Easy Classic Ceviche Recipe (Ceviche de Pescado)

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This Easy and Classic Ceviche recipe is made with rockfish (or other white fish, like tilapia or bass) and is perfect for a hot summer day when it’s too darn hot to cook. This classic ceviche recipe is also a perfect seafood dish for parties, light appetizer, or a light meal at home served with tortilla chips.

Or you can check out our tuna ceviche recipe for another variation.

Two glasses filled with an Easy Ceviche Dish.
Ceviche makes for a great make ahead summer appetizer.
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Recipe Highlights

  • Fresh fish is an important ingredient as is making sure it’s been flash frozen first to kill bacteria.
  • The lime or lemon juice will infuse with fresh raw fish and “cook it” with just a handful of ingredients.
  • You can sub or add raw shrimp for the fish for the same results.

When you are looking for a fresh and inviting dish for those warm days, ceviche is a great option. It’s easy to make with simple ingredients, and the flavor is bright, acidic, and refreshing.

Our ceviche recipe is the go-to meal when it’s hot outside, or when you’re looking for something light and healthy to eat in the winter months. When looking for easier recipes this is it. Let’s Vindulge.

What Is a Basic Ceviche

Classic ceviche is raw fish (or shellfish) cooked in an acidic marinade (most often citrus). The acid essentially “cooks” the fish without any grilling or heat. As the fish sits in the citrus the acid penetrates the meat and breaks down the proteins giving it that cooked look and texture like you would get from actually cooking it with heat.

Chef’s Note: The acid does not actually “cook” the fish. The citric acid causes the fish to denature and harden up and turn opaque similar to cooking it.

Peruvian Ceviche is often the inspiration for many recipes while you can also find different ways it’s prepared throughout Latin America and the world. Various types of ceviche recipes have been adopted regionally all over the world from Mexico to Spain. So, depending on your influence, it can take on a lot of flavor variations from spicy to sweet, simple to complex. 

Fish Options

We like almost any fresh white fish for a ceviche recipe — we find the best fish is tilapia, mahi mahi, rockfish, bass, flounder, etc. Shrimp and tuna also work great. We just highly recommend getting the best quality and freshest fish you can find! A good ceviche recipe will only be as good as the freshness and quality of the fish. So mention to your fishmonger that you’re making ceviche, and get his/her recommendation on what will be best that day for that purpose.

For this ceviche we used rockfish because that was the best fresh seafood option at the fish monger.

Chef’s Note: When buying raw seafood for ceviche look for previously frozen or sushi grade fish. The commercial flash freezing process kills off harmful parasites and bacteria.

Ceviche Recipe Ingredients

For our favorite style, we like lime flavor to stand out, but balance that with a little orange juice so it’s not too bitter or acidic.

  • Fish – In this recipe we use rockfish which is a mild white fish with good texture. Tilapia, bass, flounder, or halibut are also a good option.
  • Citrus – Lime and orange are the backbone to this dish, adding the necessary acid to properly “cook” the fish.
  • Savory – Onion and jalapeño pepper add texture with a slight crunch, as well as flavoring the marinade. The mild heat from the jalapeño (seeds and ribs removed) also gives a nice flavor.
  • Freshness – Tomatoes, creamy avocado, and fresh cilantro brighten the flavors and add a nice balance.
  • Salt – A good kosher salt will bind the flavors together.

Some additional ingredient variations include hot chili peppers (or any of your favorite spicy peppers), hot sauce, or even bell pepper (red or yellow).

Preparation

The most important part of preparing ceviche is to de-bone the fish. If there are pin bones, remove them. Using a sharp boning knife, cut the fish into small pieces resembling small squares. The smaller dice will allow the fish to cook faster without getting gummy in texture.

For the onions, be sure they are very thinly sliced. If they are too thick the onion will overpower the dish.

For less heat, remove the seeds and rib from the jalapeño. The seeds don’t have great texture.

How to Make Ceviche

Ceviche Ingredients combined together with the citrus juice.
  1. Add cubed fish into a bowl. Squeeze the limes and orange into the bowl with the fish and stir. Add the onion, tomatoes, jalapeño, and salt, and then stir again to combine.
  2. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator to marinate. The citrus will start to cook the fish. After 60 minutes, stir the mixture again and cover. Place back in the refrigerator covered another 60 minutes.
  3. After 2 hours remove the fish and add the avocado and cilantro. Stir to combine.
  4. Portion among four martini or similar serving glasses with your favorite corn chips. Bonus if you prewarm the corn chips in the oven.

How long does it take to make Ceviche?

On average for a ceviche recipe, white fish should be done in 2 hours. Smaller cuts speed up the process. Larger cuts will take longer, which is why we recommend dicing the fish in smaller chunks.

You know it’s done when you cut into the fish and it’s white all the way through.

A bowl full of ceviche after adding the final ingredients of avocado and cilantro.
Add the avocado and cilantro as the finishing touch.

You can also marinate just the fish in the citrus, then when it’s done drain it to stop it from continuing to cook. Then just before you serve it you add the other ingredients and a few squeezes of fresh lime for flavor and toss together. But we usually throw it all together to cook then serve immediately, because it’s just darn easy that way! Boom.

When you’re happy with how long it’s marinated, portion the ceviche into your serving dishes and dive in. I love serving ceviche in a wine or martini glass. It just looks super fancy and pretty badass that way.

Wine Pairing for Ceviche

Two glasses of Classic Ceviche and a glass of white wine

Ceviche is a highly acidic dish, so you’re going to want something that can stand up to that acid otherwise the dish will make the wine taste flat and sweet (and that’s no bueno).

My go-to is Sauvignon Blanc for this, because they tend to have a lot of similar flavors as the dish (herbal, bright citrus) and have high acidity to match the dish. For region I’d focus on California (or some of the rare Oregon Sauvignon Blanc if you can find ’em) or those found in Chile. Or if you want something bold you can go with a New Zealand Sauv Blanc, where you’ll find some of the most intense versions.

Alternatively I’ve had ceviche with Albariño and Dry Riesling with success as well.

More Easy Seafood Recipes

If you like this recipe we’d truly appreciate it if you would give this recipe a star review! And if you share any of your pics on Instagram use the hashtag #vindulge. We LOVE to see it when you cook our recipes. 

glasses of easy classic ceviche
4 from 5 votes

Easy White Fish Ceviche Recipe

This easy and classic ceviche is made with rockfish (or any other white fish) and is perfect for a sweltering summer day when it's too darn hot to cook.
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 2 hours
Total: 2 hours 5 minutes
Servings: 4 people
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Ingredients 

  • 1 lb fresh rockfish bones removed, cut into small cubes, (Any white fish will work as well, like tilapia, bass, flounder, halibut)
  • 6 limes, juiced
  • 1 medium orange, juiced, (the combined juice from the orange and lime should equal 1 cup of liquid)
  • ½ cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • cup tomatoes, diced, (I like cherry tomatoes for this. Alternatively Roma tomatoes work well too)
  • 2 tablespoons jalapeño, seeds removed, finely diced
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 small avocado, diced into small chunks, (about the same size chunks as the fish)
  • ¼ cup cilantro, roughly chopped

Instructions 

  • Add cubed fish into a bowl. Squeeze the limes and orange into the bowl with the fish and stir. Add the onion, tomatoes, jalapeño, and salt and stir again to combine.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator to marinate. The citrus will start to cook the fish. After 60 minutes, stir the mixture again and cover. Place back in the refrigerator covered another 60 minutes.
  • After 2 hours remove the fish and add the avocado and cilantro. Stir to combine.
  • Serve with your favorite corn chips or baguette slices.

Notes

We have tested this recipe both marinating the fish with and without the ingredients. Separating the jalapeño, and other ingredients will be a less lime like flavor. If you really like citrus and lime you can marinate all but the avocado together.
Fresh ingredients are always important for this recipe. The avocado and cilantro is best when added just before serving not to the citrus marinade.F

Nutrition

Calories: 112kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 153mg | Potassium: 412mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 298IU | Vitamin C: 39mg | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 5 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Entree
Cuisine: seafood
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 112
Keyword: Ahi Tuna Ceviche, ceviche ingredients, Ceviche Recipe, Classic Ceviche, easy ceviche, how to make ceviche, rockfish ceviche
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Vindulge

About Mary


I'm Mary, a wine/food/travel writer, Certified Sommelier, mom of twins, former vegetarian turned BBQ fanatic, runner, founder of Vindulge, and author of Fire + Wine cookbook. Thanks for stopping by!

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6 Comments

  1. https://www.yanuq.com/buscador.asp?idreceta=946&codcert=1

    This is the recipe for classic ceviche. No avocados or tomatoes, add ketchup and shrimp to your recipe and you have Mexican shrimp cocktail. The fish should be marinated quickly and over an ice bowl and key limes should be used. Cannot find our limes in the US, must be a Florida citrus lobby issue. Wine does not go well with this, usually beer. I am sure the fish you made is good, but like they told Anthony Bourdain in Provence, this is good, but it is not Ratatouille.

    1. Big difference in ‘classic’ Peruvian ceviche and Mexican ceviche. There are even differences in ceviche on the Mexican Pacific side vs. the Gulf of Mexico (Veracuz) and the Atlantic side (Quitana Roo). They can all be ‘classic’.

  2. This looks so good. I love the flavor of rockfish. This is perfect for the heatwave months!