shrimp nachos

shrimp nachos


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


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


shredded lettuce
shredded cabbage or slaw

fresh or pickled onion

pico de gallo
sour cream or Greek yogurt

sliced fresh jalapeños

pickled jalapeños
chopped tomatoes

sliced avocado

salsa verde
fresh cilantro

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!

Recipe Notes

Nutrition Facts below are estimated for the nachos and queso using an online recipe nutrition calculator. Adjust as needed based on extra toppings chosen and enjoy!