How Long Is Ceviche Good For? [Tuna, Tilapia, & More]

Ceviche is a dish that consists of raw seafood diced into cubes and then marinated in lemon or lime juice.

This dish is flavor-packed and all-around delicious with a fresh taste, making it a favorite meal of seafood enthusiasts.

It’s a unique dish that features citrus juices that react with the proteins in seafood, curing them and making them opaque and strong-tasting. A question that many people have is how long this ceviche can last once cooked. 

In general, ceviche should be consumed within 2 hours, but it can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. However, the acidity of the lemon or lime juice will continue to break down the seafood’s protein, so consuming it in one sitting is your best bet. Tuna ceviche should be eaten immediately and crab and tilapia ceviche should be eaten within 2 hours. Neither should be refrigerated. 

There are some risk-takers out there that may be wondering what would happen if they consumed expired ceviche or how to properly store ceviche to make it last longer and taste just as well as when it was first created. We have all of those answers below. 

How Long Does Ceviche Last?

As mentioned earlier, ceviche is a dish best consumed immediately but can be stalled for 2-hours at room temperature or up to 2-days in the refrigerator.

If you don’t consume the ceviche almost immediately after preparing it, the acidity of the citrus flavoring will break down the raw seafood. This will affect the flavor and texture of the dish.

This is why it’s best that you consume it in one sitting or prepare serving sizes accordingly. There are actually different types of ceviche, and each one has different timelines.

Shrimp Ceviche

As with other types of ceviche, shrimp, or Mexican ceviche, is only good for 2 hours if kept at room temperature and can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 days.

Since the shrimp has been marinated in an acidic mixture, it’s ill-advised to keep this type of ceviche in the fridge longer than 2-days. The acidic mixture will break down the protein and leftovers may not be good to eat. 

A plate of shrimp Ceviche
Shrimp ceviche

Salmon Ceviche

Once marinated, salmon ceviche will only last 2 hours after that. Afterward, it should only be stored in the refrigerator for 2-days.

However, we don’t suggest storing it because of the acidic mixture that will continue to break down the salmon. Only prepare this dish in single servings for each person consuming it. 

Salmon Ceviche
Salmon Ceviche

Crab Ceviche

Crab should always be consumed within 2-hours after preparing it. The mixture will continue to acidify the raw crab and the overall taste and texture will suffer.

We don’t suggest serving leftover crab ceviche, so the portion sizing should be one serving for each person. 

Imitation Crab Ceviche

Imitation crab, since it’s been pasteurized and vacuum-sealed, can last up to 2-months in the refrigerator, but should be consumed within 2-days of opening.

In the refrigerator, it will last up to 5-days if purchased loose and in its original packaging. You can freeze imitation crab meat for up to 6-months.

If you make ceviche out of it, you should treat it as any other ceviche dish and consume it within 2-days. 

Tilapia & Halibut Ceviche

It’s best practice to consume tilapia and halibut ceviche within a few hours of preparing it.

However, these fish will not last long at room temperature when mixed with acidic citrus juice.

The result will be the breakdown of the fish which could affect the overall taste and texture of the dish. It’s not our recommendation to eat leftover tilapia or halibut ceviche.

Tuna Ceviche

Tuna is something that should be eaten soon after preparation. This is why the best way to enjoy a tuna ceviche dish is to eat it very soon after making it.

Raw tuna won’t last long at room temperature due to the acid in the lemon juice.

Not to mention, the acid will break down the fish and will change the texture and taste of the meal. 

A plate of tuna ceviche served with avocado and lime.
Tuna Ceviche

Peruvian Ceviche

Peruvian ceviche is a less soupy dish that involves most of the same ingredients as other ceviche dishes. Generally, this ceviche will involve the use of high-quality saltwater fish.

Even though it’s less soupy than others, it still only has a lifespan of 2-hours at room temperature and 2-days in the refrigerator. 

Even though it’s not really recommended to store ceviche, there are still ways you can do it so you can enjoy your dish again. 

Properly Storing Ceviche

If ceviche is left to sit, the juices will continue to cook the fish. This is why ceviche should be consumed within 30-minutes of being made or up to 2-hours.

If you absolutely can’t stand the thought of throwing away what’s left of your dish, you can store it in an airtight container after pouring out as much of the juices as possible. 

When it comes time to eat your leftovers, you can pour some citrus juices over them to freshen them up.

The container you store your ceviche in should be airtight so no moisture or bacteria can come in contact with the food.

If you don’t have a container, you can simply wrap a bowl or container tightly with plastic wrap for optimal protection.

If you’ve pulled your ceviche out of the fridge and can’t tell whether or not it’s spoiled, here are some signs. 

Identifying Spoiled Ceviche

When it comes to identifying spoiled ceviche, there are certain telltale signs that you just can’t miss.

One of the first signs is that the fish is now mushy. It gets mushy because the citrus acid has broken down the protein in the fish.

Another sign is that there will be a strong fish smell or even a weird smell that just isn’t right coming from the ceviche.

We can always tell our ceviche has gone bad simply by smelling it. If you notice an odd smell, don’t hesitate to toss it in the trash to avoid food poisoning. 

If you didn’t notice a smell and take a bite of your spoiled ceviche, you’ll be unpleasantly welcomed by an acidic taste that goes way beyond what normal lemon or lime juice would create.

There may also be an extremely rancid taste to it. Throw it away quickly if you’re unfortunate enough to deal with that. 

Some mays still wonder if they can still eat ceviche after it has gone bad, we don’t suggest it. 

Consuming Spoiled Ceviche

We aren’t sure why you would want to eat spoiled ceviche. Whether you didn’t realize it was bad or you were just really hungry, you’re going to be at risk for Scombroid Poisoning.

Scombroid Poisoning is a common form of food poisoning that you can get from fish. It occurs after ingesting fish with high histamine levels due to improper storage or if the fish has expired.

After consuming spoiled ceviche, you may experience a rash, dizziness, itching, diarrhea, or headaches. 

Additionally, you may be at risk for parasites when consuming ceviche, especially if it’s spoiled.

These parasites include roundworms, tapeworms, and flukes. You can avoid this by freezing the fish first to an internal temperature of -4 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 7-days to kill any parasites that may be lingering.

Home freezers may not be sufficient enough for this process though. Some may wonder whether or not their ceviche will taste as good with the fish being frozen first. 

Using Frozen Fish For Ceviche

If you plan to make ceviche and want to do it in the safest way possible, you can use sushi-grade fish.

However, if you can’t find any, you can certainly use frozen fish, shrimp, and scallops. It won’t affect the flavor.

All we do is defrost the fish and toss it in a citrusy marinade. We then place the mixture in the refrigerator for a few hours. When we say you can freeze the fish, we don’t mean freezing the whole dish. 

Can Ceviche Be Frozen?

If you absolutely have to freeze your ceviche, which kind of goes against the whole point of the dish, you can do so. You should remove all of the juices and place them in a freezer bag.

Squeeze out as much air as possible and seal the bag. The ceviche will still be edible once it’s frozen, but the texture and taste are going to be very different.

Once you thaw it out, you can add more citrus juice to it to enhance the flavor and marinate the fish. 

Final Thoughts

As we’ve mentioned before, ceviche is a dish best consumed fresh. You shouldn’t let it sit on the counter for more than 2-hours or in the refrigerator for more than 2-days. Some types of ceviche can’t even be refrigerated.

This is why it’s best to only make what you know you’re going to eat. Ceviche is a dish that can be expensive, so you want to make sure you aren’t throwing away a ton of it.

Even if your leftovers are only a day or two old, make sure it’s still good by observing the signs of spoiled ceviche. 

If you want the best flavor, freshness, and texture, eat it as soon as you can to ensure you are getting the meal you so well deserve. 

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