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