Ceviche is a dish made with raw fish or other seafood (like squid, octopus, scallops, or shrimp) that’s marinated in lime juice or other acidic ingredients until the flesh becomes firm as the proteins react to the acids. The dish also often includes diced vegetables like onions, tomatoes, and avocados.
If you’re looking for a no-cook recipe perfect for summer, ceviche is a fantastic option. Here, we explain everything you need to know about making ceviche.
For further inspiration, check out these nine ceviche recipes for summer.
This traditional Veracruz-style ceviche features mild snapper and scallops combined with slices of green olive that punctuate the dish with hints of brininess.
For the ceviche itself:
- 1/4 pound sea scallops (medium diced, with any tough muscle removed)
- 1/4 pound red snapper fillets (skinned, pin bones removed, and medium diced)
- 1 cup Roma tomatoes (about 3 medium), cored
- 1/2 cup Spanish green olives (like Manzanilla), pitted and thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup finely chopped shallots (about 2 medium)
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/4 cup pickled jalapeños, drained and coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons capers, drained
For the marinade:
- 1/2 cup lime juice (from about 8 medium limes)
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 medium jalapeño peppers, stemmed and cut into 1/4-inch rings
- 4 tostada shells
- 1/2 medium avocado, cut lengthwise into 8 slices
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 medium lime, cut into 8 wedges
- hot sauce, for serving (optional)
Get our full ceviche tostadas recipe.
Poach these shrimp *ever so briefly* before soaking them in a mixture of lemon and lime juices. Crisp cucumber and tender avocado complement the plump texture of the shrimp.
- 1 pound fresh medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
- kosher salt
- 3/4 cup lime juice (from 4–6 limes)
- 3/4 cup lemon juice (from 2–3 lemons)
- 1 cup finely diced red onion
- 1 serrano chile, stemmed, seeded, and finely diced
- 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/2 English cucumber, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Get our shrimp ceviche recipe.
How green is this ceviche? Between the tomatillo, avocado, jalapeño, lime, olive, and cilantro, it’s pretty green!
- 1 pound fresh halibut
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 2 ripe avocados, peeled and pitted
- 3/4 cup green olives, pitted and sliced
- 1/2 cup diced fresh raw tomatillos
- 1/4 cup finely chopped white or red onion
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- 1 jalapeño pepper, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- tostadas or tortilla chips
Get our green halibut ceviche recipe.
If you prefer a more colorful dish, this summery watermelon and tomato ceviche will have you seeing red (and maybe orange, yellow, or purple if you get a mix of heirloom tomatoes).
- 1 1/2 pounds fresh fish like halibut, tilapia, or ahi
- 1 cup of lime juice (from about 5 limes)
- 1/4 cup finely diced red onion
- 1 jalapeño pepper, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
- 1 1/2 cups diced ripe tomato
- 1 1/2 cups diced English cucumber
- 1 cup diced watermelon
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- freshly ground black pepper
You don’t have to limit yourself to one type of seafood per ceviche — mix it up! You can make this spicy, sriracha-accented recipe with scallops, tilapia, or whatever your freshest catch of the day is.
- 1 1/2 pounds mixed seafood (like scallops, tilapia, and halibut), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
- 3 medium ripe tomatoes, diced
- 1 medium red onion, finely diced
- 1 English cucumber, diced
- 1 ear fresh corn on the cob (kernels only)
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 jalapeño pepper, stemmed, seeded, and finely diced
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup sriracha hot sauce
- 1 cup tomato juice
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced, for garnish
Get our spicy sriracha ceviche recipe.
A little bit spicy and a whole lot fruity, squid ceviche takes nicely to the sweet flavors of mango and grapefruit as well as the fragrant lift of curry powder. Avocado halves make great edible bowls that add a creamy element.
- 2 cups water, plus more for the ice water bath
- 12 ounces calamari, cleaned, bodies cut into 1/2-inch rings, tentacles left whole
- 1/2 cup grapefruit juice (from about 1 grapefruit)
- 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
- 1/2 cup lime juice (from about 5 limes), plus more as needed
- 1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons minced shallot (about 1/2 medium shallot)
- 1 medium garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 serrano chile, stemmed, seeded, and minced
- 1/4 teaspoon curry powder
- 1 medium mango, peeled and diced medium
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced red radishes (about 2 medium radishes)
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 3 medium avocados
If you’re a fan of leche de tigre, the spicy marinade used in traditional Peruvian ceviche, you’ll love this West African shrimp variation too. It combines fresh ginger and habanero (leave the seeds in for even more kick) with cilantro and lime juice, and it’s delish with sweet potato chips or plantain chips.
- 1 pound medium shrimp, shelled, tails removed, deveined, and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 small piece fresh ginger (about 1 ounce), peeled and finely grated
- 1 habanero pepper, stemmed, seeds removed, minced
- 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice, plus more to taste
- 2 tablespoons diced shallot
- kosher salt
- 1/2 bunch cilantro (leaves and small stems)
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 Roma tomato, finely diced, for garnish
Get our West African shrimp ceviche recipe.
This sort-of-deconstructed ceviche is not far off from a poke bowl — but instead of rice, it’s got zucchini noodles. The garnishes, including a creamy citrus-avocado dressing, are also different. But it’s delicious (and Whole30-friendly) and requires no cooking, and that’s all you really need to know.
For the ceviche, you’ll need:
- 8 ounces ahi tuna steaks, cubed
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
For the dressing, you’ll need:
- 1/4 cup mashed avocado
- 5 tablespoons orange juice
- 1/2 teaspoon packed orange zest
- zest from 1/2 large lime
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon sriracha chili sauce
- salt, to taste
For the bowls, you’ll need:
- 1 cucumber, spiralized (if you have a spiralizer)
- 4 cups field greens
- 1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
- 1 large fresh tomato, roughly chopped
- 1 large orange, peeled and segmented
- 1/2 avocado, sliced
- lime zest, for garnish
- toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
Get the citrus tuna ceviche bowl recipe.
Quibble with calling this ceviche if you want to, but again, the important points are that it tastes great and is a quick no-cook recipe that’ll save you from sweating any more than you already have. The vegan seafood stand-in here is hearts of palm, which also make for a pretty good vegan lobster roll.
- 1 (14-ounce) can hearts of palm, drained and sliced
- 2 tomatoes, chopped
- 1/2 red onion, chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
- 2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice
- 2 tablespoons nori flakes (optional)
- dash of cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Get the vegan ceviche recipe.
Once you’ve got a grasp on a few essentials, ceviche is one of the simplest dishes you can make. It also ranks pretty high up there on the “wow” factor.
1. Always go fresh with fish
To start, you’ll need extremely fresh fish or seafood because both spoil pretty quickly, even in cold temperatures. This isn’t just for the sake of taste but for safety too. Barring your own straight-from-the-waters catch, choose stuff from a trusted source that keeps their product well iced and/or refrigerated.
As a general rule, the flesh should be firm and somewhat translucent, lacking any distinct smell other than a bit of ocean.
2. Think about the cut
If you’ve got a big chunk of fish, you’ll need to think about how you want to cut it. Some fish, especially firmer-fleshed species like tuna, can be diced into small cubes. If you’ve got a more delicate white fish, however, try slicing it into thin, sashimi-style pieces.
You don’t want to go paper-thin, however, or your ceviche will “cook” pretty quickly. Somewhere in the ballpark of 1/4 inch should do just fine.
Pretty much all ceviche recipes call for an acidic marinade (typically some sort of citrus juice, although vinegar is common as well). But the amount of time your ceviche will need to spend marinating depends on what type of fish or seafood you’re dealing with. It can be anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours.
It’s the acid that unravels the flesh’s proteins. These “denuded” strands feel the need to cover up, so they shield each other by bonding together, creating a tighter and more opaque outer surface.
4. How ceviche should look after “cooking”
While the time required to achieve this effect varies, what you’re going for are pieces of seafood that have lost their translucency on the surface and firmed up a bit but still have a hint of rawness in the center.
They shouldn’t be stiff, chalky, or flaking apart — these are all signs that your ceviche has drifted off into well-done territory (see, even ceviche can be overcooked, just like meat!).
5. The best fish for ceviche
You can use any sort of fish or seafood for ceviche, but it’s best to steer clear of certain oily fish like bluefish or freshwater species like catfish and trout because of their increased risk of spoilage and parasites. Other than that, ceviche is pretty simple and extremely delicious.
Ceviche is a no-cook fish dish that combines the best texture and flavor elements of cooked and raw fish.
There’s a range of inspired recipes from around the globe you can try, and there’s no limit to the seafood you can bring into play.
Be sure to check the color, smell, and texture of your fish ahead of prep to ensure freshness. Be sure to check both the dice size and prep time a recipe recommends, or you risk “overcooking” the ceviche in the marinade.