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Fresh Pico de Gallo Recipe

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I’ve made this pico de gallo recipe more times than I can count, and I am always happy that I did! This recipe is quick and easy, and with a few simple tricks, you can make it taste truly authentic.

Pico de gallo is a classic Mexican fresh salsa. My family loves it, and we make it all the time! It works so well as a salsa or topping for tacos, inside burritos, and on top of rice bowls.

I love the crisp onions and juicy tomatoes in this pico de gallo recipe. It’s so fresh and flavorful. I especially love serving pico de gallo alongside homemade tortilla chips and a bowl of homemade guacamole.

Key Ingredients

Fresh tomatoes: Choose ripe, juicy tomatoes and chop them small. As the tomatoes sit with the other ingredients (especially the salt), they release some of their amazing juices, which makes our pico de gallo even more delicious.

Onion: I use white onions when I can find them since they are the most authentic choice, but you can swap them for yellow or sweet onions. To tame raw onion, soak your chopped onion in cold water for 10 minutes, then rinse. (I use this trick for our guacamole recipe, too!)

Jalapeño or serrano chilies: Add heat and more flavor. For mild salsa, remove the seeds and white membrane inside the peppers. For spicy pico de gallo, leave some or all of the seeds and membrane in.

Cilantro and Lime: Fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime are a must for an authentic flavor. A pinch of salt will also brighten everything up.

How to Make Pico de Gallo

To make pico de gallo, you’ll start by soaking your chopped onion in cold water for 10 minutes, and then rinsing. This simple trick really mellows the onion’s raw flavor and reduces onion breath.

While the onions soak, chop your tomatoes, chili peppers, and cilantro. Then combine everything and add a generous squeeze of lime juice and salt. I’ve found a generous pinch of salt does wonders for this salsa.

For the best pico de gallo, let it sit for 20 minutes before serving. Salt draws out flavor and liquid from the tomatoes and further tones down the bite of raw onion. It’s worth the wait!

Serving Suggestions

Serve pico de gallo with homemade tortilla chips (really easy, and they taste so good!). Or spoon over your favorite tacos, enchiladas, and rice bowls. I especially love this fresh salsa with these breakfast tacos, our easy pork tacos, and with scrambled eggs.

You can also serve it alongside other salsas. Try our roasted tomato salsa, quick and easy red salsa, or my favorite roasted tomatillo salsa.

Fresh Pico de Gallo Recipe

Pico de Gallo is a fresh tomato salsa popular in Mexico (also known as salsa Mexicano, salsa fresca, and salsa cruda). Use ripe tomatoes for this and look for tomatoes them to be deeply colored and firm, with a little give. If they don’t smell like anything, skip them. They should smell like a tomato (sweet and woody).

Makes 8 servings or about 3 cups

Watch Us Make the Recipe

You Will Need 1 ½ pounds tomatoes, chopped, 4 to 5 medium
1 medium onion, chopped, about 2/3 cup
1 to 2 jalapeño or serrano peppers, finely diced, with seeds and membranes removed for a milder salsa
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Juice of 1 lime
Salt to taste

1Optional step: To remove the raw bite of your onion, add the chopped onion to a bowl with cold water. Leave for 10 minutes, drain and rinse.
2Add the tomatoes, onion, cilantro, diced peppers, and lime juice to a bowl. Generously season with salt (start with 1/2 teaspoon and go from there). Set the pico de gallo aside for 20 minutes.
3Stir to distribute the juices left at the bottom of the bowl. Taste and adjust with more salt. Serve!
4Pico de gallo is best the day it is made, but it will keep for up to 3 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Adam and Joanne’s Tips

How long does pico de gallo last? In his book, “Authentic Mexican,” Rick Bayless says that a fresh salsa like pico de gallo is at its best for an hour or two. We agree, but I must admit that we’ve still been plenty happy with this recipe after a day in the fridge. You will lose some crunch over time, but it still tastes great.
The nutrition facts provided below are estimates.

Nutrition Per Serving
Serving Size
1/4 cup
1 g
8 g
Dietary Fiber
2 g
Total Sugars
4 g
Total Fat
0 g
Saturated Fat
0 g
0 mg


Adam and Joanne Gallagher

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