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Pati Jinich chipotle shrimp

Shrimp tend to be perceived as a treat. That fancy item on a menu.

Think about what happens at a shrimp station on a Sunday buffet. It gets crowded. Even if you didn’t feel like eating shrimp, if there’s a shrimp station, chances are you will eat them. Your mom, your dad, your husband or friends will look at your shrimp-less plate and push some shrimp onto your plate.

Growing up in Mexico City, family Sunday lunches with the dozens and dozens members of our immediate family included giant shrimp from the Mercado de la Viga.  There was so much anticipation as to when they would majestically appear on that huge platter carried by my grandmother. Before they got to the table, people started sneaking away some. So my grandmother decided to set a pre-lunch agreement on the number of shrimp per head, to avoid childish grown up wording snaps like “YOU always get the extra shrimp” or sudden door slams.

So when I was asked to develop a Mexican menu for the 2010 RAMMYS Awards I just had to include shrimp. I paired them with some signature Mexican ingredients: smoky and hot Chipotle Chiles in Adobo, tangy and salty Mexican Cream and the iconic Tequila Reposado.

And so, they were served to the 1600 attendees.

But before that day, the cooking staff under the expert guidance of the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel Executive Chef Horst Lummert, had to test the recipe.

That day of testing and tasting was incredibly fun. Here we were, as we watched how the tequila drunken shrimp were ignited…

And here we were, watching a crowded shrimp station serve hundreds of plates.

And here is how you can get a taste of those shrimp, right at home. Along with some igniting which is such a thrill.

First of all. Get some good shrimp. Though it is always  better to use fresh ingredients, truth is, it is hard to get fresh shrimp. Although sold thawed, they tend to traveled frozen. A wonderful thing about shrimp though, different from fresh fish, is that shrimp freeze well and can survive the thawing process in great shape, keeping their crispness and flavor.

Here is a suggestion: If you are using them today, buy them thawed, but ask your fishmonger how long they have been sitting there. It should be 1 or 2 days tops. They shouldn’t seem limp or sad and should have a light saltwater smell. Get them with the shrimp and tail on.

If you are using them tomorrow or further on, buy them frozen. Then you are on top of how long they have been thawed.To thaw, have them in the refrigerator a day before using and rinse them under cold running water.

Don’t thaw them at room temperature or in a microwave, or you will end up with shrimp ready for a Halloween party.

Once thawed, peel and season them with Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

Tequila Shrimp 3-thumb-510x342-1211

Heat a large pan over medium high heat, once your butter is sizzling, toss in some fresh minced garlic. Let it become fragrant, 10 seconds or so… and add the shrimp.

Cook the shrimp just 1 or 2 minutes per side, so they will be soft, crispy and sweet instead of chewy, rubbery and boring.

Then pour your Tequila. This is what I have at home… The Gran Centenario. Different from the Blanco or White tequila, the Reposado is darker in color because it is aged in wooden barrels. It has a bolder flavor. But feel free to use whatever you have handy. You can also use Mezcal.

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Now: Watch it. Once you add the Tequila, slightly tilt the pan to the flames of your burners as you lightly step back. It will ignite fast and furiously, but only for less than half a minute. Here’s a FLIP video for you… With really bad sound.

What I was trying to say through the sizzling sound was that igniting the Tequila gets rid of the alcohol presence and retains the bold flavors from the Tequila.

Continue to cook the shrimp until the flames disappear and add the Mexican cream


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…and the Chipotle Chile in Adobo sauce. If you feel like it, drop in a Chile too.


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Stir it and turn off the heat.
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Plate the shrimp covered in the sauce, just like that, while they are hot, hot, hot! And toss some fresh chopped chives…

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… right on top. The chives not only add a fresh flavor and color, but add a vibrant contrast to the creamy sauce.

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Here is a close up of for you…

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Crispy and sweet, smoky and tangy, and oh so bold with the presence of the Tequila. Plus they are, sooooooo much fun to prepare! Go on and impress someone…

Tequila, Mexican Cream and Chipotle Shrimp
Camarones al Tequila

Serves: 12 small tasting portions

Camarones al Tequila" alt="Tequila, Mexican Cream and Chipotle Shrimp
Camarones al Tequila" />


1 pound large shrimp in shell (about 25 per pound), thawed, peeled and deveined

1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, or more to taste

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 garlic clove, finely minced

1/4 cup Tequila Reposado

1/4 cup Mexican style cream (such as Rio Grande)

1 teaspoon chipotles in adobo sauce, or add more to taste

1 bunch chives, chopped

To Prepare

Peel and devein the shrimp. Place in a bowl and sprinkle with salt and pepper. In a large and heavy saute pan set over medium-high heat, let the butter melt. Once it starts to sizzle, add the garlic. Stir and cook for 10 to 15 seconds, until the garlic becomes fragrant. Incorporate the shrimp, making sure that the pan is not over crowded, and let them brown on one side and then the other, just for about 1 to 2 minutes per side. Don't let them over cook, they should brown on the outside, but barely cooked through.

Add the tequila, and slightly tilt the pan over the flame to ignite the tequila. Let it cook until the flames disappear. Stir in the cream and the chipotle sauce and turn off the heat. Serve immediately sprinkled with the chives on top.



Pati- i absolutely adore this! cream, tequila, the smell of the sea and then chilies! mmmmmmmmm xxx shayma

Dear Shayma, So glad! Try it, or when you come over, we will eat it here ; )

I will try this recipe, it looks so good and easy!! What do you suggest to have on the side?
I love all your recipes and the way you express yourself.
Hope to see you soon.

Hi Amyris!!! You will love it and yes! it is easy and fast. I would serve it with white rice topped with toasted almonds or pine nuts if you want. Hope to see you soon too, come visit!

Fantastic! Great last photo and explanation of the process.

Hi Kirstin, So glad you liked it!

Love your website and also recipes. the shrimp looks amazing!! Thank you for sharing this great recipe.

My pleasure!

Absolutely wonderful dish, and great post!


I’m so intrigued by Mexican cuisine and am delighted to have found your site this morning. :-) This dish is wonderfully creamy and savory and I really look forward to learning more from you. :-)

Dear Krista,
Thank you for your lovely message!

I adore Mexican food and love you website! Everything I have tried has been amazing… What would you serve as side dishes for this shrimp dish???

Hi Judy,
Wow, thank you so much! I would serve this shrimp with white rice (topped with toasted almonds or pine-nuts), or some steamed potatoes or even some fettuccine! As for vegetables, asparagus or green beans would be my preference as well…

MmMmM… looks DeLicious =]] cant wait to make this recipe..

Just saw your show for the first time and amnaviagting your site..awesome stuff…where can I get mexican cream?? thanks

what do u serve this with its look like a delicious meal

Hi Marva,
The sauce with this shrimp dish is nice and creamy, I like it best served with a side of rice. They are also delicious wrapped up in some tortillas.

I had to make this! it looked soo good n better when it was done it was delicious n wit some rice :)

I had been meaning to try these for a while and I finally cooked them yesterday. They are AMAZING!!!! I cooked them with mezcal though…

this recepe is sooooo delicious

Gracias, Nena!

I saw you rec. tequila shrimp it look so good
I will make it this week, have everything except cream.

Hola Martha, I hope you try them! They are so good!!

I can’t wait to try this recipe. This will be a hit for my New Years day dinner.

Just did a test recipe on this after seeing it on Ch 9 San Antonio public television. Did not have the Adobo sause, so I substituted Goya Verde Sauce (Tomatillo). Oh my, this is so good. Served hot from pan over chilled quinoa. A wonderful recipe and this will definitely be the hit of our upcoming Murder Mystery dinner party.


Thank you.

Randy and Karen

PS Cannot wait to try the coffee flan with tequila whipped cream!

What a great shrimp dish! Five stars! My only modifications were that I: 1) tripled the amount of garlic in the recipe (we love garlic and the additional amount wasn’t overpowering), 2) sauteed some chopped up green onions along with the garlic, 3) used mezcal instead of tequilla, and 4) substituted sour cream for Mexican crema since it’s not readily available in my area. My wife commented that this was one of the best dishes I’ve ever made. Thanks Pati. I’ve also had a chance to make your mashed potatoes with chipotles that I saw you prepare on your show. Crazy good!

Willy, Thank you! I love that you made the dish your own with the modifications!!

I just found your show on PBS. You are delightful! I love the history interspersed with the recipes and cooking. I was reading your site and found the Tequila, Mexican cream and Chipotle shrimp recipe. It sounds incredible. I want to make it but don’t know where to find Mexican cream. May I substitute cream or sour cream?

Thanks Josephine (you have a lovely name!)
Yes, you can substitute for any cream, try to go for a thick and tangy one like other kinds of Latin cream such as Salvadoran are great. Also creme fraiche. But if you can’t find either sour cream or heavy cream will do too.

Thank you for sharing this spectacular recipe. I saw you make it on the show last week and I was so inspired I had to make it right away. I love how you get so much rich, creamy flavor from a few simple ingredients. And it was so fast and easy to make. I can’t wait to make this again and again. It was a huge hit in my home! Can’t wait to try other dishes from your show.

I’m so happy everyone at your home enjoyed this dish!! Thank you so much for trying it!!!

Hi Patti,

Excited to make this recipe as all of your others have been a hit. If I can’t find the mexican cream, what is the closest substitute?

Hola Dana, The best substitute would be creme friache, or you can also use sour cream.

As I write this, I am so sad, almost crying….ok, I am ACTUALLY crying.
I’ve just taken the “final” bite of the, “Mexican Cream and Chipotle Shrimp.”
This was, out of the Ball Park, Home Run Delicious!!!!
I used a Japanese Sticky Rice which turned out to be a perfect rice accompaniament to go with this. A chilled Chilean Chardonnnay, and the angels were singing.
I was speechless.
Every recipe I’ve tried on your blog has been fantastic however, this one was something that will stay in my memory for a long, long time.
Thanks Pati for all your great shows (I love your excursions to Mexico…. more please….. and wonderful recipes.

This looks so yummy! When using the Chipotle, do I only use the adobo sauce or do I put in part of a chile? Do you also have the receipe for your chipotle mashed potatoes as someone mentioned above?
Thanks for the recipe!

Hola Natalie, It’s always an option to add the chile with the adobo sauce, or to just use the adobo sauce alone. If you like it a little more spice, add the chile or part of it! Also, here is the mashed potatoes recipe:

This was very very good! Easy to make, wonderful favors. Served it with white rice and steamed baby squash. I’ve pinned it so will definitely make again!

Thank you so much for sharing on Pinterest!! I’m happy you are enjoying my recipe.

I just made this and it was so so good.. Thank you for all the wonderful recipes :)

Thank you, Gisel!!

This most incredible shrimp dish I have ever made. 5 minutes to prepare and delicious with rice. One recipe would feed 4 as a main dish. I would suggest if you cut in half for two do not half the sauce. You will want all that saucy goodness. Yum!

So happy you liked it!

If I wanted to double the recipe to feed a group of people, should I also double the amount of tequila – or would it be too explosive when ignited?

You don’t need to double the amount of tequila, you are only looking for a bit of that taste. Enjoy!

Thanks to your tips about how to treat shrimp, they turned out tender and delicious! My family has asked for this recipe to be added to the repertoire, and I’ve added my name to your newsletter list. Thanks for the yum!

Yey! I’m so happy your family enjoyed this recipe!! Thank YOU for signing up for the newsletter.

Hola Pati, tengo tiempo disfrutando de tu programa y tus recetas aquí en el website, pero hasta hoy hice una de tus recetas, estos camarones con tequila, crema, y chipotle. Son muy fáciles de preparar, y tus fotos lo hacen mas fácil. A mi esposo le gustaron mucho y me dijo que estarían bien con pasta y queso chihuahua. Esta vez los hice con arroz blanco con vegetales y ensalada. Gracias por todas las recetas que nos enseñas. No puedo esperar a preparar otras recetas.


Gracias, Alex!! :)

amazing!!! i recieved RAVE reviews for this and it’s all because of you!

Delighted to hear, Susan!

Pati- I just made this and it is fantastic! At my husband’s request I doubled the recipe and I’m so glad I did. Thank you! I watch your show every chance I get. We love your recipes, most recently- molletes.

Thank you!!

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