Skip to main content

How To Make Ceviche

What is ceviche, anyway?

Ceviche is a party appetizer made from fish and lime or lemon juice. It is not sushi. Sushi is raw and this is not raw. If you are invited to a party in Central America, namely Panama, you will undoubtedly be served ceviche with crackers. It is not raw, as the lemon juice "cooks" it. Proof that it is cooked, is that it turns white. Cooked fish is white in color. It is a very healthy thing to eat. In Central America, they make ceviche from the Corvina fish, which is a bottom fish that is caught in the open sea. I believe it is called White Sea Bass in North America. Corvina is considered a fine, classy white fish (and is not cheap) and you will also find it on menu cards in any good seafood restaurant in Central America, not only in ceviche as an appetizer, but also broiled, breaded and fried or sauteed in garlic, as an "entreé," your main dish. It is well known there, but apparently it does not like the waters off the coast of North America, as this fish is relatively not known in these waters, or in any restaurant that I have been to here in Florida. If you would like to make this ceviche, you can use any white does not necessarily have to be Corvina.....(White Sea Bass). They might have slightly different recipes for it in Mexico or in Peru, possibly by adding more ingredients, but this recipe is the basic one and the one that will be found in Central America.

Ceviche is eaten in restaurants and at parties, but you can go ahead and make your own, now that I'm giving you the recipe....especially if you have the urge to have some.

Do this at night so that it will be ready in the morning, or do this in the morning so that it will be ready at night:


Any amount of white fish you would like to use (I make about a half-gallon at a time because people will eat it up quickly)

Chopped/diced onion (one cup for every three cups of fish you make)

Chopped/diced red and green peppers (one-half cup of each) for a festive color

Hot sauce (only if desired) picante

Salt and Pepper to taste

Lime juice, enough to entirely cover the fish completely

A glass or ceramic bowl or large jar

A box of your favorite saltine crackers for enjoying the ceviche


Chop the white fish into small squares and put into the bowl or container you have prepared for this. A round pyrex bowl is perfect.

Add the onion, the green and red peppers (you could also use yellow)

Add the hot sauce (picante) to taste. I particularly, do not use hot sauce but I know that many people enjoy it.

Cover everything well with the lime juice. It should cover the fish by at least 1/4"

Cover the bowl with a clean dishtowel or cover.

Leave on the kitchen counter overnight, or until the fish is the color white. 6-8 hours is about right.

The fish will have cooked in the lime juice. If it is too watery, just pour some of the lime juice out.

Scroll to Continue

Refrigerate until cold. When it is cold, it is ready to be served. It will last for about a week.

This is a great diet food, and you can also make shrimp ceviche, too. Just substitute the shrimp for the fish.

Enjoy by placing a bit of the mixture on a cracker, and eat with your favorite drink.

Ceviche is usually well accompanied by a coke, a rum-and coke, or a beer. This is one latin dish that I really miss over here in the U.S. It is not very well known here.

Enjoy this!

This Is The Corvina


Corvina Ceviche Cocktail

Ceviche de Corvina

Ceviche de Corvina




maricarbo (author) on August 20, 2014:

Yes, this is the perfect dish for parties, like for those football games you view on the TV. You serve it with those little cups made from crackers or dough, or simply with regular crackers. Drain it a bit before you serve it at a party, though, because you don't want it to be too watery, as it will make the crackers soggy. But it is so good it will go fast.

leslie sosalopez on April 02, 2012:

i LOVE the ceviche !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jeff on March 31, 2012:

My cousin turned me on to ceviche , but I like my ceviche with tortilla chips. Yum!!! Making some today.

Linda on February 13, 2012:

I'm from Panama but did not think I could make ceviche because I've tried before w/o luck. I guess the key is to add lots of lime juice to cover the fish. I am so glad I found your simple recipe. Just what I wanted.

regina on January 14, 2012:

peruvian ceviche doesn´t compare with ceviches foreign because it´s the original dish.. others are imitations

Larry on July 18, 2011:

If you want spice, add a diced jalapeno. I add the pepper and the onion at the same time as the fish so it 'cooks' more and doesn't overpower the fish. If fact, I sometimes make a batch with just fish, onion, pepper, and lime juice. These are basic ingredients, and other ingredients are opional, and yes orange juice adds a nice flavor.

Carol on June 30, 2011:

I get the Corvina at Costco..its wonderful. I made Corvina ceviche last night. I used sea salt and lime juice to cover the fish also added "red onion" must be red, then a little Tabasco sauce , to taste...yumm . Lastly I added something that gave it a special juice. yes a little orange juice made a difference. I left it in the fridge overnight...Wonderful!

Chris on April 09, 2011:

I eat ceviche in Peru and loved it, anyone knows of a fish I could use here in Canada... I prefer a fish that comes from the ocean, not a fish farm...

John Doe on March 24, 2011:

Your recipe sounds great! Just be sure not to skew facts and confuse people. Ceviche can be a meal, and tradtionally is. You can say your version is meant to be an appetizer, but it is not truly an appetizer. Also, though I'm guessing your inspiration is from Panama, emphasize that the origins and highest consumption is in Peru. Though you mention it later, it makes it seem as if Pananma is the origin and other countries are variations. Feel free to check wikipedia if you think I'm just contesting. Anyway, great recipe still and btw, Corvina is absolutley delicious! :)

Guy on February 15, 2011:

It's best to use fish that isn't oily.

I soak only the fish with sea salt in the lime. Then dice and mix the cilantro, white and red onion, roma tomatoes, serrano chiles without the seeds. Seasoned with white pepper, a little more sea salt and a pinch of basil.

IMO the cilantro is what makes the dish.

When the fish is done, blend in the other ingredients.

eve on January 18, 2011:

you can also add small diced mango (not too ripe) at the end

greg james on November 27, 2010:

i have been making Ceviche for a few years now. i use several different types of fish. however, I really like to make it with Sierra Mackerel or Wahoo when I'm here in Mexico. in Seattle we usually use red snapper or ling cod.

BTW, I'm also of the opionion that only and hour or so at room temp is great, then get it into the fridge.

jenny on October 14, 2010:

can i use any kind of fish??????????????????

Rose on September 24, 2010:

What about Cobia?. Can I make Ceviche with it?

lucas on September 01, 2010:

I've had it with shrimp and avocado. What is the recipe for that?

nuf on August 25, 2010:

i let fish "cook" in lime juice for only 20-30 minutes. I hear mixed times for marinating, some as long as 8 hours. I generally buy sushi grade fish, so it is ready to eat even raw, maybe it takes longer with lower quality fish ??

Laura on July 25, 2010:

Just got back from Panama last week and am in need of a ceviche fix. Glad I found your recipe. Am heading to the store now!

meg on July 15, 2010:

thanks for the inspiration!!! i fried up 2 cloves of garlic, chopped a jalapeno, and an anaheim. added a nice fillet of swai fish(cut w/ my kitchen scissors). let it cook in the juice of 1/2 grapefruit,2 limes and 1/2 cp pineapple juice. added salt. then chopped shrimp, cilantro, avocado and added to bowl. let sit 4 a bit. can't wait to eat this !

secrets on June 01, 2010:

well i have done ceviche plenty of times and i habe put it in the fridge i think it way better then leaving it out

Craig on February 27, 2010:

I just returned home from Costa Rica and had ceviche almost every night. some of the local surfers really know how to eat well, healthy and light. Now that I am back home in NYC, I am on the hunt for Corvina, or white sea bass. Whole Foods never disappoints, and going to give this recipe a try.

Carmen on December 19, 2009:

I am from Panama and was never able to find a place where they make ceviche like in my country, so I decided to do it myself. I used COD what a great fish for ceviche, was delicious. I used this recipe is great!

maricarbo (author) on October 10, 2009:

Hey, the Bonefish restaurant has a great ceviche that they will bring out for you! They make it with other kinds of seafood (I really don't recognize what it in it) and they even put little pieces of avocado in there! You should all go give it a try!

Hey on October 10, 2009:

So yummy

maricarbo (author) on September 08, 2009:

Yum, just saying the word makes my mouth water. I like it with a rum and coke and the best crackers at hand.

Dugg on September 08, 2009:

I make my ceviche with fresh water perch,Talapia or large mouth bass,and my recipe is fairly close to yours,but lemons are easier to come by,all my friends love to see me load up my fishing pole& tackle box, because they know it will soon be time for ceviche at my house.

maricarbo (author) on September 04, 2009:

My ceviche always smells of lime juice. I have never encountered bad smelling ceviche. One cannot "cook" the ceviche with heat because then it would not be ceviche and it would just taste like cooked meat.

FoodGuy on September 04, 2009:

Fish meat turning white does not always mean it is cooked. Ceviche is _not_ cooked, it is acidified. Cooking requires that heat be applied to cause chemical reactions in the food. Acidification causes similar chemical changes to some foods but these is not the same. Cooking can destroy many bacteria and other contaminants, while acidification cannot accomplish this. Acidification for ceviche is closer to pickling than it is to cooking. Just make sure the fish is fresh and clean - if it smells, it will _not_ make good ceviche!

maricarbo (author) on August 30, 2009:

Congratulations! Wow, you are an inspiration for other men!

You will find that ceviche tastes really great with beer or a rum and coke. That is how they eat it in Panama City, Panama, which is where I learned to make it. Enjoy!

Cliff on August 30, 2009:

I made ceviche for the first time last week. I used talapia and pre-cooked shrimp. I did let the talapia "cook" in the lime juice in the fridge and it worked just fine. It was delicious. I have loved ceviche for a long time but have had a hard time finding it here in Phoenix finally decided to make it myself and glad I did. Also added a splash of tabasco, nice.

maricarbo (author) on August 24, 2009:

YES! I just tasted it last Friday from the BoneFish restaurant, here in Florida. They make a good one, too! These Floridians are catching on! I'm so glad!

sonia Ibanez on August 18, 2009:

I love ceviche! I make it with any kind of fish and add sliced onions, cilantro, a little bit of salt and plenty of lemon (or lime) and let it settle for a couple of days - - - out of this world!

maricarbo (author) on June 21, 2009:

Dear Jr.,

Yes, that is how they make ceviche all over the world in many different countries. The lemon or lime juice is what cooks the fish. You will not die from food poisoning. It is a fact. After the Ceviche is done, when the fish is white (which means it is chemically cooked) then you should put it into the refrigerator. It will last approximately one week. You will not get food poisoning. If you prefer to do it in the refrigerator, go ahead, and tell me if it worked. I have personally never done it in the refrigerator.

jr on June 20, 2009:

you actually let this sit out of fridge? last time i had it like that just about died from food posin

maricarbo (author) on June 20, 2009:

Yes, of course, try it! Let me know how it went!

Cindy F on June 18, 2009:

I have the most beautiful Myer lemon trees that are producing gigantic lemons and my friend that I gave a couple bags to make her homemade lemoncello suggested making ceviche with my lemons. Can I use lemon juice instead of lime juice? And thank you ... I can't wait to make your recipe.

Lynn Conrad on June 11, 2009:

I now live in Pedasi and I cannot get enough. My fav is the shrimp and yes with garlic. It is heaven... I am back in Canada right now and I cannot wait to go back to my "home" in my new country.

Victoria on June 05, 2009:

I am a ceviche addict!! I am going to make ceviche for the first time!

Thanks for the instructions I will use them!! Wish me luck :)

maricarbo (author) on May 03, 2009:

Thanks for that clarification!

chieko on May 02, 2009:

Actually sushi means "with rice". The correct word is sashimi.

norma on March 27, 2009:

i will try it today thanks for the recepie very simple.

maricarbo (author) on March 11, 2009:

Yes, garlic is also a good will give it a little bit of a bang but not too much of a bang. Cilantro is good also. In Panama, some will add Culantro, which is a very pungent herb that grows in the grass as a weed....actually it is a weed that grows low to the ground. You can smell it a mile away, and cats hate Culantro. But yep, some people love it, and they even put it in the soup. My father would hate it, and say, "Ugh, they put the culantro in the soup again!" But anything that you like the taste of, will work to personalize your recipe. Thanks for your comment!

Nando on March 11, 2009:

I looked up your recipe to see how it compared to mine, and I just thought I'd add this: diced garlic (in small amounts) and cilantro. I like your suggestion of the hot sauce...I'm gonna try it out. Thank you.

JJ on January 26, 2009:

Dee-Lish!!! I love this recipe.

maricarbo (author) on September 20, 2008:

Yes, the name for Corvina here in the US is SEA BASS. Any white fish will work. It is a bottom fish of the Ocean. I don't particularly like Calamari (do you mean tiny octopus with tentacles?) but I respect those who do. You can add whatever pleases you, to the Ceviche. Some people like it with hot sauce.....they like it very "picante." I do not, as picante mortifies me. Thanks for your comments.

tim in florida on September 20, 2008:

any white meat fish will work basa fillets do real good also try adding calmari to it yum yum

PAMark from Victoria, BC Canada & Boquete, Panama on January 18, 2008:

Once again you have me salivating for Panama cuisine especially my fav, Ceviche! Thanks for the recipe - dah, I never thought about making it myself! PanamaMark

maricarbo (author) on January 17, 2008:

I have used the local Tilapia that they sell here at Wal-Mart and I was able to achieve an acceptable ceviche. Of course, the best fish to use is Corvina but it is virtually unknown here in these parts of Florida.

Just Toyia from Tennessee on January 17, 2008:

My husband is from Peru and their ceviche recipe does differ somewhat but lime juice is the same. We use Talapia and shrimp together when we make it. I have the recipe in an article titled"Peruvian recipes".

Clark Wilson on October 02, 2007:

Maria, you have as usual a winner. Think it will motivate a trip back to Panama for the real thing corvina. Many thanks.

maricarbo (author) on October 02, 2007:

I would give it a try.....hey Betsy, do you love ceviche too? I do miss that. Try it with the trout and see what you come up with. They even make it with shrimp, so why not colorado trout? I've heard of it made with salmon, too. Let me know how it goes.

betsy on October 01, 2007:


mari i love the recipe..............can me make it with colorado trout? ha ha ha

Related Articles