This is a super easy recipe for fresh Pico de Gallo, perfect to be devoured with tortilla chips or added to your tacos or burritos. It comes together in minutes with fresh ingredients like tomatoes, onion, jalapeno, cilantro and garlic.
If you are looking for a more traditional style salsa, check out this recipe for Restaurant Style Salsa.
Why Make This Recipe
- This is a perfectly balanced recipe- fresh, tangy, salty, spicy and herbaceous.
- It makes a great alternative to traditional or store-bought salsa.
- It is the perfect condiment for any Mexican Dinner – tacos, barbacoa burritos, garnish your refried beans or Mexican Rice…!
- Perfect summer time recipe when you might have an abundance of ripe garden tomatoes.
What is Pico de Gallo
Pico de Gallo, also known as salsa fresca or salsa cruda, is pronounced “peeko-duh-gaiyo“, is a traditional Mexican condiment made with fresh tomatoes, salt, cilantro and peppers.
The direct translation in English is “beak of the rooster”… which is a funny name for salsa! But, it is believed that it was originally eaten by pinching two fingers together making a “beak”.
Here are the ingredients you need to make fresh Pico de Gallo, and some tips on a few important ingredients.
Since tomato is one of the main ingredients in Pico De Gallo it is important that you use a quality tomato. You will want to use fresh tomatoes, not canned.
Look for a tomato that is bright red in color from stem to tip and has nice firm flesh. A Roma tomato will work well or any vine ripened tomato.
I recommend using a white or red onion. However, onions can quickly take over a dish when they are served raw as in this Pico De Gallo.
Pro tip: Slice the onion into large rounds, then giving them a rinse under cool water, about 30 seconds to 1 min.
This will wash away the enzyme that makes onions so powerful and will help eliminate you tasting the onion hours later!
The heat of the jalapeno is held in the capsaicin of the pepper, which is mainly found in the seeds and ribs (or white pith).
To just add the nice pepper flavor and not the heat to your Pico just use the green flesh.
If you like a little heat add the white pith and some seeds.
Step by Step Picture Instructions
Start by slicing your tomatoes in half. Give them a very light squeeze (just enough to make the seeds pop out) over a bowl or sink and with a small spoon lightly scoop out some of the seeds and juice.
You do not need to get all the seeds. It should look like the tomatoes below:
Dice the tomatoes into about ¼ inch pieces. Place in a bowl
Add the diced jalapenos, onions, cilantro, garlic, and kosher salt.
Give everything a good stir to combine.
Bust out the tortilla chips, it is ready to eat now!
BUT if you can wait 30 minutes, let it sit at room temp. Or if you have longer – 1 hour up to 12 hours – let it marinate in the fridge.
You can absolutely eat all the juice that releases from the tomatoes and onions.
However, if you want a drier Pico de Gallo use a slotted spoon to transfer the tomato mixture to a serving bowl, leaving the juice behind to be discarded.
Here are a few pro tips before you make this recipe:
- Choose quality, ripe tomatoes that have a nice bright red color. Lightly deseed them for a better Pico de Gallo consistency.
- Rinse your raw onion slices before dicing and adding to the Pico.
- For a lot of heat include the jalapeno ribs (white pith) and seeds. For less heat only use the green flesh.
- If you have time, let it marinate on the counter for 30 minutes, or if you have longer, in the fridge for 1 hour to 12 hours for added flavor.
- Transfer to a serving dish with a slotted spoon to remove some of the juice that collects from the tomatoes.
Pico de Gallo is a type of salsa, also known as salsa fresca. It is made with fresh chopped tomatoes and has a chunky consistency. Traditional salsa has a thinner liquid consistency and can be made with fresh or canned tomatoes.
Pico de Gallo will be good in the fridge for 2-3 days. After that the tomatoes will start to soften and turn into mush from the acid of the lime juice. The salsa will also start to seem “carbonated” on your tongue or have a “beer smell”, you definitely know it is bad then!
Simple Pico De Gallo
- 2 cups ripe, fresh tomatoes (about 1 lb.) lightly deseeded and diced
- ½ cup white or red onion sliced, lightly rinsed under cool water, then diced
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1 ½ tbsp jalapeno, diced *see notes for help with heat/spice levels
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro chopped
- 2 tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- tortilla chips
- Slice the tomatoes in half and then give them a very light squeeze, just popping the seeds out, but not enough to bruise the tomato. Lightly scrape the seeds out with a small spoon. Discard the seeds and juice.
- Dice the remaining tomato flesh into ¼ inch dice. Place in a bowl.
- Slice the onion and then rinse under cool water for 30 seconds – 1 minute, then dice. Add to the tomatoesPRO TIP- rinsing the onion will help the onions not take over the flavor of the Pico.
- Add in the chopped cilantro, fresh lime juice, diced jalapeno, minced garlic and kosher salt.
- Give everything a good stir.
- It is ready to eat, just grab some tortilla chips.
- If you have time you can let it marinate at room temp for 30 minutes. If you have longer, let in marinate in the fridge for 1 hour up to 12 hours.
- The longer it sits the more juice will release from the tomatoes and onions. You can transfer the Pico de Gallo to a serving bowl with a slotted spoon, leaving the liquid behind to discard.
- The Pico de Gallo will be good in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days. After that the lime juice will soften the tomatoes too much and will become mushy.
- No Heat – omit the jalapeno
- Low Heat – use only the green parts of the jalapeno
- Medium Heat – use the green and ribs (white pith) parts of the jalapeno
- Most Heat – use more than one jalapeno and use the entire pepper, except the stem.
If nutrition facts are provided they are calculated as an estimate to the best of our knowledge.