Shrimp Ceviche

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Grab a bowl! This easy shrimp ceviche recipe makes a great appetizer or light meal. To enhance the flavor, succulent shrimp are poached and marinated in fresh citrus juices then combined with crunchy vegetables.

Bowl of shrimp ceviche

When you’re looking for a light and refreshing dish on those warm days, shrimp ceviche is the answer. The bright citrus flavors combined with tender bites of seafood and crunchy vegetables will instantly satisfy your cravings. This recipe makes for a great snack, appetizer, or even a light meal. No matter how you serve it, make sure to have some crunchy tortilla chips on hand for dipping.

Typically, ceviche uses very fresh raw seafood that’s soaked in an acidic marinade to cook the proteins. The tough muscle fibers in shrimp are very different from raw fish, which requires a bit more time. For a quicker version of the traditional recipe, I poach the shrimp for a few minutes then add it to the zesty juices. In just 30 minutes a flavorful ceviche is ready to share.

Compilation of four photos showing the process of cooking and cutting shrimp

Shrimp selection

Sweet, briny shrimp is the star of this dish. However, unless you’re buddies with your local fisherman, it’s difficult to truly find fresh shrimp. In this case, the options at the store are frozen. There are many types of shrimp that you could use for ceviche, I use pink shrimp which is most commonly found at the market or white for a sweeter taste.

For a more lobster-like flavor, use Rock or Argentinian shrimp. For this recipe, I use a 16 to 20 count extra-jumbo size to give nice crustacean chunks that I chop up. Although, smaller ones, even the tiny full-sized shrimp can be used. Just make sure to keep an eye on poaching time so as to not overcook them.

Poaching delicately cooks the seafood

Using the poaching cooking method with raw shrimp ensures that we delicately preserve the texture and flavor. The last thing you want is a rubbery shrimp that then firms up when combined with the citrus juices. Cook the shrimp in the hot salted water, with the heat turned off, until it turns pink and opaque.

Once removed from the pot make sure to rinse the shrimp with cold water to stop the cooking process. Pre-cooking also ensures that any harmful organisms are destroyed, typically at an internal temperature above 140ºF (60ºC), making it safer to eat. If you are in a bind for time, you can purchase precooked shrimp and cut it up.

Top down view of a bowl of unmixed ceviche ingredients

Flavorful mix-ins

To complement the flavor of the soft shrimp, crisp cucumbers and tomatoes are diced into small pieces to not overpower the taste of the seafood. Red onions and spicy serrano chile peppers are finely minced to add some pungent, spicy notes. Chopped cilantro adds fresh herbaceous notes.

These ingredients marinate with the shrimp to marry the flavors together so that all of the ingredients are infused with the lime and lemon juice, not just the protein. Dice the avocado to a similar size as the shrimp so it doesn’t break down and become mushy in the acidic marinade.

Citrus marinade

I use two types of acidic fruit juices for the marinade. I add a higher amount of lime juice for its more mellow zesty taste. I use half the amount of lemon juice for punchy and tart notes. Combined they provide a strong amount of citric acid. Don’t waste the lime zest! It’s loaded with essential oils and aromas to make the marinade even more flavorful.

Pouring lime juice into a bowl of shrimp and vegetables

How to make shrimp ceviche

Chop the poached shrimp into ½-inch pieces then combine with cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion, cilantro, and serrano peppers. Pour the lemon juice and lime juice on top, then stir to combine. Marinate the ingredients in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

I like to stir it after 15 minutes to ensure even soaking. Right before serving, stir in the diced avocado. Once cut it browns easily so it’s best to add it last to preserve the color. The acid and antioxidants in the citrus will help to prevent color change, but only for a short period of time. For the best taste, serve the ceviche within 24 hours but can be stored for up to 2 days.

Ways to serve the seafood dish

The best way to serve shrimp ceviche is to pair it with something salty and crunchy. Tortilla chips, saltine crackers, or plantain chips make for tasty smaller bite-sized appetizers to feed a crowd. For a fancier presentation or individual portions, scoop some ceviche on top of a tostada. Make sure to have a bottle of hot sauce on the side for those who like it spicier.

Spoon mixing together shrimp ceviche ingredients in a white bowl

Citrus is a powerful marinade

Typically we shy away from adding too many acidic ingredients in a marinade, but not for ceviche. The concentrated citric acid quickly dentures the shrimp protein, similar to heat. This causes the flesh to firm up even more after poaching. However, the longer the shrimp sits, the tougher the texture will become then it eventually becomes mushy. So enjoy the dish within 2 days.

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Shrimp Ceviche

Grab a bowl, because this easy shrimp ceviche recipe makes for a crowd-pleasing appetizer when paired with crunchy tortillas chips.
Pin Print Review
4.38 from 16 votes
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time5 mins
Total Time1 hr 5 mins
Servings 10 servings
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Mexican

Ingredients

  • 2 quarts water
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined, 16 to 20 count size
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes, seeds removed, ¼-inch dice
  • 1 cup diced cucumber, ¼-inch dice
  • ½ cup minced red onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon minced serrano pepper, or jalapeno, seeds removed
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • ½ cup lime juice
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup diced avocado, ½-inch dice (about 1 large avocado)

Instructions 

  • In a medium saucepan bring water and 1 ½ teaspoons of salt to a boil. Turn off the heat and add the shrimp. Allow to cook until opaque, about 2 to 3 minutes. Immediately transfer to a colander and rinse with cold water until cool, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Chop the cooked shrimp into ½-inch pieces. Place in a large non-reactive bowl.
  • To the bowl of shrimp add tomatoes, cucumber, onion, cilantro, serrano pepper, lime zest, lime juice, lemon juice, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through.
  • Right before serving stir in the diced avocado. Taste and season with more salt as desired.
  • Serve shrimp ceviche with chips or on tostadas.

Recipe Video

Notes

  • Recipe Yield: 5 cups
  • Serving Size: 1/2 cup
  • Storing: Place in an airtight container for up to 2 days before serving.

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Nutrition Facts
Shrimp Ceviche
Amount Per Serving
Calories 95 Calories from Fat 36
% Daily Value*
Fat 4g6%
Saturated Fat 1g5%
Cholesterol 114mg38%
Sodium 367mg15%
Potassium 228mg7%
Carbohydrates 5g2%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 10g20%
Vitamin A 69IU1%
Vitamin C 13mg16%
Calcium 85mg9%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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12 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Rose says

    Hi Jessica
    From a food safety perspective, poaching is an essential step to kill harmful bacteria and parasites. The reason you don’t use raw shrimps is not “not having a fisherman friend”. Really the shrimps must be “sushi-grade” for raw ceviche recipe. Supermarket frozen shrimps are better and food-safe options.

  2. Clarissa says

    Hi Jessica,

    We made this dish today and it was wonderful! Delicious, fresh, interesting, balanced. My guess is that we will be having it again next week 🙂

    We have been enjoying your wonderful recipes over quite a few years now. So many wonderful meals and memories. Thank you for the work you do!

  3. Anna Leah says

    This is another great reason to eat salty tortilla chips! Poaching the shrimp was easy and I snagged a few to eat before cutting them up. So juicy! The ceviche was well-balanced and I could have eaten this for dinner… I drained the juices and kept the leftovers for lunch the next day on top of a bed of lettuce. mmmmm

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