Easy Pico de Gallo

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

Easy Pico de Gallo Recipe 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.

Pico de gallo and tortilla chips

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.

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

How to make pico de gallo in 3 easy steps

  1. Chop tomatoes, onion, chili peppers, and cilantro small.
  2. 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.)
  3. 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.

Serving suggestions

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

Homemade pico de gallo (fresh tomato salsa)

Easy Pico de Gallo

  • PREP

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.

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 (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.
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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50 comments… Leave a Review
  • Pete October 1, 2023, 12:02 am

    On hot dogs with potato sticks yummy

  • 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 ,

  • 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 🙂

  • Technolong.Com February 28, 2020, 3:34 pm

    This is a good basic fresh salsa recipe and I keep the tomato juice out by using roma tomatoes as they are easy to seed and you have less juice to contend with. I like using the Serrano pepper for a little different flavor, and use chopped green onions when I have them. This is an easy recipe to alter for your own specific taste.

  • 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.

  • 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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