Don’t Risk Bad Fish! How Long Does Ceviche Last?

As a seafood lover, I’m always on the lookout for new dishes to try. One of my favorites is ceviche – a dish that combines fresh fish with lemon or lime juice and other ingredients like tomatoes, onions, peppers, and herbs. Because it’s made from raw fish, it gets ‘cooked’ by the citrus juice! It’s light yet flavorful – perfect for summer days or as an appetizer at dinner parties.

But one question I often get asked is: how long does ceviche last?

Today I’m sharing all the information you need to know about storing and keeping ceviche fresh, so you can enjoy this delicious dish without worrying about food safety!

How Long Does Ceviche Last?

One of the delights of ceviche is that it’s a fresh dish, so you’ll want to eat it as soon as you can after you’ve prepared it to enjoy it at its best.

This is because the citric acid from the citrus juices in the dish will start to break down the proteins in the fish. If you leave it for an extended period of time, this will impact the dish by making it mushy and changing its texture significantly.

Sometimes though, life just gets in the way and interrupts our plans!

So let’s take a closer look at how long ceviche lasts under different conditions.

Room Temperature

At room temperature, leave ceviche out for no more than two hours.

If, for whatever reason, you’ve let your ceviche sit at room temperature for longer than this – throw it out.

You really don’t want to take the risk with ceviche that has gone bad.

Remember that ceviche is made from raw fish. So, if it’s left out for too long at room temperature, it can become contaminated with microorganisms that cause food poisoning.

Ideally, your ceviche should be consumed immediately or moved to the fridge as soon as you know you’re not going to eat it right away.


When kept in the fridge, ceviche will last for up to 3 days.

Remember though that the longer you leave it, the more the acid in the citrus juices will start to breakdown the fish and impact its flavor and texture.

Because of this, I don’t recommend using the fridge as a way to store ceviche for a long time.

Instead, the best way to use it is if you’re preparing the dish ahead of time for a dinner party or event, and want to keep it fresh for a few hours before eating.


Can you freeze ceviche?

Technically, you can… but it really isn’t advisable.

That’s because freezing ceviche will significantly alter its texture and taste, making it hard and dry.

Plus, there’s a higher risk of contamination when you thaw the frozen ceviche to eat it.

If you really insist on freezing ceviche, it will last for up to 3 months in the freezer.

Before freezing, be sure to transfer your leftovers into a freezer bag and squeeze out as much air as possible before sealing. This will help prevent freezer burn, as well as prevent the odors from the ceviche from interacting with other food in your freezer.

It’s vital to make sure you thaw frozen ceviche safely before eating. The only way to do this is by leaving it in the fridge overnight to defrost before serving. Trying to rush the process in the microwave or leaving it on the side just increases the risk of contamination and food poisoning.


How it's StoredHow Long it Lasts
Room Temperature< 2 Hours
FridgeUp to 2 Days
Freezer2-3 months (not recommended!)

What About Ceviche Made From Other Seafood?

The beauty of ceviche is that it doesn’t just have to be made from fish – you can also make it with other seafood like prawns, squid or even mussels.

You may be wondering if there is any difference between the shelf life of leftover crab ceviche, shrimp ceviche or ‘regular’ fish ceviche.

The storage timings and tips are pretty much the same for prawn or shrimp ceviche.

It can be kept in the fridge for up to two days, left out for no more than two hours and really, if you enjoy eating the freshest seafood, shouldn’t be frozen!

Crab ceviche, on the other hand, is a bit different.

It’s best eaten right away. If stored in the refrigerator, it should be for no more than 1 day. This is because crab meat is much more delicate, so it breaks down faster than fish.

What’s the Best Way to Store Leftover Ceviche?

I get it, it’s easy to overdo it, especially with a dish as tasty as ceviche!

If you’ve prepared too much for you and your guests to handle, you might be left wondering what exactly to do with your leftovers.

Of course, you know at this point that we’re in a battle against time as the citrus juices continue to break down the proteins in the fish.

If you have leftover ceviche, the best way to store it is in the refrigerator. After all, we absolutely can’t leave it at room temperature, and we know that the freezer is just going to ruin the delicious flavor.

So how do we store it in the fridge to maximize freshness and quality?

How to Properly Store Ceviche in the Fridge

The best way to store ceviche in the fridge is to put it in an airtight container or jar. To slow the breakdown as much as possible, drain out any extra marinade.

This will help keep the dish in better shape, preventing it from going too mushy as the acid continues to ‘cook’ it.

It’s also a good idea to place a sheet of parchment paper or plastic wrap between the top of the ceviche and the lid of the container for extra airtightness. This might be a bit more effort but does a great job preventing other food odors from getting into your ceviche and, more importantly, stopping the smell of raw fish from getting out!

For extra peace of mind, I’d recommend writing the date you put it in the fridge on your container.

This will help remind you when to throw out ceviche once it’s been in there for too long.

What Happens if You Eat Bad Ceviche?

Eating bad ceviche can have serious consequences.

Because it’s made from raw fish, the risk of parasites and harmful bacteria is high.

Consequences that can arise from eating bad ceviche include vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, and fatigue.

If you do develop any of these symptoms after eating ceviche, seek medical attention immediately.

Given how serious these symptoms are, it’s important to be extra careful when storing and preparing ceviche. You also need to know how to spot signs that your dish has spoiled.

Speaking of which…

How Can You Tell if Ceviche Has Gone Bad?

Because of the health risks that come from eating spoiled ceviche, it’s really important to know what signs to look out for that tell you if it’s no longer safe to eat.

Here are some of the key signs you should look out for when assessing if ceviche has gone bad:

  • Changes to the smell or color
  • There is a slimy film on the fish or other ingredients
  • A significant change in texture – if it’s gone mushy, get rid!
  • The dish has been left out at room temperature for more than 2 hours

If you spot any of these signs, discard the ceviche and don’t eat it.

Related Questions

What Ingredients Should be Included in Ceviche?

Generally, ceviche consists of raw fish, lime or lemon juice, onions, garlic and herbs. It’s not just fish, though! You can also try crab or shrimp ceviche.

Depending on the region or chef, however, it can also include tomatoes, bell peppers, chili peppers, and various other vegetables.

Is it Safe to Store Ceviche at Room Temperature?

No, it’s not safe to store ceviche at room temperature. At least, not for any length of time.

It’s ok to leave it out on the side for a short while before eating but you must consume it within 2 hours or throw it out.

What type of Container is Best for Storing Ceviche?

The best container for storing ceviche is an airtight container or jar.

Because they can be tightly sealed, they’re the only choice to keep your ceviche fresh and safe from spoilage.

How Long Does Cooked Fish last in the fridge?

Unfortunately, there’s not much difference between cooked fish and prepared ceviche when it comes to shelf life.

Cooked fish will stay good in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Like ceviche, be sure to store it in an airtight container to maximize freshness.

Are there any Health Benefits from Eating Ceviche?

Yes, there are! Ceviche is a great source of protein, Omega-3 fatty acids, and essential vitamins and minerals.

It’s also a low-calorie dish and contains few saturated fats, so it can be an excellent choice for those looking to eat healthier.

That being said, it’s important to remember that ceviche needs to be stored and prepared correctly in order to ensure its safety. Follow the tips we’ve discussed in this article and you should have no problems enjoying the health benefits of a delicious ceviche dish!

Is Ceviche Safe to Eat When Pregnant?

Because it’s made from raw fish, you should avoid ceviche when pregnant.