Coconut-Lime Shrimp Ceviche Recipe

We know ceviche isn't for everyone, but for fish lovers, ceviche is the perfect hot-weather appetizer. Served cold, ceviche is a seafood dish commonly served in South American countries like Peru and Ecuador. It's often served with shrimp, scallops, or whitefish flavored with cilantro, onion, and peppers, and fresh lime juice. Not to be confused with crudo or sashimi, similarly cold dishes that are served completely raw, ceviche is cooked or cured in salt and acid before being served. With that, it takes on a firmer texture, and more robust flavor.

Our ceviche recipe, developed by Michelle McGlinn, is a simple, but super-flavorful coconut and lime shrimp ceviche. The shrimp is first cured in lime juice and salt, then added to a creamy mixture of coconut milk, chiles, and soy. It takes barely 30 minutes to make, and most of that time is spent waiting for the shrimp to "cook" in the lime. While it might not be filling enough to eat on its own, this shrimp ceviche makes for an all-star appetizer and side dish to a big tapas-style dinner.

Gather the ingredients for coconut-lime shrimp ceviche

You only need a few star ingredients to make a really delicious ceviche. For this ceviche recipe, you'll start with raw shrimp. Really, any kind and size of shrimp will work, but we used jumbo pink shrimp for a super-juicy texture, and beautiful crudo-like presentation. You could also dice the shrimp or use a smaller size, and serve like a salsa or salad topping. 

If you're wary of preparing raw shrimp, try looking for sushi or sashimi-grade shrimp, which has been frozen specifically to remove any potential bacteria. Seek out a trustworthy fishmonger for this, or try looking at your grocery store for the label. If you'd prefer to avoid raw altogether, just swap for pre-cooked cocktail shrimp, and skip the lime juice cooking step.

Once you choose, peel, and devein your shrimp, you'll need to soak them in lime juice. Fresh is best, and you'll need about 5 to 8 limes' worth of juice. You'll also need a generous pinch of salt for the lime juice soak. To make the sauce, you'll need canned coconut milk, Fresno chiles (or any similar pepper, like a jalapeño), soy sauce, a shallot, garlic, and cilantro. All of these ingredients can be tweaked to your liking. If you hate cilantro, garnish the ceviche instead with edible flowers and microgreens.

Soak the shrimp

It's easy to think of ceviche as raw fish, but that's not totally true. The acids in lime juice rearrange the proteins in a similar way to cooking with heat, so that the seafood takes on a "cooked" texture that is safe to eat. The difference, of course, is that the seafood never gets hot, and is eaten cold. This can be alarming, but after a few bites, you'll find that the shrimp is just as delicious.

The trick to cooking shrimp without heat is to soak it in bowl with salt and lime juice for around 30 minutes in the refrigerator.  For fearless home cooks, less time than that is ideal for juicy, tender-textures shrimp. However, for those who want to be sure the shrimp isn't raw, 30 to 40 minutes will be perfect.

Despite the heatless cooking process, it is possible to overcook ceviche. It's unlikely the average person would notice the rubbery texture that marinating the shrimp for 1 hour would cause, but after 1 hour, the shrimp will start to get noticeably mushy, grainy, and inedible.

Whisk together the sauce

This sauce is a perfect mixture of sweet, salty, spicy, and creamy, and can be used as a marinade, or eaten with the shrimp as a light sauce. While the shrimp cooks, whisk the coconut milk and 2 tablespoons of lime juice in a small bowl, until the coconut milk is smooth. Whisk in the sliced chiles, sliced shallot, and minced garlic, then add the soy sauce and chopped cilantro. The soy sauce adds a salty, umami flavor, but you can swap it for a pinch of salt, or Worcestershire sauce instead.

Add the shrimp to the sauce

Let the coconut milk mixture sit while the shrimp finishes cooking, then add the lime-cooked shrimp to the sauce, and submerge as much as possible. Because the sauce has lime juice in it, the shrimp will continue to cook, so eat the ceviche soon after adding the shrimp. Adjust the sauce to taste, using the lime juice cooking liquid to add more tang, soy sauce to add more salt, and additional chiles to add more heat.

Serve fresh

Serve the shrimp immediately as a tapas appetizer, or on top of rice as a poke-style bowl. Serve alongside sangria, patatas bravas, or paella for a full South American-inspired meal, and be sure to coat the shrimp with a healthy amount of the coconut sauce.

Unfortunately, ceviche isn't the ideal meal prep candidate. The shrimp will continue to cook in the coconut sauce, eventually becoming rubbery, then mushy and grainy. Not to mention that, since the shrimp isn't cooked with heat, the risks of eating it after a few days are much higher.

Ceviche is easy to bring together in about 30 minutes, so plan to make your ceviche fresh, and enjoy it with friends to ensure there's no need for leftovers — trust us, with this recipe, there won't be.

Coconut-Lime Shrimp Ceviche Recipe
5 from 21 ratings
Ceviche doesn't have to be just a dish you order at a restaurant, thanks to this at-home coconut-lime shrimp ceviche recipe.
Prep Time
Cook Time
shrimp ceviche on a plate
Total time: 35 minutes
  • 1 pound uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • ½ cup of lime juice, plus 2 tablespoons, divided
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • 2 Fresno chiles, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • ¼ cup cilantro, roughly chopped, plus more for garnish
Optional Ingredients
  • edible flowers
  • microgreens
  1. Place shrimp in a small, non-reactive bowl. Cover with ½ cup of lime juice, and stir in the salt. Submerge the shrimp in the lime juice, and place in the refrigerator for 30 to 40 minutes.
  2. While the shrimp is cooking, prepare the coconut lime sauce. Whisk the coconut milk and 2 tablespoons of lime juice until smooth, then stir in the garlic, shallot, chiles, soy sauce, and cilantro.
  3. Add the cooked shrimp, without the lime juice, to the coconut mixture, and stir to coat. Serve immediately, or within 1 hour of making.
Calories per Serving 240
Total Fat 12.8 g
Saturated Fat 10.8 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 182.6 mg
Total Carbohydrates 9.7 g
Dietary Fiber 1.0 g
Total Sugars 3.0 g
Sodium 583.4 mg
Protein 25.3 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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