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30 August 2021

This aguachile recipe is an essential Mexican ceviche from Sinaloa, made with shrimp and/or scallops in lime juice, cucumber and chilies to make the perfect dish.

We’re cooking up a fresh bowl of Shrimp Aguachile in the Chili Pepper Madness kitchen today, my friends. You are in for something wonderful.

Aguachile is a Mexican seafood dish that is essentially a ceviche made with either shrimp or scallops, or both, that are marinated in lime juice and served in a chili-lime marinade, usually garnished with cucumber.

As with ceviche, the acidic lime juice cooks the shrimp and imparts its tart, addictive flavor. The dish comes from Sinaloa in northern Mexico, and has gained popularity not only in Mexico, but in the United States as well. 

You’ll find variations depending on the cook and the ingredients used, with versions of aguachile verde and aguachile rojo and recipes in between.

This particular recipe includes shrimp, though you can easily sub the shrimp in whole or in part with scallops or other white fish. It is meant to be a fresh, bright dish, best served cold, with a good level of spice and heat. 

You can easily dial back on the heat if you’d like, though you’ll then be missing a component of the dish that makes it so popular.

Let’s talk about how we make aguachile, shall we?

Aguachile Ingredients

  • FOR THE SHRIMP
  • Raw Shrimp
  • Lime Juice – Enough to cover the shrimp and cook them.
  • Salt
  • FOR THE RED ONION
  • Sliced Red Onion
  • Vinegar – I’m using simple white vinegar, though you can use others.
  • Water – Enough to cover the onions
  • FOR THE AGUACHILE MARINADE
  • Lime Juice – Reserve some of the lime juice from marinating the shrimp, or use fresh if you’d like.
  • Jugo Maggi – or use Soy Sauce
  • Produce – Garlic, cilantro, jalapeno peppers, serrano peppers
  • Salt
  • AGUACHILE GARNISH
  • Sliced cucumber, radish, serrano, chopped cilantro, spicy chili flakes

How to Make Aguachile – the Recipe Method

COOK THE SHRIMP

Thinly slice the shrimp in half lengthwise. Place the sliced shrimp into a bowl and cover with 1 cup fresh lime juice, enough to completely cover the shrimp. Use more as needed.

Add salt to taste let the lime juice “cook” the shrimp for 20 minutes to 30 minutes, flipping once part way through. The shrimp will turn pink in color.

SOAK THE RED ONION

While the shrimp is cooking, add the red onion to a bowl. Add the vinegar and enough water to cover the onions. Soak until ready to use. This will take some of the bite out of the raw red onion.

PROCESS THE AGUACHILE MARINADE

Add the 1/2 cup reserved lime juice, jugo maggi (or soy sauce), garlic, cilantro, jalapeno, serrano, and salt to taste to a blender or food processor. Process until smooth.

ASSEMBLE THE AGUACHILE

Add the shrimp with remaining lime juice to a serving bowl. Pour the chili-lime marinade over it. Season with salt if desired.

Top with sliced cucumber and onion, chili peppers, and radish. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes to chill.

Top with fresh herbs. Sprinkle with red chili flakes.

Serve with tostadas or tortilla chips. 

Aguachile in a bowl

Boom! Done! Your aguachile is ready to serve. Looks incredible, doesn’t it? Look at all those wonderful colors and textures. I could eat this all day long.

Recipe Tips & Notes

  • Other Ingredients. Feel free to use scallops with this recipe as well. Jugo maggi is a popular addition, though you can use soy sauce. Try it with fresh sliced avocado and a bit of salt and pepper. Absolutely delicious.
  • Heat Factor. You’ll get a nice level of heat from the serrano peppers, though you can omit them. For the chili flakes, try crushed pequin chilies, chiltepin, or chiles de arbol. Or, use crushed red pepper to taste.

That’s it, my friends. I hope you enjoy my aguachile recipe. Let me know if you make it. I’d love to hear how you made it your own.

Cookbook Recommendation

If you love traditional Mexican cooking, I love these cookbooks with recipes from all over Mexico. Definitely recommended.

Try Some of My Other Popular Recipes

Aguachile ceviche on a tortilla chip

Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.

Aguachile Recipe
Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Aguachile Recipe (Mexican Shrimp Ceviche)

This aguachile recipe is an essential Mexican ceviche from Sinaloa, made with shrimp and/or scallops in lime juice, cucumber and chilies to make the perfect dish.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: jalapeno, scallops, serrano, shrimp, spicy
Servings: 6
Calories: 35kcal

Ingredients

FOR THE SHRIMP

  • 1 pound raw shrimp peeled, deveined and sliced in half lengthwise
  • 1 cup lime juice about the juice from 3-4 large limes
  • Salt to taste

FOR THE RED ONION

  • 1 small red onion thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 cup water

FOR THE AGUACHILE MARINADE

  • 1/2 cup lime juice reserved from cooking the shrimp
  • 1 tablespoon jugo maggi or use soy sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped
  • 3/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 large jalapeno pepper chopped
  • 1 serrano pepper chopped
  • Salt to taste

AGUACHILE GARNISH

  • 1 medium cucumber peeled and deseeded, sliced into crescents
  • 3 radishes thinly sliced
  • 2 serrano peppers thinly sliced
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • Spicy chili flakes

Instructions

FOR THE SHRIMP

  • Place the sliced shrimp into a bowl and cover with 1 cup fresh lime juice, enough to completely cover the shrimp. Use more as needed.
  • Add salt to taste let the lime juice "cook" the shrimp for 30 minutes, flipping once part way through. The shrimp will turn pink in color.

FOR THE RED ONION

  • While the shrimp is cooking, add the red onion to a bowl. Add the vinegar and enough water to cover the onions. Soak until ready to use.

FOR THE AGUACHILE MARINADE

  • Add the 1/2 cup reserved lime juice, jugo maggi (or soy sauce), garlic, cilantro, jalapeno, serrano, and salt to taste to a food processor. Process until smooth.

ASSEMBLE THE AGUACHILE

  • Add the shrimp with remaining lime juice to a serving bowl. Pour the aguachile marinade over it.
  • Top with sliced red onion, cucumbers, chili peppers, and radish. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes to chill.
  • Top with fresh herbs. Sprinkle with red chili flakes.
  • Serve cold with tortilla chips.

Notes

Nutritional information estimated without tortilla chips.

Nutrition

Calories: 35kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 175mg | Potassium: 208mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 255IU | Vitamin C: 27mg | Calcium: 27mg | Iron: 1mg