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When you’re hosting a get-together or just craving a light, refreshing dish that looks like it came straight from a high end restaurant, Scallop Ceviche is the answer. Don’t let its elegant appearance fool you though. This dish requires just 15 minutes of hands-on prep, which means you’ll have more time to enjoy yourself, whether that means mingling with your guests if you’re entertaining or savoring a quiet moment to yourself if you’re dining solo or with a loved one. That’s why this recipe is one you’ll want to learn by heart.

Scallop ceviche served in an elegant champagne glass.

If you’ve never made ceviche at home before, don’t worry – it’s easier than you might think. While the citrus juices work their magic, gently “cooking” the scallops to perfection, you’ll be free to step away from the kitchen and focus on what matters most, whether that’s catching up with your favorite people or simply taking a well-deserved break. With its vibrant flavors and eye-catching presentation (I recommend serving in coupe glasses), it will impress your guests or add a touch of luxury to any meal. And you’ll be able to enjoy the experience just as much as everyone else, knowing that you’ve served up a restaurant-quality dish without the fuss or a hefty check.

Scallop Ceviche Ingredients

Scallop Ceviche Ingredients arranged on a granite surface.
  • Bay Scallops or Sea Scallops: Look for scallops that are firm, plump, and slightly translucent. They should have a sweet, ocean-fresh aroma. Whatever variety of scallops you use, make sure to remove the side muscle before dicing.
  • Red Bell Pepper: Choose a pepper that’s firm (I always give them a gentle squeeze), glossy, and brightly colored. 
  • Shallot: I prefer shallots over onions in this dish for their milder, slightly sweet flavor. Look for shallots that are firm, with papery, unblemished skin. If you can’t find them, a small red onion is a good substitute.
  • Jalapeño or Serrano Pepper: If you like a little heat, these peppers are the way to go. Choose ones that are firm and vibrant green. Remember, the more seeds you leave in, the spicier your ceviche will be!
  • Lemons, Limes, and Oranges: When it comes to citrus, freshness is key. I always look for fruits that feel heavy for their size and have a slight give when gently squeezed. Avoid any with blemishes or overly hard skin.
  • Fresh Cilantro: Bright green, perky leaves are a must. I’ve found that bunches with the stems still attached tend to last longer in the refrigerator. If you’re not a fan of cilantro, feel free to swap it out for fresh parsley.
  • Avocado: Finding the perfect avocado is an art. Gently press near the stem end – if it yields slightly, it’s ripe and ready. Avoid avocados that feel mushy or have sunken, dark spots on the skin.
  • Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper: I’m a firm believer in seasoning to taste, so adjust the salt and pepper to suit yours. Just remember, a little goes a long way in a delicate dish like ceviche.
Closeup photo of scallop ceviche in a coupe glass.

6 Recipe Tips

  1. Scallop Selection: If you’re lucky enough to have access to fresh, dry-packed scallops, they’re ideal for this recipe. They haven’t been treated with preservatives and will have a sweeter, more delicate flavor. If you can only find wet-packed scallops, give them a good rinse and pat them dry before using.
  2. Dicing the Scallops: To make sure your scallops “cook” evenly in the citrus juices, dice them into roughly 1/4 to 1/2-inch pieces. I find that a sharp knife and a steady hand work better than a food processor, which can easily turn your scallops into mush. 
  3. Marinating Time: The key to perfect ceviche is nailing the marinating time. I’ve found that 1 hour is the sweet spot, but if you’ve diced your scallops on the larger side, you might want to let them sit for an extra 15 to 30 minutes to ensure they’re fully “cooked” by the citrus.
  4. Serve it Cold: Ceviche is best served chilled, so refrigerate it right up until you’re ready to serve. If you’re serving it at a party, consider nestling a decorative bowl into a larger one filled with ice to keep it cool and fresh.
  5. Tortilla Chip Pairing: While ceviche is delicious on its own, I love serving it with some crispy tortilla chips for scooping. The salty crunch pairs perfectly with the bright, tangy flavors of the dish.
  6. Avocado Addition: Wait to add the avocado until just before serving to prevent it from turning brown and mushy. I’ve learned this lesson the hard way!

Recipe Options

  • Citrus Substitutions: If you don’t have all three types of citrus on hand, don’t worry. You can use just lemon and lime, or even swap in some grapefruit juice for a unique twist.
  • Spice Level: If you’re sensitive to heat, start with half a jalapeño or serrano pepper and add more to taste. You can always add more, but you can’t take it away once it’s in there!

Make-Ahead Option

While ceviche is best served fresh, you can prep the ingredients (except for the avocado) and mix the citrus juices a day in advance. Just store them separately in the fridge and combine them an hour before serving.

Scallop ceviche in a coupe glass with serving spoon.

What if you have leftovers?

If you have any leftover ceviche (though I doubt you will!), store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a day. The flavors will continue to develop, so, who knows, you might find it even tastier the next day!

So now you know why Scallop Ceviche is one of my go-to recipes for impressing guests without breaking a sweat. It’s the perfect blend of fancy and fuss-free, and I can’t get enough of its bright, citrusy flavors. I’d love for you to try it, and please let me know what you think. Happy cooking, and cheers to stress-free hosting!

How to Make Scallop Ceviche (with step by step photos)

Start by combining the diced scallops, red bell pepper, shallot, and jalapeño in a medium bowl. Pour in the lemon, lime, and orange juices, and gently toss everything together until well-coated. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 1 hour, allowing the citrus juices to work their magic and “cook” the scallops.

When you’re ready to serve, remove the bowl from the fridge and fold in the chopped cilantro and diced avocado. Give it a taste and season with salt and pepper if needed. Serve it up chilled with some crispy tortilla chips on the side for scooping.

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Scallop Ceviche

5 from 2 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Total: 1 hour 15 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Condiment
Cuisine: Central American, Mexican
Calories: 129
Servings: 6 people
A refreshing, citrusy appetizer featuring tender, marinated scallops and crisp vegetables, perfect for impressing guests or enjoying a light, flavorful meal at home.

Ingredients  

  • 1 pound bay scallops or sea scallops, side muscle removed and diced small (1/4 to 1/2-inch)
  • 1 cup red bell pepper diced small (1/4 to 1/2-inch)
  • 1 shallot finely chopped (or 1/2 of a small, red onion)
  • 1 jalapeño or serrano pepper, seeded and minced, (recipe note #1)
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice from ~2 lemons
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice from ~2 limes
  • 1/3 cup fresh orange juice from ~1 orange
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro plus more for garnish
  • 1 large avocado peeled and diced small (1/4 to 1/2-inch)
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions 

  • Add scallops, red bell pepper, shallot, jalapeño, lemon, lime and orange juices to a medium bowl; gently toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  • Just before serving, add cilantro and avocado and gently toss to coat; season to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Garnish with cilantro if desired and serve.

Notes

  1. Wear gloves when handling raw jalapeños as the juice can be very irritating to skin.

Nutrition

Calories: 129kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.003g | Cholesterol: 18mg | Sodium: 301mg | Potassium: 452mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 931IU | Vitamin C: 55mg | Calcium: 17mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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6 Comments

  1. Valentina says:

    5 stars
    One of my favorite meals in the summer is ceviche with a cold cocktail, preferably al fresco! 😀 This recipes is beautiful, Marissa!

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      I love how you think, Valentina! Thank you for your kind comment too.

  2. Ben | Havocinthekitchen says:

    5 stars
    What an impressive appetizer – so vibrant, colourful, and packed with a ton of flavour and textures! I’ve never had a Scallop Ceviche, but I’m willing to try it ASAP.

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      Thanks so much, Ben!

  3. Mimi Rippee says:

    Ooooh. I love this recipe! Love all of the different citrus. So smart. And, it’s pretty!

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      Wow! Thanks so much, Mimi.