These Shrimp Enchiladas combine tender and flavorful shrimp, warm tortillas and the most decadent, cheesy and creamy enchilada sauce. Baked to perfection and ready in just over 30 minutes, this shrimp enchilada recipe is Mexican food at it’s finest!
Simple Shrimp Enchiladas Recipe
These Shrimp Enchiladas are one of my favorite recipes to make when I am craving a rich and delicious weeknight dinner that can be on the table quickly.
But these homemade enchiladas are not just another easy weeknight meal, this restaurant quality homemade enchiladas are great served on special occasions when you want to impress the whole family and/or guests.
Loaded with the delicate flavor of shrimp and drenched in a creamy cheese sauce, this hearty enchilada recipe is certainly a shrimp lovers’ dream!
What are Shrimp Enchiladas?
This easy shrimp enchiladas recipe is a Mexican casserole dish that marries small bites of shrimp, bell peppers, and onions with soft corn tortillas enveloped in a super creamy sauce made with green chiles, cheese, sour cream and green enchilada sauce. Oven baked until deliciously melted and bubbly, this is a decadent meal you’ll be excited to dive into.
Why You’ll Love These Easy Enchiladas with Shrimp
- Simple Ingredients: Made with common ingredients that are easy to find at the grocery store.
- Quick and Easy: Don’t let the list of ingredients overwhelm you. This awesome recipe can be divided into four simple steps. Make the filling, stuff it into tortillas, combine sauce ingredients and bake!
- Restaurant Quality at Home: – This is an awesome recipe to whip up on a busy weeknight, for a Cinco de Mayo celebration, date night, game day and even on taco Tuesday!
Ingredients and Substitutions for Creamy Shrimp Enchiladas
For the complete list of ingredients and quantities, check the printable recipe card below.
For the Shrimp Mixture:
- Shrimp: I use large shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails removed and cut into bite-size pieces. I always keep shrimp in my freeze as defrosting takes very little time. Shrimp cooks quickly also, making it a great dinner option.
- Red Bell Pepper: Seeded and diced. You can use yellow or orange bell peppers as well.
- Poblano Peppers: This mild pepper lends very gentle heat, color and tons of flavor to the enchiladas.
- Onions: You can use yellow, brown or white onions.
- Taco Seasoning: Use your own homemade version or the packets found in the spice section of the grocery store.A great way too add some heat to the dish, try adding chili powder, cayenne pepper, or crushed red pepper flakes. Although not traditional, I have made this recipe with Cajun seasoning and it was a huge hit!
- Fresh Lime Juice: Citrus brings brightness to the dish. Use freshly squeeze lime juice.
- Fresh cilantro – If you (or others) do not like cilantro, try parsley or basil.
- Tortillas: When it comes to tortillas I can be a painful purist! Enchiladas, just like tacos, are made with corn tortillas. Burritos and quesadillas are made with flour tortillas!
For the Creamy Enchilada Sauce:
- Butter: Use either salted or unsalted butter depending on your preference.
- Whole milk or half and half: Half and half makes a richer sauce than whole milk but both work well in this recipe.
- Chicken Broth: For deeper flavor you can use shrimp broth or fish stock. Vegetable stock can be used is that is all you have. I stay away from water as it doesn’t add any flavor to the dish.
- Green Enchilada Sauce : Unlike beef enchiladas (or red chicken enchiladas) made with red sauce, this easy recipe is made with canned green enchilada sauce (not to be confused with salsa verde). I prefer the mild or medium heat variety.
- Diced Green Peppers: I use canned green chilis.
- Sour Cream: Adds creaminess and a slight tang.
- Cheese: I use Monterrey Jack cheese but other type of cheese or Mexican blend cheese can be used. Shredding cheese from a block is best but for convenience, you can use pre-shredded cheese from a package.
- Optional Toppings: Although optional, toppings add color and freshness to this rich Mexican dish. Pico de Gallo, chopped tomatoes, chopped onions, avocado, and/or a dollop of sour cream are some favorites.
How do you Make Shrimp Enchiladas?
Here’s the quick version of how to make this easy shrimp enchiladas. Find all of the details on the printable recipe card below.
- Add onion, bell pepper, and poblano pepper into a heated skillet with hot oil and butter.
- Once the peppers and onion are soft, add the garlic to the sautéed onion mixture and cook briefly.
- Then, add shrimp, taco seasoning, salt, and pepper and cook until the shrimp starts to turn pink (it will cook more in the oven). Add the lime juice and cilantro and remove the pan from the heat.
To Make the Sauce and Casserole:
- Melt butter in a large skillet and add flour. Stir to make a roux.
- Gradually add the milk or half and half, whisking constantly.
- Continue to whisk while adding the broth, ensuring the mixture remains smooth as it thickens.
- Add enchilada sauce and green chiles and cook briefly before removing from the heat.
- Gently mix in the sour cream until completely combined.
- Sprinkle in salt and pepper.
- Transfer a small portion of the cream sauce to the shrimp and bell pepper mixture.
To Assemble the Casserole:
- Gently warm the tortillas in the microwave in damp paper towels.
- Spread a portion of the enchilada sauce in a baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.
- Wrap chopped shrimp filling in tortillas and roll tightly before placing the filled tortillas in the dish in a single layer, seam side down.
- Use the rest of the enchilada sauce to cover the enchiladas.
- Add remaining cheese to the top of the enchiladas, cover with foil, and bake.
- Just before the end of baking time, remove the foil and continue baking until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove from the oven, and serve topped with preferred garnishes.
Common Questions about Seafood Enchiladas
Is Flour or Corn Better for Enchiladas?
Without a doubt, corn tortillas are best when it comes to enchiladas. Flour tortillas are best for quesadillas and burritos.
Why are my Tortillas Soggy in Enchiladas?
Most of the time, tortillas are soggy because they were drenched in sauce and not baked immediately. If you pour the sauce over the rolled and filled tortillas, you must bake the dish immediately. the longer it sits, the soggier it will get.
Do you Put Sauce on Enchiladas Before or After Baking?
For the best enchiladas, add the sauce just before baking. This will ensure that the tortillas do not get soggy but that the dish has all of the flavors mingling together while baking.
Should you Cover Enchiladas when Baking?
You should cover the enchiladas for most of the time when baking to ensure the tortillas do not dry out. However, toward the end of baking time, it’s ideal to remove the foil so that the top layer of cheese melts gorgeously over the enchiladas.
What is the Best Cheese to use for Enchiladas?
While we use Monterey Jack cheese in this recipe, you can use mild or medium cheddar cheese or a pre-shredded Mexican-style blend mix. For a more authentic flavor, Mexican cheese like queso asadero and Oaxaca are good alternatives.
What to Serve with this Delicious Shrimp Enchilada Recipe?
While these shrimp enchiladas make for a great meal on their own you can serve them with any number of sides. Here are some ideas
- Homemade Tortilla Chips (I love dipping them in some of the cheesy sauce)
- Guacamole, salsa, Pico De Gallo or Pickled Jalapenos (Taqueria Style)
- Mexican Street Corn Salad
- Homemade Refried Beans
Make Ahead, Storing, and Freezing Shrimp Enchiladas
These enchiladas are an easy meal to make quickly but you can make the process even easier following these few tips.
Make Ahead: While I prefer not making the shrimp mixture ahead of time, I usually prep all my ingredients (mise en place) so I am completely ready to start cooking. You can also make the sauce a day ahead.
Refrigerator: I don’t like eating shrimp a day after it’s been cooked but that is a personal preference. You can store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge 2 days.
Freezer: Cool completely and freeze for 2 months in a freezer-safe container or wrapped in a few layers of aluminum foil.
Tips for Success
Keep the filled and rolled tortillas separate from the enchilada sauce until ready to bake. This is the most important step to prevent soggy enchiladas.
- If using Flour Tortillas: Since flour tortillas are usually larger than corn tortillas, you may end up with fewer enchiladas.
Use olive oil and butter: Oil is perfect for sautéing the aromatics and butter adds so much flavor to the shrimp.
Frozen shrimp is as good or better than fresh shrimp. Frozen shrimp is caught and immediately frozen, packed and ready to be sold while fresh shrimp in most cases is previously frozen!
- Enchilada Sauce: The homemade cheese sauce in this recipe uses store-bought green enchilada sauce which combined with other ingredients tastes fantastic.
- Stuffing: Don’t overfilled the tortillas.
- Crab Meat: Use half the shrimp and half lump crab meat for a fun seafood enchilada twist! Do not use imitation crab meat!
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Creamy Shrimp Enchiladas
For the Shrimp:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 1 small onion finely diced
- 1/2 small red bell pepper stemmed, seeded, and finely diced
- 1 poblano pepper stemmed, seeded, deveined, and finely diced
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 1 pound large or medium shrimp, peeled and deveined tails removed
- 1 tablespoon taco seasoning (store-bought or homemade)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt optional (check if your taco seasoning contains salt and adjust quantity)
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice or more to taste
- 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro chopped plus more to garnish
- 10 to 12 (6-inches) soft corn tortillas
For the Creamy Enchilada Sauce:
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 2 tablespoon flour
- 1/2 cup whole milk or half and half
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 cup green enchilada sauce, mild or medium heat, (store-bought or homemade)
- 1 2-ounces can diced green peppers
- 1 cup sour cream (one 8-ounce container)
- Salt and ground black pepper
- 2 cups Monterrey Jack Cheese shredded
- Chopped tomato, avocado, cilantro, onion
- Cotija cheese or Queso Fresco cheese, crumbled
- Preheat the oven to 350º F
Make Shrimp Filling
- Cut each shrimp into 2 to 3 bite-size pieces, and set aside.
- Heat the oil and butter in a large skillet over medium high heat until the oil is hot and the butter starts bubbling. Add the onion, bell pepper and poblano pepper to the skillet and cook, stirring frequently until softened, about 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds or until fragrant.
- Add the shrimp, taco seasoning, (salt if using) and black pepper. Stir and cook for about 2 minutes, flip and cook the other side of the shrimp for a minute or until the shrimp starts to turn pink (the shrimp will continue to cook in the oven). Stir in the lime juice and the chopped cilantro and remove from he heat.
To Make the Sauce:
- In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Sprinkle in the flour whisking continually to prevent any lumps. Cook the mixture for about 2 minutes.
- Slowly and gradually, stir in the milk or half and half while whisking to prevent lumps. Whisk until the mixture is smooth. Stir in the broth and mix until combined. Cook, stirring frequently for about 3-4 minutes or until the sauce thickens.
- Stir in the enchilada sauce and green chiles and cook over medium-low heat for about a minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the sour cream, mixing until incorporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Remove about 1 cup of the sauce and mix it with the shrimp mixture.
- Wrap the tortillas in a damp paper towel or tea towel and microwave for about 1 minute.
- Spread about 1/3 cup of the creamy enchilada sauce on a 9×13 baking dish.
- Working with one tortilla at a time, scoop about 1/3 cup of the shrimp mixture into each tortilla. Tightly roll up the tortilla and place it seam side down on the prepared baking dish. Repeat with the remaining tortillas placing each filled roll next to each other on a single layer.
- Pour the remaining creamy enchilada sauce over the filled enchiladas and sprinkle the cheese on top. Cover with aluminum foil making sure the foil doesn’t touch the cheese.
- Bake for 15 minutes then, remove the foil and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is bubbling and the edges lightly golden. Remove from the oven.
- Top with the chopped tomato, chopped avocado, chopped cilantro and queso fresco or cotija cheese. Serve immediately.
- Frozen shrimp is as good or better than fresh shrimp. Frozen shrimp is caught and immediately frozen, packed and ready to be sold while fresh shrimp in most cases is previously frozen!
- Enchilada sauce: The creamy enchilada sauce in this recipe uses store-bought canned green enchilada sauce.
- Stuffing: Don’t overfilled the tortillas.
- If the corn tortillas are not pliable or break up easily, warm them up.
- Make it authentic: For a more traditional take on Mexican Enchiladas, lightly fry the corn tortillas in vegetable oil. After frying them drain the tortillas on a plate lined with paper towels)
- Storage: I don’t like eating shrimp a day after it’s been prepared but that is a personal preference. You can store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 days.
- Freezing: Cool completely and freeze for 2 months in a freezer-safe container or wrapped in a few layers of aluminum foil.