How to Make Your Own Ceviche at Home

Our classic ceviche recipe is easy to prepare and tastes delicious with many types of seafood.

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Ceviche with avocado
Photo: Juanmonino/Getty Images

Traditional ceviche is a raw seafood dish "cooked" in an acidic marinade such as citrus juice or vinegar. Ceviche recipes take just minutes to assemble and make a delicious and impressive party appetizer that's served with tortilla chips for dipping, in a small glass, or as a tostada or taco topping.

It's also served with a wide variety of accompaniments, from diced cooked sweet potato to kernels of toasted corn, corn on the cob, and more, making it an entire meal and flavor experience. Here, we cover how to make ceviche at home in just a few simple steps.

Types of Ceviche

The dish has many variations, from Mexican ceviche recipes that use a lime marinade to infinitely complex Peruvian ceviche recipes. Peru takes its ceviche seriously—it's been officially declared as part of its national heritage and has a holiday to honor it. There, ceviche (or cebiche) is marinated in a spicy-tart aji-chili-lime sauce called "leche de tigre" or "tiger's milk."

How to Pick Ceviche Ingredients

The best ceviche starts with top-quality fish. Use any mild white ocean seafood such as shrimp, snapper, sea bass, halibut, calamari, or tilapia. According to Chef Ryley Eckersley of Quaintrelle in Portland, Oregon, these are the other necessary components to making top-notch ceviche.

Citrus Base

You'll need a citrus base for marinating the fish. Lime juice, lemon juice, orange juice, bitter orange juice, vinegar, or a combination of these works well.


To get flavor into the fish, salt it first and let it sit for a few minutes. Depending on the desired flavor profile, you can also add salty components like fish sauce or smoked salt.


Fish and dill are best friends, but cilantro, basil, and chives all deliver their own unique qualities. Experiment with whatever you have on hand.

A Sweet Element

Fruit often comes into play here. Stone fruits, melons, and citrus all work well. Add some juice to the mixture if it's a juicier fruit.

Something Spicy

A variety of chilis are available in the summertime, from jalapenos to habaneros. Raw onion or scallions may suit you just fine if you're more heat-averse.


Even an oilier fish often requires a touch more richness. Avocado, olive oil, or sesame oil can do the trick nicely.


To counter the softness of the fish, add some texture, like cucumbers. Ryley also loves serving ceviche with an edible scoop that delivers crunch like cabbage leaves, tortilla chips, or fried won tons.

How to Make Ceviche

Step 1: Dice Fish Into Even Pieces

For the cleanest cuts, you can partially freeze your fish first and use an extremely sharp knife.

Step 2: Place Fish in Bowl

Place diced fish in a nonreactive bowl or pan such as stainless steel, enamel-coated, or glass. Aluminum and cast iron pans can give color and flavor to acidic food like ceviche.

Step 3: Mix Marinade and Toss to Coat

Starting with your citrus base, prepare your ceviche marinade. (You can make the marinade ahead and keep it cold in the refrigerator for up to four days.) Pour the marinade over the seafood and toss to coat. Make sure you have enough to cover the fish and allow it to move freely.

Step 4: Refrigerate

Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes or up to 4 hours based on the type of fish, the size of the fish chunks, and how tangy you want your ceviche to taste. Ceviche is done "cooking" when cubes of fish no longer look raw when cut open.

Step 5: Drain

Put in a colander to drain off the marinade. Keep your ceviche well-chilled for up to one day.

Step 6: Garnish With Fresh Ingredients

Add extra ingredients, garnishes, and seasonings just before serving for the freshest taste.

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