Fresh Crab Ceviche Recipe

Move over, shrimp cocktail; there's a new appetizer in town. Fresh crab ceviche is a vibrant and refreshing dish that takes Dungeness crab and transforms it into a vehicle for spicy and zesty flavors that will instantly improve any stale cocktail party. Unbeknownst to many, this dish has a fascinating history that dates back centuries. According to recipe developer Ksenia Prints, this recipe has its roots in the rich traditions of coastal communities where fresh seafood reigns supreme.

In this take on crab ceviche, Prints takes succulent Dungeness crab legs — shelled and transformed into bite-sized pieces — and tosses them with a medley of chopped tomatoes, fiery jalapeño peppers, and finely chopped shallots. The marriage of flavors is further enhanced by the bright tang of lime juice and the herbal freshness of cilantro.

What makes this dish truly special is the magic that happens during the marinating process. As the crab mingles with the citrusy marinade, it undergoes a subtle transformation, becoming tender and infused with the essence of the ingredients. The result is a delectable balance of textures and flavors that instantly transports to coastal shores with each bite.

Gather the ingredients for fresh crab ceviche

To make fresh crab ceviche, the main ingredient you will need to source is fresh, succulent Dungeness crab meat. We usually buy frozen crab legs and extract the meat from them. In addition to crab, you'll need olive oil (which adds a touch of richness to this lean protein) as well as freshly chopped tomatoes, fiery jalapeño peppers, spicy red peppers, and shallots to add fresh flavors and textures to the dish. If you can't find shallots, feel free to substitute it for a red onion. There won't be a significant difference in flavor. Finally, a sprinkle of chopped cilantro brings a refreshing herbal note, and a generous squeeze of lime juice adds a tangy zing.

Shell the Dungeness crab

To begin making fresh crab ceviche, start by shelling the Dungeness crab legs and carefully removing the meat. To do this, use a crab cracker or kitchen shears to crack the shells and extract the delicious crab meat. Be thorough in removing all the meat to ensure a flavorful and satisfying dish. You can save the leftover crab shells to make crab bisque.

Mix the ingredients

Once you have the crab meat ready, place it in a bowl and coat it with a drizzle of olive oil. Next, add the chopped tomatoes, jalapeño peppers, red peppers, finely chopped shallot, and most of the diced fresh cilantro to the bowl, reserving some whole cilantro leaves to top the prepared ceviche later. This combination of ingredients will infuse the crab meat with zesty flavor, creating a lip-puckering medley of tastes in every bite. If you're not a fan of spice, feel free to decrease or even omit the jalapeño peppers. Instead, use more shallot.

To allow the flavors to meld together, squeeze the juice of fresh limes over the mixture and mix well. This tangy addition will enhance the overall taste profile of the ceviche. Finally, season the mixture with salt and pepper according to your personal preference.

Chill for optimal flavor

Cover the bowl and refrigerate the ceviche for about an hour, giving the ingredients time to mingle and develop a harmonious blend of flavors. This is crucial for the best flavor, so don't skip or hurry this step! The ceviche can also be made ahead and kept in the fridge for a whole day.

Serve fresh crab ceviche

Once chilled, your fresh crab ceviche is ready to be enjoyed. You can serve it in a bowl for a party or family dinner. For a more elegant presentation, top it with additional fresh herbs and serve it in martini glasses or a similar elegant dish. Serve it with a bit more cilantro on top for garnish — we like to keep the leaves on the top whole. Pair this ceviche with tortilla chips for a Mexican feel, or plantain chips or fried plantains for a more authentic Caribbean twist.

Any leftovers (if there are any) can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two days, allowing you to savor the deliciousness over multiple servings.

Fresh crab ceviche recipe
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This crab ceviche tosses crab meat with peppers, tomatoes, shallots, cilantro, and tangy lime juice. You'll be transported to coastal shores with each bite.
Prep Time
Cook Time
Crab ceviche in martini glass
Total time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
  • Dungeness crab legs (enough to yield approximately 8 ounces of meat)
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 red spicy pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • ½ bunch of cilantro, chopped (reserve a few whole leaves for garnish)
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • Lime wedges, for serving
  1. Shell the Dungeness crab legs and remove the meat. Use a crab cracker or kitchen shears to crack the shells and remove the meat.
  2. Place the crab meat in a bowl and coat it with olive oil.
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes, jalapeño peppers, red pepper, shallot, and cilantro to the bowl.
  4. Squeeze the lime juice over the mixture and mix well. Season with salt and pepper according to your taste.
  5. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for about 1 hour. Top with lime wedge and whole cilantro leaves. Serve in a bowl or martini glasses. Leftover ceviche can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.
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