How to make fresh, healthy, and delicious shrimp ceviche at home! This shrimp ceviche is made with limes, lemon, red onion, cucumber, chile peppers, cilantro, and avocado. I love it served as an appetizer or for a light meal.
Watch the Video
How to Make Shrimp Ceviche
Ceviche is a dish popular throughout Latin America that’s made with raw seafood “cooked” in citrus juices. Fresh caught seafood is essential for the best tasting ceviche. It’s also important because of food safety.
Shrimp Ceviche and Food Safety
The acidic citrus juices “cook” the proteins in the shrimp, but it might not kill all of the bacteria. This is why the sourcing of the seafood you use for ceviche is so important. When we have access to fresh caught shrimp, we make ceviche the traditional way and cook the shrimp right in the citrus juice (I’ve shared how to do this in the recipe below).
Unfortunately, finding fresh caught shrimp is not always an option, so we adapt the recipe and gently poach the shrimp first in very hot water before marinating the shrimp in citrus juice. This cooks the shrimp and kills any bacteria that might be lingering on the shrimp.
I realize this is not the most traditional method for making shrimp ceviche, but it is the safer, foolproof option when you don’t have fresh caught shrimp. Not to mention, it still tastes incredible 🙂
(You can use pre-cooked shrimp if you prefer, but our method for poaching the shrimp only takes a few minutes and ensures perfectly cooked and seasoned shrimp.)
You Can Make Perfect, Delicious Shrimp Ceviche In Three Easy Steps
Shrimp ceviche is a happy food. Fresh, bright flavors and light shrimp make this one of my favorite warm weather dishes. It’s very easy to make, too. You’re only looking at three steps:
Step 1, Gently (and quickly) poach the shrimp in salted water (if you have very fresh shrimp, this step is not necessary).
Step 2, Cut the shrimp into 1/2 inch pieces and toss with lime juice, lemon juice, red onion, cucumber, minced chile peppers, and cilantro. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Step 3, Serve with diced avocado stirred into the ceviche.
Quick tip: Sometimes, raw onion can be overpowering in dishes like this shrimp ceviche. To deal with this, we like to “deflame” the onion before adding it. Simply mince the onion, and then pour water over it. After 30 seconds or so, drain the onion and add to the remaining ceviche ingredients. The onion will still be raw, but the “raw heat” will be toned down. We use this tip a lot in our kitchen.
Frequently Asked Questions
How far in advance can I make ceviche?
Shrimp ceviche really is best enjoyed the day you make it. As the shrimp sits in the citrus juices, it continues to cook. We tested one batch that was left in the refrigerator over a day and while the shrimp tasted great, the texture was a bit tougher compared to the previous day. We also noticed that the juices in the bowl took on a bitter flavor, which we attributed to the cilantro. If I am honest, I would still eat the ceviche on the second day (especially if it was leftover from the day before), but I do prefer it fresh after making.
Can I make this ceviche with raw shrimp?
As I briefly mentioned above, when making shrimp ceviche, we prefer to gently (and quickly) poach the shrimp in very hot water before adding them to the other ceviche ingredients. This cooks the shrimp and kills any bacteria that might be lingering on the shrimp. We do this because some of the shrimp found in the United States have been farm raised overseas and shipped here, which raises a bit more concern in the food safety department. Here in Washington State, we occasionally have access to fresh caught shrimp and when we do, I’d happily make ceviche using them raw. You can use raw shrimp to make shrimp ceviche, but I only recommend doing so if you are sure that the shrimp you are using is the freshest possible.
To make our recipe with raw shrimp, cut the shrimp into small pieces (no larger than 1/2 inch). Cover the shrimp with the citrus juice — use enough juice to cover the shrimp and allow it to float freely (this might require a bit more juice than called for in our recipe). If there is not enough juice, the shrimp will cook unevenly. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until the shrimp is “cooked” through.
Can I make this ceviche recipe with fish?
The ingredients for shrimp ceviche and classic fish ceviche are similar, but the procedure is slightly different. To make this recipe with raw fish instead of shrimp, you will need to cover the fish in the citrus juice, cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours (or until the fish no longer looks raw when broken apart). The best fish to use for ceviche are fresh caught ocean white fish like halibut, bass, and snapper. We are working on a classic fish ceviche recipe and will share when we’ve gotten it just right!
What’s the best way to serve ceviche?
The most common way to serve ceviche is like a salsa alongside plantain chips or tortilla chips. You can also serve over rice, on tostadas (a crunchy fried or toasted tortilla), with sliced and roasted sweet potatoes, or on top of salads.
This shrimp ceviche is perfect for serving as a light appetizer (your friends will love you), but Adam and I enjoy this quite often as a light and healthy meal.
More Easy Shrimp Recipes
- This Easy Garlic Shrimp is made with cilantro, lime, and a creamy butter sauce. Serve these delicious shrimp family-style, with pasta, rice or in tortillas for tacos.
- How to make Garlic Butter Shrimp Scampi in under 15 minutes. Perfect served alone or spooned over pasta, rice or lower carb zucchini noodles.
- Try this Easy Roasted Shrimp Cocktail. Instead of poaching the shrimp, we quickly roast shrimp in a hot oven until sweet and tender.
Fresh and Easy Shrimp Ceviche
This shrimp ceviche is made with limes, lemon, red onion, cucumber, chile peppers, cilantro, and avocado for a fresh, healthy, and delicious shrimp ceviche recipe. Watch our video above to see us make it. The ceviche is best served the day of making it, after which the shrimp become tough and the cilantro starts to taste bitter.
Watch Us Make the Recipe
You Will Need
1 pound large or extra large shrimp, peeled and deveined
3/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice, 6 to 7 limes
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice, 1 to 2 lemons
1/4 medium red onion, finely minced
1 cup diced cucumber
2 chile peppers like serrano or jalapeño, deseeded and minced
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 medium avocado, diced
1Fill a pot 2 quarts (8 cups) of water and add 2 tablespoons salt. This makes up a poaching liquid and helps to season the shrimp.
2Bring the water to a boil, add the shrimp, and then immediately take the pot off of the heat. Leave the shrimp in the poaching liquid until just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. You can tell when the shrimp is cooked when it’s firm and opaque throughout.
3Note, if you have fresh caught shrimp, you can skip the poaching step, see our tips in the notes below and in the article above.
4Remove the shrimp from the poaching liquid and spread out on a cutting board to cool. When the shrimp are cool enough to handle, remove the tails (if there are any) and chop into bite-size pieces.
5Optional: To tone down the raw flavor of the onion, de-flame them by adding the chopped onion to a small bowl and cover with water. Set aside for 30 seconds or so, and then drain.
6Add the cucumber, onion, minced chile peppers, and cilantro, and chopped shrimp to a non-reactive bowl (glass, stainless steel, and ceramic bowls are perfect).
7Pour over the citrus juices and a pinch of salt. Toss well, and then press the shrimp down into the liquid as much as possible. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours.
8Just before serving, stir in the avocado. Taste, and then season with salt if you feel it is necessary.
Adam and Joanne's Tips
- Using raw shrimp: If you have access to very fresh shrimp, you can skip the poaching step and allow the citrus juices to “cook” the shrimp. To make our recipe with raw shrimp, cut the shrimp into small pieces (no larger than 1/2 inch). Cover the shrimp with the citrus juice — use enough juice to cover the shrimp and allow it to float freely (this might require a bit more juice than called for in our recipe). If there is not enough juice, the shrimp will cook unevenly. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until the shrimp is “cooked” through.
- For a spicier ceviche, leave some or all of the seeds of the peppers. Or add a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce.
- Nutrition facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA database to calculate approximate values.