Escabeche is the name for a number of dishes in Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American cuisines which can refer to a dish of fish or meat marinated and cooked in an acidic sauce (usually with vinegar) and colored with pimenton (Spanish paprika) as well as often citrics and other spices. In both Spain and Latin America many variations exist, sometimes frying the main ingredient before it's marinated. Escabeche of seafood, fish, chicken, rabbit or pork are common in Spain and Portugal.

Escabeche of Spanish mackerel (narrow-barred Spanish mackerel)
Region or stateMediterranean, Latin America, the Philippines, Guam
Main ingredientsFish or meat
Ingredients generally usedVinegar, paprika, or saffron
Other informationno_recipes= false
Escabeche of tilapia, from the Philippines


According to the DRAE, the Spanish and Portuguese word escabeche originates in the Andalusi Arabic spoken in Muslim Spain and ultimately Persian. Derives from al-sikbaj (السكباج), the name of a popular meat dish cooked in a sweet-and-sour sauce, usually vinegar and honey or date molasses.[1] This technique spread throughout the former Spanish Empire and is particularly common in Latin America and the Phillipines.

The dish is known as escoveitch or escoveech fish in Jamaica and is marinated in a sauce of vinegar, onions, carrots and scotch bonnet peppers overnight. It is known as escabecio, scapece or savoro in Italy, savoro in Greece (especially Ionian islands) and scabetche in North Africa.


The dish is common in Spain and has evolved with local modifications in the Spanish-speaking world. It is well represented in Portugal, usually spiced with pepper corns, chilies, peppers, onions, garlic and sliced carrots. The dish is popular in the Philippines and Guam, both former Spanish colonies, where it is the closest to the original Spanish version: adapting the type of fish to ones locally available but respecting the original technique.

In international versions, escabeche is usually poached or fried, then served cold after marinating in a refrigerator overnight or longer. The acid in the marinade is usually vinegar but can include citrus juice. (a common conservation technique, a pH of 4 or lower effectively stops putrefaction of the product).[2] Escabeche is a popular presentation of canned or potted preserved fish, such as mackerel,[3] tuna, bonito or sardines.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Medieval Arab Cookery, Maxime Rodinson, A. J. Arberry, and Charles Perry. ISBN 0-907325-91-2.
  2. ^ "Escabeche (Sweet And Sour Fish". Genius Kitchen. Retrieved 5 April 2018.
  3. ^ Lagasse, Emeril. "33 Spanish Starters". 33 Spanish Starters. Food Network UK. Food Network, n.d. Web. 29 Dec. 2015.