Mexican Crab Cocktail with imitation crab in a spicy tomato juice cocktail. This coctel de jaiva is loaded with fresh flavors and makes the perfect appetizer served with saltines or tostadas.
Coctel de camaron is my favorite appetizer to make for Summer parties. It’s refreshing and delicious, with loads of juicy shrimp, crispy veggies, and a spicy tomato juice cocktail.
Unfortunately, it’s not always a great option. It can get expensive at $7.99 and up per pound for good-sized shrimp, especially when serving a large crowd. And, of course, there’s the peeling and deveining. Who’s got time for that?
Enter: Mexican crab cocktail. Made of the more affordable imitation crab, you get all the seafood cocktail flavors you love at half the price and half the work!
Imitation crab meat
Imitation crab meat or kani is made of surimi, a gelatinous paste composed of white-fleshed fish (most often pollock), seafood extracts, and a starch binder.
Shaped and cured to resemble real crab meat in taste and texture, it is a popular and cheaper alternative for lump crab meat in many dishes such as sushi, salads, and soup.
The best part of using imitation crab in this Mexican cocktail recipe is that there’s no cooking involved. Kani is fully cooked, and the only prep it needs is to shred the large chunks into smaller strands coarsely.
However, I like to generously drizzle the shredded crab meat with lemon or lime juice and let it stand for a few minutes before adding the rest of the cocktail ingredients to take off some fishy taste.
Can’t find Clamato? Substitute vegetable juice!
- This seafood cocktail is delicious as an appetizer or a light Summer meal. Like the shrimp version, it’s best enjoyed with saltine crackers or tostadas.
- I personally like to use it as a dip for crisp tortilla chips and then gulp down the refreshing tomato caldo when all the solid goodies are gone. So good!
How to store
- For food safety, do not leave the crab cocktail at room temperature for more than 2 hours. Store in a container with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
- Do not freeze as the vegetables will lose their texture from the freezing and thawing.
- 1 pound imitation crab, coarsely shredded
- juice from 2 limes
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
- 1 onion, peeled and diced
- 1 large cucumber, peeled and diced
- 2 Jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
- 1/2 bundle cilantro, stemmed and chopped
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 2 cups Clamato juice
- In a bowl, combine crab and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let stand for 3 to 5 minutes.,
- Add tomatoes, onions, cucumber, jalapeno, and cilantro.
- Add ketchup and Clamato juice. Stir to combine.
- Season with salt to taste. Stir to combine.
- Refrigerate for about 10 to 15 minutes to allow flavors to meld.
“This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.”