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South Padre shrimp ceviche

This time last summer, I found myself on South Padre Island. I was thick into a queso road trip and as such had been eating multiple bowls of molten cheese from morning until night. While that experience was indeed glorious, after a couple of weeks I needed something more light and acidic. A restaurant on the island called Ceviche, Ceviche provided just what I craved.

This take-out spot, not far from the ocean, had been highly recommended to me as a fine place to get fish and shrimp mixed with fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes, cantaloupe, jicama, and avocado. The set up was much like Chipotle, in that you choose your protein base and then let the person behind the counter add in whatever other ingredients strike your fancy.

South Padre shrimp ceviche | Homesick Texan

That day, I was feeling traditional and so I went with Gulf shrimp ceviche, which was in season, along with a classic blend of tomatoes, garlic, onions, jalapeños, and avocado. A generous splash of lime juice brought it all together and gave it additional life. When it was done, I took my ceviche, walked past the grassy dunes, sat on the sand, and watched the water crest and fall as I ate. It was a perfect lunch.

Ceviche is originally from Peru but eventually made its way to Mexico and then Texas. There are countless combinations of ingredients, but the foundation of any ceviche is the same—seafood marinated in an acidic liquid mixed with other herbs, fruits, and vegetables. Firm and fresh white fish such as snapper, sea bass, and halibut are good options, but my favorite protein for ceviche is Gulf shrimp, which is what I’ve used here.

South Padre shrimp ceviche | Homesick Texan

This recipe, which is much like the one I had in South Padre, is perhaps the most popular variation you’ll find along the Texas coast. To eat the ceviche, I like to scoop it onto salty tortilla chips, though it can also be placed on tostadas or in tortillas. Some folks like to serve it on a bed of lettuce, too. Of course, there’s no right or wrong way to enjoy ceviche. You simply need a desire for something crisp and fresh that will remind you of lazy days savoring the sunshine, the waves, and the beach.

5 from 2 votes

South Padre shrimp ceviche

Servings 4
Author Lisa Fain


  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound small shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice, from 4-8 limes, depending on how juicy they are
  • 3 ripe plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 2 jalapeños, seeded and diced
  • ¼ cup diced red onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Tortilla chips, for serving
  • Lime wedges, for serving


  • Bring a pot of water to a boil, stir in about a tablespoon of salt, add the shrimp, then cook for 1 minute. Drain the shrimp then rinse under cold water for a minute to prevent any further cooking. Chop the shrimp into ½-inch pieces, then place in a non-reactive container and cover with the lime juice. Refrigerate and marinate for 10 minutes.
  • After this time, drain the shrimp from the juice, reserving the lime juice. In a serving bowl, mix the shrimp with the tomatoes, jalapeños, red onion, garlic, cilantro, cumin, oregano, olive oil, and avocado. Stir in the oil, then add some of the reserved lime juice. I start with 3 tablespoons of juice, then taste and adjust seasonings, adding salt to taste and more juice if needed.
  • Serve immediately with tortilla chips and lime wedges. It can be eaten as a dip or on individual plates with utensils.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Duncan Campbell says:

    Hi Lisa, I follow the instructions from Serious Eats, put the shrimp in a pan of cold water and bring it to 170° and then in ice water…

  2. This is that life saving recipe I go to again and again. I could indeed enjoy it for all three meals. I urge everyone to give this easy recipe a try. Believe me, it’s truly special. Once you try it, there’s no turning back.
    Thank you so much for sharing! Looking forward to your new awesome ideas. I really appreciate all of your hard work and effort. Keep it up!

    1. Lisa Fain says:

      Ann–I’m so glad you enjoy the recipe!

  3. This looks and sounds amazing! I enjoy the ceviche that a family friend makes but I’ve never known how to make it myself. The memories you share to go along with this recipe stands out and give it even more meaning. I loved the comparison to lazy days in south padre!

    1. Lisa Fain says:

      Shay–Thank you! It’s quite simple, you’ll find. And here’s to getting back to the beach, soon1

  4. David Cole says:

    5 stars
    I’ve had difficulty completely “cooking” the shrimp in lime juice and somewhere I read to cook them in boiling water (with or without cajun seasoning) for one minute, then dump them into ice water to stop the cooking, then marinate them in the lime juice. Maybe my shrimp pieces were too large? I’ll have to cut them smaller next time. I loved this dish.

    1. Lisa Fain says:

      David–Size could be the issue. Some people often chop the larger size of shrimp.