Restaurant salsas don’t hold a candle to fresh, homemade Pico de Gallo. It’s the perfect accompaniment to any Tex-Mex or Mexican recipe, and can also be served as a dip alongside a bowl of tortilla chips. All you need to make it are 6 ingredients, a knife, and a bowl!
WHAT IS PICO DE GALLO?
Pico de Gallo is a simple Mexican Salsa made up of fresh chopped tomatoes, onions, jalapeños, cilantro, and lime juice. You will find it served on or beside almost any and every Tex-Mex or Mexican entree, and it can also be served as a dip.
You might have also heard it referred to as salsa fresca or salsa cruda!
WHAT DOES PICO DE GALLO MEAN?
- Pico = Beak
- de = of
- Gallo = Rooster
As unappetizing as it may sound, Pico de Gallo actually translates to “rooster’s beak” or “beak of a rooster.” According to sources, this is because people originally ate it hand-to-mouth, by pinching pieces together with their thumb and forefinger, pecking at it with their fingers in a similar fashion to the beak of a rooster!
PEE/koh theh GAH/yoh
PICO DE GALLO VS. SALSA
It is also absent of spices commonly found in Mexican salsa (such as chili powder and cumin). The vegetables in pico are typically flavored solely with cilantro, lime juice, and salt. This really allows the fresh flavors of the tomatoes to pop and the acidity of the lime juice to stand more pronounced.
HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE PICO DE GALLO
- Chop | Chop the tomatoes, jalapeños, onion, and cilantro and add it to a bowl.
- Squeeze | Squeeze in fresh lime juice, add salt, and stir.
- Rest | Allow the mix to rest 15 to 20 minutes before serving (or up to overnight)!
WHAT’S IN PICO DE GALLO?
- Lime Juice
TOMATOES AND SUBSTITUTIONS
If you happen to be in peak tomato season when making fresh Pico de Gallo, you will taste the difference! This salsa is mostly made up of fresh tomatoes, so the better the quality of the tomato, the better the overall flavor of your pico.
This recipe calls specifically for Roma tomatoes, but feel free to use Vine-Ripened or Campari tomatoes in their place. Vine-ripened tomatoes will be larger, so you can probably get away with using 5 (instead of 6 Romas). On the other hand, Camparis are smaller and you’ll likely need 7 to 8.
JALAPENOS AND SUBSTITUTIONS
Jalapeños are pretty mild as far as peppers go, and as long as you intend to de-seed them, they shouldn’t make your Pico de Gallo spicy. If you want to add a little heat to your salsa, either leave some seeds intact or sub in serrano peppers!
ONIONS AND SUBSTITUTIONS
This recipe calls for white onion, which is traditional in pico. However, if you’re in a pinch, you could use yellow or red onion in its place.
Cilantro is a very important flavoring component of Pico de Gallo. Be sure not to skimp on this ingredient!
No bottled lime juice allowed here, folks. Fresh-squeezed lime is the only way to go!
WHAT TO USE IT ON:
Below are a few of our favorite recipes for serving with Homemade Pico:
But, don’t stop there. Pico de Gallo can also be served as a chip dip! Its refreshing nature makes it especially perfect for serving in the heat of summer.
In fact, this is actually one of our favorite recipes for serving at our fajita cookouts. We’ll mix up a double (or maybe even a triple) batch and serve it alongside homemade tortilla chips and it is always a full-on crowd-pleaser!
MORE MEXICAN DIPS TO TRY!
- Chili Cheese Dip
- Mexican Shrimp Cocktail
- Cream Cheese Salsa
- Queso (Velveeta Cheese Dip)
- Black Bean and Corn Salsa
HOW TO STORE IT
Fresh Homemade Pico de Gallow will last for 3 to 4 days refrigerated in an airtight container.
CAN YOU FREEZE PICO DE GALLO?
If you end up with leftover pico past the 4-day mark and you don’t want to be wasteful, technically you can freeze it. However, I don’t recommend it.
Once thawed, the texture will change tremendously, become mushy, and the condiment will not be nearly as appetizing.
5 MORE MEXICAN RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE!
This easy, homemade Pico de Gallo is perfect for serving with any Mexican dish or as a fresh salsa dip alongside tortilla chips! Makes about 2 1/2 cups.
- 6 Roma tomatoes seeded and chopped
- 1 small white onion chopped
- 4 large jalapenos seeded (if desired) and chopped
- 1/3 cup cilantro chopped
- Fresh-squeezed juice of 2 limes (about a 1/4 cup)
- 1 3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
Add the tomatoes, onion, jalapenos, cilantro, lime juice, and salt to a small mixing bowl and stir.
Allow to sit for 15-20 minutes before serving, or cover and refrigerate overnight. Serve and enjoy!