Pico de Gallo

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Pico de gallo is a healthy Mexican dip that combines fresh juicy tomatoes, onions, cilantro, spicy jalapeno peppers, lime juice, and a pinch of salt. Serve with crunchy tortilla chips or as a tasty topping for tacos, chicken, beef, pork, and seafood.

Pico de Gallo recipe

Pico de gallo, or salsa fresca, is a light and healthy tomato dip that adds excitement and fast flavor to any Mexican meal. It’s all about selecting the highest quality tomatoes, vegetables, herbs, and spices to make the taste shine. To ensure a balance of flavor, combining the right ratio of simple ingredients is key.

The tomatoes are the star of the recipe, so I always use fresh, vine-ripened varieties when possible. Chop the tomatoes and onions into uniform sizes, for a chunky texture. Minced jalapenos give a kick of spicy heat, while lime juice adds a fruit acidity to meld all of the flavors together.

Pico de Gallo ingredients on a cutting board

What is pico de gallo?

Pico de gallo a type of fresh salsa. It’s a combination of chopped tomatoes, white onions, jalapeno pepper, cilantro, freshly squeezed lime juice, and a pinch of salt. It’s a healthy condiment to serve as a dip or appetizer for topping other types of Mexican food.

Ingredient selection

All of the ingredients can be substituted with different types of tomatoes, onions, spicy pepper, and even lemons instead of limes. My top choices are vine-ripened or Roma tomatoes because they have a sweet fruity flesh and robust texture that doesn’t become mealy.

White onions give a direct punch of pungency, but purple onions can be used for color. Jalapenos or serrano peppers bring the heat, but you can use other types of chilis depending on your spice tolerance. Feel free to add more into the recipe if you love a good chili burn.

two lime wedges on top of diced tomatoes and peppers

How to make pico de gallo

  • Chop tomatoes, onions, cilantro leaves, and jalapeno peppers.
  • Combine all of the ingredients together with the lime juice and salt.
  • Taste and season with more salt, peppers, and lime.

What is the proper ratio of pico de gallo?

  • 3 cups of diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup of diced onion
  • ½ cup cilantro leaves
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • 2 tablespoon minced hot peppers

Make sure to dice the tomatoes to ¼-inch size, and the onions to ⅛-inch. This ensures that the flavors of the tomatoes will dominate, and the strong sulfurous notes from the onions stay subtle and balanced. Adjust the amount of peppers to your desired spice level. A little bit of salt will subtly enhance the flavor.

What is the difference between salsa and pico de gallo?

Salsa tends to have a thinner, more pourable consistency since it’s made in a food processor or blender. Salsa is also prepared with tomatoes that are fresh (often times peeled) or canned.

Pico de gallo is chunkier tomato salsa in texture, using hand-chopped tomatoes, onions, and peppers. Only fresh unpeeled tomatoes are used.

Pico de Gallo in a white bowl with tortilla chips

Is it good for you?

Each serving has fresh and colorful fruits and vegetables, making for it low-calorie. Tomatoes are the main ingredient and have numerous nutritional benefits. In particular, they deliver the phytonutrient lycopene which is concentrated in the skin, giving it its red color. Tomatoes are also a good source of insoluble fiber, potassium, folate, vitamin C and K.

Can you make it the night before?

Yes! Pico de gallo can be made the day before and still taste fresh. It actually gives the tomatoes and onion more time to marinate with the herbs, peppers, and lime juice, for even more flavor. Stored in an airtight container the tomato dip lasts for up to 5 days for the best eating quality.

What to serve this with

person dipping a chip into a bowl of pico de gallo

More Mexican recipes

Buy locally grown tomatoes for the best flavor

Often times tomatoes are picked when they are immature and not fully ripened to withstand transportation. To turn those green tomatoes their characteristic red color, they are treated with ethylene gas, a ripening agent naturally found in fruit like apples and bananas. This results in a product that is not as sweet and less flavorful. If possible, buy locally grown tomatoes for the best taste.

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Pico de Gallo

Pico de gallo is a healthy Mexican dip that combines fresh juicy tomatoes, onions, cilantro, spicy jalapeno peppers, lime juice, and a pinch of salt.
Pin Print Review
4.82 from 11 votes
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time0 mins
Total Time15 mins
Servings 8 servings
Course Condiment
Cuisine Mexican

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ripe tomatoes, seeds removed, ¼-inch dice
  • 1 cup diced white onion, ⅛-inch dice
  • ½ cup loosely packed cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons minced jalapenos, stem and seeds removed
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions 

  • In a large bowl combine diced tomatoes, onion, cilantro, jalapenos, lime juice, and salt.
  • Stir to combine. Taste and season with more salt, lime juice or jalapenos as desired.

Recipe Video

Notes

Recipe Yield: 3 ½ cups salsa

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Nutrition Facts
Pico de Gallo
Amount Per Serving
Calories 30
% Daily Value*
Sodium 42mg2%
Potassium 306mg9%
Carbohydrates 6g2%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 945IU19%
Vitamin C 19.3mg23%
Calcium 16mg2%
Iron 0.3mg2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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