Shrimp ceviche is a popular dish in many Latin American countries. It’s typically made with raw shrimp that has been marinated in citrus juices and seasonings. This recipe for simple shrimp ceviche uses cooked shrimp, making it easier to prepare than the traditional version. You can serve this dish as an appetizer or as part of a larger meal.
What is Ceviche?
Ceviche is a Latin American dish consisting of raw fish or seafood in an acidic citrus marinade, most commonly lime juice. Ceviches are usually served as appetizers and can be found throughout the world where there’s a large Latino population. Some of the best ceviches I have had were in Puerto Rico and Costa Rica.
There are many variations depending on the influence of the country and culture. But it usually includes fresh seafood with onions, tomatoes, cilantro, salt, and pepper for seasoning. Other ingredients may include garlic cloves or green peppers/jalapenos, depending on what area you’re from.
Type of shrimp to use
Using cooked shrimp makes this shrimp ceviche recipe come together simply and quickly. Cooked shrimp will also give you a firmer shrimp texture and take the guesswork out of cooking it with lime juice. I always have a bag of cooked baby shrimp from Costco in my freezer that I use to whip this up or throw in salads. Simply defrost the shrimp under room temperature water, and it is ready to use.
You can use larger ones like cocktail shrimp. Chop each shrimp into smaller pieces (like ½ inch) to use in the ceviche. Using cooked shrimp will save you time on cleaning and deveining the shrimp.
If you do have fresh raw shrimp that you want to use, you can pre-cook the shrimp before putting the ceviche together. Since it will cook some more in the lime juice acidity, remove the shrimp a few minutes earlier than you would usually cook it and rinse the shrimp under cold water to stop the cooking process. Doing so will prevent you from getting overcooked and rubbery shrimp for your ceviche.
Using raw shrimp
You can use raw shrimp for this recipe for a more traditional style of ceviche. So instead of defrosting the cooked baby shrimp, you will need to cook the shrimp with lime juice.
Lime juice is an acidic fruit liquid that can be used as a marinade for foods like shrimp or fish because it breaks down the proteins while still being edible on its own. The acidity of the lime juice prevents bacterial growth and preserves food.
If you decide to use raw shrimp, cut the shrimp into smaller pieces. Soak the shrimp in lime juice for 15 minutes for the juices to cook shrimp.
The Vegetables – Besides the shrimp and the citrus marinate, the vegetable additions are key to blending all the flavors textures together in the dish. You can try out other additions and swap out different vegetables to make it your own.
Onions, cucumbers, avocados, peas, cilantro, and tomatoes are the foundation of this recipe. Other additions to consider are peppers, jicama, and corn. You can also add some fresh oregano leaves if you want to give your dish that Mediterranean taste or some mangos (fresh and semi-firm) for a more tropical version.
The Vinegar – Rice vinegar, red or white wine vinegar would work best for the salad. My favorite vinegar to use is the Lambrusco Table Vinegar from The Olive Oil Pantry. They are an olive oil and vinegar tasting room and retail store locally in Livermore. I absolutely love this vinegar, and I use it for many salads and marinades. Even my mother-in-law orders it from Ohio.
Serving Shrimp Ceviche
Ceviche is traditionally served with raw vegetables and sometimes plantain, boiled corn on the cob, or toasted bread. Some would say it’s a salad as well since most ceviches are dressed in oil (olive, grape seed), vinegar (red wine or champagne), salt/pepper, garlic cloves, and tomatoes.
This shrimp ceviche is very versatile and can be served in different ways for different occasions. My favorite way to serve it is with a side of tortilla chips or kettle chips on a Tuesday night or as an appetizer for a gathering. It is also great as a salad on top of a bed of spring mix greens. I also had it as a side for a taco bar where it was eaten as a taco or with chips. It was a huge hit!
Making it Kid-Friendly
Ceviche may not be the most popular dish with kids. The texture of the raw fish or seafood cooked in lime juice can be unappealing. My son would eat raw fish as sashimi, but he doesn’t care for the fish in ceviche.
Using cooked shrimp definitely makes ceviche more kid-friendly. The cooked shrimp are more firm in texture compared to shrimp cooked in lime juice. My kids love the baby shrimp. It is the perfect bite-size, and it’s easy to chew.
Another way to make it more appealing for kids to try is to use vegetables on the sweeter side, like corn, peas, and peppers. You don’t usually see peas in ceviche, but my kids love peas. The sweetness it brings with that pop you get from the peas just works so well in the ceviche.
Whether you’re looking for something fresh on Taco Tuesday or want an easy dinner idea that will impress your friends at a summer BBQ- this simple shrimp ceviche is perfect! It’s quick, refreshing, flavorful, and can please both adults and kids. Give it a try!
Simple Shrimp Ceviche with Cooked Shrimp
- 1 lb cooked baby shrimp – can use larger shrimp cut into smaller pieces
- 1 small red onion
- ½ cucumber
- 1 cup frozen peas and/or corn – run water through it in a colander to defrost
- ½ bell pepper
- 2-3 tomatoes
- 1 avacado
- ¼ bunch cilantro
- 1 jalapeno – optional
- 2 tbsp vinegar – can use rice, red or white wine, or apple cider
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp garlic salt
- 1 lime
- salt & pepper – to taste
- black sesame to garnish – optional
- Finely diced the onion.If you are using larger shrimp, cut them into bite size pieces too.
- In a serving bowl, pour in vinegar and lime juice. Add the diced onion and shrimp to the mixture and mix well. Let it sit in the mixture while you prepare the other ingredients.
- Chopped up all the vegetables into bite size pieces.
- Add cucumber, peas/corn, bell pepper, tomatoes, and half the cilantro into the bowl. Mix.Add jalapenos if you plan to use it.
- Add olive oil and garlic salt. Mix
- Add avocado gently mix it in. Do not over mix so the avocado maintain some of it's size.
- Salt and pepper to taste. *Use the chips you plan to serve to taste before adding extra salt. Depending on how salty the chips you are using, it will affect the amount of salt you add to the shrimp ceviche*
- Refridgerate for 30 minutes.
- Garnish with the rest of the cilantro and black sesame seeds if you choose to use them. Squeeze the juice of the lime on top.
- Serve with your favorite chips.
If you liked this recipe, sign up to get our newsletter filled with simple recipes just like these!