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 82 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. Definitely a keeper 😋🥰 Delicious, made tonigh (with shrimp & red snapper) had mines over mofongo (plaintains). Embarrassed to say I ate more than my portion and look forward to tomorrow’s left overs 👍🏽👍🏽

  2. This was a perfect ceviche recipe. We enjoyed the ceviche over a lettuce bed and had plenty left over for the next day’s appetizers.

  3. Delicious! I didn’t follow the directions for when to put everything together, but I don’t think it made any difference after marinating. I used tilapia. I would like to add shrimp in the future, but loath Bay shrimp. Any suggestions for adding larger shrimp? Do they cook the same? Or do I need to pre-cook? I thought about chopping into the same size pieces as the fish.

    1. Glad it turned out for you! Shrimp works well here- make sure to marinate until they turn all the way pink. I would cut big shrimp into smaller pieces. Also you may want to take a peek at our Aguachile Recipe. 🙂

  4. I had ceviche for the first time at a Peruvian restaurant down in Miami and absolutely loved it. I wanted to make some for my fish loving hubby but fresh fish is hard to come by in MN. I found fresh sea bass (although previously frozen) at the store and so finally had a chance to make this recipe tonight and seriously, this did not disappoint! I made the avocado sauce which was a great addition. We had some with chips, some on tortillas, and some just on a plate with the sauce underneath. SO YUMMY! I will be making this again. I only wish I had recipes for some other sauces to mix it up a bit. Thanks for this recipe!

    1. I used frozen tilapia, raw shrimp, and imitation crab. I originally wanted to use halved bay scallops but the store was out, so I used krab instead for firmness and sweetness. You could easily do without the krab; the tilapia and shrimp were enough, especially after adding cubed avocado.

      Use less lime than you think you’ll need, because as the seafood and “salsa” cooks, it releases a lot of water. Adding salt may help this, as well as jalapeño and onion to absorb liquid expelled during the “cooking” process.

      This is a recipe you can “wing” for sure. I also did not add any oil (which I think is the right move) or black pepper (I added two jalapeños and did not see a need for black pepper). It was basically a pico de gallo with a lot more lime and raw seafood.

      I served it on pre-made tostada tortillas, but it would be just as good with unsalted chips.

      1. Trying this tonight. It’s currently marinating!

        How long will the leftovers last? It makes more than I thought and there’s only one of me!


  5. I used this recipe but added 1/2 red pepper for color. Used white pepper. I remember an older recipe that may have used a dash of cumin?

  6. Absolutely fresh and delicious. My first attempt at Ceviche, and now I feel confident to try it again. We used fresh halibut, and could not be happier.

  7. I like it, it is close to what I have made for years. Having to adapt for what is available wherever I am. I did add a large Tomatillo I think it gives it a little extra zing. Thanks!

  8. My first ceviche!! Followed the recipe exactly (scaled down) minus the garlic, was fantastic! I used sea bass

    1. Congrats Anna! Glad you gave it a go! One of my favorite recipes. 🙂

  9. lovely recipe, just want to add that you actually cook the fish as soon as the lime juice and salt gets put on it, so it can be ready to eat immediately not just after 30 minutes.

  10. The ingredients list a quarter teaspoon of black. The instructions make no mention of when to add it. I added the black pepper when I mixed in the tomato. It could probably go in at the start with the onion…

  11. I made this recipe last night, as I had leftover shrimp and scallops from another recipe and wanted to make sure to use them. This was SO GOOD. My husband and I kept expressing just how good it was throughout dinner. Definitely a keeper and definitely a recipe you should make if you haven’t yet. Thanks Sylvia. I’ve been making your recipes for years and I/ we always love them.

  12. Looks good, need to try this one out but I’m just trying to figure out why you list the same species of fish twice.

    1. People know them by different names depending on where they live.- so just trying to be helpful. 🙂

  13. Nice recipe. I didn’t see it in the comments, but tilapia is a freshwater fish, not from the ocean. Seems like it should still work.

  14. Thank you to share your receipt, it looks like excellent.
    Could you tell me where I can buy the coconut ?
    I leave in an island with coconut but it is difficult to conserve coconut with cream so I would like to order false coconut.
    Thank you very much.

  15. I have been making this ceviche recipe for several years. I’ve given it to many of my friends. I’ve had the good fortune to catch fresh fish in the gulf of Mexico down in Florida and use the fish that day. This is a 5 star recipe. Thank you!

  16. This is the best ceviche I have ever had! I used sole that had been frozen. My husband thought it was delicious as well.

    1. Hi Becky- honestly, I can’t really picture that, but you are welcome to try. You could add some to a tiny sample portion and see what it tastes like?

  17. Do you use sushi grade fish? My local fish monger was insistent that it’s a must for ceviche. I was hoping to use something more accessible and less expensive…so I can make it more often!

    1. Hi Desiree, no it does not need to be sushi grade as the ceviche is being “cooked” or cured by the lime juice. Any ocean fish that is either really fresh, or has been frozen (freezing kills parasites) will work here.

      1. Great, thanks for confirming what I was already thinking (& so quickly)! I made this with shrimp previously and am looking forward to a fish version to get us through this heat wave! Love your recipes.

      2. Freezing does NOT kill bacteria! Please google and amend your response. Time and temperature ratios matter and foods left at room temperature will grow bacteria over time. Perhaps the acid in the lime kills bacteria, I don’t know. But your blanket statement about freezing is just wrong wrong wrong,

        1. Hi Betsy, it is my understanding that freezing fish, kills harmful parasites. It can, of course grow bacteria if not treated or stored properly after it is thawed.Do what you feel comfortable with.

    1. I like it with jackfruit or hearts of palm. Search hearts of palm ceviche in the search box and it will come up.

      1. Deeeelish. Got lazy and went kitchen sink. Added kafir infused olive oil and yuzu. Forgot cilantro.
        You always provide a great base for what I’m doing. Suck at baking, love flavor.
        Be in touch!!!
        Love what u do 💋

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