Pico de gallo, also referred to as salsa fresca, is a fresh tomato salsa made with diced onion, tomato, jalapeño or serrano pepper, cilantro and lime juice. Pico is easy to make authentic and is a crowd-pleaser as a delicious fresh and flavorful dip with tortilla chips, in tacos or on top of tostadas and enchiladas.
You may sometimes find this type of fresh salsa on the table at restaurants in Houston instead of pureed or cooked salsas. But, I see pico de gallo most often served with fajitas, along with the lettuce, guacamole and other condiments.
🧄 Ingredient notes
For this authentic pico de gallo recipe, you'll need:
- fresh cilantro (coriander)
- lime juice
- salt and pepper
Okay, are you ready to chop? In 10 minutes, you could have this fresh pico de gallo salsa sitting on your table.
Grab a big bowl, cutting board and a good, sharp knife.
Now, dice up all your tomatoes, onion, cilantro and add them to the bowl.
Now, put some gloves on and mince your jalapeño, using a separate cutting board and knife. Add that to the bowl.
Squeeze fresh lime juice into the bowl. Season with salt and pepper and stir. Taste and adjust seasonings, as needed.
- If your pico is too sharp, add more tomato.
- If it needs more sharpness, add more onion.
- If it's too mild, add more jalapeño.
- If it's too spicy, add more tomato and/or onion.
- If it's bland, add more lime juice and/or salt.
Do I have to use fresh ingredients? Can I use canned tomatoes?
- Fresh is best here. The beauty of pico de gallo is how fresh it tastes. The freshness of all the individual elements and how they complement each other are key. So, it's incredibly important to use all fresh ingredients for this recipe.
- No canned tomatoes or "from concentrate" lime juice from a bottle here guys! Not this recipe. I have nothing against them, just save them for a different recipe.
How long does pico de gallo last?
- Fresh pico de gallo will last 3-5 days in the refrigerator.
- I do not recommend freezing pico de gallo.
What can I do with leftover pico de gallo?
- Spanish or Mexican Rice: Leftover pico de gallo can be added at the beginning of the recipe to a pot of rice to amp up the flavor. To complete the simple Spanish or Mexican rice, add ground cumin, granulated garlic, vegan bouillon and half a bag of frozen mixed vegetables.
- Add to Beans, Soup or Stew: You could also use it to add flavor to a pot of beans, tortilla soup, Texas chili or stew.
- Once the leftover salsa fresca is added to beans, soup or stew, it can be frozen.
🥣 Serving Suggestions
Tortilla chips are the vehicle of choice in this house for devouring this amazing pico de gallo as a dip. It's a regular, crowd-pleasing appetizer we serve when we have company over or for taking to game day parties or any casual gathering.
For oil-free tortilla chips, you have two easy choices:
- Buy baked tostadas (check to make sure they are oil-free) and break them into pieces.
- Bake your own! It's surprisingly easy to make your own healthy fat-free baked tortilla chips and it's pretty fast, too. Ready in under 20 minutes. You'll save quite a few calories while you're at it.
Mix this accidentally vegan pico de gallo recipe with mashed avocado for an easy guacamole. There you go, two dips in one!
Substitute diced mango for the tomato for an easy mango salsa dip or condiment.
🌶 How to prevent a jalapeño burn
If you are not accustomed to working with hot peppers, please consider wearing gloves while you dice them. The capsaicin in peppers can actually burn your skin (been there, done that, not fun).
My modus operandi while working with hot peppers:
- wear gloves
- use a separate cutting board and knife just for the jalapeños (or serranos, habaneros, etc.)
- once finished cutting the peppers, immediately wash the utensils
- throw away the gloves carefully
- wash hands
Some people report that coating their hands with oil before working with spicy peppers helps. If you may have a method that works for you, great!
Just wanted to warn the uninitiated, because, well, jalapeño burns are super painful. I don't want anyone going through that!
🌮 More TexMex recipes you'll love
- Healthy homemade fat free baked tortilla chips
- Easy vegan chile con queso nacho cheese
- 30+ vegan taco ideas + rainy day everything tacos
- Vegan spicy charro beans in the crockpot
- Breakfast tacos with spinach, sweet potato and charro beans
Fresh Pico de Gallo
- 1 ½ cup fresh tomato diced
- 1 ½ cup onion minced
- 1 bunch cilantro stems removed and minced
- 1 jalapeño deseeded and minced
- Juice of 2 limes
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- Combine all prepared ingredients in a medium bowl. Add salt and pepper, to taste.1 ½ cup fresh tomato, 1 ½ cup onion, 1 bunch cilantro, 1 jalapeño, Juice of 2 limes, sea salt and pepper
- Taste with a chip, if you're serving as a dip, so you don't oversalt it. You might have to add a little more lime juice or a little more salt and pepper. If it's too sharp with onion, add another ½ cup of diced tomato.
- Serve at room temperature or chilled.
- Will keep in fridge for 3-5 days in a covered container.
- EASY GUACAMOLE: Mix 2 tablespoon of pico de gallo with a mashed avocado for a quick guacamole.
- If you have leftover pico de gallo, you can add it into recipes for Mexican rice, a pot of black or pinto beans or tortilla soup for extra flavor.
- Easy MANGO SALSA: substitute fresh mango for the tomato for a mango salsa.