This simple recipe for octopus ceviche brings all the fresh flavors of the seaside together in one quick and easy dish that you will love. Perfect for a fresh and flavorful appetizer, main course or brunch buffet!
Making ceviche with fully cooked octopus is a delicious way to serve up a restaurant-quality dish at home. The octopus has a mild flavor and a pleasant, slightly chewy texture. It's the perfect protein for the citrus dressing loaded with cilantro and a touch of heat from jalapeno peppers.
If serving for your main course, double the recipe! And check out all the creative ways to serve ceviche in my new article: How to Serve Ceviche at Home.
What you'll need to make this delicious octopus salad:
Octopus - widely available in the US at Asian and Hispanic markets, as well as Whole Foods and even Costco. I always go for the cooked octopus as it is guaranteed to be tender and makes this easy ceviche recipe a breeze to throw together. But I've included instructions in the recipe notes section for using fresh octopus.
Red onion - my preference for this recipe is red onion, but feel free to substitute yellow or white onion. Even sliced scallions would do the trick for a milder onion flavor.
Jalapeño pepper - a diced jalapeño adds the perfect flavorful heat to this dish. Substitute a serrano pepper or medium habanero chile pepper for more heat.
Olive oil - I love the complex fruitiness of olive oil in this recipe, but substitute a neutral oil like canola or sunflower, if you prefer.
Fresh orange juice - fresh-squeezed OJ adds the perfect balance of sweetness to this otherwise savory dish. You only need a few tablespoons, so one orange will be enough. If pulp is the sort of thing that bothers you, strain the juice when pouring it into your ceviche bowl.
Fresh lime juice - the backbone of this ceviche recipe, fresh lime juice adds the acidity that flavors the octopus and mellows the onions and peppers. The perfect flavor booster. Fresh lemon juice can be substituted, but you'll be missing that lime-y complexity.
Salt - I prefer a coarse kosher salt. Always taste and adjust before serving!
Fresh cilantro - diced cilantro leaves are folded into the ceviche mix and the dish is garnished with additional cilantro before serving.
Avocado - dice and mix the avocado in with the ceviche, or smash the creamy vegetable with a pinch of salt and squeeze of lime juice to serve as a bed for the octopus ceviche.
Tomatoes (optional) - if I'm serving the ceviche on tostadas, I like to add diced cherry tomatoes or fresh plum tomatoes to the mixture. Completely optional!
Tortilla chips or tostada shells - ceviche is also delicious with crispy plantain chips or tostones, you just need a crispy element to complete this octopus ceviche magic!
Full measurements and directions included in the printable recipe card below.
Step by step instructions for making this octopus ceviche recipe:
To begin, slice octopus tentacles into thin coins. Add to a glass bowl.
Slice red onion into thin half moons. To mellow the sharpness of the onion, soak in ice water for 10 minutes, then drain and add to the sliced octopus. Dice jalapeño (or hot peppers of your choice). Remove seeds and white ribs inside the pepper for a milder flavor.
Squeeze oranges and limes and add the juice to the glass bowl of octopus. Add the olive oil and salt. Finally, dice cilantro and add to ceviche. Toss the mixture. Cover well and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Before serving, taste the octopus and adjust seasoning. Ceviche can be served straight out of the bowl, or add diced tomatoes and ripe avocado to the mixture.
Note: To prepare a raw, fresh octopus, ask your fishmonger to clean the octopus for you when you purchase. If buying frozen octopus, the freezing process works as a tenderizing method. If you’ve purchased fresh octopus, I recommend freezing for a day or two before preparing. To cook raw octopus, bring a large pot of water to boil with enough water to fully cover the octopus. Add one onion, cut in half, 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar, 2 bay leaves, 10-15 peppercorns and 1 tablespoon of salt. After the water comes to a boil, add the octopus to the hot water and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook the octopus for 40-45 minutes. Finally, drain the octopus and let it cool enough to handle, then slice according to recipe instructions above.
FAQ's and Serving Suggestions for Octopus Ceviche:
Octopus and shrimp ceviche is a common combo, so feel free to add ½ pound of cooked shrimp (cut to about the same size as the octopus rounds) and double the citrus and olive oil. If you're looking for a Crab Ceviche (Jaiba Ceviche) try my easy recipe. Make both crab and octopus ceviche for a fun brunch bar!
I love serving octopus ceviche on a bed of smashed avocado over a crispy tostada shell, but there are so many ways to serve ceviche! For a list of my favorite ways, see my article on How to Serve Ceviche at Home.
To store leftover octopus salad, keep ceviche in a non-reactive container (airtight) in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.