When it comes to Spanish cuisine, one dish that stands out for its delectable taste and unique texture is croquetas de gambas. These shrimp croquettes are a popular tapas dish in Spain, loved by locals and tourists alike. In this article, we will explore the origins of croquetas de gambas, their ingredients, the cooking process, and why they have become a beloved delicacy. So, let’s dive in and discover the secrets behind this mouthwatering treat!

The Origins of Croquetas de Gambas

Croquetas, in general, have a long history in Spanish cuisine. The dish is believed to have originated in France during the 17th century and was introduced to Spain by the French chef Marie-Antoine Carême. Over time, croquetas became a staple in Spanish households and were prepared with various fillings, including ham, chicken, and fish.

As for croquetas de gambas, their origins can be traced back to the coastal regions of Spain, where seafood is abundant. Shrimp, or gambas in Spanish, are a popular ingredient in Spanish cuisine, and it was only natural for them to find their way into croquetas. The combination of the delicate flavor of shrimp and the creamy texture of the croquette filling creates a harmonious blend that has captivated the taste buds of many.

The Ingredients

To make croquetas de gambas, you will need a handful of ingredients that come together to create a burst of flavors. Here are the key components:

  • Shrimp: Fresh, succulent shrimp are the star of the dish. They provide a sweet and briny taste that elevates the croquetas to another level.
  • Milk: Milk is used to create the creamy béchamel sauce that forms the base of the croquette filling. It adds richness and a smooth texture to the dish.
  • Flour: Flour is used to thicken the béchamel sauce and bind the ingredients together. It gives the croquetas their characteristic creamy interior.
  • Bread Crumbs: Bread crumbs are used to coat the croquetas before frying, giving them a crispy and golden exterior.
  • Seasonings: Various seasonings such as garlic, onion, parsley, and paprika are added to enhance the flavor of the croquetas.
  • Olive Oil: Olive oil is used for frying the croquetas, adding a touch of Mediterranean goodness to the dish.

The Cooking Process

The process of making croquetas de gambas involves several steps, but the end result is well worth the effort. Here is a step-by-step guide to preparing these delectable treats:

  1. Cook the shrimp: Start by cooking the shrimp in boiling water until they turn pink and are cooked through. Remove the shells and finely chop the shrimp.
  2. Prepare the béchamel sauce: In a separate pan, melt butter and add flour to create a roux. Gradually whisk in milk until the mixture thickens and becomes smooth. Add the chopped shrimp, seasonings, and mix well.
  3. Cool and shape the filling: Transfer the mixture to a shallow dish and let it cool. Once cooled, shape the filling into small cylinders or balls, using your hands or a spoon.
  4. Coat and fry the croquetas: Roll each croqueta in bread crumbs until fully coated. Heat olive oil in a frying pan and fry the croquetas until they turn golden brown and crispy on the outside.
  5. Serve and enjoy: Once fried, remove the croquetas from the pan and place them on a paper towel to absorb any excess oil. Serve them hot and savor the deliciousness!

Why Croquetas de Gambas are a Beloved Delicacy

Croquetas de gambas have gained popularity for several reasons. Here are a few factors that contribute to their status as a beloved delicacy:

  • Rich and Creamy Texture: The combination of the creamy béchamel sauce and the tender shrimp creates a melt-in-your-mouth experience that is hard to resist.
  • Delicate Flavor: Shrimp adds a subtle sweetness to the croquetas, making them a delightful treat for seafood lovers.
  • Versatility: Croquetas de gambas can be enjoyed as a tapas dish, an appetizer, or even as a main course. They are a versatile option that can be served on various occasions.
  • Perfect for Sharing: Croquetas are often served in small portions, making them ideal for sharing with friends and family during social gatherings.
  • Cultural Significance: Croquetas are deeply rooted in Spanish culinary traditions and are a symbol of the country’s rich gastronomic heritage.


1. Can I use frozen shrimp to make croquetas de gambas?

Yes, you can use frozen shrimp to make croquetas de gambas. However, it is recommended to thaw the shrimp before cooking them to ensure even cooking and better flavor.

2. Can I make croquetas de gambas ahead of time?

Yes, you can prepare the croquetas de gambas ahead of time and refrigerate them until you are ready to fry them. This makes them a convenient option for parties and gatherings.

3. Can I use a different type of seafood instead of shrimp?

Absolutely! While shrimp is the traditional choice for croquetas de gambas, you can experiment with other seafood such as crab, lobster, or even a combination of different seafood to create your own unique croquetas.

4. Are croquetas de gambas gluten-free?

No, croquetas de gambas are not gluten-free as they contain flour in the béchamel sauce and bread crumbs for coating. However, you can explore gluten-free alternatives by using gluten-free flour and breadcrumbs.

5. Can I bake the croquetas instead of frying them?

While frying gives croquetas their characteristic crispy exterior, you can also bake them in the oven for a healthier alternative. Simply place the coated croquetas on a baking sheet and bake at a high temperature until they turn golden brown.


Croquetas de gambas are a delightful Spanish delicacy that combines the flavors of succulent shrimp and creamy béchamel sauce. With their rich and creamy texture, delicate flavor, and versatility, these croquetas have become a beloved dish in