Pico De Gallo – Simple Mexican Salsa

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Pico de Gallo, the fresh, spicy, Mexican salsa, is one of my family’s favorite snacks almost every day of the year. This is the ultimate fresh salsa and once you learn how to make Pico de Gallo, I’m sure you’ll love it just as much as we do.

For many years, I avoided making my own salsas. The recipes seemed complicated, or I just didn’t care much for the homemade salsas that I had tried. We are admittedly, somewhat picky about our homemade salsas. While we enjoy endless varieties of store-bought salsas, most of the homemade versions never tasted quite right to me.
Pico De Gallo - Simple Mexican Salsa

 

However, several years ago, when tomato season arrives, it was time to try again. Being in the desert, our farmer’s market sells fresh organic tomatoes almost year round, but I much prefer the price when I am pulling them from our own garden!

Because all the vegetables in Pico de Gallo are fresh, it’s important to use super fresh, good quality tomatoes if you can. While I love my garden tomatoes, there’s no need to grow your own. Pick your favorite vine-ripened fresh tomatoes from the farmer’s market or grocery store.

What is Pico de Gallo?

Pico de Gallo is a salsa made of fresh tomatoes, onions, and peppers, with cilantro, lime juice and plenty of garlic. Unlike other homemade salsa recipes that require cooking and blending, making this fresh salsa is simply a matter of mixing everything together in a bowl.

Pico de Gallo Recipe

I wanted a fresh salsa to go with the Carne Asada I was making for dinner and this turned out to be absolutely perfect with it. My oldest son loved it and has eaten this with almost every meal since then. It was awesome on eggs and on rice; we loved it with our enchiladas as well.

Try it on Carnitas Street TacosBacon and Egg Breakfast Tacos, Nachos and any other foods you often top with salsa. The fresh, tangy taste of Pico de Gallo, along with its chunky texture, means you can also use it in addition to any other homemade salsas you enjoy.

Pico De Gallo - Simple Mexican Salsa recipe by Barefeet In The Kitchen

Pico de Gallo Translation

Literally translated, “Pico de Gallo” means “rooster’s beak.” Supposedly, this name originated from people eating this fresh salsa by pinching one bit at a time between their fingers, resembling a chicken pecking. In Mexico, it’s sometimes also called “salsa fresca.”

Since the colors of this salsa are red, green and white–much like this Mexican flag–some regions also call this “Salsa Mexicana.” Whatever you call it, Pico de Gallo is a wonderful topping for all your Mexican dishes and more. My family could easily eat a whole batch of this with a bag of tortilla chips in one sitting.

How to Make Pico de Gallo

To make this Pico de Gallo recipe, start by chopping your ingredients. The key here is to very finely dice as many of the ingredients as possible. This let the flavors really meld together without huge chunks of tomatoes or onions to distract from the flavor.

When the tomatoes, onions and pepper are mixed together in a bowl, add the garlic cloves and the juice of one lime. Mix everything together then let it rest for at least fifteen minutes before serving. The flavors of all the ingredients will blend together beautifully while the salsa rests.

I went easy on the cilantro in this recipe because too much cilantro has killed many a salsa dish in my own experience. If you love cilantro, go crazy with it and feel free to add just as much as your family likes!

Pico de Gallo is best eaten the same day it’s made. It will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for a couple of days. We enjoy this Pico de Gallo recipe so much that it hardly lasts more than a couple of days!

Salsa Recipes

Looking for more homemade salsas to try? One of the most popular dishes I’ve ever brought to a party is The BEST Pineapple Salsa. It always disappears almost as fast as it hits the table! You might also like my Strawberry Jalapeno Salsa if you like sweet and spicy condiments.

Love the salsa from your favorite Mexican restaurant? This 5 Minute Restaurant Style Salsa from Rebecca at Foodie with Family is sure to do the trick.

You might also enjoy this Green Chile Guacamole and this less traditional but possibly even tastier Pomegranate Guacamole . Bacon and garlic lovers shouldn’t miss my Roasted Garlic and Bacon Guacamole either.

We’re pretty happy to scoop our favorite salsas and guacamoles with good quality store bought tortilla chips or corn chips, but I think next time I might have to try this recipe for Baked Tortilla Chips from The Baker Mama.

Have you ever made your own salsa? I can’t wait for you to try this recipe!

Kitchen Tip: I use this knife and this bowl to make this recipe.

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Pico De Gallo – Simple Mexican Salsa

Recipe adapted from and with thanks to Simply Simpatico and Tyler Florence
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Ingredients 

  • 5 medium size tomatoes (vine ripe and organic, if possible) about 3 1/2 cups chopped very small
  • 1/2 medium size red onion diced small
  • 2 green onions very thinly sliced
  • 1 serrano or jalapeno chile very finely minced
  • 1 handful fresh cilantro leaves stems mostly removed, about 2 tablespoons full, chopped very small
  • 6 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 lime juiced
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

  • In a medium size mixing bowl, combine all ingredients. Toss thoroughly. Let sit for at least 15 minutes to allow flavors to meld or chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
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{originally published 4/5/12 – photos and recipe notes updated 9/27/19}

How To Make Pico De Gallo (simple Mexican salsa) - get the recipe at barefeetinthekitchen.com

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Mary Younkin

Mary Younkin

Hi, I’m Mary. I’m the author, cook, photographer, and travel lover behind the scenes here at Barefeet In The Kitchen. I'm also the author of three cookbooks dedicated to making cooking from scratch as simple as possible.

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  1. Jenn says

    If you need help using up those tomatoes from your garden, let me know… I'll come grab some!! lol
    LOVE pico de gallo… and yours looks perfect!

  2. Geni says

    I don't make mine own salsa very often either, but I do make my own guac. Does that count for anything? Thanks for the tip on dicing it up small. I do think that makes for a nicer scoop on a chip and probably the flavors get to swim over all the little bits. Beautiful photos Mary. Have a wonderful weekend! We're almost there…

  3. Becki's Whole Life says

    I can't wait to start getting produce from the garden and my farm stand in town! this salsa sounds wonderful and I like your tip about keeping the dice very fine so the flavors can meld.

  4. Rebecca Ball says

    I wish that every recipe that calls for Jalapeno pepper would have a caution about using gloves to cut them up. My first use of fresh Jalapenos following a recipe ended with severe bronchospasm and a trip to the ER so I could breathe.

    • K says

      You need a warning label to let you know Jalapenos are hot? Curious how handling peppers caused this spasm?