Homemade Pico de Gallo made with simple, fresh ingredients! This addicting fresh salsa has a spicy kick to it. Learn how to make authentic pico de gallo with this easy recipe!
An Easy Pico de Gallo Recipe
Living in Texas I’d say that Tex-Mex recipes are my specialty. I have taught myself over the almost 15 years I’ve lived here how to add spice, flavor and that tex-mex flare using fresh real ingredients. And THAT is something I’m very proud of.
When it comes to classic Mexican Recipes, you can’t get more classic than a Fresh Pico de Gallo Recipe. I could straight up set up shop in front of a table filled with pico de gallo, guacamole, salsa roja and chips and be the most content person ever. Add in a homemade Margarita and a perfect setup just got even better.
This Pico de Gallo Recipe is my go to recipe for a fresh salsa. It’s easy with only 6 ingredients, comes together fast and infused with fresh flavor that you won’t be able to get enough of. I’m warning you now, just make a double batch and keep it in the refrigerator, it gets better as it sits.
What is Pico de Gallo?
Pico de Gallo is a very popular Mexican salsa made with a handful of fresh raw ingredients. It’s also known as “Salsa Fresca” or “Fresh Tomato Salsa.” Typically pico de gallo made with equal parts of tomatoes and onion and mixed with fresh cilantro, a generous squeeze of lime juice and salt. In the states we started adding jalapeno for a spicy kick. However, you can leave it out for a milder salsa recipe.
The Meaning of Pico De Gallo
Pico de gallo literally means “rooster’s beak,” but don’t worry, there are no rooster beaks in this salsa! There are different explanations for this name. The one that makes the most sense to me is that pico de gallo is a play on words.
In Spanish, the word “picante” means “spicy” and the word “pico” can either mean something sharp or a bird’s beak. When you ask someone if a salsa is hot, you can say “¿Pica?” (literally, “Does it poke?”).
Add to this the colorful ingredients in this spicy salsa, which resemble the colors of a rooster (gallo), and you have a play on words – pico de gallo.
What’s the difference between pico de gallo and salsa?
Pico de gallo shares the same basic ingredients as a restaurant style salsa roja, but the preparation methods are different.
Restaurant Salsas will use roasted or stewed tomatoes as the base and will typically be blended or pureed for a smooth appearance and texture. Pico de gallo always uses fresh RAW ingredients that are diced small leaving you with a chunky fresh salsa.
Pico De Gallo Ingredients
The best thing about fresh pico de gallo is exactly that, how fresh it is. No cooking or roasting needed. Just fresh ingredients that you dice up, toss together and you’re done!
- Tomato – I like to use roma tomatoes because I like the firmer texture. Remove seeds and membranes to ensure you don’t have a “watery” salsa. Other tomatoes to use would be vine ripe tomatoes or grape tomatoes.
- Onion – Most recipes call for yellow onion, however I use red onion. I like the sweetness from the red onion and also like the pop of color.
- Jalapeño – Not necessary, but if you like to add a little spice or heat to your salsa, fresh diced jalapeños will do just that.
- Cilantro – These fresh herbs brighten up the dish even more and is a staple in an authentic Mexican salsa.
- Lime – Just the juice is perfect and adds a nice zesty flavor to your salsa.
- Garlic – Garlic in my mind just takes this pico over the top, you don’t need much but the amount that you do use adds so much flavor.
- Salt – An essential seasoning that is too often skipped over. Don’t forget to salt to bring out the natural flavors of your fresh ingredients!
Pico is subject to the person making it. You can easily adjust this quantity to suit your preferences; add more tomatoes for sweetness or jalapeño peppers for a fiery hot salsa.
How to Make Pico de Gallo
There’s no cooking involved for fresh pico de gallo. Just dice, toss and serve. I find that letting the salsa sit for a while lets the flavor infuse and creates a more flavorful salsa.
- Finely Dice Ingredients: The smaller the better so you get a bit of every ingredient in every bite.
- Toss Salsa: Add diced tomatoes, diced red onion, diced jalapeño, minced garlic clove, chopped cilantro and lime juice to a bowl.
- Season, Season, Season: The most forgotten step is seasoning your pico de gallo with salt. This is the flavor burst you’re missing. Don’t forget the salt. Season to salt and serve with tortilla chips!
How to Store
If your pico de gallo is sealed in an airtight container and stored in the refrigerator it will keep for up to a week. Like I said earlier, the flavors actually get better the longer they sit, so making it a day ahead of time is perfect!
This fresh salsa is good on it’s own but adding or substituting ingredients to change up the flavor is always fun and delicious! Here are some of my favorite variations on fresh salsa.
- Bell Peppers
- Avocado Salsa
- Mango Salsa
- Strawberry Salsa
- Pineapple Salsa
- Peach Salsa
- Fresh Herbs – adding mint or oregano for different flavor options.
- Smoked Chipotle Peppers
Fresh Salsa is so versatile. It is great as an appetizer with chips or can be served on top of different items like tacos, eggs, enchiladas, breakfast burritos, salads, nachos or fajitas. It’s really the ultimate condiment out there and I use it as that!
If you’re serving your pico de gallo with chips, I highly recommend a side of homemade guacamole and a fresh margarita! Also consider using this homemade pico de gallo recipe on top of the following recipes:
- Best Ever Marinated Carne Asada Tacos
- 20 Minute BBQ Chicken Tacos
- Freezer Bacon & Egg Breakfast Burritos
- Steak Fajita Burrito Bowl
- Ground Beef Enchilada Zucchini Boats
- The Ultimate Easy Beef Enchilada Recipe
- Epic Baja Fish Tacos with Avocado Crema
- Ground Turkey Tacos in Lettuce Wrap
- Easy Chicken Enchilada Zucchini Boats
- Sheet Pan Shrimp Fajitas
An easy Homemade Pico de Gallo Recipe made with simple fresh ingredients for a delicious, addicting fresh tomato salsa that has a spicy kick to it. Learn all my tricks for an authentic pico de gallo guaranteed to be a crowd favorite!
- 5 roma tomatoes, de-seeded and diced
- 1/2 cup of red onion, finely diced
- 1/4 cup of fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 jalapeno, de-seeded and diced
- juice of 1 lime
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- salt to season
- To a bowl add diced tomatoes, diced red onion, diced jalapeño, minced garlic clove, chopped cilantro and lime juice. Toss to combine.
- Season to taste with salt. Serve immediately or for better results let sit for at least one hour before serving.
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