Pico de Gallo

Fresh Tomato Salsa (pico de gallo)
The Spruce
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Chill: 2 hrs
Total: 2 hrs 10 mins
Servings: 6 to 8 servings
Yield: 2 cups
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
19 Calories
0g Fat
4g Carbs
1g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 19
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 79mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 4g 2%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 13mg 65%
Calcium 15mg 1%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 192mg 4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

In Mexican cuisine, pico de gallo (also known as salsa fresca or salsa cruda) is a fresh and chunky condiment that can be used in a variety of ways. Pico de gallo (pronounced peek-o deh-guy-oh) translates to "rooster's beak," but it's unclear where the name originally came from. While most salsas are blended or cooked creating a saucy consistency, pico de gallo doesn't require any cooking and leaves the ingredients diced, resulting in a fresh, chunky salsa.

This recipe is easy to adjust according to your tastes, adding more hot peppers for spice or more lime for tart freshness. The extra step of pouring boiling water over the chopped onion and garlic may be new and perplexing to some home cooks, but don't skip it. The boiling water helps to take the bite out of the raw onions and garlic, leaving behind delicious flavor without the harsh, lingering taste and odor.

The combination of fresh diced tomatoes, peppers, garlic, and lime juice is a great complement to tacos and burritos and is also the perfect accompaniment to tortilla chips. Use it anytime you'd like to add fresh flavor to a meal.

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Click Play to See This Classic Tomato Salsa Recipe Come Together

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped onion

  • 2 small cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 cups boiling water

  • 3 large ripe tomatoes, cored and coarsely chopped (1 to 1 1/2 pounds)

  • 2 jalapeños or serrano chile peppers, coarsely chopped

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice, or more to taste

  • Kosher salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for making classic fresh tomato salsa (pico de gallo)
    The Spruce 
  2. Put the chopped onion and garlic in a strainer and pour over the boiling water. Discard the water and allow the onion and garlic to fully drain and cool.

    Boiling water poured and strained over onion and garlic
    The Spruce
  3. Combine the drained onion and garlic with the chopped tomatoes, chile peppers, cilantro, and lime juice. Add salt and black pepper to taste.

    Mix salsa vegetables
    The Spruce 
  4. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to blend the flavors.

    Mixing fresh salsa
    The Spruce
  5. Serve as a dip or a condiment with Mexican-style dishes and enjoy.

    Classic fresh salsa with chips
    The Spruce

How to Store

  • The pico de gallo will keep for up to three days in the refrigerator stored in an airtight container. The tomatoes will continue to release their juices, so you should drain the salsa prior to serving to keep it from having too much liquid.
  • If you need to store for longer, pico de gallo can be frozen, but keep in mind that once thawed the texture and consistency will be different. The tomatoes will have softened and the cilantro will be limp and might have darkened in color. It will no longer be fresh and crisp but can be cooked before serving or added to other recipes like sofrito and Spanish rice. If you want to serve it raw, be sure to bring it to room temperature and drain any liquid before serving.

How to Serve Pico de Gallo

Pico de gallo can be served in a wide variety of ways:

  • Serve as a dip with tortilla chips or tortilla roll-ups
  • Stir into cheese or bean dip
  • Use to top tacos, burritos, or quesadillas
  • Serve alongside grilled or baked fish fillets, chicken, steaks, or pork chops
  • Top chili or taco soup

Recipe Variations

  • If you end up with a salsa that's too heavy on the onion or doesn't have enough garlic, it's easy to adjust the proportions. Simply add more of an ingredient or two until the pico de gallo suits your tastes.
  • Use hot or mild chile peppers in the salsa depending on your desired spice level. Jalapeño, serrano, New Mexican, and Anaheim peppers are good choices. Leave some of the seeds in the mixture for a spicier salsa.
  • Swap up to half of the tomatoes for fresh diced peaches or mangos.
  • If you're not a fan of cilantro, omit it or add fresh parsley.
  • For extra texture and color, add a few tablespoons of drained and rinsed black beans and a few tablespoons of cooked corn kernels.

Is Homemade Salsa Healthy?

Since salsas like pico de gallo only contain fresh vegetables and lime juice, it is good for you. It's a tasty way to eat a serving of vegetables and is low in calories. Serve with healthy dishes like grilled fish or chicken breast or vegetarian tacos for a nutritious meal.

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