Nothing says party quite like a big, icy bowl of Ceviche de Camaron, otherwise known as Shrimp Ceviche. It’s popular for a good reason: it’s so dang delicious. It makes a perfect summer appetizer or potluck offering served on tostadas, crackers, and chips. I learned this recipe in Mexico.
Ceviche—what is it?
Other than the best, freshest appetizer ever, seafood ceviche, which goes by other names: cebiche, seviche, or sebiche– is a dish made of chopped raw fish that gets marinated in citrus juices. The acid in the citrus juice turns the fish opaque and firm. Variations of seafood ceviche (pronounced “seh-VEE-chay”) may include hot chilies, mango, diced avocados, chopped tomatoes, crisp cucumbers, and a little onion.
Ceviche is simply wonderful all by itself, but it’s especially delicious when stopped up in something crispy like a corn chip, tostada, or a plantain chip.
Even though Peru insists on claiming ceviche as its own, the true origin of ceviche is not so cut and dry. One interesting fact, though: traditional Peruvian ceviche calls the marinade leche del tigre, or tiger’s milk, which is believed to be an aphrodisiac. A shot of lime juice with chilies and fish is powerful stuff–definitely not for the faint of heart! Roar!
No matter what anyone says, every family, town, city, and country throughout South and Central America and Mexico enjoys making their own unique ceviche recipe using local fish the freshest ingredients. Panama, Puerto Rico, and Ecuador also love their ceviche. Who could blame them? It is amazing.
How to make Shrimp Ceviche:
- First, gather your ceviche ingredients and get everything chopped up. This recipe moves at lightning speed.
- If you prefer smaller pieces of shrimp, you can cut the shrimp up into bite sized pieces. Although if you’re using tiny shrimp, there’s no need to chop.
- This part is easy! All you have to do is add all the ceviche ingredients together and stir to combine. Then, season to taste with salt and serve chilled.
Is ceviche raw?
To most everyone, ceviche looks cooked…but is it? Yes and no.
Technically speaking, most ceviche out there is raw. Even though this recipe uses cooked shrimp, it’s totally okay to make shrimp ceviche with raw shrimp, too. Both delicious options are included down below.
As the raw shrimp sits in the marinade, the acid from the citrus juice breaks down the proteins in the muscle fiber of the shrimp. The acid turns the shrimp pink and gives the shrimp a texture that is similar to traditionally cooked shrimp—a process called denaturation.
Even though the lime or lemon juice changes the texture of the fish, it’s still raw–much like crudo, poke, or smoked salmon. That means you should make ceviche with the best quality fish you can find. Which brings us to…..
What type of shrimp should you buy for ceviche?
That all depends on if you plan on making raw or cooked shrimp ceviche. When shopping for any fresh seafood, it’s important to have a trusted fish market that can recommend the best cuts for your recipe. And it’s even more important when you’re planning on consuming any kind of raw fish.
Look for fish and seafood frozen according to the FDA’s freezing guidelines, and you are good to go.
FDA guidelines require fish to be frozen at -4 degrees or below for at least 7 days. Commercial deep freezing kills off any potential parasites in the flesh that would otherwise be killed with traditional heat cooking.
If you’re cooking the shrimp beforehand, you don’t need to take extra precautions. Fresh shrimp or frozen shrimp works well. And you can buy any size of shrimp that works within your budget.
How to make Raw Shrimp Ceviche:
- Place the chopped raw shrimp in a non-reactive (glass or stainless steel) bowl and cover with citrus juice. Mix gently to combine.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 15 to 20 minutes. When “cooked” the shrimp should appear bright pink and white and just opaque.
- Then all you have to do is drain off the lime juice and add the other ceviche ingredients: tomato, onion, chilies, cilantro, and carrot. Give things a taste and adjust the seasoning.
How long to marinate raw shrimp ceviche?
How long you want to leave the shrimp in the marinade is completely up to you, but it’s easy to eyeball when it’s ready to eat. Depending on the size of your shrimp, anywhere between 30 minutes to 4 hours should do the trick.
The should should look bright pink and opaque on the outside and a maybe just a little translucent in the center, when broken open. Beyond 2 hours, however, the shrimp might actually start to become pickled. It’s still good to eat though; more like an escabeche!
How to serve Shrimp Ceviche:
Your friends will go crazy for ceviche no matter how you serve it. Keep it simple with crispy plantains, corn tortillas, or lettuce wraps. Make sure there’s lots of fun hot sauces (Valentina is the go-to in Mexico) for your guests to drizzle on their shrimp ceviche tostadas. And maybe a little mayo.
Just make sure there’s a pitcher of ice-cold Paloma Cocktails or Watermelon Agua Fresca to sip while you’re eating! And maybe a bowl of Copycat Chipotle Corn Salsa, just in case. It’s your beach day, so make it the best one ever.
Fun and delicious Shrimp Ceviche Variations:
- Shrimp ceviche with avocado: cubes of ripe avocado add wonderful creaminess to ceviche–try it!
- Shrimp ceviche and crab: if you’re lucky enough to have a can of lump crabmeat sitting around, go ahead and add it in after the initial marinating process! Yum.
- Shrimp ceviche with mango: soft, sweet mango and fresh shrimp make a heavenly combination.
- Shrimp and grapefruit ceviche: tender supremes of citrus fruit, especially grapefruit, are delicious combined with shrimp.
If you’re interested in other types of ceviche, head on over to How to Make Ceviche to learn about how to shop for fish, what types of fish make the best ceviche, and other brilliant ceviche ingredients you can add to your favorite recipe.
Shrimp Ceviche Recipe
For the ceviche:
- 1 pound cooked shrimp thawed, peeled, and deveined
- 1 cup fresh lime juice (from 6 to 8 limes)
- 1 medium onion finely diced (about 1 cup)
- 1 large carrot peeled and finely chopped (about ½ cup)
- 1-2 roma tomato seeded and finely chopped (about ½ cup)
- 1-2 jalapeño chiles minced (seeded if desired, see notes)
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro stems removed, minced
- Tortilla chips tostadas, or saltine crackers
- Valentina hot sauce
- Avocado sliced
To make the ceviche:
- Chop shrimp into 1/2-inch pieces (if using extra small shrimp (61/70 per pound), you don't need to chop them). Place in a glass or stainless-steel bowl.
- Add lime juice, onion, carrot, tomato, jalapeños, and cilantro and toss until evenly coated. Season to taste with salt.
- Serve on tostadas or with tortilla chips or saltine crackers, passing mayonnaise, hot sauce, and sliced avocado separately. Or, divide ceviche among small clear-glass bowls, wineglasses, or martini glasses.