The first time I made ceviche, I was amazed. I could actually see the lemon and lime juice turning the color of the fish from translucent pink to opaque white.

The acid from the limes and lemons change the structure of the proteins in the fish, essentially “cooking” the fish without using heat.

I love ceviche rolled up in a freshly cooked, still warm corn tortilla with lettuce and salsa.

Updated. Originally posted Jan 2004.

Ceviche Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Marinating time: 3 hours
  • Yield: Serves 4-8

Always use the freshest fish possible. Make the same day you purchase fresh fish.


  • 2 lbs of firm, fresh red snapper fillets (or other firm-fleshed fish), cut into 1/2 inch pieces, completely deboned
  • 1/2 cup of fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 cup of fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 red onion, finely diced
  • 1 cup of chopped fresh seeded tomatoes
  • 1 serrano chili, seeded and finely diced
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • Dash of ground oregano
  • Dash of Tabasco or a light pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Cilantro
  • Avocado
  • Tortillas or tortilla chips


In a non-reactive casserole dish, either Pyrex or ceramic, place the fish, onion, tomatoes, chili, salt, Tabasco, and oregano. Cover with lime and lemon juice. Let sit covered in the refrigerator for an hour, then stir, making sure more of the fish gets exposed to the acidic lime and lemon juices. Let sit for several hours, giving time for the flavors to blend.

ceviche-1.jpg ceviche-2.jpg
During the marinating process the fish will change from pinkish grey and translucent, to whiter in color and opaque.

Serve with chopped cilantro and slices of avocado with heated tortillas for ceviche tacos or with tortilla chips.

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Showing 4 of 71 Comments

  • Dan Blick

    “Always use the freshest fish possible.”

    So true! I’ve made this recipe a couple times lately with fresh-off-the-boat lingcod, and it’s spectacular! The fish is the star of the show, so if you go with some farm-raised tilapia that’s several days old, you’ll be disappointed for sure. If it’s old enough to smell like fish, don’t waste your time. I used the FishLine Fresh Seafood Finder (http://fishline.me/) to see what local fishermen are selling at the harbor, or what’s really fresh at the fish market.

  • Alejandro

    Hello Elise,
    I found your blog while looking for a meatloaf recipe, to offer my family during a party next week, I liked your recipe so much that I began to read other recipes, that is how I found your ceviche recipe.

    Ceviche, is not a recipe, is a concept that is present all around the shores of the pacific ocean, the basic idea consists in “cooking” fresh fish using some form of natural acid (basically lemon/lime/orange or other fruits juice), it has been part of the peruvian menu even before Peru existed. Depending on where you eat your ceviche you will find more or less ingredients and depending on how fresh your fish is and how firm its meat it will take you 30 seconds or 3 hours to prepare it.

    I, as a peruvian, am used to my country’s style, only 5 ingredients: fish, salt, lime juice, purple onion and chili. After that you can add slices of sweet potato, corn, lettuce and a few others as garnish.

    Some tips: ALWAYS use the freshest fish you can afford, avoid greasy fishes, and preferably from cold waters as they tend to have firmer meat. Pay close attention to fish meat temperature, always keep it on ice, (but never frozen!) until used. When squeezing your limes use only the first drops as after that the drops will include the sour flavor from the skin. Cut the onion on very thin vertical slices.

    We in Peru use not more than 1-2 minutes to “cook” the fish

    If you like avocado, rice, tortillas or anything else, just go ahead, when it comes to food preferences no one owns the truth.

  • Eric Moroney

    Hi to everybody from Dalkey, Ireland. Ceviche is one of my favourites. From my Chilean wife I learned to blanch the onion (red or white) first. After chopping it, place it in a sieve and pour a jug of boiling water over it followed, immediately, by a jug of cold water. This removes the unpleasant (for me, at least) taste of raw onion. Once blanched, add to the dish. In ireland I use lemon sole cut into pieces and wild scallops for ceviche. But, now, having read the blog and comments, i will experiment with different fish.

  • Spencer

    I use powdered 100% lime uice, it’s handy when needed. If you do a search for it make sure it is the 100% pure, no other indredients added, lime juice which I buy by the pound. Delicious.

  • Mike

    I just used the recipe but used lionfish. Tastes great and they are taking over the reefs here in Florida.

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