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A photo of tilapia ceviche in a stripped bowl with chips and serving plates.
5 from 17 votes

Tilapia Ceviche Recipe Card

Here is a traditional Peruvian style ceviche made with tilapia or and mild white fish that is available is fine.  

Course Appetizer
Cuisine Latin American
Keyword ceviche, citrus, cured, homemade, lemon, lime, Mexican food, Peruvian, Puerto Rican
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings: Change to adjust-> 8 servings
Calories 71 kcal


  • 1 pound white saltwater fish tilapia works especially well
  • 1 cup lime juice fresh squeezed - - or enough to cover cubed fish
  • 2 Tbsp. orange juice fresh squeezed - or bitter orange is better
  • 1 tsp. Kosher salt paleo diet: sea salt
  • 1 tsp. lime zest
  • ¼ tsp. sugar
  • 1 jalapeno cored, seeded and diced
  • 1 red onion sliced very thinly into half-moons
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro


  1. Cut the fish into small pieces: You can dice it or leave it in pieces up to ½ inch square, but remember that the larger the pieces the longer it will take to “cook.”.
  2. Salt the fish, then cover with the citrus juice in a non-reactive (glass preferably) container with a lid. Add the sliced onions, jalapenos, lime zest and sugar.
  3. Chill in the fridge for about 4 hours. When you take it out of the fridge add the cilantro and stir. The "cook" time is the time in the fridge.  The acid will "cook" the fish to a nice consistency.

  4. To serve: place ceviche in a glass bowl and scoop using a plastic serving spoon. DO NOT use a metal spoon because the acid will react with the metal.
  5. Ceviche is so sharp and acidic it cries out for beer and tortilla chips as an accompaniment -- although you won't find tortilla chips in Peru. In Peru, you will most often find this served with potatoes, either sweet or white.

Recipe Notes

  • Use fresh limes put all the sliced pieces of tilapia in a glass or ceramic dish. Do not use a metal prep bowl.
  • Be sure to use enough lime juice to cover the tilapia and you can cover it with plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator while the acid "cooks" it. The tilapia will actually turn white just as when you cook with heat.
  • When the tilapia turns a bit firm and white it will be done. This usually takes 3 to 4 hours.
  • If you want to make ceviche that really has some heat we would take 3 or 4 of the Panamanian version of the habanero or scotch bonnet peppers,  core them, remove the seeds and place large slices into the dish while the lime juice cooks the fish.  Once it is finished and ready to serve, remove the slices of those habanero peppers.

Frequently Asked Questions:

    • How long can I store the ceviche? You should consume the ceviche within 48 hours. Keep it in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
    • Can I freeze ceviche? Unfortunately this would ruin the texture of the fish and not be good. Eating it fresh is best.
    • Do the citrus juices kill any parasites found in raw seafood like sushi, shashimi, ceviche or gravlax? No, as you have seen on many restaurant menus there is a risk of eating raw or undercooked seafood. However, I always make my ceviche with fish or shrimp that has been frozen then thawed before I make the recipe. If the seafood has been frozen to -4°F for 7 days this will kill any parasites. I have a separate freeze unit for storing various foods and I keep it at the coldest setting which is -10°F. Use a freezer thermometer to check and most commercial frozen seafood has been previously frozen to -35°F.  The Seafood Health Facts site has a lot of information on this.
    • Can I shorten the marinating time? Yes, I would typically marinate 4 hours for a firmer texture but you can check the firmness to your liking while it is in the refrigerator.
    • Can I use another type of fish to make ceviche? Yes, but it is best to use a white flesh flakey type of fish. These types of fish would include sea bass, grouper, flounder and of course tilapia or shrimp. Avoid fish that are oily like herring, salmon, mackerel, sardines, tuna or trout.
Nutrition Facts
Tilapia Ceviche Recipe Card
Amount Per Serving
Calories 71 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat 1g2%
Cholesterol 28mg9%
Sodium 271mg12%
Potassium 253mg7%
Carbohydrates 4g1%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 11g22%
Vitamin A 290IU6%
Vitamin C 15.2mg18%
Calcium 16mg2%
Iron 0.4mg2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.