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Aguachile vs Ceviche: What Are The Differences?

If you are a big fan of Latin food, Aguachile and Ceviche should always be on your favorite list. However, some people still confuse these dishes. So what is the difference between Aguachile vs Ceviche?

In many respects, Aguachile and Ceviche are similar. They are seafood marinated dishes. The differences are their marinating time and marinade ingredients. 

You need to marinate Ceviche in citrus juice for 20 minutes or more. On the other hand,  you can serve an Aguachile dish as soon as you mix the ingredients.

Battersby will discuss in detail these dishes. We also give you some handling tips to make the best out of them. Let’s read on to discover!

What Is Aguachile?

Aguachile literally means “chili water.” This dish is definitely on the must-try cuisine list for anybody who enjoys being immersed in spicy tastes.

Aguachile is similarly exclusive to Mexico, with its origins supposedly in the Sinaloa area. The dish varies in different types of chili peppers. 

However, Chiltepines, a Sinaloa native, is one of the main components. Serrano and jalapeno chilies are also popular.

Because tastes are variable, Aguachile’s main components may change. Some people add mango, watermelon, and alcohol to their Aguachile marinade to give more fruity flavors and hues.

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Aguachile literally means “chili water”

What Is Ceviche?

Ceviche is simply fresh seafood that goes with marinades of lime juice and then cooked. This dish is popular along the coasts of Latin America and in certain Caribbean countries.

According to where you are visiting, typical seafood selections include lobster, conch, shrimp, octopus, squid, and snapper. Ceviches in Southern and Central Latin America also contain a range of other components, such as maize or sweet potato.

Onions, cilantro, and tomatoes are also frequent components. Some Mexican food vendors go so far as to include avocado in their Ceviches. Others add chilies right to the Ceviche or eat them on their own.

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Ceviche is simply seafood that goes with marinades 

Differences Between Aguachile vs. Ceviche

Although the two titles are sometimes interchangeable to some people, there are significant distinctions between them.


Both meals originate in South America. However, Ceviche is only a Peruvian dish. Nevertheless, Aguchile is famous in cities along Mexico’s Pacific coast.

By definition, Aguachile has no relation to seafood. Instead, during the first period, people used salt to preserve the sun-dried meat of the Sinaloa natives before the Spanish invasion. 

Then, they heat their raw seafood in boiling water with chili pepper. This technique created Aguachile.

On the other hand, Mexican Ceviche has a strong bond with Central America and Mexico, although there are numerous opinions about where it started. According to where you live, the name may change to cebiche or Ceviche. 

The Ceviche was not very famous for numerous centuries since many people consider it as underclass cuisine. This thought changed due to the introduction of Asian influence on the dish.

Everything started when a war in Japan broke out. During that time, seafood became the main ingredient in the Japanese diet. As a result, Ceviche began to earn its reputation.

View more: Hand Roll Vs Cut Roll


To make Aguachile, you first boil the chiltepines in water and then add some to it. You can choose among red onions, tomatoes, lime juice, and cilantro. To put it another way, Aguachile is about water and chili. 

aguachile vs ceviche

Aguachile is about water and chili 

Ceviche is a Peruvian dish made from the freshest seafood. To prepare the food, you need to soak the seafood in citrus juice, then season it with chili pepper, salt, onions, aji, and coriander.

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Mixed Ceviche is the seafood cooked in lime juice 


The concept of “cooking” fish in lemon juice may astound you. This meal comes without using any heat. It works with a method called “denaturation”. 

Denaturation describes the combination of citric acid and heat to create a chemical process. During the process, hydrogen contents in the proteins change from their initial state and go free to contact other elements.

While not literally raw, denaturing substances don’t kill germs the way that heat would. As a result, it’s critical to consume only Ceviche cooked with fresh fish. Otherwise, the possibility of being sick remains a genuine issue.

Another noteworthy difference between the Ceviche and Aguachile recipes is the length of time necessary to marinate the seafood in the Ceviche preparation. The seafood comes in the Ceviche and then leaves to marinate for around 20 minutes. 

On the other hand, Aguachile can be served immediately.. The raw fish is ready to eat as quickly as you put it into the lime juice. As a result, in the production of Ceviche, the marination period is lengthier, while preparing Aguachile is quicker.

Are Raw Shrimp And Lime Juice Compulsory For Making Aguachile?

The most popular form of Aguachile is one with raw shrimp, onion, lime juice, and cucumber. The marinade comes from water blended with chili peppers.

The dish usually includes avocado slices and tortilla chips. These ingredients include fatty components that help to balance out the heat from the chiles.

Related: Elote Vs Esquite

Tips For Cooking Aguachile And Ceviche

Here are some tips that will make your dish tastier:

  • Remember to use gloves and wash your hands. Also, do any prep utensils with warm water and soap after dealing with chili peppers that are spicier than the jalapeno peppers.
  • Milk or any dairy product is the most efficient way to cool your tongue. Another great alternative is hard liquor. If you don’t have any other options, use bread to absorb the olive oil and heat in your tongue.
  • It would be best to keep chiles away from heat, moisture, and light. Instead, store them in cool and dark places. 
  • You can serve Aguachile as a Mexican snack. Not to mention, it comes in a variety of flavors, including a black version made with adobo sauce, chipotles, and soy sauce. Learn more tips for the dish via this video below.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about Aguachile and Ceviche. 

1. Can I use chili peppers for my dish?

Yes. To do that, you need to wipe away any dust from your chiles using a wet cloth first. 

Then, cut the stems with a knife, and remove the veins and seeds. 

After that, soak them in hot distilled water for about 15 to 30 minutes to rehydrate them. 

Finally, rinse the peppers and cut, blend, or mix them into your main dish.

2. Are Aguachile and Ceviche healthy?

Aguachile and Ceviche are more than just tasty. They have a nice appearance and are quite beneficial to your health. 

These dishes are naturally nutritious recipes cooked without the use of processed foods. Whether you’re on the newest diet fad or simply trying to include different foods into a healthier life, you will find it beneficial to eat Ceviche and Aguachile. 

3. Does soy sauce matter to make Aguachile and Ceviche?

Yes. The high-quality soy sauce contributes significantly to the full flavor of your dish. 

The Bottom Line: Ceviche versus Aguachile

Battersby has shared with you some tips to distinguish Aguachile vs. Ceviche. The preparation for them is straightforward.

Moreover, they can be tasty and healthy at the same time. Hence, spending some time to serve yourself with these cuisines is worth trying. 

Hopefully, you will find this article helpful. If you need any further information, please feel free to ask. Thank you for reading!

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