This Ceviche Recipe is not only super simple, but it’s also so impressive served at a Mexican-themed or Cinco de Mayo party. Boiled fish is marinated in a citrus blend, then tossed with diced onion, tomato, cucumber, pepper, and cilantro for a fresh burst of flavor. No need to be scared of raw fish with this easy method that you can quickly throw together at home.

A Mexican dip made with bite-sized fish, avocado, cucumber, and tomato in a glass bowl.

Best Classic Ceviche Recipe

For years I have been making this easy Shrimp Ceviche recipe, but had never thought to try my hand at a classic recipe.

To be honest, I was a little too scared of preparing and then accidentally consuming raw fish.

It wasn’t until recently that I realized I could do exactly what I do with the shrimp but use fish instead—quickly boil it before marinating in the citrus juices. And that’s how this Ceviche Recipe was born!

With this method, you still get the incredible flavors of the limes, lemons, and oranges but don’t rely fully on them to “cook” the fish.

Once I realized this, it was game over! Since then, this easy ceviche has made an appearance at so many Mexican-themed parties, Cinco de Mayo gatherings, and really any occasion where a fresh appetizer or light dinner is needed!

A closeup shot of fish ceviche with fresh flavors like onion, cilantro, and tomato.

What is ceviche?

Ceviche is traditionally from Latin America, and most often associated with Mexico and Peru. This fresh and flavorful raw seafood dish, also known as ceviche de pescado, is made from marinating raw fish in fresh citrus juices, mainly lime or lemon. The process of keeping the fish in an acidic marinade “cooks” it, making it safe for consumption. It often takes a couple of hours to prepare.

Before serving, the fish is usually spiced with a variety of seasonings and peppers, then mixed with chopped up, crisp veggies and cilantro.

Fish, cilantro, citrus, onion, peppers, and salt are the ingredients for this dish.

Ingredients

To make this classic ceviche recipe you need:

  • Fish. I used cod for this recipe, but you can easily sub in another type of fish. The best variety would be a mildly flavored, firm, white fish, like mahi mahi, grouper, or sea bass. The best ceviche will have the freshest fish you can find.
  • Citrus. Opt for a blend of fresh lemon juice, fresh lime juice, and orange juice. In traditional ceviche, the citrus cooks the fish, but here it adds a bright flavor. If you don’t have all three, be sure to use at least two types of juice. As always, fresh is best and provides more flavor than bottled.
  • Onion. While a red onion adds the best taste and color, you can easily go for a sweet or white onion, also.
  • Tomatoes. You can use whatever you have on hand, whether vine-ripened, de-seeded, cherry tomatoes, or grape variety.
  • Cucumber. An English seedless cucumber is the best option for this recipe. Its uniform shape makes it easy to dice. It’s your choice whether you leave the skin on or peel it before chopping.
  • Avocado. Wait until the very end to mix this in so it doesn’t turn brown. The soft texture helps balance the cucumbers and onions. Don’t skip this!
  • Cilantro. Finely chopped fresh cilantro adds a wonderfully fresh herbal flavor. This herb is found in many authentic Mexican recipes.
  • Pepper. Jalapeño peppers were used for this recipe, but are completely optional if you prefer a milder ceviche. You can opt for a bell pepper if you want the texture with no heat. A great alternative for spicier ceviche is a serrano chili, multiple jalapeños, or whatever variety you prefer. 

How to Make Ceviche

Below, you’ll find the basic steps for making this Mexican ceviche recipe:

Boil the Fish

Many ceviche recipes have you marinate the fish in a citrus base which “cooks” it by a process of denaturation. However, this recipe errs on the side of caution and boils the fish for a few minutes, then lets the citrus finish the job. That way, all of the potentially dangerous bacteria are killed.

This also speeds up the preparation time for the ceviche, by shortening the amount of time the fish must marinate.

Chop the fish into small chunks. Aim for about ½-inch pieces.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil on the stovetop. Add the fish carefully, and let it boil for 1 minute.

When the pieces are no longer translucent, immediately remove the fish and place them in a large bowl filled with ice water. The cold water stops the cooking process and ensures a better texture for the fish.

After the fish is cool enough to touch, drain it in a colander.

Make the Marinade

Cut the orange, lemon, and lime into halves or quarters, depending on size, and juice them all into individual containers. That way, you have accurate measurements. A citrus squeezer or juicer helps in this step.

Combine the citrus juices, olive oil, and salt in a very large bowl. You will be adding the fish to this, so you want space. You can taste the marinade first to make sure you like the flavor.

When the fish is cooled completely, toss it in the marinade. Be careful not to overmix at this step or the fish might break apart.

Allow the fish to marinate in the bowl for 10 minutes in the refrigerator.

Chop and Mix

While the fish is in the fridge, dice the tomatoes, cucumber, and onion into bite-sized pieces. If you are using peppers, carefully seed and mince them.

After the fish has marinated for 10 minutes, gently mix the vegetables in, tossing well to ensure even coverage. Let the ceviche continue to sit in the fridge for another 10 minutes.

Now, dice the avocado and mince the cilantro. Be sure to measure the herbs AFTER chopping. Stir them in with the rest of the ceviche right before you serve it up.

Meal Prep and Storage

  • How to prep ahead of time: Fish ceviche ingredients can be prepared up to a day or two in advance if stored in the fridge, but wait to mix in the marinade, cilantro, and avocado until ready to serve.
  • How to store: Place any leftover ceviche in an airtight container with plastic wrap tightly covering the surface. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. The plastic keeps the avocado from being exposed to air and turning brown.
  • How to freeze: You should not freeze ceviche due its effect on the ingredients.

Is the fish in ceviche raw?

Fish in ceviche is not technically raw because it is cured in citrus juice and therefore “cooked” by a process called denaturation. You do start with uncooked fish, but it is not raw when you eat it.

A Mexican dip made with bite-sized fish, avocado, cucumber, and tomato in a glass bowl.

What is the best fish for ceviche?

The best fish for ceviche is a firm, mild, white fish, but there are many types of fish that fall in this category. Look for cod, sea bass, grouper, halibut, or snapper.

Expert Tips and Tricks

  • You pick. Many types of fish will work, so choose your favorite. Be sure it is white, firm, and mild.
  • Follow the steps. Don’t skip ahead! You need to allow the fish to first marinate without the veggies.
  • The last second. Wait until just before you serve the ceviche to add the avocado and cilantro for the best results.
  • At least 2. If you don’t have all three types of citrus, be sure to use two of them for the best flavor.
  • Make a big batch. This will be so popular, so make extra if you’re taking it to a party.
An overhead shot of fish ceviche in a bowl.

What to Serve with Ceviche

There are many ways to enjoy this ceviche recipe.

Of course, you can serve up a big bowl alongside some Homemade Tortilla Chips for a real treat.

It’s also a perfect complement to Filet Mignon or Steak Fajitas for surf and turf.

Don’t forget the Cilantro Lime Rice or Cauliflower Cilantro Lime Rice and Instant Pot Black Beans.

More Mexican Appetizer Recipes

This ceviche is just one of many delicious and flavorful dip or salsa recipes you can dig into any day of the week—not just Taco Tuesday.

Avocado Corn Salad, Easy Mexican Street Corn Salad, and Black Bean and Corn Salsa are unique dishes you have to try.

Or, opt for a classic like Easy Homemade Guacamole, Fresh Tomato Salsa, Roasted Tomato Salsa, or Tomatillo Salsa Verde.

Both Pineapple Pico de Gallo and Fresh Mango Avocado Salsa are the sweet and spicy treat you’ve been craving.

Tap stars to rate!

5 from 3 votes

Classic Ceviche Recipe

This Ceviche Recipe is not only super simple, but it's also so impressive served at a party. Boiled fish is marinated in a citrus blend, then tossed with diced onion, tomato, cucumber, pepper, and cilantro for a fresh burst of flavor.
An appetizer bowl full of a fish and avocado Mexican dip recipe surrounded by tortilla chips.
Yield 8
Prep 15 minutes
Total 45 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 1 lb. white fish such as seabass, cod, or sole
  • ½ cup lime juice fresh
  • ¼ cup orange juice fresh
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice fresh
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • ½ cup red onion finely diced
  • 1 jalapeño seeded finely diced
  • 1 cup tomatoes finely diced
  • 1 cup seedless cucumber finely diced
  • 1 cup avocado finely diced
  • ½ cup cilantro finely chopped
  • 1 – 1½ tsp. salt to taste

Instructions 

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cut fish into ½-inch pieces. Once the water is boiling, add fish and cook for 1 minute, or until it’s cooked through and no longer translucent.
  • Immediately remove the fish so it stops cooking and immerse in a large bowl that is filled with ice water. Once the fish is cool enough to touch, drain it in a colander.
  • Combine the lime juice, lemon juice, orange juice, olive oil, fish and salt in a large bowl. Gently stir the fish until it’s coated in the sauce, being very careful not to overmix it and break apart the fish too much. Marinade in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.
  • While the shrimp are marinating, finely dice the tomatoes, cucumber, onion, and jalapeño. Mix vegetables in with the shrimp. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least another 10 minutes.
  • Just before serving, stir in avocado and cilantro. Serve with baked tortilla chips or over chicken and enjoy!

Tap stars to rate!

5 from 3 votes

Video

Notes

Meal Prep and Storage

  • How to prep ahead of time: Fish ceviche ingredients can be prepared up to a day or two in advance if stored in the fridge, but wait to mix in the marinade, cilantro, and avocado until ready to serve.
  • How to store: Place any leftover ceviche in an airtight container with plastic wrap tightly covering the surface. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. The plastic keeps the avocado from being exposed to air and turning brown.
  • How to freeze: You should not freeze ceviche due the ingredients.

Nutrition

Calories: 135kcal, Carbohydrates: 6g, Protein: 12g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Cholesterol: 28mg, Sodium: 392mg, Potassium: 387mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 306IU, Vitamin C: 18mg, Calcium: 18mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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