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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.

For healthy recipes that use this pico de gallo, check out my Creamy Pico de Gallo, Pico de Gallo Stuffed Avocados and Mexican Chicken Zucchini Noodles.

Pico de gallo salsa in a bowl surrounded with corn tortilla chips and a lime wedge.
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.

Watch me make this Pico de Gallo Recipe (So Easy!)

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

Close up 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 salsa in a bowl surrounded with corn tortilla chips and a lime wedge.

Amazing Mexican Recipes to Pair with Pico De Gallo

And if the salsa gets a little too spicy for you, don’t forget to wash it down with my Mango Margarita or Classic Margarita. *wink*

Pico de gallo salsa in a bowl surrounded with corn tortilla chips and a lime wedge.
5 from 7 votes
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Pico de Gallo (the BEST Salsa Recipe)

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!
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Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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 as well.
  • 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). 

Nutrition

Calories: 18kcal, Carbohydrates: 4g, Sodium: 197mg, Potassium: 142mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 8.9%, Vitamin C: 13.4%, Calcium: 1.2%, Iron: 1.2%
Course: Snack
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: How to Make Pico de Gallo, Mexican Salsa, Pico De Gallo, Pico de Gallo Recipe, Salsa Recipe
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18 comments on “Pico de Gallo”

  1. 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.

  2. 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 …………

  3. Can it be refrigerated for couple of days

  4. So easy to make and classic.

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

  6. 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.

  7. There is nothing better than fresh homemade pico de gallo especially on cinco de mayo.

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

  8. 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.

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