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Ceviche: the effortless appetizer recipe for making a tasty South American shrimp ceviche

Total time: 20 Min + Marinating Time
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 6 people
By Cookist

Ceviche is an healthy appetizer recipe from South America, especially Mexico and Peru. Raw fish such as shrimp is marinated in lime juice in order to "cook" the protein. Fish will be firm and opaque as it will absorb its not too sour lime flavor.

Also known as cebiche, seviche or sebiche, this fresh, vibrant shrimp ceviche is ideal for summer. Serve it with crunchy chips, tortillas or on top of tostadas for a crowd-pleasing seafood dish.

This festive Latin recipe features plump shrimp, creamy avocado, crunchy cucumbers, tomatoes and red onions in a bath of flavorful lime juice. Spiced with jalapeño peppers and served with crunchy chips for dipping, you'll love this recipe.

What is Ceviche?

Ceviche is a cooking technique in which raw proteins are marinated in acidic citrus juice. The citrus juice "cooks" the protein, for a tender and juicy seafood in a punchy citrus dressing. Other crunchy vegetables are added in to complete the dish.

It’s a classic appetizer dish that’s popular throughout Southern and Central America, especially in Mexico and Peru. It’s a bit spicy, very fresh and, best of all, incredibly easy to make.

Shrimp Ceviche Ingredients

A classic ceviche recipe includes fish, vegetables and citrus juice. This recipe calls for raw medium shrimp, but you can also cook them in boiling water if you prefer. Make sure to dice shrimp evenly.

For the marinade, you need freshly squeezed lime juice. Add vegetables such as cucumber, avocado, tomatoes, onion, cilantro, and jalapeño pepper.

You can also make ceviche with other citrus juices, like lemon and grapefruit. Or you can use different crunchy vegetables, including bell peppers and carrots.


What is the Best Fish to Use for Ceviche?

The fun part about ceviche is that you can use so many different kinds of seafood. Shellfish like shrimp, scallops and clams are a great choice. Tuna, bass, salmon, cod, halibut, mahi mahi and talapia also work well too.

Just make sure the fish you use for ceviche is sashimi grade and check the store label to make sure the fresh fish has not been frozen and then thawed. If you are lucky enough, you can buy freshly caught fish from a fisherman.

As a general rule, avoid fish that are a bit tough when eaten raw such as some cod, grouper, flounder or snapper.

How to make Ceviche

Making ceviche with raw fish is easier than you may think. First, marinate diced shrimp in a bowl with lime juice. There’s no heat required, as the acid in the lime juice “cooks” the shrimp as it sits. You'll mix totally raw shrimp with plenty of citrus juice, pop it in the fridge, and return a could of hours later to find perfectly plump cooked shrimp.

Once ready, stir in diced cucumber, avocado, tomato, onion, jalapeño and cilantro. Season with pepper and clamato juice, then serve.

How Long to Marinate Ceviche?

The marinating time for this refreshing recipe depend on the kind of shrimp you’re using. You can use either pre-cooked or raw shrimp. Raw shrimp will need to marinate in the lime juice for up to two hours, and at least an hour and a half. It’s finished marinating when the shrimp are no longer translucent, but are rather pink. Cooked shrimp only needs a short 15 minute marinade to absorb the fresh limey flavors.

To marinate the seafood, simply place your shrimp in a glass bowl and add enough lime juice to fully coat the shrimp. Cover the bowl and place in the refrigerator until done.

Can I Pre-Cook Shrimp for Ceviche?

If you feel uncomfortable using raw shrimp, you can easily make this same recipe starting with pre-cooked shrimp. Simply rinse the shrimp well, dry them with paper towels to remove the moisture, and then boil them for a few minutes in water. It’s just as flavorful.

How To Serve Ceviche

You can serve ceviche as a cooling appetizer in small cups. In Mexico and some areas of Central America, it’s usually served with a crunchy base like tostadas or tortilla chips like for canapés or crostini.

Peruvians like to serve ceviche with corn on the cob, sweet potatoes, rice and plantain chips.

If you like, you can add a drizzle of your favorite hot sauce to kick up the heat a bit too.


Ceviche Variations

You can customize this recipe as you want. For a spicier shrimp ceviche, add about a tablespoon of hot sauce.

You can add minced garlic or a tablespoon of olive oil.

If you don't have cucumber, you can replace it with radishes, corn, jicama, bell pepper or poblano.

How to store Shrimp Ceviche

You can store this shrimp ceviche without avocado and cucumber in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a day.

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medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and tails removed
1 lb
cucumber, peeled
Lime juice
1 cup
large avocado
medium roma tomatoes
1/4 bunch
jalapeno, seeded
Black pepper
1/4 tsp
clamato juice
1 cup
hot sauce to taste (optional)
Red onion
1/2 cup


Dice the shrimp and place in a large glass, not metal, bowl. Squeeze 1 to 1 1/4 cups lime juice from 6 limes over the shrimp. Stir to combine then cover and marinate in the refrigerator for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours for raw shrimp or until no longer translucent, stirring halfway through. Let marinate cooked shrimp for 15 minutes.

Dice the tomatoes, cucumber, avocado, red onion, jalapeño and cilantro.

Place the vegetables into a large bowl.

When the shrimp are marinated enough, stir in the vegetable bowl. Add black pepper and gently stir to combine.

Lastly, stir in 1 cup clamato juice, mixing just to combine.

Add spoonfuls of ceviche to the center of a tortilla.

Drizzle hot sauce over.

Serve and enjoy!


It’s important not to use a reactive metal bowl to marinate the shrimp and lime juice, as acids in the citrus can react with the metal, which will give your ceviche a bad taste.

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