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Pico de Gallo

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Learn how to make Pico de Gallo with this quick and easy recipe! It only takes about 10 minutes, calls for 7 simple ingredients, and tastes perfectly fresh and delicious every time.

The BEST Pico de Gallo Recipe

A few weeks ago on Instagram, I shared my list of Mexican recipes that I was planning to make this year for Cinco De Mayo, and asked if you all had any additional requests. And amongst the hundreds of messages I received (which made my day, so happy to be in the company of Insta friends who love Mexican food as much as I do!), I noticed that there were three words that came up again and again…and again and again and again. Yes.

Pico de gallo.

Ha, guys, I had no idea how much you all love your pico! Also, I had no idea that this classic of all classic recipes was somehow missing here on the blog. Bah, this absolutely will not do for the blogger whose all-time favorite two foods are chips and salsa (<– with pico de gallo, of course, to thank as the original salsa that started it all). I’d say it’s high time to remedy this.

So for those of you looking for a stellar pico de gallo recipe to whip up for Cinco de Mayo this year — and hopefully, if you’re like us, as often as possible the rest of the year — here’s my favorite.

How to Make Pico de Gallo | 1-Minute Video

Pico de Gallo Ingredients

What Is Pico De Gallo?

When I googled pico de gallo before writing this post, the first thing that popped up was actually a question — just what is pico de gallo? Translation: in Spanish, it literally means “beak of the rooster.” I’ve heard all sorts of stories over the years about why this is. Some say that the bright colors of the salsa resemble a rooster, others say that the diced salsa resembles bird food, others say that “pico” is referring to the word “picante” which means spicy, and on and on. Lots of theories. ;)

Bottom line, pico de gallo is a salsa from Mexico, also known as salsa fresca (fresh salsa), salsa cruda (raw salsa), and salsa huevona (lazy salsa). It’s traditionally made from chopped fresh tomatoes, onion, chiles (jalapeños or serranos), cilantro, salt and lime juice. It’s always served chopped, not blended or pureed or mashed. And it’s used in about a million ways, from sprinkling on tacos and tamales and tostadas, to scooping up with your favorite tortilla chips.

Pico de Gallo is basically the original salsa. And it’ll never let you down. ;)

How To Make Pico De Gallo

Pico de Gallo Ingredients:

That said, quality is key with the simple ingredients in pico de gallo. So try to source yours as seasonally and as ripe as possible. You will need:

  • Fresh tomatoes: Roma or plum tomatoes are my favorites in pico de gallo, since they contain far fewer seeds than most other tomatoes. But really, any large tomatoes (just scoop out the excess pulp) or small tomatoes (cherry and grape tomatoes work great) will do. The freshness of your tomatoes is paramount in this recipe, so try to avoid some of those bland or watery tomatoes that fill stores during the wintertime. And definitely avoid using canned tomatoes.
  • Onion: White onion is standard here. (The colors of pico match the Mexican flag!)  But I also love using red onion instead for a bit of extra sweetness.
  • Jalapeño or Serrano: Either pepper will work here! As always with chile peppers, remove the seeds if you would like less heat. And always feel free to use more or less chiles to taste. (I always use at least two with this recipe!)
  • Cilantro: The more the merrier, in my opinion. ;)
  • Lime: We will use both the zest and the juice.
  • Salt: Essential! This is the ingredient that too many people skip over with their pico de gallo.
  • Cumin: Also, this totally isn’t traditional, but I love to add a pinch of ground cumin to my pico. It adds a slight depth of flavor that’s delicious.

As for the amount of each of these ingredients, it’s totally up to you. I have measured out my favorite ratios in the recipe included below. But pico de gallo is totally one of those recipes where it’s best to give it a taste and add more (or less) of what you love. For example, I love mine nice and spicy, so I usually add two (or three) chile peppers. Barclay isn’t as big of an onion fan as I am, so he prefers his with less onion (and more finely-chopped) than me. And as always, feel free to add more or less salt to taste. You get the idea.

Easy Pico de Gallo Recipe

How To Make Pico De Gallo:

So easy. Just toss everything together in a bowl until combined. Then dig in!!!

Really. This pico de gallo recipe is always (in my opinion) best right after it has been prepared. But if you have leftovers, or if you’d like to make yours in advance, it will keep in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to 3 days.

Pico De Gallo Salsa Recipe

Pico De Gallo Add-Ins:

Also, if you feel like mixing things up a bit, here are a few add-ins that are fun (feel free to mix and match):

  • fresh avocado
  • fresh fruit (mango, orange, pineapple, strawberries, blueberries, etc.)
  • fresh greens (spinach, kale, etc.)
  • fresh veggies (cucumbers, red peppers, corn, etc.)
  • other fresh herbs (a hint of minced epazote or oregano or mint can be fun)
  • smoked or roasted chile peppers (roasted poblanos, chipotles in adobo, etc.)

Mexican Pico De Gallo Recipe

Favorite Ways To Serve Pico De Gallo:

And of course, there are endless ways that you can serve this pico de gallo recipe. I think that you could arguably sprinkle it on just about anything, but some classic include:

  • tacos
  • burritos
  • enchiladas
  • tostadas
  • beans
  • rice
  • chilaquiles
  • huevos

Also, pro tip! If you happen to have some pico ready to go, just mix it with some mashed avocados for an easy guacamole recipe! I often make a double batch, and use half of it for the guac, and then half for dipping as a plain salsa. Two for one!

Mexican Shredded Chicken Tacos with Pico de Gallo

That said, my favorite way to eat pico de gallo will forever and always be this right here. ???

Chips and salsa for life!

Easy Pico de Gallo Salsa

Happy salsa-ing, everyone.

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Pico de Gallo

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.8 from 9 reviews
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 0 About 4 cups 1x


Learn how to make Pico de Gallo with this quick and easy recipe!  It takes less than 10 minutes, calls for 7 simple ingredients, and tastes perfectly fresh and delicious every time.


  • 3 cups diced Roma tomatoes (about 6 tomatoes)
  • 2/3 cup diced white or red onion (about half of a medium white onion)
  • 2/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro, loosely packed
  • 1 to 2 jalapeño peppers, stemmed, cored and finely diced
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • (optional) 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin


  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and toss until evenly combined.
  2. Serve immediately, or refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 2 days.  (Pico de gallo is best eaten fresh.)

How To Make Pico De Gallo

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21 comments on “Pico de Gallo”

  1. There are two camps on Cilantro. Either for or against. There is no in between on the issue. You are for. I am against. Parsley doesn’t have the same pungent taste but can it be substituted? The dish as always made me curious, but the cilantro has held me back. Thank you for your consideration. B Karr

    • I always sub parsley for cilantro in ANYthing. Always. Cilantro, soap. ICK

    • Barbara, the first time I ate cilantro it tasted like soap. I kept at it and today I appreciate cilantro in a variety of dishes, including most soups. If I had sworn off cilantro with that first taste, my life would be a tiny bit poorer. I think that, for some people, it is an acquired taste. If you make your own soups, try it cooked.

  2. Can hardly wait to try it as I love me some Pico De Gallo. Might put it on your Barbacoa Beef that we are having on Sunday! Thanks again Ali!

    • Ali, I don’t know how I found your blog, but I am so glad that I did. Never will I have a Mexican dish without your Pico De Gallo again. It was so delicious!

  3. Yes please! I can’t wait to make this — with a little less cilantro though. I am learning to like it, but if it’s too much then it still tastes like a bar of soap to me! I like it as a subtle accent to foods, though.

    • Hi, advice on the cilantro conundrum, if it taste like soap it’s not correct. When you buy fresh cilantro always taste a leaf in the store, it may be a little sandy if they’re not freshly washed, but you can ascertain whether it tastes like cilantro or soap.
      Because I’m a big cilantro lover I’m so disappointed when I get a soapy bunch, ie: someone else picks it up and refuses to taste test. Salsa (and pico de Gallo) on ?.

  4. I love pico de gallo, but I always run into a goldilocks situation when I try to make it—always too onion-y or too tomato-y, never just right! And this version looks just perfect! I can’t wait to try it this weekend. Thanks!

  5. Sooooo good!

  6. I love cilantro, but this recipe calls for waaay too much of it. I started out with 2 T., then added another, and then another for a total of about 1/4 C. I used fresh cilantro from my garden and maybe that’s more pungent than the store-bought variety. But, had I used the 2/3 C. which the recipe called for I’m sure it would have overwhelmed all the other ingredients. As it is, the 1/4 C. gave the pico a nice cilantro “presence” while still letting all the other wonderful flavors shine through.

    3 Stars based on the recipe as it is written, 5-ish based on how it turned out after adjustments.

  7. Nice !!! i added a bit o’ garlic too…yum !!!

  8. How do you stop the tomatoes and onions weeping. The taste was very good but a lot of liquid collected in a few minutes.

    • Aj, you can lightly squeeze the seeds and juice out before you chop the tomatoes,it will help with the juiciness.

  9. Love this stuff!

  10. Due to diet restrictions, I need to omit the salt, so will experiment a bit to take the flavor away from salt and towards something I can and want to eat.

  11. FANTASTIC! I made it for my family and they can’t stop eating it!

  12. Fantastic! My family LOVES every recipe I have made of yours. Thank you so much for this page!!!

  13. Loved it!

  14. Hi! I don’t have any hot peppers on hand. Do you think I could use a bit of Cholula sauce instead? I hate to not have any kick at all… Thanks!

  15. I’ve made this recipe multiple times and it truly hits the PERFECT spicy/sweet (from the toms)/salty note, especially in summer with good quality tomatoes. (I use one jalepeno with the seeds and pith removed for a well spiced but mild salsa.) Love it so much and can’t wait to gorge on it all summer! Thank you!

  16. This is delicious! Thumbs up from the entire family.