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. I made this. I was a bit leery with “cooking” the fish in only lime juice, but I did it! It was WONDERFUL! Very tasty. I did add a bit of ketchup to my finished product, only because of a favorite restaurant of mine does it that way and it turn out so good. I did lose track of time and it marinated overnight. I Googled and it will last up to three days. This is one of my new favorites!

  2. This was good but far too much onion. I’ve had and also made better ones.

    I also agree with another reviewer that there’s no way this takes 25 minutes of active preparation.

    1. Sorry this wasn’t your favorite. You can always cut back on the onion, and it gets much faster the 2nd go around.

  3. I consider myself to be a an expert level amateur chef/cook and love ceviche.

    I’ve lived and traveled throughout Latin America for over 20 years and have eaten ceviche, of all types and varieties everywhere I’ve lived or traveled.

    The styles and varieties are almost infinite. I particularly like authentic Peruvian style ceviche but have found great ceviche (and mediocre ceviche) everywhere.

    I prefer my own style, which is very similar to this recipe. The only important change I make, and suggest that you consider, is to add a little ginger ale or 7-Up before serving. It will cut down on the strong lime flavor and give you a better result (in my opinion).

    Also, all of the suggested fish are fine but you can use any fresh or frozen fish or seafood.
    I especially like corvina and pargo (which is a small snapper very similar to yellowtail snapper more readily available in the United States.)

    For example, I frequently use farm-raised catfish, precooked shrimp, etc., which are fairly cheap and readily available almost everywhere.

    This is a great basic recipe and is a great way to start if you haven’t made ceviche before.

    As a side note, I usually eat ceviche with plain soda crackers.

    1. After posting, I thought of another comment but can’t edit my post so I am adding this as a comment. I really like spicy food, but many people don’t, and except in Mexico, most versions don’t include jalapeños or other hot peppers. Instead, the ceviche is served with hot sauce or chopped peppers on the side. That is how I always serve it and recommend to you.

    2. Thank-you Jim. The best ceviche I’ve had was in Old Town San Juan Puerto Rico using fresh out of the water sea bass. Panama City, Panama also has some great ceviche. Haven’t traveled as extensively as you so I’m wondering about Chile?

  4. So crazy delicious! I’ve used scallops, tilapia, and shrimp – all equally wonderful! I make this every week 🤩

      1. It depends on size of scallops and if you are leaving your scallops whole, or slicing.

  5. I love this recipe! However, without three or four of your peeps helping there is no way, repeat no way, you can prep this in 25 minutes. An hour is more like it with two people. I have made this half dozen times and it tastes great! But 25 minutes?

  6. “Fresh” by itself is not sufficient when serving raw fish, as any number of people who have eaten salmon (and other fish) straight from the sea and who have become terribly ill can attest. It is therefore prudent to first freeze any fish that is to be served raw. This is standard practice at most (all?) sushi restaurants. We encourage anyone considering serving raw fish to read further into the matter. Sushi, Sashimi and Ceviche can safely be made at home… but we strongly advise against serving fish that has not first been frozen. (Think of the images of those huge, Frozen tuna you’ve seen being bid on by restauranteurs in Japanese fish markets. The operative term there is FROZEN.)

    1. I’ve lived in the Pacific NW and Hawaii, worked in restaurants and I’ve watched the Honolulu fish market bids and seen our sushi chefs buy fish that are still alive. There is actually a practice of cutting the fish while it is still alive- ikizukuri- though I disagree with this morally.
      Ahi tuna and mahi are far better fresh, as freezing can degrade the tissue, and I’ve caught wild salmon as well as albacore tuna and can attest that the texture degrades when a fish is frozen, especially in a home freezer, causing a mushiness that isn’t there otherwise. Though in my home we do bleed the fish properly and cook salmon or albacore until *nearly* cooked through- and watch for worms while fileting. Many fish that you see coming from the docks are quickly bled and flash frozen aboard the fishing vessel as they’re caught to preserve the fish because they are caught during longer fishing trips and in larger batches. Not necessarily for consumer safety or taste. If you don’t live where you know the fish has been handled well, even freezing won’t kill most bacterial food borne ilnesses- if your fish was not kept cold and served fresh.

      1. Hi mYst,
        While I appreciate you commentary on the merits of live fish vs. fresh fish, I fail to see the relevance as it pertains to this recipe. Do you have any insight re the many other comments that seem to think this recipe is the bomb.

    2. Tuna is frozen because of how it is fished. boats stay out for long durations and usually quite far from land so they freeze the tuna. most japanese sushi places do not freeze their fish (including multiple michelin starred places). the parasite in fish thing is overblown by the media making it sound as if you eat one fish not “sushi grade” which btw is a marketing ploy, you’d instantly get parasites

  7. This was soooo delicious!!! I made it with red snapper and serrano pepper! So yummy! Question, will it keep in the fridge for any amount of time? I. E. Leftovers. Thanks!

  8. This recipe looks amazing. The way you present it, is so appetizing.
    Thank you sooooo much for sharing your experience, time and delicious recipes !!!!!!

  9. I love ceviche and am so excited to make this. I could not find any of the fish listed, fresh or frozen. I purchased cod for another recipe. Will cod work? How about raw shrimp and scallops?

  10. Hi!! Can’t wait to try this out, do you take the fish mixture out of the marinade before adding it to the cilantro mixture?

    1. Hummm- I’m actually not sure! Give it a try and see if the fish still cooks a bit! Will you let me know?

  11. My husband caught some fresh fish spear fishing today… do you know if sheepshead + opaleye would be good for this?

    1. Spearfishing? Cool!!! And great question. I’m not familiar with either! I’m so sorry. Most firm white fish do well here. I’d take a look at the flesh and use your best judgment. I would be guessing at this point.

    2. Sheapshead and opal eye are both great, sheapshead taste like shellfish a bit ( that’s what they eat) for safety I would steam it first. I know it’s not raw but our local fish can carry some parasites. If you want to do it raw freeze for 48 hours at at least -4 f.

  12. Love it! Honestly, the best ceviche recipe I’ve seen so far with all the details, explanations and alternatives. Thank you for posting!

  13. I love to eat ceviche, but, had never made it. I tried this recipe for my maiden voyage of ceviche at home and was blown away! It was so easy, and the flavors are complex and perfect. This is now my go-to recipe and I’ve made it once a week for the past month 😋


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