Shrimp Nachos FTW! Upgrade your nachos with an easy cheesy skillet of seasoned shrimp and crispy chips topped with melty pepper jack queso and all your favorite toppings!
These sassy seafood nachos may look like an appetizer (they totally are) but also double as the most delicious lazy dinner evahhh!
I can’t tell you how many times Paul and I have made them for dinner and called it a day.
We almost always have a bag of tortilla chips and frozen shrimp on hand so the pairing was basically fated.
Sometimes I’m lazy and leave them whole and other times I’ll chop the cooked shrimp up and add it to the queso to give it a wicked awesome shrimp dip vibe.
It’s a bit legendary and just writing this post up is making me want to make them again!
Nachos are a fantastic way to empty your crisper drawer of all those little bits of sauces and veggies that need to be used up. I love adding a mountain of toppings to mine!
seafood nacho toppings: choose your favorite!
- shredded lettuce
- shredded cabbage or slaw
- fresh or pickled onion
- pico de gallo
- sour cream or Greek yogurt
- sliced jalapeños
- pickled jalapeños
- chopped tomatoes
- salsa verde
- sliced avocado
I seasoned my shrimp with a cajun blend and little extra paprika, garlic powder, and cumin. You can also use blackened seasoning for blackened shrimp nachos or even my tasty Sriracha shrimp blend!
To make a spicy Sriracha seasoning blend for your shrimp, combine 1 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/8 tsp black pepper. Then after the shrimp are cooked to perfection, toss them in 1 TBSP of Sriracha chili sauce. Delicious!
Skillet Shrimp Nachos with Pepper Jack Queso
Ready to faceplant? Let’s get our recipe on!
- 1 lb shrimp (fresh or frozen/thawed)
- 6-8 oz tortilla chips
- 1 tsp cajun seasoning blend
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp sweet paprika or spicy cayenne pepper
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 TBSP avocado oil (or favorite cooking oil)
- white queso (see recipe below)
- choice of toppings from the list below
PEPPER JACK QUESO
- 1 TBSP unsalted butter
- 1 TBSP all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup milk (2% or whole)
- 1 oz cream cheese
- 4-5 oz freshly grated Pepper Jack cheese (Cabot is my favorite!)
- 1/4 tsp cayennne pepper
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Clean and prep shrimp, defrosting if needed. Cover and chill in the fridge while you prep the toppings and queso.
- To make the cheese sauce, freshly grate your pepper jack cheese (pre-shredded cheese won't work here) and measure out all ingredients. This queso comes together fast!
- Warm your milk in the microwave for 30-40 seconds and set aside. Heat a small sauce pot and add your butter. Once melted, add flour and whisk into butter vigorously until they become bubbly and foamy. Continue to cook and whisk constantly for about a minute to cook off the flour taste.
- Add warm milk and whisk vigorously into flour mixture. Allow milk to come to a simmer, whisking occasionally as it thickens. Once it has thickened, turn off burner and remove pot from heat. Add cream cheese and whisk until melted. Next slowly add grated cheddar in 3 batches, stirring it in until the cheese is fully melted. I like to keep the pot off the heat here so the cheese doesn't overhead and turn gritty. If you work quickly the milk should be hot enough to melt the cheese. Season with cayenne pepper and salt. Adjust spices to taste and you're good to go!
- Pat shrimp dry and season with cajun seasoning blend, garlic powder, cumin, paprika/cayenne, salt, and pepper. Mix well to coat both sides.
- Heat a cast iron skillet to medium-high heat with 1 TBSP of oil and sauté your shrimp. Cook on each side for about 2 minutes until shrimp curl and become opaque. The cook time will depend on the heat setting you choose and the size of your shrimp, but regardless they’ll be perfectly cooked in a matter of minutes. Set shrimp aside and clean skillet if needed.
- If using larger shrimp, feel free to transfer to a cutting board and chop into smaller pieces so you have enough to get a little seafood goodness in every bite.
- Using the same cast iron skillet, layer half the chips, shrimp, toppings, and queso. Add the remaining chips and repeat.
- Place skillet in oven and bake 10 minutes. Add any remaining cold toppings (like lettuce or sour cream) and dive in while they're hot!
If you get a chance to try these skillet shrimp nachos, let me know!
Leave some love in the comment form below or tag your photos with @peasandcrayons on Instagram so I can happy dance over your creation. I can’t wait to see what you whip up!
live every night like it’s taco night!
These scrumptious shrimp nachos were inspired by one of my favorite recipes of all time, my Spicy Sriracha Shrimp Tacos. With over 56 five-star reviews, they’re a must-make!