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Pico de Gallo

Pico de Gallo Recipe


Pico de Gallo, also known as salsa fresca or salsa cruda, is a classic Mexican salsa made from fresh tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and lime juice. It’s a simple yet flavorful condiment that can be used as a dip for chips, a topping for tacos, or a fresh addition to grilled meats. This easy-to-make recipe brings a burst of freshness and a touch of heat to any dish, making it a versatile and beloved staple in Mexican cuisine.



  • 1 cup finely chopped white onion (about 1 small onion)
  • 1 medium jalapeño or serrano pepper, ribs and seeds removed, finely chopped (decrease or omit if sensitive to spice, or add another if you love heat)
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt, more to taste
  • 1 ½ pounds ripe red tomatoes (about 8 small or 4 large), chopped
  • ½ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro (about 1 bunch)


1. Prepare the Vegetables

  1. Chop the Onions: Finely chop one small white onion to make about 1 cup. Place the chopped onion in a medium mixing bowl.
  2. Chop the Pepper: Finely chop one medium jalapeño or serrano pepper. If you prefer a milder pico de gallo, remove the ribs and seeds. Add the chopped pepper to the bowl with the onions.

2. Combine Ingredients

  1. Add Lime Juice and Salt: Pour ¼ cup of lime juice over the onions and peppers. Add ¾ teaspoon of fine sea salt to the mixture. Stir to combine. Let this mixture sit for a few minutes to let the flavors meld and to slightly soften the onions.

3. Chop the Tomatoes and Cilantro

  1. Chop the Tomatoes: Chop 1 ½ pounds of ripe red tomatoes into small pieces. If your tomatoes are particularly juicy, you might want to drain some of the excess liquid. Add the chopped tomatoes to the mixing bowl.
  2. Chop the Cilantro: Finely chop about ½ cup of fresh cilantro, stems removed. Add the chopped cilantro to the mixing bowl with the other ingredients.

4. Mix and Taste

  1. Combine All Ingredients: Stir all the ingredients together until well combined.
  2. Adjust Seasoning: Taste the pico de gallo and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Add more lime juice or salt to taste.

5. Serve and Enjoy

  1. Serve Immediately: Pico de Gallo is best served fresh. Enjoy it as a dip with tortilla chips, a topping for tacos, burritos, or nachos, or as a side dish with grilled meats.
  2. Store Leftovers: If you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. The flavors will continue to meld, but the tomatoes may become softer.

Cook’s Notes and Variations


  • Fresh Ingredients: Use the freshest ingredients you can find for the best flavor.
  • Tomato Prep: If your tomatoes are very juicy, you might want to remove the seeds and pulp to avoid a watery pico de gallo.
  • Chill Time: Letting the pico de gallo sit for about 15-30 minutes before serving helps the flavors meld together.


  1. Add Avocado: For a creamier texture, add diced avocado.
  2. Fruit Twist: Add diced mango or pineapple for a sweet and tangy twist.
  3. Spice Level: Adjust the spice level by using more or less jalapeño or serrano pepper. For an extra kick, add a bit of chopped habanero.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Can I use other types of onions?

A: Yes, you can use red onions or sweet onions for a different flavor profile. However, white onions are traditional and provide a classic taste.

Q: How can I make this recipe less spicy?

A: To reduce the heat, remove the ribs and seeds from the jalapeño or serrano pepper, or use less pepper. You can also omit the pepper entirely if you prefer no heat.

Q: How long does Pico de Gallo last?

A: Pico de Gallo is best enjoyed fresh but can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. The tomatoes may become softer over time.


Q: Can I make Pico de Gallo ahead of time?

A: Yes, you can prepare it a few hours ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator. The flavors will meld together nicely, but it’s best enjoyed within a day or two.

Q: What are some serving suggestions for Pico de Gallo?

A: Pico de Gallo is versatile and can be served with tortilla chips, on top of tacos, burritos, nachos, grilled meats, or as a fresh side dish.

Pico de Gallo is a vibrant and refreshing salsa that adds a burst of flavor to any meal. With its simple ingredients and easy preparation, it’s a go-to recipe for any occasion. Whether you’re having a casual family dinner or a festive gathering, Pico de Gallo is sure to be a hit. Enjoy this classic Mexican salsa and experiment with different variations to suit your taste!