how to make ceviche | kelly’s kitchen

Hello and welcome back to Kelly’s Kitchen! I am happy you’re here with me today. The weather in Athens this week felt especially tropical, with thunderstorms kicking up between moments of sun and intense cloud cover. It reminded me of a trip to Tulum that Alex and I took back in 2016. As I reminisced, I recalled all the ceviche we ate (the best was at La Buena Vida!). Being on the Caribbean Sea, the Riviera Maya has a solid seafood game; and in Tulum, ceviche was prominently featured at restaurants all over town – from the walk-up beach bars to the sit down beachfront restaurants. So this week, let’s take a little vacation to the tropical paradise of Tulum and enjoy the flavors of the Riviera Maya. This is how to make ceviche…

Ceviche is seafood salad, whereby the fish is “cooked” by the acidity of lime juice. It’s nutritious and flavorful, cool and refreshing – perfect for a hot summer day. It’s typically made with whitefish like halibut, bass or grouper, for instance. I have had it with octopus and scallops too. But today we are doing it with shrimp (mostly because I didn’t find any halibut, bass or grouper). You will want to be sure you get the highest quality fish you can buy. I found wild-caught Georgia shrimp. 

* The Science of Ceviche: The citric acid in citrus juice denatures the proteins in the fish flesh causing the protein chains to reorganize themselves into a formation that resembles the texture and appearance of heat-cooked fish. When properly marinated, the meat should be opaque and firm on the outside while retaining a soft translucent center. When overdone, the citric acid will turn the fish chalky and dry. 

How to Make Ceviche

In addition to one pound of shrimp, we are using two Roma tomatoes, two jalepeños, half a red onion, two Cara Cara oranges, one bunch of cilantro and seven limes. (Also: 2 tablespoons olive oil and kosher salt to taste.)

The Prep

Step 1: Juice your limes. You will need 1 cup of lime juice which is about 7 medium to large limes. Be sure to buy extra in case you get a dud that’s on the dry side. 

Step 2: Dice your red onion. 

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The Shrimp

Step 3: I had to peel and devein my shrimp. So do that first. Then rinse them off really well. You can totally buy peeled and deveined shrimp if you don’t want to bother with that. If you’re nervous at all to cook fish this way (you shouldn’t be!), you can very, very lightly poach the shrimp in boiling water before proceeding with this recipe. But I feel that there is a uniqueness to the flavor and the texture when it’s “cooked” in the lime juice – it’s more tender and delicate. Whichever way you go, you will cut the shrimp into ½ inch sized pieces. 

Step 4: Combine your shrimp, lime juice and red onion, mix well and refrigerate for 30 minutes.


Step 5: Quarter and remove the seeds from the Romas, then dice the flesh.

Step 6: I quite like this recipe with the oranges, Cara Caras are sweet and juicy and it’s a nice contrast to the lime. You can use mango, pineapple, whatever you like! If you go with citrus you will want to cut the orange into pith-free segments called suprêmes. To suprême an orange, slice off each end; with the orange sitting on one flat end, take your knife and, from top to bottom, carefully slice around the shape of the fruit. Once the peel is off, slice segments between the membranes. 

Step 7: Halve your jalepeños and remove the seeds, or leave some if you like it spicy! Then dice your peppers.

Step 8: Roughly chop the cilantro and measure out two tablespoons of olive oil. You will need Kosher salt to taste. 

Step 9: Wait until you’re just about to pull your shrimp from the fridge and dice that avocado.

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The Assembly

Step 10: After 30 minutes of marinating, strain your shrimp and onions, discard the lime juice.  

Step 11: Then, add your prepped ingredients to the shrimp and onions, pour on the olive oil and mix gently to combine. Season to taste with Kosher salt.

You can serve this with tortilla chips for dipping, tostada shells, or you can do what I did and get some street taco-size corn tortillas, give them a quick fry (in about 1/4 inch of vegetable oil) to crisp them up, and serve it like tacos. 

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Step 12: Then, get yourself a bottle of Modelo beer (with a lime wedged in the bottle, of course!) and get ready to be transported to the sunny beaches of Riviera Maya! 

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While the reality of going back to Tulum for a vacation seems like a distant fantasy these days, reliving the memory through the flavors we enjoyed there is a perfect compromise. Enjoying this ceviche out on the screened porch with the tropical weather this week, we were transported back to the gorgeous beaches, sultry jungles, refreshing cenotes and the majestic Mayan ruins of Tulum. I wonder, have any of you been to the Yucatan Peninsula? 

Thank you for joining me today, you can also follow me on opens in a new windowinstagram and opens in a new windowfacebook. See you next week! Take care and be well. xo Kelly


Course Appetizer, Brunch, dinner, Main Course, Salad, Side Dish, Snack


  • 1lbDeveined ShrimpCut in 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2Roma TomatoesDiced
  • 1Avocado Diced
  • 1/2Red OnionDiced
  • 1Bunch CilantroRough Chopped
  • 2JalapeñosDiced
  • 1Large Orange - Or 2 Small OrangesCut in Suprêmes
  • 1cupFresh Squeezed Lime Juice
  • 2tbspOlive Oil
  • Kosher Salt to Taste


  1. Combine shrimp, diced onion and lime juice in a bowl. Refrigerate for 30 minutes

  2. After 30 minutes, strain the onions and shrimp, discard the lime juice

  3. Combine the rest of the ingredients and gently stir. Season with Kosher salt to taste.

  4. Serve with chips for dipping, on tostadas, or corn tortillas.

Equipment and Utensils in this Recipe

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  1. Gwen Marie Ewing wrote:

    5 stars
    I’m going to try this tonight! I was going to make shrimp and scallops anyway so I’ll try this and have it over salad! On my way to trader Joe’s! Thanks Kelly!

    Posted 6.13.20
    • Hi Gwen, Great! You will love it! I hope it becomes a summertime favorite for you. Let me know how it goes tonight. Take care and have a great weekend! xo Kelly

      Posted 6.13.20
  2. Margaret Rose wrote:

    wonderful, complete presentation! Really inspires me to try it. Thanks

    Posted 6.13.20
    • Thank you Margaret Rose, I encourage you to give it a try. It’s a lifesaver in the summer when it’s too hot to cook! Thanks for tuning in today, xo Kelly

      Posted 6.13.20
  3. Elisa wrote:

    Hi Kelly,

    Another wonderful recipe, and something I have been hesitant to make at home. I love the way you explain the process, and reasons behind. Thank you for taking the time!

    Posted 6.13.20
    • Hello Elisa, it can feel daunting to do a recipe that calls for uncooked fish. But acidity-cooked fish yields wonderful results, it’s incredibly easy and it’s hard to mess up. Give it a try and be sure to let me know how it goes for you. Thank you so much for stopping by today! xo, Kelly

      Posted 6.13.20
    • Heathet wrote:

      Looks wonderful. I have saved the recipe and will try it as soon as I can source some local shrimp.

      Posted 6.13.20
      • Hello Heathet, I am sure you will enjoy this recipe. Feel free to try a different fish if you can’t find good shrimp. Bass and halibut are excellent alternatives! Have a great weekend! xo Kelly

        Posted 6.13.20
  4. Cheryl wrote:

    5 stars
    This recipe looks like a winner! I’ve only had crevice once, and loved it. Not sure if I trust myself to marinate it long enough to “cook”, so I might try your suggestion to poach it first, then marinate.
    In any case, the rest of the ingredients look yummy! Can’t wait to try this.

    Posted 6.13.20
    • Hi Cheryl, if you cut the pieces of shrimp or fish to 1/2 inch size and marinate for 30 minutes, you can’t go wrong. Just be sure the fish is good quality and you should be fine! Thanks so much for tuning in today! Have a great weekend! xo Kelly

      Posted 6.13.20
  5. Frances Eleanor wrote:

    5 stars
    I love the way you explain and “illustrate” techniques, food science and the recipes you choose. This column is wonderful and I look forward to thoroughly reading it each week.

    Posted 6.13.20
    • Thank you, Frances! I really enjoy writing this column and it’s so much fun to think up what to share with all of you. Thanks for your support! xo Kelly

      Posted 6.13.20
  6. Jo-Ann wrote:

    Hi Kelly,
    This recipe look and sounds delicious!
    I can’t wait to give it a try.

    When you said serve it on a street taco with a bottle of Modelo beer, that really reminded me of my Caribbean trip.

    Thanks for sharing this recipe.

    Posted 6.13.20
    • Hi Jo-Ann, isn’t it great to walk down those memory lanes? I would love to take another trip down to the Caribbean. It’s so beautiful! Thanks for reading today and dropping me a line 🙂 xo Kelly

      Posted 6.13.20
  7. Laurie wrote:

    Will be making this next week. It looks delicious!

    Posted 6.13.20
    • That’s great, Laurie! Let me know how it turns out for you! Take care, xo Kelly

      Posted 6.13.20
  8. Sylvia Espinoza wrote:

    5 stars
    Ceviche! Perfect! Healthy also as you said. Must enjoy some. Thank you for sharing your Tulum memories!~

    Posted 6.13.20
    • It was a wonderful trip, Sylvia! Thank you for reading the post today, it’s always so nice to hear from you! Have a wonderful weekend! xo Kelly

      Posted 6.13.20
  9. cathy ogi wrote:

    Hi, Nice to hear you have eaten octopus. One of the foods I eat here in Japan. We also lived 3 years in Georgia. Georgia has a special place in my heart.

    Posted 6.13.20
    • Hi Cathy, Georgia is a special place, indeed. Where in Japan are you living? I have never been yet, but I minored in Japanese language in college and I sure miss being able to practice! I think the one thing Alex and I miss the most about living in San Francisco is the abundance of good Japanese food – especially sushi! Arigato! Take care and be well, xo Kelly

      Posted 6.13.20
      • cathy ogi wrote:

        Can’t believe it, you minored in that? Why did you choose that? We live in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka. 500,000 people. I grew up in a town of 10,000. I love Japanese food, too! My pastor’s wife said I should be one that marries a Japanese—I did.

        Posted 6.14.20
        • Haha! Yes, I have always been interested in Japan. My Godparents are Japanese and so from an early age I was exposed to Japanese culture and food. As far as Japanese Language as a minor…well that was a mistake because it was so hard. but once I got a couple years in, I felt I had to see it through. Hamamatsu is pretty, how nice to live in a coastal city! xo Kelly

          Posted 6.14.20
  10. Gwen Marie Ewing wrote:

    Well, I made the ceviche seafood salad just like you said, Kelly! It was fabulous! I served it over lettuce spinach and served it with tortillas. It “cooked” perfectly and was very fresh and delicious! My husband already had the modelo which top it off perfectly! Thank you for this delicious recipe, I will use it a lot, we enjoyed it here in Cincinnati!! Have a great weekend!

    Posted 6.13.20
    • That’s so awesome Gwen! I am so happy you made the ceviche tonight! Your service sounds wonderful! Cheers to you and your husband and stay safe and healthy in Cincinnati! As an aside, every time I think of Cincinnati I get the WKRP theme song in my head, I grew up watching that show with my Dad, and I just have such fond memories of it. Take care, xo Kelly

      Posted 6.13.20
      • Gwen Marie Ewing wrote:

        You’re so sweet! I loved that show too and love the catchy song!❤

        Posted 6.14.20
  11. Carroll Niesen wrote:

    I have never tried making ceviche at home, but I love to eat it!! I’ll give a try. It looks fabulous

    Posted 6.13.20
    • Hi Carroll, give this one a try, I am confident you will love it! It’s so easy and fail-proof. Let me know if you make and how you like it. Be well, xo Kelly

      Posted 6.13.20
  12. Suzanne Smith wrote:

    5 stars
    Looks very light and refreshing. I’ve only made ceviche once, and I really liked it, but I like some of your suggestions for experimenting some, too. Cheers!

    It sure sounds like it could “take us away” without the actual air travel. Sigh…Have a great weekend, and thanks for the recipe!

    Posted 6.13.20
  13. Paula wrote:

    I’m going to try this! When I first saw it I thought it was going to be a hard tedious recipe. But it’s not and sounds wonderful and very tasty. Love your ideas. Thanks.

    Posted 6.14.20
    • Hi Paula! Yes, this recipe is so easy! Mostly just a bunch of prepping vegetables. I am sure you will enjoy it! Take care, xo Kelly

      Posted 6.14.20

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