This Pico De Gallo recipe is a homemade salsa recipe made with fresh, everyday ingredients and explodes with classic Mexican flavors. Enjoy with chips or serve as a condiment for your favorite Mexican recipes.
Why we love this recipe
Pico De Gallo is the fresh version of a Mexican salsa, also called salsa fresca. It's an essential food for any gathering or Mexican food night! I've made this restaurant quality salsa countless times and it always disappears. It's made with fresh tomatoes, onions, peppers, cilantro, garlic, and lime. If you're a home gardener, this is an excellent way to use up peppers and tomatoes.
What does Pico de Gallo mean?
Pico de Gallo is most commonly known as fresh salsa or salsa fresca. However, in Spanish, it translates to "beak of rooster". The dish got this name because people would eat it by pinching their thumb and forefinger together and picking it up, imitating the motion of a chicken's beak.
Pico de Gallo key ingredients
Roma Tomatoes - any tomato will work for Pico de Gallo, but Romas have a firm texture that prevent it from getting mushy.
Red Onion - The bright and spicy flavor of red onion goes perfectly with the tomatoes, but any onion will work.
Cilantro - This is a must in Mexican cooking, and adds a flavor that no other herb has.
Jalapeno or Serrano Pepper - Remove the seeds to avoid having too much heat in your final dish. Jalapeño is going to be the milder option, while Serrano is usually spicier. Choose your own adventure!
Lime - We're using both the juice and the zest from a lime for maximum flavor. Use a citrus juicer to get every drop of lime juice. If you don't have one, twist a fork in the lime to loosen everything up.
Garlic - an optional (but recommended) ingredient. I like to grate mine on a Microplane so the texture blends right in.
Salt and Pepper - add as much or as little as you like.
How To Make Pico de Gallo
This salsa fresca recipe is really as simple as just chopping up fresh ingredients and mixing everything together. You need a sharp knife, a zester, a cutting board, and a bowl to toss everything together. You won't believe how easy this recipe is and how quickly it comes together!
What are the best tomatoes for salsa fresca?
I love Roma tomatoes for Pico de gallo because they hold their shape and won't become mushy. They're firm, the seeds are easily removed, and are available any season of the year. Naturally, peak season tomatoes of any variety will work.
Salsa fresca vs Pico de gallo
We sometimes use the term salsa to describe any loose mixture of tomatoes and peppers that we use in Mexican food, and that's ok! But actually, salsa is the Mexican word for "sauce" and generally describes a thinner, maybe blended, or maybe cooked salsa. Pico De Gallo is a very specific recipe as I'm sharing here that is served fresh ... and is also called salsa fresca as we mentioned earlier.
How to store fresh salsa
Since Pico de Gallo is made with fresh ingredients, it should always be refrigerated in an airtight container for optimal freshness. You can store fresh salsa up to 5 days and each day creates more and more flavor. Of course, it never lasts that long in my house because we can't keep our hands off of it.
Can you freeze pico de gallo?
Technically, yes you can freeze Pico de Gallo, but I don't recommend it because the fresh produce becomes watery and mushy once it has thawed. It's not like cooked salsa or my blender salsa which actually can be frozen for several months.
How to serve salsa fresca
Fresh salsa is a popular topping for just about any Mexican food. Here are my favorite ways to serve it:
- over my Loaded Steak Nachos or Taco Pasta
- scooped over Chicken Tacos, Chicken Burrito Bowls, or Veggie Burrito Bowls
- topped over a bed of lettuce and other vegetables for a healthy and delicious salad
- with a giant bowl of tortilla chips (everyone's favorite!)
More salsa recipes
More Mexican Recipes
- Instant Pot Chicken Burrito Bowl
- Cilantro Lime Rice
- Loaded Steak Nachos
- Totchos Tater Tot Nachos
- Vegetarian Burrito Bowls
Homemade Pico De Gallo
- 6 Roma Tomatoes, seeded and diced (about 4 cups)
- 1/2 Red Onion, diced
- 1/2 cup Cilantro, chopped
- 1-2 Fresh Jalapenos (or Serrano Peppers), seeded and minced
- 2 Limes, zested and juiced
- 3 Garlic Cloves, peeled and grated
- 1/4 tsp Sea Salt
- 1/8 tsp Black Pepper
- Place ingredients in a mixing bowl and toss to combine.*Note: Always start with small amounts of jalapenos or Serrano peppers and work your way up, depending on your heat preference.
- Serve immediately, or cover tightly and refrigerate until ready to serve, up to five days.
Nutrition data provided as courtesy estimates using unbranded ingredients from a nutrition database. Please consult preferred resource for precise data.