The difference between ceviche and a Mexican shrimp cocktail lies in the ingredients and the preparation, though there is a lot of overlap between the two delicious seafood dishes.
Typically, ceviche consists of fresh raw fish mixed with spices, citrus juices, and chopped vegetables or peppers; the acidic juice effectively “cooks” the protein as it marinates, and the mixture is often served beside side dishes such as vegetables, avocado, or plantains. The fish used for ceviche varies, but can include salmon, sea bass, and tuna—as well as other types of seafood, including shrimp, scallops, and squid.
Mexican shrimp cocktails (coctel de camarones), on the other hand, start with cooked shrimp on their own and pours spiced tomato sauce over top, plus goodies such as cucumber, lime, jalapeño, and avocado. It’s a much heartier mixture than the simple shrimp cocktail common in America, and while it can be eaten on its own as a sort of salad, it’s also commonly served with tortilla chips or tostadas.
Of course, many delicious variations of both dishes exist to blur the distinctions between the two. Here are seven shrimp cocktail and ceviche recipes to get your Taco Tuesdays and margarita nights going:
This recipe uses poached shrimp tossed with cucumber, onion, and avocado in a sauce made from blistered tomatoes, lime juice, and garlic. We highly recommend for first-timers. See our Mexican Shrimp Cocktail recipe.
While we love a good Mexican shrimp cocktail, you can’t go wrong with a simple, classic shrimp cocktail recipe using horseradish cocktail sauce for dipping. See our easy Shrimp Cocktail recipe.
Spice things up with a spicy ceviche recipe using fresh scallops, tilapia, and halibut cure in lime juice. The mixture is tossed with corn, cucumber, tomato, and onion. See our Spicy Sriracha Ceviche recipe.
We love this healthy halibut ceviche recipe which uses raw tomatillos, avocado, a jalapeño pepper, green olives, onion, and cilantro. We recommend serving with blue chips, as pictured. See our Green Halibut Ceviche recipe.
This fresh halibut ceviche recipe—using tomatoes, red onion, cucumber, watermelon, and cilantro—is perfect for a summertime cookout or picnic. See our Halibut Ceviche with Watermelon recipe.
Tostadas are one of the best vehicles for a good ceviche recipe. Here, we use sea scallops and red snapper fillets, but any sustainable mild white fish or shellfish will work well. See our Ceviche Tostadas recipe.