Cast Iron Camarones

(Of course, this doesn’t have to be cooked in cast iron. But it cooks up really nicely, if you do.)

I don’t know nearly as much about shrimp as Bubba does, but I do know that I really love this recipe!

Umm okay but what is it now?

Camarones is Spanish for shrimp – however, the dish “camarones” is predominantly served in Mexican restaurants.

There are probably as many variations on this dish as there are families in Mexico (because every one probably does it a little different).

But from what I know the main thing is that the dish includes shrimp (obviously…) and garlic.

Lots and lots of garlic.

Like, lots and lots and lots of garlic.

(My recipe calls for 4 tablespoons of minced garlic…. or approximately 10-12 cloves.)

That might sound ridiculous but once you try this recipe you’ll realize this is one where the more garlic you add, the better…

Sounds good, so how do I make it?

You will need the following equipment:

  • 12-inch cast iron skillet
  • spatula
  • cutting board
  • chef’s knife
  • measuring spoons

And the following ingredients:

  • 1 lb medium shrimp
  • 1/2 lb mushrooms
  • 2 bell peppers
  • 1 onion
  • 4 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon parsley flakes
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper

First, let’s talk shrimp

It doesn’t really matter if you buy raw shrimp or cooked shrimp, fresh or frozen – get whatever you’re comfortable working with.

I opt for raw shrimp because it’s usually cheaper but honestly, it doesn’t make any difference which one you use.

The shrimp will get added last, and the seasoning is going to stick more to the vegetables than it ever will to the crustaceans, so if it’s easier to use cooked shrimp, go for it.

Now, on to the actual cooking

Since you’re using cast iron, you can cook all the ingredients on high or medium-high heat without having to worry about anything ruining your pan. You still want to watch everything as it cooks though, because at high temperatures it won’t take long.

Cook the mushrooms first in just a little bit of oil, until they’re the desired consistency (probably about 5-7 minutes). Stir the mushrooms often.

They’ll cook down a lot, and if you’re careful not to use too much oil they’ll get nice brown marks and they won’t become rubbery.

Add the onions and peppers and an additional tablespoon of olive oil, and quickly stir everything together to get the veggies well coated with oil. Add the garlic, crushed red pepper, salt, and black pepper, and stir everything until the spices are well distributed.

From here on out you want to do a balancing act

To ensure that all the veggies cook properly (as well as the shrimp, when it finally gets added), you want to closely monitor how much oil is in the skillet now.

When the skillet starts to get too dry, add a tiny bit of oil (like maybe a teaspoon or so) and stir everything around so that the veggies are slightly “glistening.”

Cook the veggies for another 5 minutes or so, stirring often and making sure to add more oil as necessary.

Don’t let the skillet get too dry to where stuff starts to burn onto it – but don’t add so much oil that the veggies are swimming in it, either. Just a little extra oil, every couple of minutes, will help to ensure that everything comes out right.

When the onion and the peppers start to show black “grill” marks – you’re just about ready to add the shrimp.

And lastly, let’s talk shrimp (again)

Shrimp cooks fast. If it gets a little overcooked, it’s still good, but if it gets way overcooked it can come out chewy or even a bit rubbery.

If you’re using raw shrimp, you want the shell to turn pink, and the shrimp meat to turn a solid white color. This will probably take 5 or 6 minutes on high or even medium-high heat – but make sure you stir the shrimp constantly so that it all makes contact with the surface of the skillet.

Any shrimp that just sits “on top” of the vegetables for 5 or 6 minutes may not get cooked all the way through.

Contrariwise, if you’re using cooked shrimp, you only want to keep the heat on long enough for the shrimp to get hot, but not too much longer. In this case, 2 or 3 minutes should be plenty of time.

Either way, plan ahead, and be ready to stir everything often as soon as you add the shrimp, and watch closely to prevent overcooking.

When the shrimp is opaque and everything is hot, your camarones are ready to serve.

Why I prefer this recipe

If you google “camarones,” you’ll find a ton of recipes, some with a spicy sauce, some with lots of butter, some with additional seasonings… (and very few, if any, with mushrooms – but in my opinion mushrooms go very well with this dish!)

What I like about this recipe is that it’s very simple and even though it uses a lot of garlic, you can still taste the shrimp and the vegetables.

Even the crushed red pepper flakes only add a hint of heat to this dish, complimenting the natural flavors instead of overriding them.

The shrimp, the mushrooms, the onion, and the bell peppers all combine in ways that enchant your sense of sight, smell, and taste, and leave you always wanting more!

And anyway, if you make this dish and feel that it needs more garlic, more heat, or more seasoning – you can always add to it. (But it’s a lot harder to take away.)

This recipe may work out to be a perfect base, or starting point, for your family, but for me I think it’s just perfect just the way that it is.

Anyway, you should make it tonight! And come back and let me know how you like it.


Cast Iron Camarones

Best camarones this side of the border
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 4


  • Cast iron skillet
  • Spatula
  • Cutting board
  • Chef's knife
  • Measuring spoons


  • 1 lb shrimp
  • 1/2 lb mushrooms sliced
  • 2 bell peppers sliced
  • 1 yellow onion sliced
  • 4 tbsp minced garlic (or approximately 10 cloves)
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp parsley flakes
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper


  • Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium high heat.
  • Add mushrooms and cook until nicely browned, about 5-7 minutes, stirring often. Add onion and peppers and additional 1 Tbsp olive oil, cook an additional 5-7 minutes or until onion and peppers show black "grill" marks.
  • Add garlic, parsley, crushed red pepper, salt, and pepper; stir until vegetables are evenly coated, about 1-2 minutes.
  • Add shrimp. If using raw shrimp, cook until shells turn pink and shrimp meat has turned white, about 5-6 minutes. If using cooked shrimp, cook until shrimp is hot and has slightly firmed up, about 2-3 minutes. Serve immediately.

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