Costa Rican Shrimp Ceviche Recipe

Shrimp ceviche piled in a green bowl.

This low-calorie Costa Rican shrimp ceviche combines cooked jumbo shrimp, tomatoes, cilantro, lime juice and red onion for a fresh and healthy salad or appetizer.

shrinp tomato and cilantro ceviche in green bowl

About This Shrimp Ceviche Recipe

Ceviche is a raw seafood dish that basically marries a Costa Rican chimichurri with fish.  In a very traditional ceviche, the fish, shrimp, or other seafood is actually “cooked” in the lime juice. In this recipe, I use precooked shrimp though because it is much easier. 

You can find shrimp ceviche, tilapia ceviche, red snapper ceviche, or even mixed ceviche. The possibilities are as endless as the types of fish found in Costa Rica.

Ask any Costa Rican what food they most love to eat and most will rank ceviche in their top 5. There are many kinds of ceviche, and Costa Rica is definitely not the only country that counts ceviche as part of the national cuisine.

When you visit Costa Rica there will be an abundance of seafood options. Ceviche is the one that you don’t want to miss. You can find ceviche on almost any menu in the bocas section, it is usually served as an appetizer. You can also find street food vendors selling ceviche- just be careful of temperature and ask them if it was made on that same day. 

That’s because in Costa Rica, raw fish or raw shrimp is used to prepare the dish. Then the lime is left to marinate the fish until it is “cooked.” This dates back to pre-refrigerator cooking I am sure.

molcajete bowl with shrimp ceviche

For this reason- when you are in Costa Rica and looking to eat ceviche, definitely follow your gut and your nose. While there are so many great places to eat delicious and fresh ceviche, there is also an opportunity for “bad ceviche.”

I can also promise you- every Costa Rican has a “rotten ceviche” story too.  Definitely make sure to smell the ceviche first, and if anything tastes off just don’t eat it.

Or even better- skip all that nonsense and make shrimp ceviche at home! I created this recipe when my husband was missing ceviche from home. Now this recipe has become a legend among our Costa Rican ex-pat friends.

We have one friend that thought my Costa Rican ceviche was so good. He couldn’t resist and ate 3 pounds of it in one sitting. He ended up getting sick for the rest of the following day (that’s a LOT of lime juice!)

Related recipe: Costa Rican Empanada Recipes

lime and tomato on cutting bowl with bowl of ceviche

Costa Rican Shrimp Ceviche Recipe

Ingredients: 

  • 1 lb cooked shrimp (tail off)   
  • 1 tomato cubed  
  • 1 bunch cilantro stems removed   
  • 1/2 red onion 
  • 1 cup fresh lime juice  
  • 1/2 tbsp salt  

Instructions:

Slice each fresh shrimp into 3-4 pieces. Finely chop the cilantro leaves and red onion. Add the shrimp and other ingredients to a large glass bowl and combine.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the lime juice or citrus juice over the top. Cover and refrigerate for 2-3 hours before serving to let the flavors blend.

Related recipe: Costa Rican Chifrijo Recipe

green bowl full of shrimp ceviche

Substitutions

You can use lemon juice in place of lime.

You can use the lime juice in the jar (like Real Lime).

You can substitute raw shrimp for the cooked, just leave it overnight to “cook” the shrimp.

If you are using frozen shrimp, just make sure to defrost.

Variations

As mentioned before, you could use a variety of seafood in addition to the shrimp. This can include sea bass or even white fish. 

I will often finely chop one jalapeno and add it to this recipe- gives it a nice kick. Unconditionally NOT traditional Costa Rican food though.

There are vegetarian and vegan versions using green plantain, yuca, green mango and even banana peels. 

Related recipe: Costa Rican Style Boiled Green Plantain Recipe

close up of shrimp ceviche from costa rica

Serving Suggestions

This recipe stores well in the refrigerator, covered, for up to three days. Costa Rican shrimp ceviche must be kept cold. 

I love ceviche because it is packed with flavor and protein but also very low calorie. Costa Ricans will generally eat it accompanied with fresh tortilla chips and will squeeze ketchup and mayonnaise on top.

I like to eat it on top of greens with a bit of ranch dressing. This makes a quick and easy salad for lunch. I also am known to top mine with guacamole … the possibilities are endless!

FAQ

Will ceviche keep overnight?– With the help of the lime juice, this dish can keep up to 2-3 days when refrigerated.

shrimp, lime, cilantro tomato on cutting board

Printable Recipe

Yield: 3 cups

Costa Rican Shrimp Ceviche Recipe

Shrimp ceviche piled in a green bowl.

This low-calorie Costa Rican shrimp ceviche combines cooked jumbo shrimp, tomatoes, cilantro, lime juice and red onion for a fresh and healthy salad or appetizer.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 lb cooked shrimp (tail off)   
  • 1 tomato cubed  
  • 1 bunch cilantro stems removed   
  • 1/2 red onion 
  • 1 cup fresh lime juice  
  • 1/2 tbsp salt

Instructions

  1. Slice each fresh shrimp into 3-4 pieces.
  2. Finely chop the cilantro leaves and red onion.
  3. Add the shrimp and other ingredients to a large glass bowl and combine.
  4. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Pour the lime juice or citrus juice over the top.
  6. Cover and refrigerate for 2-3 hours before serving to let the flavors blend.

Notes

I often see people try to make this recipe and eat it right away. I highly recommend leaving the ceviche to sit in the fridge for at least two hours- it really allows the flavors to blend. Otherwise, the dish can be pretty acidic.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 81Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 120mgSodium: 976mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 13g

Please double-check this information with your favorite nutrition calculator.

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