Pico De Gallo Recipe

April 29, 2020 By Aneesha |

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Fresh, zesty and irresistible, this chunky and vibrant salsa from Mexico is made with just six ingredients – fresh tomatoes, onion, jalapeño, cilantro, lime juice and salt. That’s it! Also known as Salsa Fresca, it goes great on burritos, tacos, enchilada, chips, salads and more. Here’s an easy ten minute recipe for an authentic Pico De Gallo!

A bowl with tomato salsa with onion, cilantro and lime

Pico De Gallo is one of the most made and liked condiment in my home. My girls absolutely adore it and are ‘pros’ at making this salsa now! It’s such a simple and delightful dip to make, which doubles up as a dip as well as a topping. It was about time I shared our favorite way to make it with you all!

What is Pico De Gallo

Pronounced ‘peeko-de-guy-o’, this is one of the most popular condiments in Mexican cuisine. You’ll rarely find an authentic Mexican restaurant that doesn’t have Pico De Gallo or Salsa Fresca, and Guacamole on their menu.

It is a simple and quick salad made with raw chopped (not blended) tomatoes, onion, chili peppers (jalapeño or serrano), chopped cilantro and dressed with freshly squeezed lime juice and salt. It is commonly topped on tacos, tostadas, chimichanga, enchilada, or simply scooped up with tortilla chips!

What does Pico De Gallo Mean in English

This Spanish word translates to ‘beak of the rooster’. There are a few conflicting stories behind the relevance of that name. Some suggest that the colors of this salsa match the ones in the beak of a rooster. While we may never really know why it is called that, we certainly know HOW to make a ‘killer’ Pico de Gallo!

Bowl of salsa fresca (tomato salsa)

What is the Difference Between Salsa and Pico De Gallo

Pico De Gallo, also known as Salsa Fresca, is a type of a salsa. Often times, both these terms, Pico De Gallo and Salsa, are used interchangeably, but here are the basic differences between the two:

  • Pico de gallo is made with fresh uncooked vegetables, whereas, Salsa can also be made with cooked tomatoes, tomatillos or other fruits and vegetables.
  • Texture is the other thing that sets them apart. Salsa can be pureed, like a sauce, but Pico is more like a chunky salad.

Pico De Gallo Ingredients

Six ingredients is all you need to make this delicious condiment:

A wooden tray with tomatoes, onion, cilantro, lime and chili
  1. Tomatoes– I like to use fresh Roma or plum tomatoes. I remove the seeds to reduce the liquid content and add a more robust tomato flavor. Even cherry or grape tomatoes work great in this recipe. I wouldn’t recommend canned tomatoes.
  2. Onion– I prefer red onion, but yellow or white onion will work as well. Finely chopping the onion is key to a good pico de gallo.
  3. Jalapeno or serrano pepper– whichever you have on hand. I prefer a medium spicy level, so remove the seeds and ribs, but if you like your salsa spicy, leave them intact, and chop everything finely. I either use 1 Jalapeno or 2 serranos in this recipe. If you’re making this for kids, you can substitute the chili peppers with an equal quantity of finely chopped green bell peppers.
  4. Cilantro– freshly chopped. I include mostly leaves along with a few tender green stems.
  5. Fresh lime juice– from a ripe and juicy lime. Gently press the lime and if it has a slight give, that’s your lime!
  6. Salt to taste– a little goes a long way here. Add in increments and adjust to taste.

How to Make Pico De Gallo From Scratch

This delicious salsa doesn’t need any fancy tools or gadgets. A cutting board, a sharp knife (preferably serrated), and a mixing bowl is all you need to make it in less than 10 minutes.

It’s a very basic, chop & toss recipe, but here’s a tip that’ll give you the BEST Pico de Gallo ever! Here are the step-by-step instructions on how I make it:

  • Finely chop onions (I do about 1/4-inch size), and add to a mixing bowl.
  • Remove the seeds and ribs of the pepper and chop it fine (leave intact for a spicier salsa). Add to the bowl.
  • Squeeze in lime and add 1/4 teaspoon salt and mix. Let it sit while you chop tomatoes. (Tip: Allowing the onions to marinade in lime juice and salt, softens their sharp taste and takes away any bitterness)
Bowl with chopped onion and serrano pepper
Chopped onion and serrano mixed with lime and salt
  • Slice the tomato and remove the seeds. (Tip: Removing the seeds, reduces the liquid content and adds a more tomatoey flavor). Chop the tomatoes, slightly bigger than onions, and add to the bowl.
  • Finely chop cilantro, add to the bowl and toss everything together. Check for seasoning and adjust salt and lime to taste. Pico De Gallo is ready!
Bowl with chopped tomato, onion and cilantro

How Long Does This Salsa Last

For best results, this salsa is best served immediately, since the longer it sits, the more liquid it releases, which dilutes its flavor. But if you have leftovers, store it in an air-tight glass container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.

If you want to prepare this ahead of time for a party, chop tomatoes, onions and jalapeno and store together. Store chopped cilantro in a separate container. Combine everything with lime and salt 10 minutes before serving.

Top view of a bowl with tomato salsa

What to Serve this Salsa with

This delicious relish can be scooped up with tortilla chips or topped over any Mexican inspired or spiced dish. Here are some favorites in our home:

Hand dipping chips in pico de gallo

Recipe Tips for the Best Salsa Ever!

  • Spiciness: You can customize the spicyness of this salsa. To make it mild, remove seeds and ribs of chili pepper. Leave them intact or partially remove them to make it spicy.
  • Non-Spicy Pico De Gallo: You can substitute the chili peppers with an equal quantity of finely chopped green bell peppers.
  • Order of chopping: The order of chopping ingredients is totally up to you, but allowing the onions and chili to marinade in lime juice and salt while you chop tomatoes, softens their sharp taste and takes away any bitterness.
  • Best tomato for pico: Fresh roma or plum tomatoes work great in this recipe. Even cherry or grape tomatoes work great in this recipe. Any ripe, but firm tomato can work if you remove the seeds. Removing the seeds, reduces the liquid content and adds a more tomatoey flavor. I wouldn’t recommend using canned tomatoes.
  • Best results: For best results, this salsa is best served immediately, since the longer it sits, the more liquid it releases, which dilutes the flavor.
  • Storing leftovers: Store leftovers in an air-tight glass container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
  • Making ahead: Chop tomatoes, onions and jalapeno and store together. Store chopped cilantro in a separate container. Combine everything with lime and salt 10 minutes before serving.

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A bowl with tomato salsa with onion, cilantro and lime

Pico De Gallo Recipe

Easy ten minute recipe for a fresh, irresistible and authentic Pico De Gallo! Also known as Salsa Fresca, this chunky salsa from Mexico is made with just six ingredients – fresh tomatoes, onion, jalapeño, cilantro, lime juice and salt.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate Recipe
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 23kcal

Ingredients

  • 4 roma tomato or plum, seeds removed and chopped fine (about 2 cups)
  • ½-¾ cup red onion finely chopped (about ½ small onion)(add to taste)
  • 1 cup cilantro
  • 1 jalapeno or 2 serrano peppers
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice Juice of 1 lime (adjust to taste)
  • ¼-½ tsp salt start with ¼ and adjust to taste

Instructions

  • Finely chop onions (I do about 1/4-inch size), and add to a mixing bowl.
  • Remove the seeds and ribs of the pepper and chop it fine (leave intact for a spicier salsa). Add to the bowl. Squeeze in lime and add 1/4 teaspoon salt and mix. Let it sit while you chop tomatoes. 
  • Slice the tomato and remove the seeds. Removing seeds is optional (see Recipe Tips for reason). Chop the tomatoes slightly bigger than onions, and add to the bowl.
  • Finely chop cilantro, add to the bowl and toss everything together. Check for seasoning and adjust salt and lime to taste. Pico De Gallo is ready!

Notes & Recipe Tips

Recipe Tips & Notes:

  • Spiciness: You can customize the spiciness of this salsa. To make it mild, remove seeds and ribs of chili pepper. Leave them intact or partially remove them to make it spicy.
  • Non-Spicy Pico De Gallo: You can substitute the chili peppers with an equal quantity of finely chopped green bell peppers.
  • Order of chopping: The order of chopping ingredients is totally up to you, but allowing the onions and chili to marinade in lime juice and salt while you chop tomatoes, softens their sharp taste and takes away any bitterness.
  • Best tomato for pico: Fresh roma or plum tomatoes work great in this recipe.  Even cherry or grape tomatoes work great in this recipe. Any ripe, but firm tomato can work if you remove the seeds. Removing the seeds, reduces the liquid content and adds a more robust tomato flavor. I wouldn’t recommend using canned tomatoes.
  • Best results: For best results, this salsa is best served immediately, since the longer it sits, the more liquid it releases, which dilutes the flavor.
  • Storing leftovers: Store leftovers in an air-tight glass container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
  • Making ahead: Chop tomatoes, onions and jalapeno and store together. Store chopped cilantro in a separate container. Combine everything with lime and salt 10 minutes before serving.
 
Note: The nutrition facts below are my estimates and do not include any sides. If you are following any diet plan, I recommend cross-checking with your preferred nutrition calculator.

Nutrition

Calories: 23kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 151mg | Potassium: 197mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 824IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 13mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Appetizer, Salad, Snack
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Pico De Gallo, Pico De Gallo Recipe, Pico De Gallo Salsa
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HEY! NICE TO MEET YOU!

Aneesha holding a glass of white wine Hi, I'm Aneesha, a foodie by birth and the mind, body and soul behind Spice Cravings. Here I share quick, easy & healthy Indian & global recipes that are low in effort and big on taste! A recipe doesn't make it on the blog unless it is tested multiple times and gets a thumbs-up from my taster-in-chief, my husband, and my teen-chefs, my twin girls!

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