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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.
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 10 minutes
Servings 4 servings (1 cup each)
Calories 147kcal


  • 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 1/2 cup, see note 3)
  • 1-2 Roma tomatoes seeded and finely chopped (about 1/2 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


  • 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. 



  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 of 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.


Serving: 1 cup | Calories: 147kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 57mg | Sodium: 75mg | Potassium: 567mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 3340IU | Vitamin C: 28mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 1mg