Make this homemade pico de gallo using a handful of fresh ingredients and just 15 minutes of prep time. This classic recipe is perfect to serve with crispy tortilla chips or use it as the perfect topping for all your favorite Mexican recipes!
Homemade Pico De Gallo Recipe
Homemade pico de gallo, otherwise known as salsa fresca, is a staple appetizer in Mexican restaurants but so easy to make at home!
Although it’s slightly different than traditional homemade salsa, it often replaces it in all kinds of dishes like burrito bowls, taco recipes, quesadillas, carne asada, nachos, and more. Basically you can use it on all your favorite Mexican dishes.
This homemade version is made with a handful of raw ingredients like tomatoes, onions, cilantro, garlic, lime, and jalapenos for a kick!
What is Pico de Gallo?
Classic pico de gallo is considered a condiment or a dip made up of simple fresh ingredients to bring out maximum flavor with no cooking involved. It can be eaten on its own with a spoon (believe me, I’ve done it) or used to elevate a recipe as a topping or a side.
Composed mainly of tomatoes, onions, hot peppers, and lime juice, it can be tweaked to suit a variety of tastes.
Why you’ll love Homemade Pico de Gallo
Simple ingredients – The zesty lime, juicy tomatoes, and fresh garlic come together in a flavor explosion.
Easy to make – I look for excuses to make this stuff often so it’s a good thing it doesn’t take much time or effort at all. Yet, the results are spectacular.
Customize it to your liking – Make it your favorite way. Mild, medium, hot, use red onions over white, omit the garlic, or even add in chunks of pineapple or mango.
Equipment you’ll need
- Veggie Chopper – I love this thing, makes chopping a breeze.
- Mixing Bowl – I like that these come with lids.
- Juicer – to easily juice the lime.
Below is a list of the ingredients you’ll need to gather to make this recipe. Scroll all the way down for the full recipe card.
- Diced Tomatoes – I recommend using Roma tomatoes for this. They’re bright red but not quite as juicy so they won’t add too much liquid to the pico.
- Diced Onions – White onions add just the right amount of pungent flavor to balance the tartness and zest, however you can use red onions if you would rather. Both are great.
- Jalapenos – Diced jalapenos peppers add a kick. How spicy it is depends on how much of the seeds you leave behind. For a mild taste, remove all the seeds.
- Cilantro – Love it or hate it, fresh cilantro is a must! It adds a delicious herbaceous element. If you’ve the the “it tastes like soap” gene, feel free to replace it with parsley.
- Garlic – Minced garlic cloves can be replaced with garlic powder if necessary. You can also completely omit it.
- Lime Juice – Fresh lime juice is the way to go! Skip the bottled stuff, use the juice from a small lime.
- Salt & Pepper – To taste.
How to make this easy Pico De Gallo recipe
- Step One: Combine tomatoes, onion, cilantro, jalapenos, minced garlic, and lime juice in a mixing bowl. Stir together and season with salt and pepper to taste. Use gloves to cut hot peppers, especially when dealing with the seeds. Otherwise, don’t touch your face until you’ve washed your hands.
- Step Two: Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 1-2 hours until the flavors marry.
- Step Three: Stir once more and serve as desired. My favorite way is chips and dip style and then keep the leftovers to add in my Mexican recipes!
Ways to use Pico De Gallo
You’ll never run out of reasons to pile on the homemade pico de gallo!
It’s not as “saucy” as traditional salsa, but by all means, replace it wherever and whenever possible!
Tips & Substitutions
- There will be liquid that pools at the bottom of the salsa, the longer it sits. To combat this you can remove the seeds (core) from the tomatoes and just use the flesh.
- Or you can serve it with a slotted spoon.
- If you don’t have roma tomatoes, grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes can be used. Really any ripe tomatoes, just know you’ll have some taste fluctuations.
- Be sure to chop and dice everything to an even size so you get a bit of everything in every scoop.
- Choose jalapenos with smoother skin if you want it more mild. Jalapenos with more wrinkles have more kick to them.
- Want even more spice? Swap out the jalapenos for serrano peppers instead.
- Throw in some diced fruit like mango, pineapple, corn, peach, or avocado. You can use them with the tomato or instead of.
- Red bell peppers or cucumbers would be a nice crunchy addition.
How to store leftovers
This salsa is best eaten the same day it is made but you can keep any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
How long will it last in the fridge?
Fresh pico de gallo will stay fresh for up to 3 days. The tomatoes will soften the longer it sits and the onions will start to become translucent.
What does pico de gallo mean?
The literal translation in Spanish means “rooster’s beak.”
No one knows why it is called that but when looking into it, I’ve come across two possibilities.
The first is that it could be a representation of the colors of the beak of the rooster.
The second is that pico de gallo is meant to be picked at with your fingers, little piece by little piece, just like a rooster would do with its beak.
If you’ve heard another theory, I’d love to hear it!
What is the difference between fresh salsa and pico de gallo?
Pico isn’t meant to be saucy or with plenty of liquid. They do use similar ingredients, however when making salsa people tend to use roasted or otherwise cooked tomatoes. The consistency is also runnier and more pureed. Pico is also chunkier.
Is homemade pico de gallo healthy?
Sure it is! Fresh tomatoes, onions, and garlic provide us with plenty of vitamins and antioxidants, lime juice gives us vitamin C, and just the fact that it’s homemade and we can control the amount of salt makes it delicious and healthy.
Need more Mexican inspired dip recipes? Try these:
Click here for my entire collection of dip recipes for chips, veggies, and crackers.