DJ Foodielow-carb, low carb, sugar free, sugar-free, gluten-free, gluten free, primal, paleo

Shrimp Diablo

Prep: 25 mins | Cook: 5 mins | Total: 30 mins | Servings:4


Shrimp Diablo
Shrimp Diablo
Shrimp Diablo
The idea for this dish came from a few places.
  • This was conceived around Father's Day and this is one of my father's favorite dishes.
  • Living in Mexico for years, you see a lot of Shrimp Diablo.
  • It's super quick, super easy and SUPER delicious (that is, if you can take the heat!)
My family started visiting Mexico before I even have memories of our trips. I was born in Southern California, in the United States. My parents would drive their van across the border and enjoy the Mexican culture and food of the mid-70's. As I grew, they simply never stopped! When I was about 6 years old, we moved away from Southern California, to a town just outside of Yosemite National Park. Shortly thereafter, we would fly to Mexico, at least once a year. After having lived there for almost 10 years, I'm actually close to being an actual Mexican citizen! My family has a great love for Mexico.

There is a restaurant in Puerto Vallarta called "Posada Rio Cuale". This was my favorite restaurant on earth in my teenage years. Aside from all the table service they provided, doing fancy things like cutting a spiral in the rind of an orange, hanging it down, pouring booze on it and igniting it, making a flaming, swirling waterfall (fiery boozefall?). Always a good show!

My father would always order the "Shrimp Diablo". Diablo, meaning "Devil" in Spanish ... implies the dish was hot. Fierce. Painful. Dare I say ... evil?

If memory serves (it doesn't always), customers had the option to choose their level of heat. On a scale of 1 to 5, my father always ordered the 9. Then, he would sit in the hot Mexican weather, dripping with sweat and revel in his pure delicious pain. His face would turn bright red and he'd just look miserable! He had to breath in and out, in rapid succession, or else ... I assume he'd spontaneously combust! There was always a deep fire raging within him, as he'd delight in his big bowl of Shrimp Diablo.

Between you and I, faithful readers ... I've never quite understood the joy that the chili pain can bring. I like a little kick, but I don't want to suffer while I eat. Not my father, though. He likes it HOT!

How do you like it?

Scoville Note: If you throw a habanero, scotch bonnet or ghost chili into the blender ... on a scale of 1 to 5, you will take this to a 9. As written, it's about a 4.5.

Serving Note: Often served over rice or with pasta, I suggest a side of miracle cauli-rice or zoodles!

. .
IngredientsCaloriesFatProteinCarbsFiberSA'sNet Carbs
2 each (34g)  assorted dried chilies (guajillo, ancho, new mexico, etc.)3424188010
2 each (14g)  chile de arbol10004164012
1 1/2 lb (681g)  shrimp, peeled and deveined721.8613.62136.26.81.4206.39
2 each (6g)  garlic cloves, minced8002002
1 tbsp (15.25g)  lime juice, freshly squeezed3.820.071.32.0701.25
1 tsp (2g)  cumin seed, ground7.5.440.88.2200.66
1 7-oz can (210g)  chipotles in adobo (Buy Now) 12036241806
2 tbsp (28g)  light oil (coconut oil, ghee, olive ... or even bacon fat!)2402400000
salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste0000000
Totals (of 4 Servings):1235.1843.06g150.27g69.01g30.71g0g38.3g
Per Serving:308.810.77g37.57g17.25g7.68g0g9.58g *


  1. Split the dried chilies by either tearing the tops off, or using kitchen scissors to cut them open. Remove the seeds from the peppers and discard (feel free to leave a few, if you like a super spicy shrimp).
  2. You can do this in a hot pan, but I usually toast the chilies directly on a hot burner element, or over a hot burner flame. Over a medium-low temperature, toast the surface of the chilies by placing them in the flame, or directly on the burner surface. This will cause a quick blistering. Do not burn the chilies. Simply toast the surface for about 15 seconds, in a few spots around the chilies. This makes for a richer and more developed flavor.
  3. Fill a bowl or measuring cup with about 4 cups of boiling water. Place your toasted chilies in the hot water, so they may soften. Leave them there for about 20 minutes, while you work on the rest of the dish.
  4. Toss your shrimp with the cumin, garlic, lime juice, salt and pepper. Set aside.
  5. After 20 minutes, remove your chilies from the water and place in a blender. Save some of the chili water. You may need it. Add your chipotles to the blender and blend until smooth. Add some of your chili water to thin it out. You want something resembling a slightly runny BBQ sauce.
  6. Pre-heat a large sauté pan over high heat. Add your oil and swirl it around the pan. Quickly and before the oil burns, add your shrimp to the pan. Evenly distribute them around the pan, so that they are all touching the bottom of the pan. Let them sit for about 1 minute. Turn the all over, to cook the other side.
  7. After sautéing for about 2 minutes, add your chili sauce, from the blender. This will likely sputter a bit. That's fine. Turn the heat down to medium and cook the shrimp in the sauce for another 2 to 3 minutes.
  8. Taste, adjust seasoning and serve!

STANDARD FTC DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Please note, I only ever endorse products that are in alignment with my ideals and I believe would be of value to my readers.

* Learn More: More about this recipe and nutrition ...


This is Hot, my first time makinv this kind of food, and,  hehehe everyone said, WOW. Caliente. Thanks for the help , I learned alot.

 Sherry  1/6/2017


Thank you, DJ!  I appreciate your quick response.  Looking forward to making this today.  YUM!!

 Suzanne  8/29/2015


Could you tell me, please, does this recipe call for pre-cooked shrimp or raw?  Thank you!

 Suzanne  8/29/2015


---Reply posted by DJ on 8/29/2015
Hi Suzanne. It uses raw shrimp. Sorry for the confusion! :/

Fantastic, Jo! It's interesting, I see all these latin sections all over the place and find tracking different chillies pretty easy to do ... at least, in Seattle. Down here in Mexico, it's obviously quite easy. In any event, I'm glad you found something that works! :)

 DJ  12/1/2014


This was absolutely fabulous! I live in New Mexico and even had a hard time finding the chiles. I used the cannned chipotle in adobo (found in the international isle) Chile de arbol are dried chiles. Those were the only two I used. This was amazing and SPICY. We had it over a baby kale salad. I would make this again and again!!!

 Jo  10/16/2014


Kristie, some of the chillies aren't all that spicy. Some are there to give it more complex flavors and bulk for the sauce. They'll actually "cool" the dish, a bit. The chile de arbol, though ... now that'll give it a solid kick! I do love the idea of food that fights back. Clever! ;)

 DJ  4/9/2014


Ok, I have to say...I read the warnings that this was spicy, SO I only used the canned chipotle peppers, cumin and lime...whipped that up in the magic bullet and used 2 lbs of shrimp- WOW! Hot stuff! Can't even imagine how hot it would have been with the other peppers in it! It was tasty tho and I will make it again. It's so easy and tastes fresh...can't eat too much because of the heat. Maybe I should put peppers in all my that fights back!

 Kristie  4/9/2014


I made this tonight. Excellent! So spicy, so easy, and so, so delicious!

 Amy  11/7/2013


Hey that's helpful. Thanks! Yes, sometimes the east coast feels like the chile desert, although it is getting better and spicy things are becoming easier to find. Can't wait to try this recipe.

 Eric  6/18/2013


Hi Eric, it seems as if everywhere I go, there's a "hispanic spice rack", with a variety of Mexican products, spices, salsas, etc. Maybe this is less true on the east coast? In any event, I found a great substitution guide:<br /><br /> <a href="" target="_blank">Chile Substitutions</a><br /><br /> In short, Chile de Arbol is a spicy one! Substitute cayenne. Really, even if you were to JUST use the chipotles, you'd still have an excellent and flavorful dish. The other chilies are largely for additional flavor complexity, but aren't absolutely mandatory for a tasty dish. I hope this helps!

 DJ  6/18/2013


Help! For those of us who live in places where grocery stores don't have an entire aisle dedicated to chilis, can you give some other tips on how hot a variety is? I can usually get fresh chilis (jalapeno, Italian hot frying, serrano, and frequently habanero), but dried chilis are harder to find. If I can't find chili de Arbol, are there any substitutes?

 Eric  6/16/2013