Authentic Pico de Gallo is fresh, fast and an easy Mexican recipe to master. This 5-ingredient homemade salsa recipe (Pico de Gallo receta) is loaded with all your favorite Mexican flavors: tomatoes, onions, jalapeños, cilantro and lime juice.
Favorite recipes to serve this fresh salsa with: Birria (for Birria Tacos or Mulitas), Pollo Asado Tacos using Grilled Pollo Asado, Carne Asada, Carne Asada Tacos, Carne Asada Fries, Carne Asada Nachos, Street Tacos, Refried Bean Dip, Flank Steak Tacos, Steak Fajitas or Chicken Fajitas.
San Diego born and raised here at FoodieandWine, so we know good Mexican grub. San Diego is the epicenter of quality Mexican food in the US. Tex-Mex this ain’t. (Before you @ me – nothing against Tex-Mex – we lived in Texas and appreciate a good Tex-Mex joint). If you’ve ever been to a Mexican food restaurant in San Diego, you KNOW what I’m talking about. If not, start with our Authentic Carne Asada recipe. TONS of 5-star reviews from locals.
This salsa is a fresh and chunky, un-blended and un-cooked Mexican salsa made up of tomatoes, onions, jalapenos (optional), cilantro and lime juice. For an extra punch you can add a shake or two of cumin. Taqueria Pico de Gallo recipes don’t contain pre-made seasonings like these.
Pico de Gallo pronunciation, in case you were wondering, is “peek-o-de-guy-o”
What does Pico de Gallo mean? Pico de Gallo translation – “beak of the rooster” in English. Some folks refer to it as “salsa fresca” or “salsa cruda”.
Pico de Gallo vs Salsa
There are two main differences between traditional Pico and traditional Mexican salsa:
- Pico is chunky and unblended, while salsa is traditionally blended therefore more of a liquid consistency.
- Most of the time, partial ingredients in salsa are roasted, whereas pico contains only fresh and raw ingredients.
(Como hacer Pico de Gallo) Only 2 big steps are required : Dice the onions and jalapeños, add to a large bowl, and stir in the lime juice and salt. Dice the tomatoes and cilantro and add it to the onion mixture. Toss to combine. Let chill for an hour. That’s it, folks!
- Use ripe and bright red tomatoes. Since the tomatoes are fresh, quality really matters for all the ingredients, particularly the tomatoes. 9 times out of 10 we grab Roma tomatoes. Tomatoes should be cored and de-seeded before dicing. Get out all the stuff what will water down this topping.
- Traditional recipes in Mexico are made with Serrano peppers, however we swapped them out for jalapeno peppers are this is what most peeps can handle. If you like the heat, use the Serrano peppers!
- If you’re serving within an hour or so, let the diced onions, jalapeños and salt marinate while you chop the tomatoes and cilantro. This will mellow the flavor of both raw items a bit more. It’s similar to what is done when making quick pickled red onions.
- Use gloves when handing hot peppers. Oh, and don’t touch your face. You make that mistake once and you won’t do it again in the near future.
- Try and let marinate for a minimum of an hour. The flavors harmonize a bit more, which is always a good thing.
- Serve slightly chilled or close to room temperature. The flavor really comes out when not ice cold.
- The final product shouldn’t be watery, so use a slotted spoon or fork to use when dishing over your recipes.
Best Tomatoes For Salsa Fresca
The best varietals to use are very ripe Roma Tomatoes or Plum tomatoes. Vine Ripe Tomatoes, Cherry Tomatoes or even Grape Tomatoes work as well if you don’t have access to quality Roma tomatoes or Plum tomatoes.
This recipe is highly adaptable and a great “base” recipe to experiment with. Here are a few ideas:
- Pico de Gallo with Fruit – Think Pineapple Pico de Gallo, or even mango, watermelon or cranberry (like our Cranberry Jalapeno Dip.
- Pico de Gallo Without Cilantro – Just omit the cilantro. I’d add a shake or two of cumin to boost up the flavor.
- Mild – Omit the jalapenos or replace with pickled peppers or pickled banana peppers.
- Spicy Pico de Gallo – Replace the jalapenos with serrano peppers.
- Onions – replace the red onions with white onions or even green onions.
- Corn Pico de Gallo – Just add in some raw corn cut off the cob.
- Shrimp Pico de Gallo – Throw in some small shrimp or diced large shrimp. Similar to our Mexican Shrimp Cocktail, without the tomato juice.
- Cucumber Pico de Gallo – Thrown in some diced cucumbers for a refreshingly cool salsa. Pickled cucumbers would also work.
- Pico de Gallo with Avocado – Add in some diced avocado pieces to get the creamy flavor, without making it guacamole.
- Guacamole Pico de Gallo – Add some to smashed avocados to make a delicious guacamole. It would be amazing on our Carne Asada Nachos pictured below! Or just make our 4 ingredient guacamole.
- Tons of Mexican recipes, like tacos, burritos, fajitas, quesadillas, tostadas, nachos, tortas, taquitos and flautas
- Breakfast Skillet and egg recipes
- Dip for Arepa Con Queso!
- Chili Cheese Fries topping
- Add to Beans like Instant Pot Bean Recipes
- Instant Pot Baked Potatoes
- Grilled vegetables
- Grilled chicken or beef
Can You Freeze Pico de Gallo
Yep- but we don’t recommend. The tomatoes will release a ton of water when thawed and the overall texture will change. So you can, but don’t personally do it. If you do, make sure to defrost the salsa and drain in a strainer before serving. This will help with the “watery” issue.
How Long Does Pico de Gallo Last
Quality wise, it’s best to enjoy within 24 hours. Safety-wise salsa fresca will last in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. The tomatoes and onions will soften the longer they sit, so the texture will adjust slightly the older it is.
- 1 cup Diced Onions, Red or White (*Note 1)
- 1-2 tbsp Diced Serrano Peppers or Jalapeno (*Note 2)
- 1 Fresh Key Lime, Juiced (*Note 3)
- 1/4-1/2 tsp Salt (*Note 4)
- 3-4 Tomatoes, Diced
- ⅓ cup Chopped Cilantro
- Dice the onions and jalapeños, add to a large mixing bowl and toss with the lime juice and salt. Set aside.
- Dice the tomatoes and cilantro and add to the onion mix. Stir to combine.
- Transfer to the refrigerator and let chill for a an hour before serving.