This Easy Creamy Seafood and Shrimp Chili is a quick, healthy recipe made with lobster, crab, and a creamy, white broth. The secret ingredient lies in the homemade chili seasoning and spice.
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Chili recipes are my favorite! I can eat it year round because it tastes better the next day and is perfect for meal prep. You can freeze your leftovers, too!
What Type of Shrimp to Use
Shrimp can be found at the grocery store in a few different ways. There is raw, pre-cooked, raw and frozen, deveined, tails on, tails off, etc.
I never use pre-cooked shrimp. There is an obvious difference in taste due to the lack of quality. The shrimp is cooked and then frozen and you have to cook it/warm it up again. This usually overcooks the shrimp. Raw shrimp only takes minutes to make, just buy it raw.
Always look for deveined, that’s my preference. The black vein that runs along the back of the shrimp is the digestive intestinal tract. Is this shrimp poop? Yes.
You can buy it with the vein and remove it using a sharp paring knife to make a slit along the back and lift out the vein with the tip of the knife.
What Type of Crab to Use
I use lump crab meat. You can find it in the refrigerated meat section of the grocery store. There’s also imitation crab meat, sometimes called krab meat. You can use that if you wish, it’s also sometimes easier to find.
Imitation crab is processed fish meat. It is seafood and comes from surimi that has been deboned and minced into paste. It does not contain crab. Crab extract is sometimes added for flavor.
Use whichever you wish. You can read more about What Imitation Crab Is here.
What Type of Lobster to Use
I use the lobster claw meat from Butcher Box. It’s already free from the shell and ready to use. You can also purchase lobster tails or a full lobster and use the meat from it.
How to Thaw Frozen Shrimp
Place the frozen shrimp in a large bowl of cold water. The shrimp will thaw within minutes and will be ready to peel.
Seafood Substitution Ideas
You can use any seafood you like for this recipe. You can use the shrimp, lobster, and lump crab I have noted, or any of these.
What Type of Beans to Use
I like to use a combination of Great Northern Beans and black beans. You can use whatever you like. Here are more options.
- Navy Beans
- Kidney Beans
- Red Beans
- Chili Beans
How to Make Seafood Chili
- Place a Dutch oven or stock pot on medium high heat. When hot, add olive oil and chopped onions. Cook for 3-4 minutes. Add in garlic and stir.
- Add in broth, beans, diced chilis and tomatoes, homemade chili seasoning, and Better than Bouillon. Stir.
- Lower the heat to medium-low and cover. Simmer.
- Season the seafood with the seafood seasoning.
- Open the pot and add shredded cheese, cream cheese, and the seafood.
- Adjust the heat to medium. Stir and cook for 5-6 minutes until the cheese has melted and the seafood is cooked through.
How to Thicken the Chili
I use cream cheese in this dish and that gets it nice and thick. If the texture isn’t thick enough for you, you can reduce the amount of broth used in the recipe. If you like your chili really thick, or if it’s the first time you are making this dish, start with 1 cup of broth. Add more as necessary.
How to Make it Dairy Free
The cream cheese and Colby-Jack are what gives this chili a creamy and delicious texture. You can omit those ingredients to make this dairy free and a little more like a standard chili, but with seafood.
You can also add in coconut milk if you wish. I have not tested this, so you will have to experiment with how much is necessary.
How to Make it Spicy
I always add 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper to my chili to give it a nice kick. If you like really spicy, add more!
How to Keep the Seafood From Getting Rubbery
If you overcook the seafood it will have a dry and rubbery texture, which isn’t good especially if you want to reheat the dish and eat it for leftovers. If you’re afraid of overcooking the seafood, you can saute it in a pan and then add it to the chili once it has finished cooking with the cream cheese and shredded cheese.
What to Pair with the Dish
- Shredded Cheese
- Plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
- Cooked and Crumbled Bacon
- Sliced Avocado
How Long Will it Last in the Fridge
The chili will last in the fridge (tightly covered) for 3-4 days.
I love to freeze it using these freezer soup molds from Amazon. It will freeze for up to several months. I like to defrost it overnight in the fridge and then reheat.
More Chili Recipes
More Seafood Recipes
Easy Creamy Seafood and Shrimp Chili
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 2-3 garlic cloves Minced
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 2 cups low-sodium broth Vegetable or chicken broth will work great. See notes for really thick chili.
- 1 15.5 oz canned Great Northern beans or navy beans drained and rinsed
- 1 15.5 oz canned black beans drained and rinsed
- 15.5 oz canned diced tomatoes and chilis drained
- 1/2 cup whole kernel corn I used frozen
- 1 teaspoon Better Than Bouillon Chicken Flavor Optional for flavor. You can also use the lobster flavor.
- 1 cup shredded Colby and Monterrey Jack cheese
- 3 oz cream cheese
- 5 oz jumbo lump crab
- 5 oz lobster meat
- 1 pound shrimp Peeled and deveined
- Seafood Seasoning to taste See notes for how to make your own.
- Place a Dutch oven or stock pot on medium high heat. When hot, add the olive oil and chopped onions. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the onions are translucent and fragrant. Add in the garlic and stir.
- Add in the broth, beans, diced chilis and tomatoes, homemade chili seasoning, and Better than Bouillon. Stir.
- Lower the heat to medium-low and cover. Simmer for 15-20 minutes.
- Season the seafood with the seafood seasoning.
- Open the pot and add the shredded cheese, cream cheese, and the seafood.
- Adjust the heat to medium. Stir and cook for 5-6 minutes until the cheese has melted and the seafood is cooked through. The chili will thicken as it cools.
- You can use any seafood you like. Feel free to omit and/or substitute the recipe.
- You can make your own seafood seasoning using 1/4 teaspoon of: onion powder, garlic powder, crushed bay leaves, dried parsley, and dried chives. You can also simply use your preferred seasoning.
- If you like your chili really thick, or if it’s the first time you are making this dish, start with 1 cup of broth. Add more as necessary.
- You can use a chili seasoning packet if you don’t want to make your own seasoning.
- If you overcook the seafood it will have a dry and rubbery texture, which isn’t good especially if you want to reheat the dish and eat it for leftovers. If you’re afraid of overcooking the seafood, you can saute it in a pan and then add it to the chili once it has finished cooking with the cream cheese and shredded cheese.