Skip to Content

Imitation Crab Ceviche Recipe

This quick and easy imitation crab ceviche recipe is loaded with fresh tomatoes, onions, and cilantro; all marinated in fresh lime juice.

Imitation crab ceviche, also called Ceviche de Jaiba, can be served as an appetizer with tortilla chips, as a crab ceviche taco, crab salad or on a tostada as a light, refreshing meal. It’s already low-carb and low-fat but can also be served up on lettuce wraps for the ultimate guilt free meal.

Imitation Crab Ceviche

What is Imitation Crab Made Of?

Imitation crab is typically made from Alaska Pollack, water, egg whites, starch, sugar, salt, vegetable oil and natural crab meat. Flavoring like snow crab extract color and shape the meat to take on the appearance of real crab meat.

Ingredients vary by brands but generally are consistent except for minor variations. Most imitation crab meat is gluten-free, fat free, low calorie, low in cholesterol and a source of Omega-3.

Imitation crab can also be found in fish sticks, crab cakes, California rolls and other type of sushi rolls with imitation crab, Kanikama in Japanese.

Do you have to Cook Imitation Crab?

Imitation crab meat is precooked and while there is no need to precook seafood for ceviche, the “crab meat” can be eaten straight from the package or added to cold dishes.

Additionally, all ceviche is “cooked” by marinating in citrus juice through a process called denaturation. The citric acid acts as a cooking agent similar to heat.

Imitation Crab Ceviche Recipe Substitutions & Variations

  • Substitute Globe (standard) tomatoes for Roma tomatoes
  • Make it mild or spicy by adding jalapenos (hot) or serrano peppers (hotter)
  • 1 green bell pepper or cucumber can be substituted for peppers
  • Add 1 avocado but don’t mix in until serving
  • Substitute onions for shallots
  • Use less 1/2 or 1 red onion depending on how much onion you like
  • Replace some lime juice with lemon juice
  • Add mango
  • Substitute any other type of fish, shrimp or real crab meat
  • Try parsley instead of cilantro
  • Add 1/4 cup Clamato juice and 1/2 tablespoon ketchup

How Long Should you Marinate Imitation Crab Ceviche?

Imitation crab ceviche should be marinated at least 1 hour in a refrigerator but for a more flavorful taste marinate at least 4 hours. Unlike other types of ceviche, imitation crab ceviche can be marinated overnight. In fact, sometimes I have found it tastes even better.

Since imitation crab ceviche is precooked, it is safe to eat immediately without marinating but will have a blander taste.

Imitation Crab Ceviche Diced Tomatoes
Step 1: Dice tomatoes
Chopped Imitation Crab
Step 2: Chop imitation crab
Imitation Crab Ceviche Mix Ingredients
Step 3: Mix Tomatoes, crab, cilantro, onions, and lime juice

Leftover Ceviche Ideas

  • As a topping on toast or avocado toast
  • On top of eggs
  • Make crab salad or use as a side salad with steak or sandwiches
  • Make lettuce cups
  • On top of cucumber slices or just dip
  • Eat with white, brown, Mexican, cauliflower or cilantro rice
  • As a soup topping
  • Rice cake topping
  • Mix into guacamole
  • Enjoy with beans or quinoa
  • Tortilla, potato chips, toasted bread or crackers
  • Add to a taco, burrito or a tostada

How Long is Imitation Crab Ceviche Good For?

One of the best things about imitation crab ceviche is that it lasts longer than ceviche with other fish, shrimp, or real crab, and takes longer for a fishy taste or odor to develop. I always double the recipe so we have it for days as an afternoon snack with chips or on our eggs for breakfast.

Imitation crab ceviche can be refrigerated and stored in an airtight container for up to 3 to 5 days. Ceviche is considered a processed food plus the ceviche marinates in acidic citrus juice. These two factors extend the time to eat.

Try this quick and easy Shrimp ceviche recipe next!

Imitation Crab Ceviche Recipe

Imitation Crab Ceviche Recipe

Yield: 8
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes

Imitation crab ceviche is incredibly easy to prepare, delicious and an affordable option compared to other seafood ceviches.


  • 1 (8 ounce) package flaked imitation crabmeat
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 3/4 red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 3 jalapeno or serrano peppers (optional)


  1. Add imitation crab to a large bowl and mix in olive oil.
  2. Add chopped tomatoes, onion, cilantro and peppers (optional) and mix.
  3. Splash fresh lime juice and mix.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Chill in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.


For best results refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving. It's best served cold.

Imitation crab can be shredded, chopped or blended.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 47Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 14mgSodium: 99mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 3g

This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix.

Try these Delicious Seafood Recipes:

Monique McArthur
Latest posts by Monique McArthur (see all)

Skip to Recipe