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Sopa de Camarones (Mexican Shrimp Soup)

Sopa de Camarones is a Mexican shrimp soup that is light, but full of earthy flavor. Dried chiles give the broth its rich red color and distinctive flavor.

Shot of a bowl of sopa de camarones with lime wedges and chopped cilantro in the background.

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If you love Mexican flavors, but are looking for something lighter than tacos or enchiladas, this Sopa de Camaron or Caldo de Camaron is for you. It’s a light, broth-based soup, but it delivers the intense flavors of dried chiles and other Mexican seasonings.

There are many names for this soup or variations on it: Sopa de Camaron, Caldo de Camarones, Caldo de Camaron or Sopas de Camaron to name a few.

Overhead shot of a bowl of Mexican shrimp soup.

Why you’ll love this Sopa de Camarones

  • Full of flavor—Dried chiles give this Sopa de Camarones a backdrop of earthy flavor. Adding shrimp, shrimp stock, onions, garlic, and other seasonings takes it over the top.
  • Light fare—This Sopa de Camarones recipe is lighter than a lot of Mexican food that is popular in the US. It’s a great choice when you want something light, but still want all that rich Mexican flavor.
  • Easy to make—This Mexican shrimp soup is quick and easy to make on the stovetop and has a short ingredient list. 
Overhead shot of ingredients needed to make sopa de camarones.

Ingredients you need

Sopa de Camarones is one of those great dishes that pulls tons of flavor from a short ingredient list. Here’s what you need:

  • Dried guajillo chiles—Guajillo peppers are mild but with a deep, earthy flavor. If you want your soup to be a bit spicy, you can use a combination of guajillo chiles along with pasilla or ancho chiles, which both have nice fruity flavor and a spicy kick.
  • Olive oil—You can really use any oil you like here. I like olive oil because it has great flavor, but avocado, safflower, canola, or vegetable oil are all good choices, too.
  • Potato—Any potato will work. I used a Russet or Idaho potato.
  • Carrots—Peeled and sliced.
  • Onion—Peel and chop it roughly. It will be processed in a blender or food processor, so no need to dice it finely.
  • Garlic clove—This will also be processed in a blender or food processor, so just peel it and leave it whole.
  • Shrimp stock—You can make your own Shrimp Stock or use a store-bought shrimp bouillon cube, like Knorr… You can also substitute fish stock, vegetable broth, or water and/or add a few dried shrimp to the pot along with whatever broth you are using.
  • Bay leaf, salt, and pepper—For seasoning the broth.
  • Shrimp—Use medium shrimp that have been peeled and deveined.
  • Limes—Fresh lime juice squeezed into the soup just before serving brightens and balances all of the flavors.
  • Cilantro—This makes a pretty garnish and also adds flavor.

How to make it

You won’t spend all day slaving over this Sopa de Camarones. It can easily be made in 30 minutes! Here’s how:

  1. Soak the chiles—Start by soaking the chiles in boiling water to rehydrate them.
  2. Sauté the veggies—Heat the oil in a stockpot or Dutch oven and then add the potatoes and carrots.
  3. Purée—Combine the rehydrated chiles, the chile soaking water, onion, and garlic in a food processor or blender and process until smooth.
  4. Add stock and seasonings—Add the shrimp stock (or fish stock or water) to the pot along with the chile purée, salt, pepper, and bay leaf. Simmer until the veggies are tender.
  5. Add the shrimp—Add the shrimp and cook until they are opaque.
  6. Stir in lime juice and cilantro—Add these just before serving.
  7. Serve hot—Garnish with additional cilantro, along with diced avocado, if desired.
low angle shot of a bowl of sopa de camarones.

More Mexican recipes you’ll love

I love to cook Mexican food! Some of my favorite Mexican recipes are Camarones a la Diabla (Mexican Spicy Shrimp), Camarones al Mojo de Ajo (Mexican Garlic Shrimp), Shrimp and Chorizo Tacos, Chicken Enchiladas with Easy Enchilada Sauce, and Chilaquiles.

I also make lots of sides and garnishes to go with my Mexican meals: Corn Tortillas, Flour Tortillas, Mango Habanero Salsa, Salsa Verde, Pickled Onions, and Refried Beans or Mexican Black Beans are all great dishes to add to a Mexican meal.

Finish off your Mexican feast with these irresistible Dulce de Leche Cookies (or Alfajores).

Yield: Serves 6

Sopa de Camarones (Mexican Shrimp Soup)

low angle shot of a bowl of sopa de camarones.

Sopa de Camarones is a Mexican shrimp soup that is light,
but full of earthy flavor. Dried chiles give the broth it’s rich red color and distinctive
flavor.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 dried guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 potato, peeled and diced
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1 small onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 6 cups shrimp stock, fish stock, or water
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 pound peeled and deveined shrimp
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro, divided

Instructions

  1. Place the dried chiles in a heat-proof bowl and pour 2 cups of boiling water over them. Cover (I just put a plate on top of the bowl) and let stand for 15 minutes or so.
  2. In a stockpot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the potatoes and carrots and cook, stirring frequently, until they begin to soften and brown, about 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a food processor or blender, combine the onion, garlic, and the soaked chiles along with their soaking liquid. Process until smooth.
  4. Add the shrimp stock (or fish stock or water) to the pot along with the chile purée, salt, pepper, and bay leaf.
  5. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 10 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
  6. Add the and cook until the shrimp are opaque and cooked through, about 3 minutes.
  7. Just before serving stir in the lime juice and ¼ cup of the cilantro.
  8. Serve hot, garnished with the remaining cilantro.

Notes

1. Guajillo chiles are mild, with little to no heat. If you like your soup spicier, you can use a mix of guajillo, pasilla, and ancho chiles. Pasilla chiles add great raisin-y flavor and are medium spicy. Ancho chiles also have a fruity flavor and a bit more kick.

2. After puréeing the chiles, you may want to strain the mixture through a sieve to get rid of any larger bits of chile. I don’t mind a little texture, but straining it gives you a very smooth purée and keeps any bits of chile skin out of your soup.

3. You can use shrimp stock if you have it. Knorr makes a shrimp bouillon that works well here. You can also make a quick shrimp stock by adding dried shrimp along with water and letting them simmer in the soup. Or you can substitute fish stock, vegetable broth, or even just water.



Nutrition Information

Yield

6

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 401Total Fat 9gSaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 6gCholesterol 467mgSodium 731mgCarbohydrates 24gFiber 2gSugar 9gProtein 54g

Nutrient values are estimates only. Variations may occur due to product availability and manner of food preparation. Nutrition may vary based on methods of preparation, origin, freshness of ingredients, and other factors.

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By on May 2nd, 2022

About Robin Donovan


Hi, I’m Robin! I am a full-time food blogger, recipe developer, and cookbook author. I spend my days cooking, writing about, and photographing food.

I’m the author of more than 40 cookbooks, including Ramen for Beginners, 5 Ingredient Cooking for Two, Sushi at Home, The Baking Cookbook for Teens, and the bestselling Campfire Cuisine.

My food writing has also been featured in major print and online pubications including Cooking Light, Fitness, San Jose Mercury News, San Francisco Chronicle, and other popular publications.

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