Tilapia Ceviche is a light and refreshing salad made with citrusy fish and fresh vegetables. Serve it with chips or crackers, avocado, and plenty of hot sauce.

An angled shot of taliapa ceviche in a pink bowl on a white platter with tortilla chips.

Sometimes, the best souvenir is learning a new recipe from the locals while on vacation. I learned this version of ceviche in Aguascalientes where tilapia is plentiful, sustainable, and locally caught.

It’s the perfect light meal on a hot day and easy to make in giant batches for your friends and family at parties. Please feel free to tweak the recipe and make it your own!

Table of Contents
  1. Recipe ingredients
  2. Ingredient notes
  3. Step-by-step instructions
  4. Recipe tips and variations
  5. Tilapia Ceviche Recipe

Recipe ingredients

Ceviche ingredients in bowls.

Ingredient notes

  • Tilapia: Thaw frozen tilapia in a bowl or on a tray overnight in the refrigerator. For quicker thawing, thaw in a bowl of cold (not warm) water. Turn the faucet on and let a thin trickle of cold water run into the bowl, letting the excess water overflow out of the bowl and down the drain.
  • Citrus juice: The acid that “cooks” the fish. Lime juice is the most common, but lemon, grapefruit, and orange juice are all great options.
  • Carrots: I don’t see carrots in most ceviche recipes on the Internet, but that’s how they make it in Aguascalientes, and I love it.
  • Jalapeños: Remove the seeds for less heat. At fiestas in Mexico, they prepare a separate bowl of spicy chiles (like serrano and habañero chiles) so the adults can load them up and the kids don’t have to suffer.
  • Cilantro: Cut off the main batch of stems at the bottom of the bunch, then cut up the remaining stems along with the leaves. Please omit if you hate cilantro (parsley or chives are good substitutes).

Step-by-step instructions

  1. To break down tilapia filets for ceviche, first cut each piece into strips about 2 inches wide, rinsing your knife in cold water between cuts. Holding your knife at a 45-degree angle and following the muscle fibers of the fish, slice the fish into chunks. Continue cutting the tilapia into 1/2-inch pieces.
A side shot of someone slicing tilapia on a wooden cutting board.
  1. In a medium glass or stainless-steel bowl, add tilapia and citrus juice and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate until the tilapia is opaque and “cooked” through, about 4 hours.
An overhead shot of cubed tilapia in a clear bowl.
  1. Drain off and discard excess citrus juice. Add onion, carrots, tomatoes, jalapeños, and cilantro and toss until evenly coated. Season to taste with salt and more fresh citrus juice if desired.
An overhead shot of cubed tilapia in a clear bowl.
  1. Serve with tostadas, tortilla chips, or saltine crackers, passing hot sauce and mayonnaise separately. 
An overhead shot of taliapa ceviche in a pink bowl on a white platter with tortilla chips.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Safety: Citrus juice does not kill bacteria or parasites in fish (neither will your home freezer), so choose commercially-frozen or high-quality fresh fish for ceviche.
  • Yield: This recipe will make about 4 cups ceviche.
  • Storage: Ceviche is best consumed the same day you make it. You can probably get away with consuming the leftovers on day 2, but that’s about it.
  • Denaturation: The technical term for the reaction between the citrus juice acid and the proteins in the muscle fibers of the tilapia.
  • Avocado: Mixed in or scattered on top, avocado tempers the heat and a creamy texture to ceviche. Guacamole is a great option, too.
  • More mix-ins: Get creative with cucumber, jicama, or pineapple.

Chipotle Guacamole (Copycat)

This Chipotle Guacamole recipe is the real deal. With just seven ingredients and a few minutes, you can enjoy as much Chipotle Guacamole at home as you can mash! Guacamole is luscious, creamy, satisfying, filling,…

7 minutes
View Recipe

More seafood recipes

Taliapa ceviche in a pink bowl on a white platter with tortilla chips.

Tilapia Ceviche

Tilapia Ceviche is a light and refreshing salad made with citrusy fish and fresh vegetables. Serve it with chips or crackers, avocado, and plenty of hot sauce.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 4 hrs
Total Time 4 hrs 10 mins
Servings 4 servings
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Mexican
Calories 147

Ingredients 

  • 1 pound tilapia thawed (see note 1)
  • 1 cup citrus juice plus more for serving (see note 2)
  • 1 medium onion finely diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 large carrot peeled and finely chopped (about ½ cup, see note 3)
  • 1-2 Roma tomatoes seeded and finely chopped (about ½ cup)
  • 1-2 jalapeño peppers minced, seeded if desired (see note 4)
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro stems removed and minced (see note 5)
  • Salt
  • tortilla chips or tostadas or saltine crackers
  • hot sauce or mayonnaise

Instructions 

  • To break down tilapia filets for ceviche, first cut each piece into strips about 2 inches wide, rinsing your knife in cold water between cuts. Holding your knife at a 45-degree angle and following the muscle fibers of the fish, slice the fish into chunks. Continue cutting the tilapia into 1/2-inch pieces.
  • In a medium glass or stainless-steel bowl, add tilapia and citrus juice and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate until the tilapia is opaque and “cooked” through, about 4 hours.
  • Drain off and discard excess lime juice. Add onion, carrots, tomatoes, jalapeños, and cilantro and toss until evenly coated. Season to taste with salt and more fresh lime juice if desired.
  • Serve with tostadas, tortilla chips, or saltine crackers, passing hot sauce and mayonnaise separately. 

Notes

  1. Tilapia: Thaw frozen tilapia in a bowl or on a tray overnight in the refrigerator. For quicker thawing, thaw in a bowl of cold (not warm) water. Turn the faucet on and let a thin trickle of cold water run into the bowl, letting the excess water overflow out of the bowl and down the drain.
  2. Citrus juice: The acid that “cooks” the fish. Lime juice is the most common, but lemon, grapefruit, and orange juice are all great options.
  3. Carrots: I don’t see carrots in most ceviche recipes on the Internet, but that’s how they make it in Aguascalientes, and I love it.
  4. Jalapeños: Remove the seeds for less heat. At fiestas in Mexico, they prepare a separate bowl of spicy chiles (like serrano and habañero chiles) so the adults can load them up and the kids don’t have to suffer.
  5. Cilantro: Cut off the main batch of stems at the bottom of the bunch, then cut up the remaining stems along with the leaves. Please omit if you hate cilantro (parsley or chives are good substitutes).
  6. Safety: Citrus juice does not kill bacteria or parasites in fish (neither will your home freezer), so choose commercially-frozen or high-quality fresh fish for ceviche.
  7. Yield: This recipe will make about 4 cups ceviche.
  8. Storage: Ceviche is best consumed the same day you make it. You can probably get away with consuming the leftovers on day 2, but that’s about it.
  9. Denaturation: The technical term for the reaction between the citrus juice acid and the proteins in the muscle fibers of the tilapia.
  10. Avocado: Mixed in or scattered on top, avocado tempers the heat and a creamy texture to ceviche. Guacamole is a great option, too.
  11. More mix-ins: Get creative with cucumber, jicama, or pineapple.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupCalories: 147kcalCarbohydrates: 10gProtein: 24gFat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 57mgSodium: 75mgPotassium: 567mgFiber: 2gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 3340IUVitamin C: 28mgCalcium: 35mgIron: 1mg
Tried this Recipe? Pin it for Later!Mention @CulinaryHill or tag #CulinaryHill!

Culinary School Secrets
Pro-level tricks to transform your cooking!

Meggan Hill

I’m the Executive Chef and head of the Culinary Hill Test Kitchen. Every recipe is developed, tested, and approved just for you.

You May Also Like

Questions and Comments

Thank you for your comments! Please allow 1-2 business days for a reply. Our business hours are Monday through Friday, 9:00 am PST to 5:00 pm PST, excluding holidays. Comments are moderated to prevent spam and profanity.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Comments

  1. Thank you for showing what the ‘cooked’ tilapia looks like compared to the raw tilapia. Really helped determine when to pull the fish and serve. Your tips (where and tilapia freshness) was great advice. Thank you thank you! :)5 stars

    1. Thank you so much John! That means a lot. There are plenty of poorly-written recipes in the world; I try not to contribute to that. Take care. -Meggan

  2. I’ve heard of ceviche but I don’t think I’ve ever had it… I never realized it had fish in it! It sounds delicious so I’m definitely going to have to give it a try.

    Tiffany
    5 stars