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Lionfish Ceviche Recipe

Fresh caught lionfish ceviche

On our recent Exumas Bahamas sailing trip, we made an effort to get off the beaten path and explore islands that are avoided by most cruisers.

One of the benefits is that we enjoyed abundant marine life that would otherwise not be found in crowded anchorages.

Ship Channel Cay anchorage
Ship Channel Cay anchorage in the Exumas where we speared 2 lionfish on the coral heads next to the yacht

On the many reefs and coral heads that we snorkeled, it was all too common to see lionfish.

Lionfish are absolutely beautiful underwater, but they are actually quite damaging to Bahamian and Caribbean reefs since they are an invasive species – they have no natural predators.

Lionfish on a Carribbean reef
Spearing lionfish in the Exumas
One of the lionfish that we speared at Ship Channel Cay

They are a big threat to reefs and natural ecosystems. Because of this – we took shots at them with our Hawaiian sling (spear guns are illegal in the Bahamas) whenever we could.

Lionfish do need to handled carefully since they have 18 venomous spines. Before we fillet the fish, we trim each of these spines off with a pair of strong scissors.

Here’s a video on how to safely trim the lionfish spines.

The good news with lionfish is that they are excellent eating! They are great as fillets or in fish tacos – but my favorite way to eat them is in a ceviche. 

Make it as an appetizer to share with the whole crew – it goes great with tortilla chips!

Here’s the recipe we used on our recent trip:

Lionfish Ceviche Ingredients

  • 2 lionfish fillets, diced (note: if you don’t have lionfish, you can replace with snapper, grouper, or even conch – they all work great!
  • 1 cup of lime juice
  • 1 cup of roughly chopped cilantro (half of a bunch)
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2-3 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 jalapeno or serrano pepper (optional)
  • 1 tsp salt, additional salt and black pepper to taste
  • Serve with tortilla chips or tostadas


  1. Prepare your ingredients and mix everything together except for the avocado.
  2. Pour the lime juice over mixture – make sure there is enough juice to cover all of the ingredients. 
  3. Set aside and let the ceviche marinate for 20-30 minutes. The lionfish is ready when it turns opaque.
  4. Add the avocado and combine.
  5. Taste and add salt as needed.
  6. Serve with chips and enjoy!

This will make enough for an appetizer for the sailing crew (up to 8 people). If you have more lionfish fillets, just double the recipe.

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