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Pico de Gallo

Pico de Gallo

Makes about 2 1/2 cups Servings

Looking for a salsa recipe? Look no further than this pico de gallo.


  • 1/2 medium white onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon minced jalapeño (optional)

Recipe Preparation

  • Place 1 cup cold water and 2 ice cubes in a medium bowl. Add onion; stir, then discard ice; drain well. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add tomatoes, cilantro, and jalapeño, if desired. Season with salt.

,Photos by Christopher Testani

Nutritional Content

One serving contains: Calories (kcal) 15 Fat (g) 0 Saturated Fat (g) 0 Cholesterol (mg) 0 Carbohydrates (g) 23 Dietary Fiber (g) 1 Total Sugars (g) 2 Protein (g) 0 Sodium (mg) 65Reviews Section

Pico de Gallo Recipe

It’s a simple combination of five main ingredients to create a classic Mexican dip which adds a fresh and healthy flavor to just about any Mexican meal. In fact, pico de gallo recipe, in my opinion, is better than salsa despite its simplistic ingredients.

When I went to Mexico with my sister and dad as a teenager, I mistakenly thought pico de gallo was Mexico's version of salsa. At the time, I didn't realize, in fact, it was a completely different sauce. Even though I preferred pico de gallo back then, I realized it was the simplistic ingredients that contributed to the fresh taste I craved.

Not only is pico de gallo fabulous on any Mexican food, but it also works well as a topping for Skinny Southwestern Tofu Scramble. Whenever I want a fresh, tomato flavor on anything, including my Crockpot Three-Bean Mega Veggie Chili , this is my go-to recipe.


First, the type of tomatoes you choose makes or breaks the pico de gallo. For instance, I prefer Roma tomatoes, because they are firmer and contain fewer seeds. Moreover, Roma tomatoes produce less juice, which is beneficial when making pico de gallo. As a matter of fact, you only need five base ingredients: ripe Roma tomatoes, white onion, jalapeño, cilantro, and lime. That’s it!

Additionally, you will need a few simple seasonings from the pantry to add a little zest: sea salt, cayenne, and garlic powder.

What’s the Difference Between Salsa and Pico de Gallo?

Tortilla chips are fine on their own, but add a bowl of salsa or pico de gallo to the picture and snacking takes a delicious turn for the better. These two Mexican dips share quite a bit in common, but do you know what sets them apart?

It’s All About Texture and Freshness

Depending on the recipe, the ingredients for salsa and pico de gallo can be nearly identical. What sets these two condiments apart is their texture and whether the ingredients are cooked or uncooked.

More About Salsa

Salsa, the Spanish word for sauce, can refer to cooked or fresh mixtures. With such an opened-ended definition, that means salsa can run the gamut of combinations. More often than not, salsa is made with tomatoes, onions, herbs, and chiles, although many variations exist using fruit and other vegetables like corn or beans. Green salsa or salsa verde is made with tomatillos and cilantro.

The consistency of salsa can vary and is known for containing a considerable amount of liquid (better for sopping up for tortilla chips, if you ask us). Some recipes use the diced ingredients as is, while others process the ingredients into more of a purée before serving.

You’ll also find that some salsas are cooked, which gives them a more savory tomato flavor you won’t find in the always-fresh pico de gallo.

Serve on these Turkey Zucchini Burgers (bunless) with some guac for a delicious Whole30 approved meal.

Create a taco bar with Instant Pot Taco Meat, Mexican Shredded Beef, or Salsa Chicken.

Build these Meal Prep Taco Bowls for a convenient make ahead lunch.

Use as a topping for your favorite grilled meats! For the best organic and grass fed meats, check out Butcher Box – they are my absolute fave!

How to Seed and Dice Jalapeno Peppers

If you are adding jalapeno peppers to this recipe, knowing how to seed and dice a jalapeno properly will make your life a whole lot easier. After cleaning and removing the jalapeno seeds, the rest is a short mixture of chopping and mixing. It really doesn’t take long at all!

Removing the seeds from a jalapeno is a touchy business, literally speaking. Hopefully, this isn’t your first rodeo with cutting a jalapeno, but if so, take my advice from here on out. Some people think that the seeds hold all of the heat, others think the membrane is the culprit.

If you have ever cut into a jalapeno all willy-nilly you may have experienced accidental eye or nose contact. Trust me, you do not want to experience this. To avoid this accidental tragedy I suggest wearing gloves or holding the jalapeno with a paper towel while you cut.

Make a lengthwise cut, exposing the membranes that hold the seeds in place. Then take a spoon and scrape out the membrane, working from the bottom to the top of the pepper. Scoop the seed directly into the compost. Finally, WASH YOUR HANDS! Like really get in there and wash them with soap. Gloves for the win!


First things first, add your diced onions and lime juice to a medium bowl and marry the flavours for at least 15 minutes. It essentially pickles the onions, and mellows their flavour. I do this with all my salsa recipes with onions and citrus or vinegar.

Then you add the seeded and chopped tomatoes, diced jalapeños, if using and fresh cilantro and salt and pepper. That's it, fresh delicious and easy authentic Mexican salsa ready in a jiffy.

This Pico de Gallo is:

The best mexican salsa recipe

Enjoy guys! Happy day to you? feel free to leave a comment and a rating below. I would love to hear from you.

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  • Be sure to use a really sharp knife when dicing your tomatoes and onions so you can dice them really small. In my opinion, the smaller the dices, the better!
  • To make this extra delicious, some mashed avocado (or even diced avocado) to make guacamole! Stir it in gently because you don’t want to mash your tomatoes.

The biggest difference between pico de gallo and salsa is that pico is fresh and uncooked. Pico de gallo is sometimes referred to as “salsa fresco.” Another difference between the two is that salsa is generally thinner in its consistency with more liquid, pico is chunky. Each ingredient really gets its on moment to shine in this dish. And when you take a bite, they all mingle together in harmony, while each chunk takes a solo moment as well.

What is the difference between salsa and pico de gallo?

Salsa tends to have a thinner, more pourable consistency since it’s made in a food processor or blender. Salsa is also prepared with tomatoes that are fresh (often times peeled) or canned.

Pico de gallo is chunkier tomato salsa in texture, using hand-chopped tomatoes, onions, and peppers. Only fresh unpeeled tomatoes are used.

Pico de gallo is a uncooked salsa known as a salsa fresca, or “fresh salsa,” in Spanish. It is a delicious combination of plum (Roma) tomatoes, white onion, cilantro, serrano peppers and a splash of lime juice.

What to Expect from this Recipe

You’ll learn the classic recipe as prepared throughout Mexico. Fresh plum tomatoes, white, onion, fresh cilantro, serrano pepper, lime juice and salt. Nothing more. Nothing Less. A perfectly balanced dish that needs no substitutions or tweaks.

How to Make Pico de Gallo

Serve this authentic pico de gallo recipe with carne asada, chicken, fish tacos, beef tacos, chicken tacos, molletes, nachos, burritos, and of course chips. You get bonus points if you make your own tortilla chips. Use it as a topping for just about anything. Don’t limit yourself to using it for Mexican food.

Choose Ripe Plum Tomatoes and Fresh Ingredients

You want to choose really ripe red plum tomatoes. The riper the better. The flavor is built around the tomatoes and enhanced by the other ingredients.

Unripe tomatoes will make your pico taste like cardboard. Only use slicing tomatoes, like beefsteak tomatoes, if plum tomatoes are not available.

Fresh cilantro is important its bright herbal taste.


  • 4 plum tomatoes (Roma tomatoes)
  • 1 white onion (optional red onion)
  • 12 fresh cilantro sprigs
  • 2 serrano chiles
  • 1 Mexican lime (see notes)
  • Sea salt to taste (½ to 1 tsp.)


Cut the tops off the tomatoes then slice in half lengthwise. Use a teaspoon to scoop out the seeds and pulp and discard.

With a paring knife, remove the tops of the chiles and then slice in half lengthwise. Use the tip of the paring knife to cut out the seeds and veins.

Remove the cilantro leaves from the stems and discard the stems.

Chop the tomato into ¼″ inch pieces. Finely chop the onion, cilantro, and serrano chile.

Put the chopped ingredients into a mixing bowl. Add the salt and lime juice.

Stir until ingredients are mixed evenly.


Serve slightly chilled or at room temperature. If you serve it really cold it tastes flat. The subtle flavor of the ingredients doesn’t shine through. If you are not convinced, do a taste test. Eat a batch that is ice cold and then eat batch that is at room temperature. You will see the difference. I guarantee it. Pico de gallo is best when eaten fresh.

Cinco de Mayo party. You can make it year-round but it is especially delicious during summer when tomatoes are at their peak.

A Healthy Option

Mexican food has a reputation for being heavy and greasy, unjustly deserved in my opinion. This dish is the complete opposite. All vegetables, low calories, and no fat. Totally guilt-free.

Eat with reckless abandon. It is vegetarian and vegan to boot. Kids will eat it too because it is “salsa”, not yucky vegetables and it works just as well with fussy adults who don’t like vegetables.