Fresh Pico de Gallo

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.

Watch the Video

Easy Pico de Gallo Recipe Video

Pico de gallo is a classic Mexican fresh salsa. My family loves it, and we make it all the time! It’s so fresh and flavorful (I love the crisp onions with the juicy tomatoes!).

I love serving pico de gallo alongside homemade tortilla chips and a bowl of homemade guacamole.

Fresh Pico de Gallo with tomatoes, onions, jalapeno, cilantro and lime.

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!

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.

Scooping homemade pico de gallo with a tortilla chip.

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.

A bowl of Homemade pico de gallo (fresh tomato salsa)

Fresh Pico de Gallo

  • PREP

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

  • The nutrition facts provided below are estimates.
Nutrition Per Serving Serving Size 1/4 cup / Calories 33 / Protein 1 g / Carbohydrate 8 g / Dietary Fiber 2 g / Total Sugars 4 g / Total Fat 0 g / Saturated Fat 0 g / Cholesterol 0 mg
AUTHOR:  Adam and Joanne Gallagher
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52 comments… Leave a Review
  • Pete October 1, 2023, 12:02 am

    On hot dogs with potato sticks yummy

    • Joanne April 5, 2024, 10:19 pm

      I love pico de gallo on just about anything, so sounds good to me!

  • Gloria May 2, 2023, 9:07 am

    Back in the 60s my grandma make it for breakfast , serve it over eggs , pico de gallo , means , peak of a rooster ,

    • Joanne April 5, 2024, 10:20 pm

      Yes! Thanks for sharing, and I love how your grandma served it. This salsa over eggs is a favorite in my house.

  • Cheryl September 11, 2021, 2:03 pm

    Super easy, super tasty.

    • Adam September 18, 2023, 3:22 pm

      So glad you enjoyed the recipe 🙂

  • Mary March 5, 2021, 4:47 pm

    I love this recipe. Doesn’t contain garlic and has lots of cilantro. Roma tomatoes have less juice and are great if you like a drier chunky salsa like I do. I’ll eat this on lots of things like scrambled eggs, iceberg lettuce, baked tofu in addition to Mexican style food.

    • Adam September 18, 2023, 3:23 pm

      Eating this salsa with scrambled eggs is one of my favorite ways to enjoy it as well 🙂

  • Lisa May 25, 2020, 7:16 pm

    We love this recipe! I’ve made it over and over and it’s a hit every time! I do not us 1/2 c. Cilantro though. We like a lot less. It’s nice you can tweek it and make it how your family enjoys it.

    • Adam September 18, 2023, 3:22 pm

      We are so happy the recipe is a hit 🙂

  • Mark Paul December 12, 2019, 2:26 pm

    This is pretty authentic if you use serrano peppers. But it needs to be used fresh, not stored for 2 or 3 days. It gets very strong and tastes like gasoline smells the next day.

    • Joanne April 5, 2024, 10:21 pm

      Totally agree that this is best served fresh! Serranos are a great tip.

  • Kathy March 3, 2019, 4:33 pm

    Love your recipes. Your very informative with simple step by step instructions that everyone can understand. You and your husband are such a cute couple, inviting people in to your kitchen for your delicious recipes is a nice touch. Bravo

    • Joanne May 17, 2019, 1:44 pm

      Thank you, Kathy. You are very kind.

  • Kandi December 23, 2018, 10:33 am

    Wonderful flavor!

    • Joanne May 17, 2019, 1:46 pm

      We are thrilled you enjoyed the salsa recipe, Kandi. This is one of my favorites!

  • HevyG November 18, 2018, 7:07 pm

    Do you use the entire tomato?

    • Joanne March 10, 2019, 7:03 pm

      It’s really up to you. I usually use the whole tomato (seeds and all) unless I have a particularly seedy tomato.

  • Kathy June 24, 2018, 2:35 pm

    This is the absolute best pico I ever made. The whole family devours it.

    • Joanne May 17, 2019, 1:46 pm

      Oh wow, Kathy! This is so wonderful to read 🙂 Thank you for coming back and sharing.

  • Wanda June 15, 2018, 11:59 am

    I saw your advice on selecting the best tomato…do you have any advice on the kind of tomato that would taste best? Thanks!

    • Joanne March 13, 2019, 1:42 pm

      Hi Wanda, Any ripe tomato will work, here!

  • Jodi hair April 18, 2018, 8:42 pm

    How can I adapt your recipe to serve a party of 50 people. Thanks, Jodi

    • Joanne May 2, 2018, 2:27 pm

      Hi Jodi, I’d multiply the recipe by 4 or 5 — in our experience, not everyone eats exactly one serving of dips/salsas when at a party with so many people (especially if there are other dishes available).

  • Mo March 30, 2018, 6:50 pm

    I thought half a cup is too much cilantro (and I LOVE cilantro!). Next time I think I’ll cut it in half and add more if needed. I also added some fresh chopped garlic, so yummy!

    • Joanne May 17, 2019, 1:47 pm

      Garlic is a great idea, Mo. I’d use a small clove though, as garlic can quickly take over in the flavor department.


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