Pico de Gallo

Pico de Gallo is an authentic Mexican chunky salsa recipe that’s simple to make at home with fresh ingredients found at any grocery store. It’s delicious, addictive and has a spicy kick.

You can enjoy pico de gallo on it’s own with tortilla chips, or serve it with any of the healthy, delicious Mexican recipes listed below!

Pico de gallo in a bowl next to chips.
It’s almost impossible to eat Mexican food without a side of salsa or some guacamole. They’re the most delicious nibbles that get your taste buds ready for the main course.

I’ve been spoiled growing up Southern California with some of the best Mexican food and I’d like to think I’m an expert when it comes to fresh salsa recipes. I’ve also trained my taste buds over the years with many vacations to Mexico (it’s so darn close!).

There are many types of salsa recipes, from puréed restaurant style salsa to fruity mango salsa and more chunky pico de gallo salsa. They’re all delicious, but today let’s whip up the best pico de gallo recipe you’ve ever had.

What is Pico De Gallo?

Pico de gallo [peeko de guyo] is a Mexican salsa made from tomatoes, onion, cilantro, a spicy chile like jalapeño or serrano peppers, lime juice, and salt. That’s it! There’s no cooking involved, just chopping and throwing it all in a bowl.

Its name, confusing to some, translates to the beak of the rooster in Spanish. There’s a lot of opinions on the meaning behind the name, but no one really knows for sure. One name everyone does agree on though is salsa fresca (fresh sauce). Quite fitting, eh?

What’s the difference between salsa and pico de gallo?

Pico de gallo is a salsa, but what sets it apart from other salsas is two things.

  1. Salsa usually has a much more liquid consistency. Pico de gallo is chunky with far less liquid.
  2. When referring to salsas broadly, they can consist of cooked ingredients (or flame broiled). Pico de gallo is never cooked and should always be made with raw ingredients.

Up close photo of pico de gallo.

Should I use Jalapeños or Serrano Peppers?

If you go to Mexico and order pico de gallo, in most cases, you’ll have salsa with serrano pepper. Unless, you are at a touristy restaurant where they may swap the serrano for a jalapeño.

They know many tourists can’t take the heat, so they turn down the spice with jalapeños (how thoughtful!). But traditionally, in Mexico, serrano peppers are the way to go so that’s what I’m using in my pico de gallo recipe, but feel free to use the chile you’re most comfortable with.

If you’ve never had a serrano pepper before, to put it into spice context, the serrano pepper is 8,000 – 22,000 Scoville heat units (SHU) and jalapeños are only 2,500 – 8,000 SHU. The hotter the pepper, the higher units on the Scoville scale.

Tips for the Making the Best Pico De Gallo

  • Since you’re relying on the natural flavors of all the ingredients, make sure you use the freshest ingredients for this salsa recipe.
  • While pico de gallo is chunkier than regular salsa, I love hand chopping everything very finely to ensure I get all the flavors on one chip.
  • If you’re serving at a party, make this a few hours in advance. That way, all the natural juices from the tomatoes, onion, lime, and pepper will marinate together providing a more robust flavor. Stir the ingredient a few times before serving.
  • Don’t forget the salt. For this recipe, I used 1/2 teaspoon of salt. I debated adding more salt but thought otherwise as tortilla chips are usually pretty salty and make up the difference. So keep that in mind if you’re a salt lover like me.

Pico de gallo in a serving bowl.

Amazing Mexican Recipes to Serve With It

And if the salsa gets a little too spicy for you, make a Creamy Pico de Gallo. You can also wash it down with my Agua Fresca, Mango Margarita or Classic Margarita. *wink*

Pico de Gallo Recipe Video

It’s easy to whip up this recipe with fresh ingredients. But it always helps to watch a quick video. Give it a watch below!

Pico de Gallo Recipe (Easy & Authentic)

5 from 37 votes
Prep Time: 15 mins
Total Time: 15 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan
Pico de Gallo is an authentic Mexican chunky salsa recipe that's simple to make at home with fresh ingredients. It's delicious, addictive and has a spicy kick. Watch the video above to see how easy it is to make!


  • 4 Roma tomatoes, deseeded and diced
  • 2/3 cup white onion, finely diced
  • 1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 serrano pepper or jalapeño, finely chopped
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  • Once you have prepared all the ingredients, add them to a bowl and thoroughly mix together.
  • If you can wait 15 minutes to let all the flavors meld together, that's best. But if you can't wait to dig in, I completely understand. Serve with tortilla chips and enjoy!

Lisa's Tips

  • This recipes makes 3 cups of pico de gallo.
  • Serve it up with corn tortilla chips or my favorite Siete brand cassava tortilla chips (they're gluten-free, grain-free and corn-free). 


Calories: 18kcal, Carbohydrates: 4g, Sodium: 197mg, Potassium: 142mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 445IU, Vitamin C: 11.1mg, Calcium: 12mg, Iron: 0.2mg
Course: Snack
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: How to Make Pico de Gallo, Mexican Salsa, Pico De Gallo, Pico de Gallo Recipe, Salsa Recipe
©Downshiftology. Content and photographs are copyright protected. Sharing of this recipe is both encouraged and appreciated. Copying and/or pasting full recipes to any social media is strictly prohibited.
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?Leave a comment below and share a photo on Instagram. Tag @downshiftology and hashtag it #downshiftology.

Recipe originally published May 2019, but updated to include new information. 

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84 comments on “Pico de Gallo”

  1. This pico is delicious! So fresh. 
    This will be my go to recipe from now on 
    Thank you 5 stars

  2. This recipe is exactly how my friend in Mexico makes it, but she doesn’t add the salt until just before serving as it will draw out the liquid and make it more watery.5 stars

  3. what changes would you make to this recipe if you wanted to turn it into salsa? would you mash it? Or pulse it in a food processor?

  4. Tastes great! Made it today to have with Nachos!5 stars

  5. Is it safe to leave the salsa uncovered for 15 minutes? How long can I keep the salsa refrigerated? Is it possible to use this recipe as a canning recipe?5 stars

  6. I sometimes use lime in place of the lemon. Lime gives it a little different flavor!5 stars

  7. Can I use red onion? Can I had in avocado? 

    • Yes, you can use red onion if you’d like. You can add avocado as well, just note that the avocado will quickly brown.

  8. I made it and it was so good emitted out so quick I had to make another one 

  9. STOP HERE! Excellent!! This is exactly how it should be made.Thank you for the recipe❤️5 stars

  10. Glad I came across this. Needed this recipe.

  11. Really good !  Taste almost the same than the one in Mexico 😎5 stars

  12. I tripled the recipe for a large group gathering last night. I couldn’t get serrano peppers so I used jalapeno instead and left the seeds in for kick. Lots of chopping, but it all paid off. Folks loved the flavor blends and the sneaky kick in the back of the throat. Afterwards, while we were cleaning up there was a couple large spoonfuls left. I was planning to take some home until I saw one of the guests with a huge sad face; I changed my mind and let her have it. Will definitely make again and hopefully the serranos are in stock!5 stars

  13. delicious and super easy to make. Thank you Lisa :)5 stars

  14. Is there a method to store, can or freeze? Thanks!

  15. I love this recipe!  It’s so nice to have a perfect recipe for a staple like this. I make tacos and burritos so often I should be embarrassed and this pico de gallo saves me so much prep time and effort. After the flavors have mingled the taste is truly sublime. Thank you!5 stars

  16. Lisa, all of your recipes are so delicious and your videos are fun to watch and easy to follow thank you so much.5 stars

  17. Always love such simple and delicious recipes! This looks so good! I am going to make this now. Thanks for sharing!5 stars

  18. You nailed it again! Love your guac recipe but this is my new fav. Made it yesterday along with the guac at my mini super bowl party. I do bbq competitions and I just might start entering these two in the ancillary category(with your permission)! I love the simplicity of it. Great job!5 stars

  19. Awesome. I love such simple yet delicious and healthy recipes. I have bookmarked your page. Thanks for sharing awesome recipes.5 stars

  20. I just finished making your pick recipe. Didn’t have time tomatoes , so used tomatoes on the vine. Scooped seeds, hope its not too juicy. I have it chi!ling. Can’t wait to try!5 stars

  21. I have made this twice this week. So good. This will be my go to recipe from now on..5 stars

  22. This recipe for pico de gallo is some of the freshest, most well-balanced pico de gallo I have ever had. I have nothing but praise!! Four out of four Downshiftology recipes for Cinco de Mayo — successes!!5 stars

  23. I made it recently and ate it by the spoonfuls. The proportions in this recipe are so perfect. The onions add a delightful crunch without overpowering the salsa. Waiting for 15 mins is difficult but worth it!5 stars

  24. Yuuum! All that flavours! It’s really hard to wait these 15 minutes, you suggested! Thank you for the recipe!5 stars

  25. I made this for the first time for Cinco de Mayo and it turned out amazing! I made probably the biggest bowl ever, and it is gone after only two days. Seriously, no more store bought for me. This is legit.5 stars

    • Hi Margo- Wonderful! Now you can always have freshly made pico de gallo at home instead :)

      • Made this! It’s so good on its own, but I put it on my tostadas I’ve made for lunches, too, which I shared on Instagram. I should make pico de gallo more often, since I almost always have the ingredients on hand. ❤️

        I only recently came across your YT channel, and you bet I subscribed! 💕5 stars

      • Thanks so much for subscribing, Kae! I’m happy you’re loving my recipes and videos and yes, homemade pico de gallo is the best. So easy and so much flavor. I top it on virtually everything! ;) x

  26. I’ve been watching your youtube videos for months and finally decided to check out your website, love the layout and all the printable recipes!! This is so helpful for someone who is just starting to learn about cooking :)5 stars

  27. I love pico de gallo! It’s such a delicious salsa that is so easy to make! 5 stars

  28. I love this stuff. Haven’t made it for a long time and you’ve just inspired me to make it again. Gonna try your recipe this time!5 stars

  29. Chopping and cutting ingredients right now. I cannot wait to try! Your salsa recipe sounds amazingly delicious.5 stars

  30. Hi what is Cilantro and if I cant get it what could I use as a replacement. Thanks in advance.


  31. This is our latest obsession!
    Actually love that it’s so traditional and minimal, makes the individual flavours of the veggies extra delicious.5 stars

  32. Hi Lisa. I have being following for a while and I also have problems with gluten :-( so, I am always looking for something gluten free and healthy. “Pico de Gallo” is not exclusive of Mexico. It is a Latin thing. You will find this in many other countries of Central and South America. Just like “Chimichurri”. I am Brazilian and we have “Vinagrete”. Same ingredients: cubed tomatoes, chopped parsley or cilantro, diced onion, white vinegar and S&P. I always had it with barbecue. Get it? ;-)5 stars

  33. I make this pretty much weekly~Delicious ~♡5 stars

  34. I think this recipe might have converted me from a cilantro-hater to a cilantro-lover. Really love this Pico de Gallo and make it pretty much every week during the summer months.5 stars

  35. Absolutely delicious! My husband and I broiled some cod with fresh dill and sage and we’re going to use a little of the salsa and save the rest for our breakfast but ended up eating the whole batch. It was that good. Thank you for all your delicious wholesome recipes.5 stars

  36. I love salsa, but I recently became allergic to onions. Just wondering if anybody had any ideas to replace with? My first thoughts was to use celery.

    • You could use the white parts of green onions. But if you’re allergic to the whole allium onion family and are looking for more of a crunch in your salsa, celery, or cucumber could work.

  37. I tried this recipe today and I made it with no salt added because my husband has high blood pressure …….. It has so much natural flavor that he didn’t miss the salt at all …………5 stars

  38. Can it be refrigerated for couple of days

  39. So easy to make and classic.5 stars

  40. Yum! I love how easy and flavorful this recipe tastes!5 stars

  41. With Cinco de Mayo being just around the corner, it is a great recipe to have. I like the spicy kick that you’ve added, too – can’t wait to try.5 stars

  42. There is nothing better than fresh homemade pico de gallo especially on cinco de mayo.5 stars

    • Agreed! I love making Pico de Gallo fresh especially for parties. Thanks, Kelly! :)

  43. There is nothing like fresh pico de gallo. I could eat it all day!. This is ideal for Cinco de Mayo and any fiesta celebration.5 stars

  44. I love this chunky mexican salsa, so colorful and looks delish. Perfect for summer picnics.5 stars