Pico De Gallo

Learn how to make pico de gallo! This easy recipe calls for simple, fresh ingredients and is delicious as a dip or on your favorite Mexican dishes.

Pico de gallo

Learn how to make pico de gallo! I’m sharing my classic pico de gallo recipe below, plus tips to give it the best flavor.

If you’re new to making salsa, pico de gallo is a great place to start. It gives you a lot of bang for your buck, because even though it’s zesty and flavorful, it’s SO easy. You don’t need any special equipment—just a cutting board and a good knife—and the ingredient list is short and sweet. Try this fresh salsa once, and I think it’ll become a staple in your kitchen.

What is pico de gallo?

Also called “salsa fresca,” pico de gallo is a fresh Mexican salsa made of finely chopped tomatoes, onion, cilantro, jalapeño, and lime. In English, its name literally means “rooster’s beak,” though there’s no definitive reason why we call it that.

Pico de Gallo vs. Salsa

Pico de gallo is a type of salsa. It’s distinct from other salsas in that

  1. The ingredients are fresh, not cooked
  2. They’re finely diced, not blended or mashed

You might notice that many of the ingredients in my homemade salsa recipe are the same as those in this recipe. However, the homemade salsa isn’t pico de gallo because it’s pulsed in a food processor, not chopped by hand!

Pico de gallo recipe ingredients

How to Make Pico de Gallo (+Tips!)

I love this salsa because it’s SO easy to make! Just finely dice the tomatoes, onion, cilantro, and jalapeño, and toss them with minced garlic, lime juice, and salt. Once you’ve mixed everything together, season to taste and serve!

Here are a few tips for extra pico success:

  1. Use the tomato flesh, not the seeds and juices. You don’t want your pico to be too watery, so make sure to leave out tomatoes’ seedy pulp as you toss this together. I like to use tomatoes on the vine in my pico, but roma tomatoes and plum tomatoes are good choices too, as they’re less juicy than other varieties. You could also use quartered grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes.
  2. For the best flavor, give it a chance to chill. I like this fresh salsa best after the flavors have had a chance to meld. I often mix it up ahead of time and pop it in the refrigerator for at least an hour and up to a day before serving. Note: the mixture will get juicier as the tomatoes marinate in the lime and salt. I recommend using a slotted spoon or fork to scoop it onto tacos, etc., in order to leave any water behind.
  3. Quality ingredients count. Because this recipe is so simple, you need great ingredients for a great result! It’s perfect for summer, when fresh tomatoes are in peak season. Look for the best ones you can find to make this recipe. Whatever you do, steer clear of bland, watery winter tomatoes.

Variations

This homemade pico de gallo recipe is a fantastic template for other fresh salsas! Have fun making it your own. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Swap the fruit. Replace the tomatoes with diced mango, pineapple, watermelon, peaches, or strawberries.
  • Add more crunch. Toss in diced red bell pepper or fresh corn kernels.
  • Spice it up. Mix in a pinch of coriander or ground cumin.
  • Toss in something creamy. Avocado and black beans are both delicious.
  • Use what you have on hand. No white onion? Use red onion or scallions instead. Short on jalapeño? Serrano peppers will also do the trick.

Let me know what variations you try!

Pico de gallo recipe

How to Use Pico de Gallo

This simplest way to serve this pico de gallo recipe is as a dip. Set it out with a bowl of tortilla chips for a tasty appetizer or snack. Add guacamole and margaritas for the perfect happy hour spread.

It’s also a delicious fresh topping for Mexican food. Try it on…

Got leftovers? Store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. I love to use them to make migas for breakfast!

More Favorite Salsa Recipes

If you love this recipe, try one of these homemade salsas next:

Looking for more dip recipes? Find my 35 Best Dip Recipes here.

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Pico De Gallo

rate this recipe:
5 from 16 votes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Serves 6 to 8
My best pico de gallo recipe! This classic Mexican salsa is zesty, fresh, and SO easy to make. Enjoy it as a dip with tortilla chips, or serve it with Mexican dishes like tacos and enchiladas.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups diced tomato, 3 to 4 small tomatoes
  • ¾ cup diced white onion
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, stemmed and diced
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, combine the tomato, onion, cilantro, lime juice, garlic, jalapeño, and salt. Stir to combine. Chill until ready to use.
  • Serve with chips, for dipping, or see additional serving suggestions in the post above.

 

22 comments

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Rate this recipe (after making it)




  1. Rhonda
    12.30.2023

    5 stars
    So crisp and fresh and flavourful. I added more jalapeño. We like it hot.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      01.01.2024

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  2. Melanie
    12.05.2023

    5 stars
    Made this recipe, minus the jalapeños because I didn’t have any. It was delicious.
    I made couscous the next day and wanted to add more flavor so I threw some in while cooking, it was perfect! So much flavor!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      12.08.2023

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  3. Chris
    09.02.2023

    Love your recipes but in Spain and Europe most salsas are fresh and chopped rather than cooked and whipped.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      09.05.2023

      Hi Chris, this recipe is chopped and fresh.

  4. Amy
    09.25.2022

    I just made this I give it a five!

  5. Cara
    09.09.2022

    Can I use red onion instead?

  6. Kate
    08.19.2022

    How long does it last?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      08.19.2022

      Hi Kate, a few days in the fridge, it starts to get watery after that.

  7. Steve Nunez
    05.01.2022

    The term pico de gallo actually means ” The bits or things that the roosters beak is pecking at “.

  8. Bruce
    04.28.2022

    “Rooster beak” or “Beak of the bird” is a saying for something unfinished. That’s the beak of the bird, meaning there’s more to the story.

  9. Sharan Harrison
    02.26.2022

    I always use tomatillos along with all your other ingredients for Pico de Gallo. and if I have a small persian cucumber to use up I’ll chop that up and add it. Thanks for all the yummy recipes!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      02.27.2022

      Ooh yum!

    • Joe
      03.10.2022

      It’s because the chopped up pieces are supposed to redemble a birds beak.

  10. Amanda
    02.02.2022

    5 stars
    Literally so good. My boyfriend who swears up and down he hated pico de gallo, tried this, and wouldn’t put his spoon down!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      02.04.2022

      I’m so glad he loved it!

  11. Jen
    08.24.2021

    How many days in advance can this be made?

  12. Hollis Ramsey
    02.04.2021

    5 stars
    As traditional as it gets. I add 2-3 serranos instead of a single jalapeño, and red onions instead of white, but no other changes. Deseeding the tomatoes is crucial IMO. It’s Mexican tabbouleh!

  13. Gabriel
    09.14.2019

    Hello! Loved your Pico de gallo recipe. My take and innovation to share is to replace the tomatoes with cape gooseberries (uchuvas)

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      09.23.2019

      thanks for the tip, I’m glad you enjoyed the recipe!

  14. Sabrina
    06.01.2019

    5 stars
    great recipe and walk through, thank you

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.