Easy pico de gallo recipe! With a few simple tricks, you really can make the best homemade pico de gallo that tastes so much better than store-bought.
Watch the video
⭐️ We also love this restaurant-style red salsa.
# 1 Secret for making the best pico de gallo
For the best, most authentic pico de gallo, use the freshest ingredients and a knife to chop them small. Pico de gallo is a classic fresh salsa made with tomatoes, onion, cilantro, jalapeño, and lime. You can find this kind of fresh tomato salsa in every region of Mexico.
This fresh tomato salsa is known as pico de gallo in Texas, but in Mexico, it’s known by various other names, including salsa Mexicano, salsa fresca, and salsa cruda. If you’re wondering what pico de gallo means, it translates to “rooster’s beak.” Possibly suggesting the salsa was eaten by pinching it between the thumb and finger, forming the shape of a rooster’s beak.
Key ingredients for classic pico de gallo
Use fresh, ripe tomatoes and chop them small. I use the whole tomato and keep the seeds and juices (so much flavor there!).
If you don’t have fresh tomatoes, we recommend pivoting and making this easy red salsa recipe. It’s the perfect recipe for using canned tomatoes. We use our food processor to blend all the salsa ingredients in that recipe.
Use sweet, yellow, or white onion, and deflame it before adding to your salsa. By deflame, I mean soaking our chopped onion in cold water for 5 to 10 minutes. Then rinse and add to the pico de gallo.
This simple step cuts down on the firey raw onion flavor we can sometimes get with raw onion. We do this often in our recipes, with this fresh guacamole as an example.
For some heat in your pico de gallo, you can use jalapeño or serrano chilies. The heat and spiciness in pepper are found in the seeds and the white membrane. Remove most seeds and membrane to make a mild to medium pico de gallo, or leave them in for a spicy salsa.
Our authentic pico de gallo would not be complete without cilantro and fresh lime juice. You’ll also need a generous pinch or two of salt to bring everything together.
How to make pico de gallo in 3 easy steps
- Chop tomatoes, onion, chili peppers, and cilantro small.
- Cover the chopped onion with cold water and allow to sit for 5 to 10 minutes, then rinse. (This tones down the raw flavor of our onion.)
- Mix everything with a couple pinches of salt and fresh lime juice.
Bonus tip for the best pico de gallo
Let your pico de gallo ingredients sit for a few minutes before serving. Salt draws out flavor and liquid from the tomatoes. It also further tones down the bite of raw onion.
⭐️ Waiting 20 minutes before serving your salsa makes it taste better.
Make ahead tips
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 pico de gallo recipe after a day in the fridge. You will lose some crunch over time, but it still tastes great.
Serve fresh pico de gallo with homemade tortilla chips. Making your own tortilla chips is easy and they taste so good! Here’s our recipe for tortilla chips to help you.
I’m happy to spoon a generous amount of pico de gallo on just about anything, but this fresh tomato salsa is perfect spooned over tacos, eggs, chili, enchiladas, and more.
More easy salsa recipes
- Try this roasted tomato salsa with charred tomatoes, garlic, and peppers. It’s quick to make and only gets better with time.
- For something a bit different, try this easy pineapple and avocado salsa with jalapeño, red onion, and fresh lime.
- I love this quick salsa made in the food processor with canned tomatoes.
Easy Pico de Gallo
Pico de Gallo is a fresh tomato salsa popular in Mexico. Use ripe tomatoes for this. Not all tomatoes are created equal. When choosing tomatoes, look for tomatoes that are 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.
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 (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 salsa aside for 15 to 20 minutes.
3Stir the salsa — distribute the juices left at the bottom of the bowl. Taste and adjust with more salt.
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
- Nutrition Facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA database to calculate approximate values.