This easy ceviche recipe uses fresh fish (or shrimp), tomatoes, cucumber, avocado, red onion, cilantro, and lime juice. It can be served as an appetizer with tortilla chips or as a light, refreshing summer meal. Watch the Video.

How to make the Best Ceviche! Ceviche is typically made with fresh fish (or shrimp) cured with lime juice, then tossed with onions, cilantro, tomato and cucumber.  Serve it as an appetizer with tortilla chips or as a light, refreshing summer meal.

As a chef and caterer, I’ve always loved how this ceviche recipe has been one of the biggest crowd-pleasers at events. And honestly, I’m not surprised—ceviche is fresh, light, and bursting with flavor! It is one of my favorite things to eat in the entire world. We’ve made many versions of ceviche through the years; this one is simple, yet delicious! It can be served as an appetizer with tortilla chips or as a light, refreshing meal.

What is Ceviche?

Ceviche is a classic Latin American appetizer made with fresh fish or shrimp cured with lime juice and tossed with cucumber, tomato, red onion, cilantro, and optional avocado. It hails from the coastal regions of Central and South America and is popular from Mexico to Peru and beyond. There are many versions of ceviche, and depending on where you are, it will take on the local flavors.

Ceviche Recipe Ingredients

  • Ocean fish – Look for fish that comes from the ocean. Wild red snapper, corvina, sea bass, mahi-mahi, halibut, scallops or shrimp. Tilapia will work in a pinch, but it is typically farmed. I try to stay away from farmed fish, but up to you.
  • Limes- use fresh lime juice to cure the fish. FRESH IS BEST. Choose ripe limes– the more tender they are, the more ripe- so give them a good squeeze before buying. Rock-hard limes produce little juice and are overly tart.
  • Red onion- Red adds nice color here, but yellow, sweet or white onions all work.
  • Tomatoes – I love using cherry or grape tomatoes here for an extra sweet flavor.
  • Cucumber – thinned-skinned cucumbers don’t need to be peeled. English, Turkish, Persian, etc.
  • Fresh Cilantro- a must!  But if you must sub, go with Italian parsley. Lime juice really mitigates the “soapy” flavor for those of you who have that gene. 🙂
  • Jalapeno Peppers- and heat and a delicious “freshness.”
  • Optional additions: avocado and radishes can be used as garnish.
ceviche ingredients on the counter

How to make Ceviche (step-by-step Instructions)

Step one: Slice the red onions and place in a bowl. Add the salt and lime juice and let these marinate while you continue- this will help remove the bitterness from the onions.

Step two: Cut the fish into 3/4-inch bite-sized pieces and toss with the marinating onions.

Step three: Add the remaining ingredients- cucumber, tomatoes and cilantro and give a good toss. If adding avocado, wait until serving to add it.

Step Four: Refrigerate for 45-60 minutes. The longer you let the fish cure in the marinade, the more “cooked” through the ceviche will become. I find 45 minutes is perfect.

How to make the Best Ceviche! Ceviche is typically made with fresh fish (or shrimp) cured with lime juice, then tossed with onions, cilantro, tomato and cucumber.  Serve it as an appetizer with tortilla chips or as a light, refreshing summer meal.

Chef’s TipS for the Best Ceviche

  1. Use wild ocean fish for the best clean flavor.
  2. Make sure your limes are “ripe”- squeeze them for softness, or let them ripen on the counter! Unripe limes will make your ceviche overly sour.
  3. Find the balance between salt and lime, adjusting both to taste.

Ceviche Variations and Ways to Serve it!

When we had our catering business, we served ceviche in a multitude of ways… here are some fun options- see photos below!

  • Mini Ceviche Tostados
  • Ceviche served in a coconut
  • Mini Ceviche appetizer cups or shot glasses
  • Ceviche lettuce cups
  • Plated as a first course.

Or, for a special dinner, you could plate ceviche over a creamy avocado sauce (see the recipe card below) for a beautiful first course.

Or simply serve Ceviche in a large bowl with tortilla chips or lettuce cups.

How to make the Best Ceviche! Ceviche is typically made with fresh fish (or shrimp) cured with lime juice, then tossed with onions, cilantro, tomato and cucumber.  Serve it as an appetizer with tortilla chips or as a light, refreshing summer meal. #ceviche

How Long Does it Last?

Ceviche, like most seafood, is best served the day it is made but will keep 2-3 days in the fridge in a sealed container.

The Best Fish for Ceviche

Most wild ocean fish or shrimp or scallops will work perfectly in ceviche.  River fish or farmed fish are not recommended.  Tilapia tastes OK in ceviche, but it is typically farmed- so it’s up to you; I’ve used it in a pinch.

  1. sea bass
  2. red snapper
  3. halibut
  4. Wild Pacific rockfish
  5. Corvina
  6. dorado
  7. escolar
  8. mahi-mahi
  9. shrimp
  10. scallops


  • Is Ceviche Safe to eat? Ceviche, if made with fresh wild ocean fish is absolutely safe to eat. Think sushi!  The lime juice cooks the ceviche on the outer edges and the longer it marinates the longer it “cooks”.
  • How do you know if the fish is fresh enough to eat raw? It won’t smell fishy. It will smell clean and fresh with have a subtly sweet flavor.
  • How long should Ceviche be marinated? Marination time can be anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the size of the pieces, but roughly 45-60 minutes for 3/4 inch pieces is a good rule of thumb. Remember when using a good quality, fresh, wild fish, it is not imperative that the fish is cooked all the way through, a little rawness is actually really quite good! Think sushi!
  • How can you tell if ceviche is cooked long enough?  The fish will look opaque on the outside, instead of translucent.   If you prefer it cooked through more, you can marinate for 2 hours or more! Longer marinating will tend to make the fish chewier. See what you like best. There is no “right way”.  If it tastes too raw for your own tastes, just marinate it longer.
  • Is Ceviche healthy? Yes! Ceviche is high in lean protein, low in fat, and full of Vitamin C from the lime juice.

Can Ceviche be made ahead?

Yes! That being said, Ceviche is best made fresh on the day of serving- and is best up to 4 hours before serving- but I do save the leftovers for the next day. The fish will continue to cook in the lime juice, so the texture will change but the flavors are still great. I’ve been known to eat Ceviche 2-3 days after making -it won’t go bad, if kept in a cold refrigerator.

More Favorite Fish Recipes!

I hope you love this as much as I do. Please don’t forget to rate the recipe!



Watch How to Make Ceviche!

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Ceviche in a white bowl.

The Best Ceviche Recipe!

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.9 from 80 reviews
  • Author: Sylvia Fountaine | Feasting at Home Blog
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 45
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: appetizer, salad, main, fish
  • Method: marinated
  • Cuisine: mexican
  • Diet: Gluten Free


How to make the Best Ceviche! Ceviche is made with fresh fish (or shrimp) cured with lime juice, then tossed with onions, cilantro, tomato and cucumber.  Serve it as an appetizer with tortilla chips or as a light, refreshing summer meal. Watch the video.


Units Scale

Ceviche Recipe

  • 1/2 a red onion, thinly sliced, with the grain.
  • 11 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, start with 1, add more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3/4 cup fresh lime juice (4-6 limes) freshly squeezed ( try to use ripe limes)
  • 12 garlic cloves very finely minced (use a garlic press)
  • 1 fresh serrano or jalapeño chili pepper seeded and very finely chopped. Start conservatively, more to taste.
  • 1 pound fresh fish- sea bass, red snapper, corvina, halibut, dorado, escolar, mahi-mahi, tilapia, or hamachi – diced into 1/2 inch cubes.
  • 1/41/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced or cut in half (or 1 cup diced tomatoes)
  • 1 cup diced cucumber
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)
  • optional: 1 semi-firm Avocado, diced, or make the Avocado Sauce

Serve with tortilla chips, or lettuce cups, or see more options in the post above.

Optional Avocado sauce:

  • 2/3 cup Avocado
  • 1/3 cup cilantro
  • 2/3 cup water- plus more as needed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 garlic clove
  • cracked pepper to taste


  1. Slice the red onion thinly with the grain, and toss in a bowl with salt, pepper and lime juice, coating well.
  2. Add the fish, garlic and fresh chilies, and gently mix.
  3. Add the tomatoes, cucumber, cilantro and olive oil, and give a stir and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving (45-60 minutes is ideal). The longer you marinate the firmer and more “cooked” the fish will become.
  4. Before serving, taste and adjust the salt and heat. Add more salt or chilies if you like.  If adding avocado, gently fold it in right before serving- you may need to add a pinch more salt.
  5. To make the optional Avocado Sauce, blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth, adding a bit more water or oil, if needed to get the blades going.


To Serve: Serve ceviche in a big bowl with tortilla chips on the side,  or as mini tostadas (on a round chip or homemade) or make ceviche tacos or ceviche lettuce cups. Ceviche can also be served in small appetizer cups or shot glasses with a mini fork.  Or plate it up with a little Avocado Sauce as a salad course.

To make crispy mini tostadas: lightly spray mini corn tortillas (3-inch tortillas) with olive oil and season generously with salt.  Bake in a 300 F oven on a sheet pan until crisp (not chewy, but crisp like a cracker)  about 25 -30 minutes, turning halfway through.  Let cool completely.


  • Serving Size: -includes one diced avocado
  • Calories: 149
  • Sugar: 3.2 g
  • Sodium: 637.1 mg
  • Fat: 6.3 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 9 g
  • Fiber: 3.1 g
  • Protein: 15.5 g
  • Cholesterol: 31 mg

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  1. Made this recipe last night for the second time using Mahi Mahi and it was AMAZING. It takes some work to make, but if you like ceviche this recipe is way worth it. I marinated my fish for 1 hr. and 30 min. and it blew us all away it was so DEVINE. The best I’ve ever had. Heaven. Even my 11 year old boy cleaned out his bowl using the tortilla chips and we all went for seconds. I wish I could make this once a week for my family…. thank you for sharing your recipe Sylvia!!

  2. Great recipe! I used red snapper but I did poach it first as it’s harder for me to get truly fresh fish where I live! It turned out great!

  3. Finally, I found the best recipe. I’ve tried two other recipes that are 4 stars. Their tastes are not well balanced. This one is perfect! My entire family is begging for more😃 I rate this 5 stars!

  4. Just made this. And wow! So good! … No one in my household enjoys seafood, which means it’s all mine mine mine!

  5. Do I use the fish raw or do I need to cook it first? Thank you, I’m excited to try this but want to make sure I do it correctly

    1. If you mean raw shrimp,add it with the fish. 🙂 If cooked you could toss in a few minutes before serving.

  6. Everyone in the family loved it! It’s so easy to make (but please don’t tell my wife). My only modification is to drain the lime juice before mixing through.

  7. Can I use frozen mahi mahi from costco? Is it ok to defrost it in the fridge then continue with the recipe? Or do i have to buy it fresh from the docks or something ?😂 also can I marinate it in the morning and have it for dinner or should i marinate it 45 minutes before eating, as I like that sushi texture as well. Thank you

    1. I’ve used the fresh Mahi Mahi at Costo, then frozen the rest. I’m sure the frozen would probably work OK too…just haven’t tried it.

  8. Such a simple delicious recipe. Thanks, always turns out. One of these days I’ll attempt the coconut. 🙂

  9. I love your attention to detail here! I didn’t know about salt drawing out the bitterness of onion! I LOVE this–thank you!

  10. I have my son’s birthday this weekend and i am going to make this with a few ingredients added to it.
    I would prefer foods with strong aroma and taste mostly on appetizers.
    Once I have added a pinch of turmeric and sumaq to the mix along with premium saffron from and i realy liked the overal taste so i am going to make this again 🙂

  11. I love this recipe. Simple to follow and the results were outstanding–delicious and pretty.I have enough left over for a couple of days, too. My partner loves ceviche the next day.

  12. What If I wanted to use this for a 3 day meal prep plan? Would the fish and quality be ok on day 3? Or would you not advise this recipe for meal prep? It looks delicious btw!


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