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Costa Rican Fish Ceviche

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This Costa Rican ceviche made of fresh fish marinated in lime, red bell pepper, cilantro and onion is a favorite throughout the country- and easy to replicate at home!

Dipping a chip into fish ceviche.

About Costa Rican Ceviche

Ceviche is a favorite dish throughout Latin America, and Costa Rica is no exception. Between the huge abundance of fresh fish available on both Costa Rican coasts, the extremely low calorie count in the dish, and the fact this is a no-cook seafood recipe, ceviche is a mainstay of Costa Rican food.

Simply put, ceviche is raw fish marinated in citrus juice until it’s “cooked” through. Similar to sushi, it is essentially a raw fish dish. There are several types of ceviche you can find in Costa Rica- fish ceviche (ceviche de pescado), shrimp ceviche (ceviche de camarón), and octopus (ceviche de pulpo). 

We also make ceviche out of other things- green banana, green plantain, green mango, green papaya, etc. The ingredients stay essentially the same, however.

A bowl of the fish on a yellow cloth on top of a red cloth.

For this fish ceviche, a white fish is used. You’ll often hear Costa Ricans asking what type of fish is used and when it was caught before ordering their ceviche. The most popular types of fish to use in ceviche are corvina (similar to a white sea bass), mahi mahi, and occasionally tilapia. 

You can order ceviche in bars and restaurants both as a full meal and as an appetizer (called a boca). Ceviche is also a popular Costa Rican street food too- you can find vendors selling it all over the country. Just make sure the ceviche is fresh and on ice before you buy it. Many a stomach ache has been had after some bad ceviche on the street. 

An extremely popular spinoff of Costa Rican ceviche is the caldosa. Basically you open a bag of Costa Rican chips (called Picaritas) and pour ceviche inside the bag and eat with a spoon. These are sold at bars and restaurants, but also in pulperias and supermarkets across the country. 

Related post: 30+ Foods To Try In Costa Rica

A close up of the fish ceviche in a serving bowl.

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A couple of tortilla chips in the bowl of fish ceviche.

Costa Rica Ceviche Recipe

Printable recipe below

Ceviche Ingredients

  • raw white fish (such as sea bass, cod, or corvina)
  • red onion
  • red bell pepper
  • ginger root
  • cilantro
  • lime juice
  • Salt

How To Make Fish Ceviche

First, finely chop onion, bell pepper, ginger and cilantro. You should have equal parts of each vegetable except the ginger you should have about half as much.

An array of ingredients and a serving bowl to make fish ceviche.

Squeeze limes into juice. You can use any type of juicer, but when I was making this in Costa Rica with my friend Kenneth, he said the lime juice tastes better if you use a squeezer like this instead of one like this. To be fair, his was the best ceviche I have ever had. 

a chef knife, cutting up fish into cubes.

Cut the fish into medium sized chunks. In a large glass bowl toss the diced vegetables and fish. Pour the lime juice over the entire bowl and let marinate for up to 12 hours. Add salt to taste- up to one teaspoon

Chop sticks in a fish ceviche serving bowl.

Serve cold with tortilla chips and an ice cold beer. Pura vida!

Fish ceviche In a brown serving bowl on a pale yellow cloth.

Note- there are myriad types of limes in Costa Rica, and many we cannot find here. If you are making this recipe in Costa Rica you want to use a limón criollo, which has the green outside and orange inside. If you are making this recipe outside of Costa Rica, you can use a regular green lime like we find at the grocery store. Key limes are a bit too sour, and lemon is not the right flavor. In Costa Rica, an American lime is called limón mecino.  You don’t want that if you can get the criollo.

Fish ceviche in a brown serving bowl.

Substitutions

If you don’t have fresh ginger, you can substitute ¼ cup ginger ale in place of ¼ cup of lime juice, or you can just add ginger ale to taste.

You can use cooked fish if you are more comfortable, just lightly boil it in a pan until just cooked and proceed with the recipe as written above. If you use cooked fish you do not need to wait for the fish to “cook” in the lime juice.

Variations

There are tons! You can use octopus, shrimp, green banana, green mango, green papaya and more! 

Serving Suggestions

Ceviche is most often served with tortilla chips, extra lime, ketchup and mayonnaise. It is becoming more common in Costa Rica to serve ceviche with a slice or two of fresh avocado. 

Of course you can add Salsa Lizano and some people also eat ceviche with a hot sauce such as Tabasco. 

Fish Ceviche in a serving dish.

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Yield: 4

Costa Rican Fish Ceviche

Dipping a chip into fish ceviche.

This Costa Rican ceviche made of fresh fish marinated in lime, red bell pepper, cilantro and onion is a favorite throughout the country- and easy to replicate at home!

Prep Time 1 minute
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 1 minute

Ingredients

  • 1 pound raw white fish (such as sea bass, cod, or corvina)
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 small piece ginger root
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (see note)
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  1. First, finely chop onion, bell pepper, ginger and cilantro. You should have equal parts of each vegetable except the ginger you should have about half as much.
  2. Squeeze limes into juice. You can use any type of juicer, but when I was making this in Costa Rica with my friend Kenneth, he said the lime juice tastes better if you use a squeezer like this instead of one like this. To be fair, his was the best ceviche I have ever had. 
  3. Cut the fish into medium sized chunks. In a large glass bowl toss the diced vegetables and fish. Pour the lime juice over the entire bowl and let marinate for up to 12 hours. Add salt to taste- up to one teaspoon
  4. Serve cold with tortilla chips and an ice cold beer. Pura vida!

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About the Author

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Hi- I’m Christa! I fell in love with Latin America in my 20s, and I’m still head over heels! Here at Pura Vida Moms I celebrate what it means to be bicultural- Costa Rican recipes, bilingual parenting and family travel.

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Christa profile image

Hi- I’m Christa, and I’m on a mission to help the world fall in love with Costa Rica through food, language and travel. I’m a Latina mom, bicultural, bilingual (English/Spanish), and 100% in love with celebrating parenthood in all its forms, (even the sucky parts). I’m so happy you found the site- WELCOME! Find out more about me here.

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