Help! I need to make a seafood enchilada on Saturday!

I have family visiting this weekend and I offered to make my mom a seafood enchilada, which she always orders at restaurants. I’ve made chicken enchiladas in the past, but from the recipes I’ve seen online the seafood ones seem to use different ingredients (besides the protein), and the recipes are all over the place in terms of the type of seafood, and the process. She likes medium spicy food, but I’m not sure if a seafood enchilada is supposed to be spicy or not.

Have you ever made a seafood enchilada? Any recipe suggestions? Any tips?

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For seafood, I would go with a green sauce (not too spicy, tomatillo based) and/or a cream sauce. If you don’t include the tomatillo sauce, add poblanos or other roasted green chile to the cream sauce. I like cheese with some types of fish and not with others, so it’s hard to offer advice there without knowing what type of seafood you intend to use. Shrimp, crab, lobster?


I was thinking of using bay scallops and shrimp. Maybe crab as a substitute if scallops are not available. I’m also not sure how much seafood to buy. There will be five of us for dinner.
Any cheese suggestions? Monterey Jack? Mild Cheddar?

Personally, I probably wouldn’t use cheese at all with shellfish, but if you want to include it, Monterrey Jack would be my preference - it’s mild and melts beautifully. Fontina might work as well. As for quantity, three enchiladas is a typical restaurant portion, so if you go with that you’re looking at making 15 with maybe 1.5-2 ounces of seafood in each? I’d get two pounds of seafood, maybe a little more if you have any waste (shrimp peels, etc.).

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Find out where she orders them, look at their online menu and see what’s in them. Find a recipe that’s similar.

For your first attempt, and assuming you’re trying to please her, don’t get too creative. Find out what she likes and try to copy it.

Your variables are:

Type of Seafood (I suggest shrimp or crab, maybe crawfish. NOT fish or scallops, oysters or clams. I could see lobster making a good enchi.)
Sauce, (I agree with the above suggestion for a green tomatillo and/or poblano and/or cream sauce)
Cheese or not to cheese, (I agree Monterrey Jack would be perfect.)
Tortilla, (corn or flour)

(I’m in Texas and I know that normally you don’t make enchiladas with flour tortillas, but it’s done.)

Anyway, that’s my $0.02.


I would go with crab enchiladas and they have a big can of crab at Costco for $17+ unless its cheaper for you to use local Stone or King Crab…if so, I am extremely jealous!

I would not use cheese at all and either do a poblanos cream sauce or tomato cream sauce and only use a cream cheese…
I wouldn’t fold other cheese into the sauce but use a little chicken stock, garlic, chile…

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Thanks for the suggestion to check a menu. I got the following from Lauriol Plaza in DC, which is where we used to eat.

Enchiladas de Mariscos ($16.95)
Two flour tortillas stuffed with shrimp and scallops, topped with seafood sauce and melted Monterey cheese.

I was on the right track for some of it, but I’m not sure what they mean by ‘seafood sauce’.

You could call and ask for the recipe - I find restaurants are often very generous with sharing their secrets.

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Try something like this:

Creamy Tomatillo Sauce

except instead of chicken broth, make a quick stock with your shrimp heads/shells.

Pretty sure it would work for you.

I bought an 8oz container of crab claw meat for $6.99 at the supermarket last week. The lump crab meat was $12.99 for 8oz. I need to shop around to find a better price.

That recipe looks yummy!
I wish I had time to do a practice run before Saturday!

I’ll send them an email today!

What color was the sauce served with the enchiladas at the restaurant? That can help you figure out if it should be a seafood stock and cream sort of thing or if it’s green then tomatillos…

I want to thank everyone who provided input to this post. I made the enchiladas on Saturday, and they were delicious!

However, being the paranoid type that I am, I questioned the menu, and thought that not everyone would want seafood, so I decided to make a second dish. I chose eggplant parmesan because I’ve made it a hundred times, and I know that everyone likes it. I made the eggplant parmesan in the morning, and the seafood enchiladas in the afteroon before dinner.

The entire meal was planned with the intention of making my mom her favorite dish - seafood enchiladas, but wouldn’t you know it that when we sat down for dinner, and I announced that I made two dishes, and they could pick either one, my mother said ‘oh, I love your eggplant parmesan! I’ll have that.’ To say I was dissappointed was an understatement. My SO, being the kind soul that he is, said ‘I’ll have the seafood enchiladas, they look delicious!’. She didn’t budge. The other guests requested a portion of each.

I didn’t say a peep to mom about it, but as I was eating my delicious seafood enchilada I couldn’t help myself, and cut off a big chunk from my dish and plopped in on her plate and said ‘you have to try this!, It’s really good!’ She took a bite and turned my SO and said ‘wow, this tastes just like that seafood enchilada from Lauriol Plaza!’. Mission accomplished, sort of. By now, she was full from all the eggplant parmesan and couldn’t eat more.

In the end it was a good decision to make a second dish, because we chowed through all of the seafood enchiladas, and only a small portion of the eggplant was leftover.

So I learned from this little dinner party that you can never be too sure about other people’s food preferrences, and sometimes people prefer something familiar to something new, especially when it’s homemade.


Sounds like a great success even if it didn’t go quite as planned - and now you have a great new recipe to add to your repertoire/rotation. Congrats!



Did you use the creamy tomatillo sauce recipe for your enchiladas?

Does anyone have a recipe for a white sauce or green sauce seafood enchilada? So many variations online.

Thank for any comments.

I made this,

based on this

Omitted lobster base, added cilantro to the filling. Used corn-wheat blend tortillas, and shredded Tex Mac cheese blend. Would do again.


If I were making seafood enchiladas, I’d go with an enchiladas suizas recipe but with seafood.


I somehow missed that the OP posted way back in 2016, but, here’s some Rick Bayless ones…

You can sub an equivalent amount of shrimp or a mixture of shrimp and crab for the chicken in this recipe: