Creamy Seafood Enchiladas are flour tortillas filled with a cheesy seafood filling, topped, and baked with a homemade creamy sauce with just the right amount of heat. If you love dishes full of shrimp and crab, be sure to try my Minnesota Crab Louie recipe!

Creamy Seafood Enchiladas

Enchiladas are generally made with corn tortillas, but I prefer flour tortillas to hold all the creamy goodness in this recipe. In fact, you can make your own homemade flour tortillas that would be perfect here. Flour tortillas are easier to roll than corn tortillas and they don’t get mushy when covered and baked in all the creamy sauce.

Creamy Seafood Enchiladas Recipe

There are three main parts to the recipe–the seafood filling, creamy sauce, and toppings.

Overhead view of Cooked Cheesy Seafood Enchiladas in Blue Pan

What is Imitation Crab?

Imitation crab is not really crab at all, but a combination of whitefish paste and fillers, called ‘surimi’. It is still technically seafood, but it has a lot more added salt and preservatives than fresh crab. Imitation crab is definitely less expensive, so it is used a lot in recipes like this, Crab Louie, or California rolls. If you don’t like imitation crab, look for canned lump crabmeat for more authentic crabmeat, but still pre-cooked.

Frozen vs. Fresh Shrimp

I used uncooked frozen shrimp that had already been peeled, deveined, and tails removed. If the tails have not been removed, be sure to do that. If you have larger shrimp, chop it up into smaller pieces. With the small shrimp, just put them in whole.

It is up to you if you decide to devein the shrimp. You need to peel it and remove the tail, of course, but deveining is actually based on looks, not any other reason. To peel the shrimp, start underneath.  To devein, make a slit (not too deep) along the back of the shrimp, pulling out the black vein with the tip of a knife. It’s really not as intimidating as it would seem. So, if already peeled and deveined shrimp are not an option for you, don’t skip on the recipe–try the fresh stuff!

With any uncooked shrimp, rinse it before you cook it. You know shrimp is cooked when it is opaque and a pinkish color (as compared to the limp gray before cooking). This takes just a few minutes.

Overhead of Filling Ingredients for Seafood Enchiladas in Blue Skillet

How to Make the Seafood Filling

The seafood filling is what will be wrapped in the tortilla and smothered with the creamy sauce. To make the filling, melt the butter in a large skillet. Next, cook the onions until translucent (3-5 minutes). Then, add the garlic, cooking only for an additional minute so the garlic doesn’t burn.

Stir in the shrimp, imitation crab, cumin, chili powder, and pepper. Mix everything together and cook until the shrimp turns a pinkish color. Add the shredded cheese and cilantro, combine, and remove from heat. Equally divide the filling into each tortilla, roll them up, and place them seam-side down in a prepared 9×13-inch baking dish. Set the dish aside as you prepare the creamy sauce.

Overhead Process Shots of Seafood Enchiladas in Pan and then Covered in White Cheese Sauce

How to Make the Creamy Sauce

To make the creamy sauce for the seafood enchiladas (or smothered burritos if you are being picky about using the flour tortillas in an enchilada), melt the butter in a saucepan. Whisk in the flour and simmer for a couple of minutes. Add the milk, sour cream, white pepper, diced jalapeno, and cumin. Stir until the sauce thickens.

After the sauce has started to thicken, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the shredded cheese until the cheese has melted and the sauce is creamy.

Baking Creamy Seafood Enchiladas

Pour the sauce over the rolled tortillas and top with 1/2 cup of shredded cheese. Yes, more cheese, of course! Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until bubbly. When serving the dish, add the optional cilantro, diced tomatoes, and sour cream. Parmesan Zucchini Corn would go great as a side dish with these enchiladas. 

Cut Into Cheesy Seafood Enchiladas on White Plate and Showing Seafood Filling Inside

Can I Make the Enchiladas Ahead of Time?

Yes, well, at least part of the recipe. If you want to freeze the enchiladas, prepare the seafood filling as instructed. Then, fill and wrap the tortillas, lay them in the baking dish, and cover them with plastic wrap. Press down on the wrap to get the enchiladas sealed well. Label and date the dish.

When you are ready to bake the enchiladas, let them thaw in the refrigerator before making the creamy sauce and baking them in the oven.

More Seafood Recipes

5 from 2 votes

Creamy Seafood Enchiladas

Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 28 mins
Total Time 48 mins
Creamy Seafood Enchiladas are flour tortillas filled with a cheesy seafood filling, topped, and baked with a homemade creamy sauce with just the right amount of heat.

Ingredients

Seafood Filling

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup onion, finely diced
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled, deveined, tail off, uncooked
  • 1 1/2 cups imitation crab, drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 8 large (8-inch) flour tortillas

Creamy Sauce

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole milk (can use 2%)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

Topping

  • 1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 1/4 cup tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 cup sour cream

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400°F and prepare a 9×13-inch baking dish by spraying it with nonstick spray.

Seafood Filling

  • In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter.
  • Add the onions, cooking for 3-5 minutes, or until translucent.
  • Add the garlic and cook for one minute, or until fragrant.
  • Stir in the shrimp, imitation crab, cumin, chili powder, and pepper until combined. Cook until the shrimp turns pink.
  • Add the shredded cheese and cilantro. Remove from heat.
  • Equally divide the seafood mixture between the 8 tortillas, rolling them up and placing them seam-side down in the prepared baking dish. Set aside as you prepare the creamy sauce.

Creamy Sauce

  • In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter.
  • Whisk in the flour. Simmer for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the milk, sour cream, jalapeno, white pepper, and cumin. Stir until the sauce starts to thicken.
  • Remove from heat and add the shredded cheese, stirring until melted.

Assembly

  • Pour the sauce over the rolled tortillas. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of shredded cheese and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until bubbly.
  • Top with cilantro, diced tomatoes, and sour cream (optional).

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Reader Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Deveined shrimp is more than for appearance ! First it’s not a vein. It’s the intestinal track. Shrimp are scavengers that feed on the bottom of the sea, eating all the carcinogenic waste in today’s waters. You don’t want to consume what is left in the intestine. Always devein shrimp.

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