
*For more information, tips, and answers to frequently asked questions, please refer to the post.
*Calories do not include rice, pasta, etc.
*Photos courtesy of Karla Rae Photography.


Serving: 1.25cupsCalories: 203kcalCarbohydrates: 11gProtein: 25gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.03gCholesterol: 214mgSodium: 1266mgPotassium: 597mgFiber: 3gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 3273IUVitamin C: 15mgCalcium: 126mgIron: 2mg
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