Pico de Gallo Recipe (also called Mexican Salsa Fresca) takes just 10 minutes to make and transforms a few ordinary ingredients into a bright-flavored fresh salsa that you can pair with everything from tacos to tortilla chips, or eat on its own as a salad.
I can always be in the mood for Mexican food. I love richly spiced moles, slow-cooked fall-apart-tender meats like oxtail, roasts, and short ribs, and fresh cheese.
Mexican cuisine is a harmony between spicy flavors to excite and creamy textures to cool the palate. And let’s not forget the fresh, bright flavor of things like tomato-based salsa that’s aromatic with cilantro to wake everything up!
What Is Pico de Gallo?
Pico de Gallo, also known as Salsa Fresco or Salsa Cruda, is a chopped salad from Mexican cuisine. It only takes about 10 minutes to make and it has a short list of easy-to-find ingredients.
Mexican Fresh Salsa can be used to top things like tacos, salad bowls, and even fried eggs. Personally, I find it delicious enough to eat on its own!
Authentic Pico de Gallo Recipe
It’s a fairly short list, and each ingredient is important for that perfect balance of flavor:
Tomatoes: Sometimes you can get away with less flavorful tomatoes (for example, if they're being roasted), but here you’re looking for the best tomatoes you can get! I like to include the tomato seeds and juice in this recipe because the salt draws the liquid out of the tomatoes and it basically acts as the salad dressing here. I prefer using cherry tomatoes because they’re easy to cut, pretty juicy, and usually super sweet with deep tomato flavor. You can use any tomato with great flavor though (go for local tomatoes if they’re in season).
Onion: Packs a nice savory punch!
Serrano Chili Pepper: This adds the heat. If you can’t find serranos, you can substitute jalapenos instead. Take note that serrano is typically quite a bit more spicy than jalapeno and adjust accordingly to suit your taste preference. To reduce the heat, remove the ribs and seeds before mincing the chili pepper.
Garlic: Also adds a bit of heat, but in a different way; plus, it adds depth of flavor.
Cilantro: Provides a fresh, bright, slightly grassy flavor! You can go easy if you like, but I like mine a little heavy on the cilantro.
Lime Juice: This acts like the salad dressing! The acidity from lime juice helps balance the tomato’s sweetness and chili’s heat.
Salt: Like most things, this fresh salad needs salt! The salt here not only adds seasoning, but also pulls out the liquid from the tomato to create a sort-of dressing for our salad (which I find refreshing enough to drink on its own…really!).
- Chop all ingredients.
- Mix them up.
How Long Does Pico de Gallo Last?
Store this in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two days.
Note that after a while, the tomatoes get a bit mushy and the cilantro can wilt.
What Can I Use Pico de Gallo For?
- Serve this fresh salsa with tortilla chips for dipping
- Eat it as a side salad along with grilled steak or grilled marinated chicken and corn on the cob
- Include it as part of a taco bar, chili bar, or baked potato bar
- Top fried or scrambled eggs with pico de gallo and a little crumbled queso fresco (Mexican fresh white crumbling cheese) like this breakfast egg skillet
- Serve it as a topping for enchiladas (like my low-carb chicken enchiladas, green chicken enchiladas, or Tex-Mex inspired stuffed poblano peppers) or tostadas
- Add it to fish tacos
Pico de Gallo Recipe (Mexican Salsa Fresca)
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes quartered
- ½ medium-sized yellow or white onion diced small
- 1 serrano pepper minced (more or less to taste)
- 1 large clove garlic minced
- ½ cup fresh chopped cilantro
- 1 ½ tablespoons fresh lime juice
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Stir together all ingredients in a large bowl.
- Serve, or store covered in the fridge for up to 2 days.
- Net Carbs: 4g per serving
- Substitute for Serrano Peppers: If you can’t find serrano chili peppers, you can use jalapeno instead. Note that serranos are quite a bit hotter than jalapenos, so adjust accordingly.
- Storage: Store this in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two days. Note that after a while, the tomatoes get a bit mushy and the cilantro can wilt.
This post was first published on An Edible Mosaic on May 25, 2018. I updated it with more information on May 14, 2020.