Chi Chi's Seafood Enchiladas

"I spent 16+ years at Chi Chi's. This is the recipe you want. In the restaurant these are cooked right on the plate. (Remember... The plates are hot and then you touched them anyway. lol) You could cook them all together in a baking dish. Cook time and temperature may need to be adjusted if not cooking with a convection oven. Enjoy with your favorite spanich rice, refried beans and sweet corn cake."
photo by Swirling F. photo by Swirling F.
photo by Swirling F.
photo by KingJackQueen photo by KingJackQueen
photo by KingJackQueen photo by KingJackQueen
photo by KingJackQueen photo by KingJackQueen
photo by Lori Kenney photo by Lori Kenney
Ready In:
10 enchiladas




  • FOR THE SAUCE: Melt butter in a 2 quart saucepan over medium heat.
  • Add flour.
  • Cook and stir for 5 minutes(should have a nutty aroma).
  • Add 1/2 tsp white pepper.
  • Stir in 2 tbsps lobster base and cook for an additional minute.
  • Add milk & wine.
  • Add 2 oz. of the cheese.
  • Continue to cook until thickened.
  • FOR THE CRAB MIX: Lightly chop the flaked imitation crab.
  • Combine with shrimp in a medium size bowl.
  • Add 1.5 cups of cold sauce.
  • Mix well.
  • FOR THE ENCHILADAS: Lay out the tortillas on a flat surface.
  • Place 2 to 3 heaping tablespoons of the crab mix across the center of each tortilla.
  • Place flap of the tortilla over the crab mix and roll.
  • Place flap side down onto a plate or in your baking dish.
  • Ladle warm sauce over the enchiladas.
  • Top with remaining monterey jack cheese.
  • Put into a preheated 425 degree convection oven for 12-14 minutes. In a conventional oven you may want to microwave on high for a minute or 2 before placing in the oven.
  • Watch and do not allow to burn (brown spots).
  • Sprinkle with paprika.

Questions & Replies

  1. Just letting people know that I'm trying to freeze half of these so I'll let you know when I make them if they turn out ok.
  2. Why make such a beautiful sauce and then use imitation crab and canned shrimp?
  3. I've made this many times, and it's the real deal; however, I find that I prefer sherry in this recipe, but when I add 1c. It seems waaaay to overpowering. Anyone else find this? If so, how did you tweak?
  4. I've made these a lot and taste just like Chi Chi's! Probably one of my favorite meals. They freeze very well. Pulled some out 2 months later and they were great!
  5. Where exactly was/is Chi Chi’s located? My husband is from Benton County (rural IN) and for the last 15 years will not stop talking about how good their food was?


  1. This is the real deal...We remember many nights at Chi Chi's on Mineral Point road in Madison...and the CanCun enchilada was my fav. Thanks KingJackQueen for posting this wonderful recipe! After reading many of the revues Some of the reviewers had problems with this recipe.. Several things that are important to have this turn out right. 1. Make sure you're using unsalted butter...the lobster base is salty and using the unsalted butter is important. 2. Cook the ruox stirring constantly until it begins to turn light brown and you can really smell that nutty aroma. 3. Make sure you do use the lobster base...both Whole Foods and Woodmans Groceries carry it 4. And lastly be sure to use sherry rather than white wine because you can taste the sherry in the final sauce.
  2. This was an excellent copy of the dinners I remembered at ChiChi's... I would like to clarify one ingredient, though:<br/><br/>2 tbs. Lobster STOCK, not Lobster base. The "base" is the concentrate that's used to prepare the stock, and if you used 2 tbs of the base, you would seriously overpower the entire recipe.
  3. This was perfect! My Mom & I used to be the Cancun's biggest fans - that's what we ordered every single time we dined at Chi Chi's. For her Christmas gift this year, I made a pan of these for her. They were so delicious and just how we both remembered them. Thanks to another savvy reviewer, I made the shrimp broth from a ramen packet and substituted it for the lobster base (22cents at Walmart instead of buying a jar of lobster boullion). I also used one pkg of imitation crab and one pack of lobster flavored imitation crab. <br/><br/>We really truly were in heaven eating that wonderful meal. My Mom said it was her favorite gift! I've been buying "sweet corn cake" mix by Chi Chi's brand at SuperTarget for a while now. Make a batch of that to go along and you can't go wrong! Thanks so much for posting this recipe KingJackQueen!!
  4. I used to work at Chi-Chi's from 89-91 as a line cook and this recipe is spot on! Brings back memories. Seafood stock or condensed cream of shrimp soup will work well if you can't find lobster base.
  5. Yep, right on. Don't bother with lobster base though..just buy shell on shrimp instead of canned and use the shells to make broth for the sauce.


  1. I absolutely had to add seasoning to the sauce. I added a little adobo, garlic powder and seafood seasoning (old bay). The original recipe was too bland for my family. We also added cheese on the inside of the enchiladas as well as the outside.
  2. Yum! Have been thinking about these for years and almost can't remember what they tasted like but I remembered I loved them. I cook a lot more now that I have time and have made some sophisticated seafood dishes but thought I'd try these. Great easy recipe. I made a few modifications - used frozen shrimp and pollock instead of imitation crab since who needs the processing and real crab is too pricey; increased the seafood to a pound in total; and added a 1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg. Definitely use unsalted butter and yes, 2 tablespoons of lobster base is about right - it is concentrated so use less if you want. These were a huge hit and I will be making these again.
  3. We were huge fans of Cancun at Chi Chi's and this recipe is great. One suggestion I would have is to use regular Dry Sherry wine instead of the "cooking" stuff which is loaded with salt. I think a whole cup is a bit much. I like the suggestion of more stock and less wine.
  4. These sound delicious. I am gonna use More Than Gourmet Classic Seafood Stock, 1.5 Ounce instead of the Lobster base due to the salt issues. I will cut back on the liquids to compensate. I will let you all know. Also, have anyone ever tried corn tortillas instead of flour? In AZ our enchiladas are typically made with corn.
  5. I haven't had Chi Chi's enchiladas cancun in over 15 years, so I was delighted to find this recipe! It tasted just like I remembered! Although, I couldn't find lobster base...the Whole Foods near my house didn't have it. So, I substituted tomato paste mixed with clam juice and paprika. Still a winner :) Can't wait to make it again!


I was born,raised and reside in the mid west. I've been in the restaurant business for 30 years. For fun I just love to hang with my best friend who is my new soul mate. My all time favorite cook book is the internet. What a resource. My passion is perfect food. Love to wow them. If I have a pet peeve it would be when people say to tell the truth when starting a conversation. Are they implying that they don't always tell you the truth? That month off thing, Fish, hunt & look for that perfect recipe on the net.
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