This is the best Pico de Gallo (Salsa Fresca) you will ever have! Made with fresh tomatoes, onion, chiles, cilantro and lots of lime juice plus a secret ingredient.

Pico De Gallo Salsa on a white bowl with tortilla chips on the side
Easy recipe for Pico De Gallo with roma tomatoes & jalapenos

In case you’re wondering, the translation of Pico De Gallo is “Rooster’s beak”. Pico means ‘beak’ and ‘gallo‘ is for ‘rooster’. But in Mexico we call this recipe “Salsa Fresca” or “Salsa Cruda” (raw salsa).

? Did you know? In Mexico, the authentic Pico De Gallo is what you call “Mexican Fruit Cup” in the U.S. Made with fresh fruit like watermelon, mango, jicama, cucumber, etc. topped with lime juice and a chili mix. So be careful what you ask for when you visit Mexico! ?

Fresh salsas are good perfect for when you want to make something quickly. Check out Salsa De Piña (Pineapple Salsa), Salsa De Jicama and Mango & Cucumber Salsa. Delish!

Two hands holing a white bowl with salsa
Pico De Gallo is the perfect for gatherings and fiestas

Ingredients

The key to making a great pico recipe is to always use fresh and ripe ingredients:

  • Roma or plum tomatoes – This is what I normally use but any other ripe tomato will work as well.
  • The onion – it can be white or yellow (whatever you have handy)
  • Pepper – You can make it as spicy as you would like by adjusting the type of chile that goes into it. You can use more jalapeños or use spicier ones like serrano peppers or chiles güeros ( the yellow peppers sold next to jalapeños).
  • The Lime – it has to be fresh lime juice mis amigos! If you don’t have fresh limes in whatever part of the world you are at, then bottle juice will do.
  • Fresh cilantro – There are no substitutes for this ingredient and it’s key! Do not skip it and use as much as you want! Make sure it’s the freshest (no limp stems) so that you don’t get that “soapy” taste.
  • Kosher salt & black pepper to taste. Don’t be afraid to load it up but do start tasting it little by little.

What’s the secret ingredient?

The secret ingredient I’ve been using for so many years (and people don’t even know it’s there) it’s store bought tomato sauce. Add about two of tablespoons for extra texture and flavor. I truly recommend it!

It does make the salsa a little more juicy so if like a dry salsa, then skip it by all means

Ingredients on a white plate: whole tomatoes, jalapenos, onion, cilantro and tomato sauce

How to make Pico De Gallo

  • Cut the tomatoes, onions, jalapeños (or serrano peppers) in small chunks. Add to a large bowl
  • Mince the cilantro and add to the bowl.
A bowl with chopped onions, tomato, jalapeno & cilantro
  • Add two tablespoons of tomato sauce (optional) and lime juice. Season with salt & pepper according to taste.
  • Stir to combine and serve immediately. Or store in an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  • Eat within 3 days for the best taste & freshness.
Pico De Gallo Salsa on a white bowl and a wooden spoon

What can I eat with Pico De Gallo?

This salsa is one of the easiest salsas to make and most versatile….It goes with everything!

A hand holding a tortilla chip with salsa

FAQ

What is the difference between salsa and pico de gallo?

Pico De Gallo (or Salsa Fresca) is made with raw fresh ingredients vs salsa is typically and made with mostly cooked ingredients. The ingredients in salsa are either blended or smashed in a molcajete.

Is Pico de Gallo fattening?

Pico De Gallo is one of the healthiest salsa you can eat as it ads lots of flavor but it does not have any unhealthy ingredients.

How do you make salsa fresca from scratch?

Always start with fresh ripe ingredients. Chop everything in small even sized pieces. Mix everything and season as desired.

This recipe also goes perfect with Breakfast Quesadillas and Molletes. So delicious!

Buen provecho!

Pico De Gallo Salsa on a white bowl with tortilla chips on the side

Authentic Pico De Gallo (Salsa Fresca)

Servings 3 cups
Ana Frias
5 from 10 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Total Time 10 mins
This isthe best Pico de Gallo (Salsa Fresca) you will ever have! Made with fresh tomatoes, onion, chiles, cilantro and lots of lime juice plus a secret ingredient.
3 cups

Ingredients  

  • 4 medium roma tomatoes diced
  • of a medium white or yellow onion diced
  • 1 to 2 jalapeños or serrano pepper (Or one of each) remove the seeds, finely diced
  • ¼ cup minced cilantro
  • 2 Tbsp tomato sauce
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lime Juice (1 large lime)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt or more to taste
  • 1 tsp fresh groun pepper or more to taste

Instructions 

  • Cut the tomatoes, onions, jalapeños (or preferred pepper) in evenly sized small chunks. Add to a large bowl
  • Mince the cilantro and add to the bowl.
  • Add two tablespoons of tomato sauce (optional) and lime juice. Season with salt & pepper according to taste.
  • Stir to combine and serve immediately. Or store in an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  • Eat within 3 days for the best taste & freshness.

Video

Muy Delish Notes:

Make sure the vegetables are cut small and evenly sized. It tastes the best when is consumed within 3 days.

Add Your Own Private Notes

Whenever you come back to this recipe, you’ll be able to see your notes.

Nutrition

Serving: 11/2 cup | Calories: 32kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 2g | Sodium: 129mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g

The nutritional information and US conversions are calculated automatically. I cannot guarantee the accuracy of this data. If this is important to you, please verify with your favourite nutrition calculator and/or unit conversion tool.

This recipe was originally published in July 2011. It was updated in June 2021 to revise the content and photographs. The original recipe remains the same. Enjoy! SaveSave

A bowl with Pico De Gallo

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Recipe Rating




12 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Hi Ana,

    Thank you for this recipe. I actually have been using your recipe of pico de gallo for years now. This recipe is the recipe I used when I first time made salsa fresca from scratch, and I had not moved on to a different recipe, because everything here is just right. I just add a small clove of garlic, because I love garlic. But other than that, everything here is just right: the heat, the acidity, the savoury, and the sweetness. So thank you.

    I live in Canada, where I have no problem with any ingredients in this recipe. However, I am planning to visit my home country, Indonesia, where some ingredients might not always be available (although my hometown has international stores, but still, some fresh ingredients might not always be available), and some people might not like some things, e.g.: cilantro. I find that not many Indonesians are fond of cilantro.

    My question is, if I can’t find cilantro or nobody in my family loves it, can I substitute it with something else, without changing the flavour of the pico de gallo?

    Any recommendation would be appreciated. Thank you.

    1. Hi Ika! How cool is that you’re going to Indonesia! I never been there but the photos look amazing!
      Okay so cilantro has a very distinct flavor that it’s hard to substitute. However, the closest replacements I can think of is fresh flat parsley or Thai basil. These fresh herbs still have a vibrant taste that will enhance the pico de gallo.

      Oh and adding the garlic is a great idea! Thanks for the tip. Enjoy your trip and have a blast!

      Ana

  2. 5 stars
    Such a refreshing salad! Definitely the perfect use of fresh summer ingredients. Love the addition of the tomato sauce for that extra boost of flavor too!

  3. 5 stars
    Pico de gallo is a must for delicious Mexican meals! I’m here at my home in Mexico. I just enjoyed this for lunch over Baja fish tacos.

  4. 5 stars
    This is the perfect time of the year to make salsa fresca. I love how fresh and refreshing the recipe is!

  5. 5 stars
    This really is the best homemade pico de gallo I’ve ever tried!! It was perfectly balanced, spicy and fresh, and tasted great with tacos we made this week!

  6. 5 stars
    I can never find good pico de gallo in stores, decided to try making it myself instead and it came out awesome.