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Costa Rican Shrimp and Rice Recipe - Arroz con camarones - Pura Vida Moms

Costa Rican Shrimp and Rice Recipe – Arroz con camarones

fried rice with tail on garlic shrimp, tomato, cucumber and lettuce

Bring beach vibes home with this traditional Costa Rican recipe for shrimp and rice that combines white rice, shrimp, cilantro, onion and Salsa Lizano for the perfect Costa Rican main dish.

rice with shrimp, french fries and parsley garnish

About This Recipe

When you visit Costa Rica, you’ll see a shrimp and rice recipe on almost every menu. It’s one of the most beloved Costa Rican dishes- with all the amazing seafood in the waters on the shores of Costa Rica, there is almost nowhere in the country you won’t find amazing shrimp.

Arroz con camarones is the name of the dish in Spanish, and it’s a common food for parties. It’s also a popular dish to order on the coasts – when ticos go to the beach they often order this meal. It’s a relatively easy shrimp dish to create, and definitely full of flavor.  

I love this recipe because of the secret ingredient- Salsa Lizano! This sauce, combined with the achiote to give the dish a red color, give this dish a perfect authentic flavor- or as we say, a lo tico!

Costa Rican Shrimp and Rice Recipe

Yield- 6-8 servings

Ingredients:

4 C long-grain white rice
32 oz seafood stock
3 TB achiote
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 TB vegetable oil

2 TB butter
1 lb shrimp, thawed and peeled
1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped with stems

1/4 cup celery, finely chopped

1/4 cup green onion, finely chopped
1/2 medium red pepper, cored, seeded and finely chopped
1 stalk of celery chopped finely (optional)
1 small white or yellow onion finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, pressed, divided into two equal parts
3 TB Salsa Lizano 

fried rice with tail on garlic shrimp, tomato, cucumber and lettuce

Instructions:

In a rice cooker, cook the rice in the seafood stock. I use equal parts rice and stock. Add a bit of salt- maybe 1/2 teaspoon. I use the rice cooking method from my Costa Rican White Rice Recipe.

While rice is cooking, chop up bell peppers, cilantro, celery, green onion, half the garlic and onion. In traditional Costa Rican style, these veggies should be very very finely chopped.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium until shimmering (you could use a large pot). Add the onions and garlic- cook until the onion is transparent. Add the chopped bell peppers and cilantro and reduce heat to medium. Cook about 15 minutes 

In a smaller skillet heat the butter and the other half of the garlic. Add the shrimp and cook until they just turn pink. You will be heating these garlic shrimp again in the rice, so make sure they are just barely done or they’ll get rubbery later. Which is gross.

When the rice is done cooking, add the achiote and stir until the rice is evenly colored. Add the rice to the skillet with the veggies and add the Lizano. Stir until mixed.

Finally, add the shrimp and mix everything together. Heat through, and serve with potato chips or French fries and a green salad. 

Note: almost every recipe calls to season with salt and pepper- black pepper is not a traditional Costa Rican ingredient, so I do not add it.

sail on shrimp with rice and spices

Substitutions

You can substitute baby shrimp for the shrimp in this recipe and just use more of them. You can also omit the achiote and use soy sauce for a more natural color. 

shrimp and rice with green salad

Variations

There are a few variations on this recipe to keep it traditional. The first is to make the rice and then sautee jumbo shrimp separately, tails on. The jumbo shrimp are then laid on top of the stir-fried rice before serving. Sometimes we call this dish camarones con arroz.

However- a word on camarones con arroz– if you are going to order that dish on a menu and they are also serving arroz con camarones, go with the cheaper option. I’ve found the dishes are almost always identical except for the price.

Some people make arroz con camarones con pollo– which is basically a combination of shrimp and rice and chicken and rice into one dish. You ouls just use half the shrimp in this recipe and substitute it for half a cup of shredded chicken. 

rice with shrimp, french fries and parsley garnish

Serving Suggestions

This recipe is most commonly served with either potato chips or french fries. Additionally, a traditional Costa Rican green salad with fresh lime juice as the dressing is usually an accompaniment.

At Costa Rican parties, people will serve this with either fresh juice (starfruit, blackberry, watermelon, mango, etc) or with ice cold Coca-Cola or Imperial beer.

You will often find this dish served with Costa Rican Black Bean Dip as an appetizer or side. 

Other popular Costa Rican recipes:

 

rice, shrimp and fried potatoes

FAQ

Can I freeze Costa Rican shrimp and rice? – I don’t think this dish would freeze incredibly well. 

Can I make this dish ahead? – Any true costarricense would say absolutely not. However, I think you could at least make the rice ahead. Reheating shrimp can be difficult, so I’d probably cook them right before serving. 

Is rice with shrimp healthy? – Relatively? It depends on how your body processes carbohydrates. Ther meal is mostly carbs with a few veggies, so if you are on a stricter diet, I’d do a small portion of the shrimp fried rice and a super huge salad.

Printable Recipe

Yield: 6 servings

Costa Rican Shrimp and Rice Recipe - Arroz con camarones

Costa Rican Shrimp and Rice Recipe - Arroz con camarones

Bring beach vibes to your home with this traditional Costa Rican recipe for shrimp and rice that combines white rice, jumbo shrimp, cilantro, onion and Salsa Lizano for the perfect Costa Rican main dish.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Additional Time 5 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 C long-grain white rice
  • 32 oz seafood stock
  • 3 TB achiote
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 TB vegetable oil
  • 2 TB butter
  • 1 lb shrimp, thawed and peeled
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped with stems
  • 1/2 medium red pepper, cored, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 stalk of celery chopped finely (optional)
  • 1 small white or yellow onion finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, pressed, divided into two equal parts
  • 3 TB Salsa Lizan

Instructions

  1. In a rice cooker, cook the rice in the seafood stock. I use equal parts rice and stock. Add a bit of salt- maybe 1/2 teaspoon. I use the rice cooking method from my Costa Rican White Rice Recipe.
  2. While rice is cooking, chop up bell peppers, cilantro, half the garlic and onion. In traditional Costa Rican style, these veggies should be very very finely chopped.
  3. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium until shimmering (you could use a large pot). Add the onions and garlic- cook until the onion is transparent. Add the chopped bell peppers and cilantro and reduce heat to medium. Cook about 15 minutes 
  4. In a smaller skillet heat the butter and the other half of the garlic. Add the shrimp and cook until they just turn pink. You will be heating these garlic shrimp again in the rice, so make sure they are just barely done or they'll get rubbery later. Which is gross.
  5. When the rice is done cooking, add the achiote and stir until the rice is evenly colored. Add the rice to the skillet with the veggies and add the Lizano. Stir until mixed.
  6. Finally, add the shrimp and mix everything together. Heat through, and serve with potato chips or French fries and a green salad. 

Notes

Note: almost every recipe calls to season with salt and pepper- black pepper is not a traditional Costa Rican ingredient, so I do not add it.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 404Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 220mgSodium: 1556mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 41g

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Beth
    February 18, 2020 at 9:38 am

    I am in love with the colors and flavors of this recipe! No leftovers with this dish!

  • Reply
    Szuy
    February 18, 2020 at 9:42 am

    I love how simple this recipe is but so flavorful! Such a hit with the family!