This simple shrimp ceviche recipe requires no cooking. An easy Mexican shrimp ceviche that's marinated in lime and lemon juice with bright flavors of avocado, tomatoes and cilantro is ready start to finish in just 45 minutes.
Serve this delicious and simple shrimp ceviche on tostadas, with chips, or by the spoonful.
I adore the fresh flavors of ceviche, but I've never made a ceviche recipe at home, until now.
Let me show you what I learned during my research, tips, and tricks I came by, and how simple this delicious, light appetizer (entree?!) is to make in the comfort of your own home.
What is Ceviche?
[suh-vee-chey, ‐chee] an appetizer of small pieces of raw fish marinated in lime or lemon juice
Ceviche is a seafood dish popular in the Pacific coastal regions of Latin America. It's typically made from fresh raw fish cured in citrus juices, such as lemon or lime. The dish is not cooked with heat but rather cured with acids in the citrus juice. Very fresh (or frozen) seafood must be used.
Best Fish For Ceviche?
Most fish works in Ceviche. Those fish that work really well include semi-firm white-fleshed fish like:
- sea bass
- striped bass
Fish that don't work well in ceviche include:
- oily fish like mackerel & tuna
- freshwater fish like trout or catfish
Is It Safe To Eat Ceviche?
Food science that comes into play in the making of ceviche. The acidic lime juice quickly transforms the fish, rearranging its proteins, making it safe to eat. The key is to use only very fresh fish.
Stop by your local fishmonger and ask for the freshest fish they have, then use whatever semi-firm white fish they have that's the freshest.
TIP: When bringing the fish home, you must keep it on ice in the refrigerator if you won't be using it immediately. Make sure to buy the fish the day you plan to make ceviche or use frozen.
Use frozen fish that is thawed if fresh fish is not available.
Is Ceviche Cooked?
Cooking requires heat, so ceviche isn't cooked.
But it's not exactly raw, either. Both heat and citric acid are agents of a chemical process called denaturation. Heat or citric acid changes the proteins in the fish, altering their chemical and physical properties.
When fish is placed in citrus juices, this process of denaturation turns the flesh firm and opaque.
After soaking in citrus juices for just a few minutes, fish develops a firm, opaque exterior but maintains a raw, sashimi like interior.
If you marinate the fish too long, it gets tough or overdone.
TIP: A flakier fillet, like flounder, snapper, or sole, or tender shellfish like scallops may only need to marinate for about 15 minutes. A hearty and dense fish, like Mahi-Mahi, could take closer to 50 minutes or an hour to be ready to eat.
It's important to note that citric acid won’t kill bacteria the way that heat does. It’s very important to use fresh, disease-free, fish.
To be super safe, you can parboil the shrimp prior to curing the fish in citrus juice.
Cooks Tip: Use thawed frozen fish if you're not confident in the freshness of fish available.
If you have access to fresh fish, you can skip the parboiling step and simply marinate the fish in the lemon and lime juice.
How To Make Shrimp Ceviche:
1. Parboil shrimp in a pot of boiling water for 1 minute.
Parboiling is just a fancy word for partly cooking food.
- bring a pot of water to a boil
- turn the heat off
- add the shrimp
- cover with a lid
- start timer for 1 minute
NOTE: Before adding shrimp to the boiling water, have an ice bath ready.
An ice bath is simply a large bowl of ice and water.
- Immediately drain the shrimp
- Add the shrimp to your ice bath
Note: An ice bath is used to STOP the cooking process right away, so work quickly but carefully.
Remember you are parboiling (partially cooking) the shrimp. We want the acid from the citrus juice to do the rest.
2. Remove the tails from shrimp. Remove the tails by holding the center of the shrimp and gently tugging on the tail portion.
NOTE: By gently pulling and twisting the tail just slightly, you should get the meat inside the tail to release, resulting in less waste.
3. Chop. Chop the shrimp into even bite-sized pieces.
TIP: You eat with your eyes so take care when chopping both the shrimp and vegetables -they are the stars of this dish and you want them to look pretty!
4. Add shrimp to a medium-sized pan. Add shrimp to a flat-bottomed pan to allow every piece of the shrimp to get covered with the lemon and lime juice
5. Marinate the shrimp. Pour freshly-squeezed lemon and lime juice onto parboiled shrimp. Refrigerate for 30 minutes
NOTE: In my extensive research on how long to marinate fish for ceviche the answers varied widely.
6. Chop Vegetables. While your shrimp is marinating, chop the vegetables. Add all of the vegetables to a medium-sized bowl. Add chopped cilantro, sugar, and salt.
TIP: To easily dice an avocado, slice it while in the shell, then use a spoon to scoop out the pieces as shown below:
7. Prepare the shrimp. Drain the shrimp using a colander. Add the shrimp to the vegetable mixture and stir, adjusting the seasonings if needed.
What To Eat With Ceviche
There are many ways to eat ceviche, each one just as good as the other.
- serving shrimp ceviche recipe on a tostada
- wrapping it in a warm tortilla
- dipping with tortilla chips
But my personal favorite--> eating it by the spoonful!
Cooked shrimp, such as in this ceviche recipe, can be eaten for 2-3 days afterwards as long as it's properly refrigerated.
Shrimp should can sit out for no longer than two hours. If you're serving shrimp outdoors on a hot day it can only be out for one hour.
If you want to serve ceviche as a side, it pares well with steak, lobster, or even burgers. If you're looking for sides to serve with the ceviche try vegetable salads, baked potatoes, or fruit salads.
You might also enjoy these fish recipes:
- Baked Cod Fish Tacos
- Air Fryer Salmon Patties
- Canned Tuna Pasta
- Tuna Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
- Mediterranean Shrimp Pasta
For More Appetizer Recipes Try:
- Shredded Chicken Skillet Nachos
- Instant Pot Chicken Wings
- Fruit Tarts
- 7 Layer Bean Dip
- Mexican Corn Salad
- Layered Taco Dip
If you enjoyed the recipe make sure to leave a comment and a star rating below! Then follow me on social media and tag #createkidsclub if you make the recipe. I love seeing what you come up with!
- 1 lb. fresh fish such as shrimp
- 1 can petite diced tomatoes with chilies
- 1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice divided (about 6 large limes)
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice ) about 2 large lemons
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice about 1 large orange
- 1/2 cup diced red onion
- 1 jalapeno minced (remove seeds for less spice)
- 1/4 - 1/2 cup cilantro minced
- 1 avocado diced
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. sugar
- optional: Hot sauce tostadas, crackers, or tortilla chips for serving.
- Boil water in large pan.
- While water is boiling, prepare an ice bath (ice + water in a large bowl)
- Turn heat off. Add shrimp to boiling water. Cook for 1 minute.
- Drain shrimp and immediately add to ice bath.
- Remove tails by tugging gently on the tail, then chop shrimp into bite sized peices.
- Place shrimp into a flat bottom pan (so the marinade can better coat all pieces).
- Add 1/2 cup of the lime juice and the lemon juice.
- Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, add canned tomatoes, onion, jalapeno, avocado, cilantro, salt, sugar.
- When the 30 minutes is up, drain the shrimp.
- To the medium bowl with vegetables, add the rest of the lime juice, the orange juice, and the shrimp.
- Serve immediately. Top with hot sauce if desired.
- When bringing fish home, you must keep it on ice in the refrigerator if you won't be using it immediately. Make sure to buy the fish the day you plan to make ceviche.
- Use thawed frozen fish if you're not confident in the freshness of fish available.
- A flakier fillet, like flounder, snapper, or sole, or tender shellfish like scallops may only need to marinate for about 15 minutes. A hearty and dense fish, like Mahi-Mahi, could take closer to 50 minutes or an hour to be ready to eat.