This shrimp ceviche recipe is loaded with nutritious ingredients including tomato, shrimp and avocado, then brightened up with a zingy blast of citrus. Enjoy it as quick and easy appetizer.
Shrimp ceviche is something I’ve previously thought of as a restaurant-only situation. Or, maybe something I’d save for a special occasion. Not with this ceviche recipe! Just like with Mediterranean Shrimp Kabobs or Garlic-Parmesan Grilled Shrimp, the quick-cooking crustacean is the perfect protein for a fancy-feeling yet super fast and easy appetizer.
Traditionally, ceviche is fully “cooked” in the citrus, but not everyone is comfortable with the idea of eating fish or seafood in this way. Here, I briefly poach the shrimp, then let it rest in the fridge for about 30 minutes in the fridge to fully absorb the bright citrus marinade.
Jalapeno adds a kick, ripe tomatoes bring that summer flavor, and creamy avocado balances everything out. Serve as an appetizer to share, ideally outdoors on a sunny day with a crisp white wine, refreshing Watermelon Sangria, or my husband's famous Gin Cocktail.
Table of Contents
Ingredients for Shrimp Ceviche
The ingredients for this ceviche recipe are easily found at most grocery stores year-round. If there ever was a fresh-is-best recipe, this is it. Ripe and fresh will make all the difference with this dish.
- Shrimp: Shrimp is sweet and meaty, so it holds up well to bold citrusy flavor. This versatile recipe can be tailored to your tastes. Sliced halibut, sea bass, or snapper are also good options.
- Citrus: Lime, lemon, and orange juice bring most of the bold flavor to this dish. When it comes to juice, use freshly-squeezed, as store-bought is often too sweet. It’s worth the extra step. And, if you're a big fan of bright bursts of flavor, try adding some grilled mango to the mix.
- Shallots: Sweet and mild, shallots add depth without overpowering. Small red onion also works well.
- Jalapeño: A jalapeño adds a good kick. However, if you don’t like spice, there is an easy fix. Simply, remove the seeds to make the pepper much milder. If even a little spice is too much, leave the jalapeño off.
- Roma tomatoes: I like Roma tomatoes here because they stay firm when ripe. This is helpful because it stops them from getting mushy as the ceviche sits and maintains the texture and quality I'm after.
- Avocado: Avocado gives a rich creaminess to the ceviche. Use a ripe avocado that’s not too soft and can hold up to a little stirring.
- Cilantro: Cilantro adds freshness. If you don’t like it, substitute with parsley.
- Kosher salt and black pepper: A pinch of salt and pepper brings out the flavors.
- Tortilla chips: Crispy tortilla chips are a quick and easy vessel for this delicious ceviche. Crisp lettuce cups, like torn endive spears, tostada shells, or pita chips are good alternatives.
How to Make Shrimp Ceviche
This shrimp ceviche is super easy, the most difficult part is peeling the shrimp which is actually quite simple. If it’s your first time, check out our full guide to buying and cooking shrimp. Once those shrimp are prepped, the rest comes together in minutes and just needs a half hour or so to soak in all the flavor.
- Get ready: Peel and devein one pound of shrimp.
- Poach the shrimp: Set a bowl of ice water next to your stove. Fill a medium saucepan with water and bring it to a boil. Add the shrimp and cook until just pink, about 1 minute. Use a slotted spoon to remove the shrimp and immediately dunk it into the ice water. This will stop the residual heat from overcooking the shrimp. Let it sit for about 5 minutes, then drain well.
- Marinate the shrimp in citrus: Chop the shrimp into small pieces and add to a medium glass bowl (or non-reactive bowl) bowl. Add 1 cup lime juice, ½ cup lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons of orange juice. Stir in 2 finely chopped shallots. Make sure the shrimp is covered well with the citrus juice. If your shrimp isn’t well covered, transfer to a smaller bowl or add more juice. Cover the bowl and set in the fridge for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
- Prep the veggies: Chop 1 jalapeno (remove its seeds if you don’t like spicy). Slice 2-3 Roma tomatoes in half and squeeze out their seeds to discard. Chop into small pieces. Slice an avocado in half and remove its pit. Chop the flesh into small pieces. Finely chop about ½ bunch of cilantro leaves (a few tender stems are okay) to make ⅓ cup.
- Mix the ceviche: Gently mix in the jalapeno, tomatoes, avocado, and cilantro. If there’s too much juice for your liking, pour some out into your sink.
- Serve: Transfer the ceviche to a serving bowl. Zest on 1 lemon to garnish. Serve this shrimp ceviche recipe immediately, with your favorite tortilla chips.
Is Ceviche Safe?
The safety of traditional shrimp ceviche depends entirely on the shrimp. While citrus juice has antimicrobial properties, it doesn’t fully “cook” the crustacean in the same way as, say, poaching. Like sushi, ceviche is totally safe as long as the shrimp is fresh and free of any harmful bacteria or parasites.
In this recipe, the shrimp is cooked first in boiling water which adds a layer of safety to the dish. As with any ceviche recipe, though, you should start with high-quality fresh shrimp purchased from a reputable source.
Tips for Making Shrimp Ceviche
Here are just a few handy tricks I’ve picked up to make this ceviche recipe as easy and delicious as possible.
- Use a glass or non-reactive bowl. Reactive bowls like aluminum or copper can react with citrus and make the dish taste metallic. Non-reactive bowls like glass, stainless steel, ceramic, or plastic won’t affect the flavor.
- X marks the spot. When you juice citrus, push down on the fruit and roll it on your counter. Use a knife to carve an X on each end, then slice in half and juice. The roll makes it juicier and the X makes it easier to squeeze.
- The tomato is worth the squeeze. The seeds and pulp of the tomato can make the ceviche watery. Squeeze them out over your sink or trash can (depending on your disposal situation).
- Give the shrimp a polar plunge. One thing I love about shrimp is how fast it cooks. It’s perfect for a weeknight dinner or a quick appetizer. The downside? You’re in a bit of a time crunch. As soon as the shrimp goes from gray to pink, get it right in that ice bath. Some shrimp cook quicker than their friends, so use a slotted to grab the early bloomers.
Tips for Buying Fresh Shrimp
The most important ingredient for this ceviche recipe is the shrimp. The fresher the better! Three good signs for super fresh shrimp are:
- A mild smell. Your nose is your best sense when it comes to testing freshness. The shrimp should smell like fresh seawater, not fishy or ammonia-like.
- A firm texture. Shrimp start to get soft and mushy as they age (and, honestly, we can’t blame them)! Give them a pinch to make sure they’re firm. They should resist when you try to bend them.
- A shiny, translucent shell. A shiny, but not slimy, shell is a good sign. The shrimp’s meat should have a slightly pink or gray (not white or yellow) color.
These are my 3 quick tips for buying fresh shrimp. If you’d like a deep dive into shrimp, including the variations and how to peel and devein shrimp check out our guide to buying and cooking shrimp.
What to Serve With Shrimp Ceviche
Ceviche is a lovely afternoon snack or appetizer. It can be served on its own, but I like a bit of crunch. I use store-bought tortilla chips or tostada shells. And, though I’ll admit it’s untraditional, I have been known to throw some Easy Homemade Pita Chips into the mix.
I especially love this recipe for entertaining. Make it ahead of time, but save yourself some fridge space for a pitcher of Watermelon Sangria. The sweet watermelon doesn’t overpower the citrusy and bright ceviche. It’s a party in the making!
More Shrimp Recipes You'll Love
- 1 pound raw medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 cup fresh lime juice, from about 8 limes
- ½ cup fresh lemon juice, from about 3 lemons, plus zest of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons orange juice, from about ½ orange
- 2 large shallots (or 1 small red onion), finely chopped
- 1 jalapeno, chopped (remove the seeds if you do not want it spicy)
- 2-3 ripe but firm Roma tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped
- 1 large avocado, finely chopped
- ⅓ cup finely chopped cilantro leaves, from about ½ bunch
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
- Tortilla chips for serving
- Partially cook the shrimp: Prepare a bowl of ice water and set it near the stove. Fill a medium saucepan with water and bring it to a boil. Add the shrimp and cook for about 1 to 2 minutes or until just pink. Use a slotted spoon to remove the shrimp and immediately dunk into the prepared ice water. This will stop the residual heat from overcooking the shrimp. Let it sit for 5 minutes, then drain well.
- Marinate the shrimp in citrus: Chop the shrimp into very small pieces. In a medium glass bowl (or non-reactive bowl), add the lime juice, lemon juice, and orange juice. Add the shrimp and shallots (or onions). Make sure the shrimp is covered well with the citrus juice. If your shrimp isn’t well covered, transfer to a smaller bowl or add more juice. Cover the bowl and set in the fridge until the shrimp is fully pink with no gray or raw parts, 30 minutes to 1 hour.
- Mix the ceviche: Add the jalapeno, tomatoes, avocado, and cilantro. Season with a big pinch of kosher salt and black pepper. Mix to combine. (If you like, you can drain some of the juice.)
- Serve: Transfer the ceviche to a serving bowl. Garnish with the lemon zest. Serve immediately with your favorite tortilla chips.
- Jalapeno's spice is in their seeds. Use only the flesh for a milder kick (or leave off all together if you don't do spice).
- To seed the tomatoes, simply slice them in half and squeeze the seeds out to discard.
- If you prefer a more traditional raw ceviche, you can skip the step of boiling the shrimp. Instead, allow the citrus juice to cure it. Use high-quality, fresh shrimp, and allow it to cure for 30 minutes to 4 hours. (30 minutes will yield a rare fish, with a cured exterior and raw interior. 4 hours will be cured all the way through).
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