Mexican Shrimp and Rice

A fiesta in a bowl, Mexican Shrimp and Rice (aka arroz con camarones) combines Mexican flavors – cilantro, cumin, and garlic – with shrimp, rice, black beans, and veggies. Garnished with avocado, jalapeño, more cilantro, and lime wedges, it’s quick, healthy, gluten free, and flavorful… A perfect one pot meal for any day of the week!

Mexican shrimp and rice in a cast iron skillet with a wood cutting board beyond it.

👩🏻‍🍳 Tamara Talks – About Arroz con Camarones

Have you figured out that I have a love affair with shrimp? Be sure to check out my list of delicious shrimp recipes!

Always an important consideration (in my mind) is whether or not my fish/shellfish is sustainable or not. While I love fresh and “wild caught,” for many of my readers, it’s not an option. There are some excellent sustainable choices widely available in the freezer section.

I often mention my “go to” source for sustainable fisheries The Monterey Bay Seafood Watch. This Mexican Shrimp and Rice (arroz con camarones) obviously requires shrimp. The Seafood Watch offers “Best Choice,” “Good Alternatives,” and “Avoid” shrimp sources. It’s an excellent resource!

I have a process that I discovered in my early adventures cooking Persian food – using a blender to purée key herbs and aromatics to infuse flavor into a dish. I incorporated the cilantro purée in my Peruvian Chicken and Rice (Arroz Con Pollo), and the recipe is one of my most popular. I also use it in my Mexican cilantro rice.

I am a “border girl,” having spent 58 of my 63 years on or near the southern border. While I am not fluent in Spanish (I understand a good amount), I am more comfortable calling this dish arroz con camarones. I’m guessing more of my readers prefer Mexican shrimp and rice. Either one works!

  • shrimp – “The bigger the better” applies to this Mexican shrimp recipe. You’ll need them peeled and deveined, and the process is tedious at best! I use wild caught Texas Gulf brown shrimp, 16-20 per pound. If you use farm-raised shrimp, know your source is a solid one.
  • fresh cilantro – Thin stems are fine, but thicker stems are bitter. I cut my bunch of cilantro at the base, give it a good rinse, and pull out any thick pieces.
  • onion – Red, yellow, white onions are fine. I like shallots too.
  • broth/stock – Seafood, shrimp, or chicken broth/stock are all fine. When we peel shrimp, we pop the shells in a zip bag in the freezer, and when we have a big zip bag full, I make a simple shrimp stock.
  • bell pepper – If you eat with your eyes like I do, choose a colorful red or orange bell pepper. If you want to increase the spice level, try adding a serrano or jalapeño pepper to the bell pepper.
  • corn – Either fresh corn off the cob, or frozen corn is fine.
  • cooked black beans – You can use rinsed and drained canned black beans, or cooked dried beans, but you must start with them cooked.
  • white rice – I use basmati rice, and the ratio of rice to liquid is 1:2. Check your package, and add or subtract liquid if indicated.
  • garlic
  • ground cumin
  • garnishes – I like avocado, lime wedges, scallions, and cilantro.

About “Mis en Place”

Mis en place (fancy French for prep  😀 ) is key with this dish. If you hunt and gather as you go, you won’t get it done in 30 minutes… I make the cilantro-onion-broth mixture, measure all the ingredients, chop the bell pepper, peel and devein the shrimp, etc. before cooking anything.

If you prefer, you can prepare the garnishes while the rice dish cooks. NOTE: I save the avocado for last due to the potential for oxidation.

  • Peel and de-vein the shrimp if needed.
  • Purée the cilantro, broth, and onion mixture.
  • Rinse and drain the black beans.
  • Prep the bell pepper and corn.
  • Measure out the rice.
Ingredients for Mexican shrimp and rice in prep bowls prior to cooking: Corn, broth, black beans, shrimp, bell pepper, rice, garlic, cumin, onion, and cilantro.

🔪 Step-By-Step Instructions

As I mentioned above, you’ll want to prep all of the shrimp and rice ingredients prior to turning on the burner!

Step 1 - A small food processor with cilantro, onion, and seafood broth.

Make the cilantro-onion-broth mixture – Add onion cut in chunks, cilantro, and 1/2 cup of the broth to the bowl of a food processor.

A small food processor with the cilantro-onion-broth mixture blended.

Purée the cilantro mixture until fairly smooth. The bits should be small.

A 2 cup measuring pitcher with the prepared cilantro broth mixture.

Add broth/stock to the cilantro mixture to equal the amount of liquid specified on your rice package. For example: I use basmati that requires a 1:2 rice to liquid ratio. With 1 cup of basmati rice, I need 2 cups of the cilantro and broth mixture.

Step 2 - A cast iron skillet with rice, cumin, garlic, and bell pepper

Sauté – Add a drizzle of olive oil to the pan over medium-high heat. Add the rice, garlic, cumin, and bell peppers. Cook 1-2 minutes until fragrant, stirring regularly.

Step 3 - The cilantro-broth mixture added to the cast iron skillet.

Simmer – Add the cilantro liquid mixture, black beans, and salt to the pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer (medium heat). You’ll want to wait 10-15 minutes to add your shrimp. My 16-20 size need 10 minutes.

Step 4 - The rice and black beans simmering in the cilantro liquid with a glass cover.

After you add the raw shrimp and corn, give it a good stir, and cover the pan while the rice simmers in the liquid over low heat. Cook covered for the balance of the time recommended on your rice package. My basmati requires 20 minutes.

Step 5 - The shrimp and corn added to the black beans and rice in the cast iron skillet.

Cook the shrimp just until it turns pink. Remove from the heat, and leave the cover on until ready to serve. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Garnish as desired, and enjoy!

The completed Mexican shrimp and rice in a cast iron skillet with garnishes alongside.
Mexican Shrimp with Rice and garnishes!

💭 Tips for the Best Arroz con Camarones

I have a lot of prep bowls, and I use them! I have everything on the counter beside my range before I turn the burner on. While the rice simmers, I prep the garnishes.

The size of your shrimp is important. My shrimp (on photo day) were large (16-20 count), and needed 10 minutes. If you’re using smaller shrimp, you might want to add them 2-3 minutes later. Overcooked shrimp are so disappointing!

I like a heavy skillet or saucepan for this dish. Make sure it is large enough. I have a large cast iron skillet with a well-fitting lid (important!).

❓FAQ

What is the best way to thaw frozen shrimp?

The best way to thaw your shrimp is overnight in the refrigerator. If time does not allow, place the shrimp in a colander and run a trickle of cold water over it. It should be ready in about 15 minutes.

What size shrimp should I use?

I prefer large or jumbo shrimp because they’re a little more forgiving. Jumbo shrimp require about 10 minutes to cook, while 7-8 minutes is about right for large shrimp.

We enjoy this with a crisp white or dry rosé. With the availability of sustainable shrimp year ’round, you can enjoy this dish easy Mexican shrimp skillet all year! Eat more seafood 😀

Signature in red and green with chiles and limes. Healthyish Latin cuisine.

Arroz con camarones (Mexican shrimp and rice) - in a red bowl with a copper fork and a print cloth napkin.

Mexican Arroz con Camarones (Rice and Shrimp) in a black bowl with a black fork and a red print napkin.

Mexican Shrimp and Rice

A fiesta in bowl, Mexican Shrimp and Rice (aka arroz con camarones) combines Mexican flavors – cilantro, cumin, and garlic – with shrimp, rice, black beans, and veggies. Garnished with avocado, jalapeño, more cilantro, and lime wedges, it's quick, healthy, and flavorful… Ready in 30 minutes!
4.50 from 6 votes

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Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Main Dishes
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 4 servings
Calories 442 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound large shrimp - thawed, peeled, and de-veined (see notes)
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 small onion - cut in chunks
  • 2 cups seafood - shrimp, or chicken broth/stock, +/-
  • 1 cup white rice - (see notes)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic - minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 medium bell pepper - I like red and orange!
  • 1 cup corn kernels - I like fresh off the cob, but frozen is fine too!
  • 1 can black beans - rinsed and drained
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • salt and fresh ground pepper - to taste
  • 1 medium avocado - for garnish
  • lime wedges - for garnish
  • additional cilantro - for garnish
  • chopped scallions - for garnish

Instructions

Mis en Place (Prep)

  • Peel and de-vein the shrimp unless it’s already done for you. 
  • Twist bunch of cilantro at the base of the leaves. Discard any large stems. Rinse well. Add to a blender. Add the onion chunks and 1/4 cup broth/stock. Puree until smooth.
  • Pour into a measuring pitcher. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides.
  • Add broth/stock to the 2 cup mark (see notes). Set aside.
  • Chop the bell pepper, cut corn off the cob if using fresh, rinse and drain the black beans.
  • Measure out the rice. Have the olive oil, garlic, and cumin ready to go.

Mexican Arroz con Camarones

  • Add olive oil to a skillet or dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the rice, garlic, cumin, chopped bell pepper, and corn. Cook 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
  • Add the prepared cilantro/onion/broth liquid to the pan along with the black beans and the salt. Cover. Reduce heat to a low simmer.
  • After 10 minutes, add the shrimp. Stir. Replace cover. Cook another 10 minutes.
  • Check a grain of rice. If it’s not tender give it another minute or two. You can add a tablespoon of broth if it’s dry. The shrimp should not be transparent. Just leaving the cover on the pan (with no heat) may be enough to finish them if they’re not quite cooked.
  • While the rice and shrimp cook, prepare any garnishes. 
  • Scoop into shallow bowls or plates, garnish, and enjoy!

Notes

Liquid – I use basmati rice with a 1:2 ratio with water. I do like to rinse it first. Regular long grain rice or even jasmine rice is fine too. Check your rice package for liquid requirement and cooking time. Make an adjustment if necessary. 
My shrimp (on photo day) were large (16-20 count), and needed the 10 minutes. If you’re using smaller shrimp, you might want to add them 2-3 minutes later. Overcooked shrimp are so disappointing!

Nutrition

Calories: 442kcal | Carbohydrates: 69g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 8g

NOTE: Macronutrients are an approximation only using unbranded ingredients and MyFitnessPal.com. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment and/or star rating! Email us with any questions: tamara@beyondmeresustenance.com

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