Shrimp Nachos

shrimp nachos with sweet and spicy peppers

The Spruce / Pete Scherer 

  • Total: 30 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Servings: 2 servings
  • Yield: 1 pan

This colorful recipe for shrimp nachos with blue corn tortilla chips and sweet and spicy peppers is a feast for the eyes as well as the palate. Fresh shrimp are coated in a southwestern-inspired seasoning, blackened in a cast-iron skillet, then combined with a rainbow of peppers over crispy corn chips covered with a Mexican style shredded cheese blend. The juicy pop of the seared shrimp with the crunchy chips, savory melted cheese, and bright, sweet and spicy peppers is a delicious combination.

The key to this dish is to not overcook the shrimp. Quickly sear, then bake for just a few minutes, and the shrimp will be tender and explode with flavor. Cook them for too long, however, and the shrimp will take on a rubbery texture. Make sure to get your pan very hot so that the seasoning blackens and the shrimp sears quickly. If the shrimp don’t turn completely pink in the pan, don’t worry — the oven will finish them off. 

These nachos are great just as they are, but they can easily be dressed up with standard nacho ingredients like beans, salsa, sour cream, and guacamole. If you're feeding a crowd, double or triple the recipe and build the chips and cheese on a rimmed sheet pan. Top with the shrimp and peppers, and bake until bubbly.


  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter (melted)
  • 1/2 pound raw shrimp (peeled, deveined, and tails removed)
  • 5 ounces blue corn tortilla chips (about half a bag)
  • 1 cup Mexican blend cheese (shredded)
  • 4 mini sweet peppers (sliced into thin rounds)
  • 1 jalapeño pepper (sliced into thin rounds)
  • Optional: 2 tablespoons cilantro (chopped fresh)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Preheat the oven to 400 F.

  3. In a small bowl combine the salt, oregano, paprika, cumin, garlic powder, chili powder, and black pepper.

  4. To a medium bowl, add the melted butter and the shrimp. Toss to coat. Add the spice mixture and toss again until the shrimp are coated in the seasoning.

  5. Set a large skillet, preferably cast-iron, over high heat. Lightly coat the pan with a little butter, oil, or pan spray. When hot, add the shrimp in a single layer and sear for about two minutes on each side. The seasoning will blacken and the shrimp will turn pink and opaque. Remove the shrimp from the pan and set aside.

  6. Add a single layer of tortilla chips to the cast iron pan and sprinkle some of the cheese on top. Add the rest of the chips and top with a little more cheese, peppers, cooked shrimp, and finally the remaining cheese.

  7. Bake the nachos until the cheese is melted and hot, 8 to 10 minutes.

  8. Remove from oven and top with chopped cilantro, if desired. Serve immediately.