Classic Fresh Tomato Salsa Recipe (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
Yields: 2 cups
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
20 Calories
0g Fat
4g Carbs
1g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 20
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 81mg 4%
Total Carbohydrate 4g 2%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 13mg 64%
Calcium 17mg 1%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 195mg 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.)

This is one salsa recipe that'll make you skip the store-bought stuff. In Mexican cuisine, pico de gallo is chunkier and less runny than a salsa. It's often served as a condiment in addition to salsa and doesn't require any cooking. You can whip up this tasty recipe in just a few minutes.

In this recipe, diced tomatoes, peppers, garlic, and lime juice are a great complement to tacos and burritos. This pico de gallo is also a great party dip with tortilla roll-ups or tortilla chips. It's also a refreshing condiment to serve alongside grilled or baked fish fillets, grilled chicken, steaks, and pork chops.

The extra step of pouring boiling water over the chopped onion and garlic may be new and perplexing to some home cooks. Don't be tempted to skip this step. The boiling water helps to take the bite out of the raw onions and garlic. You'll be left with delicious flavor without the harsh, lingering flavor and odor.


Click Play to See This Classic Tomato Salsa Recipe Come Together


  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped onion

  • 2 small cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 cups boiling water

  • 3 large ripe tomatoes, cored and coarsely chopped

  • 2 jalapeño or serrano chile peppers, coarsely chopped

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice, 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. Pour boiling water over them, discarding the water. Allow the chopped onion and garlic to fully cool and drain.

    Strain onion and garlic
    The Spruce
  3. Combine drained onions and garlic with chopped tomatoes, peppers, cilantro, and lime juice. Add salt and black pepper.

    Mix salsa vegetables
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  4. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours to blend the flavors.

    Mixing fresh salsa
    The Spruce
  5. The pico de gallo will keep for up to three days in the fridge. Serve as a dip or a condiment with Mexican-style dishes and enjoy.

    Classic fresh salsa with chips
    The Spruce


  • 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.
  • For extra flavorful salsa, don't skimp on the chile peppers and seasoning. Add a few pinches of cumin or chili powder.
  • Take caution when chopping the peppers and be sure to wash your hands immediately afterward.
  • Plum tomatoes are an excellent choice for salsa. They are firmer, have fewer seeds, and they're easier to dice.
  • 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 the other ingredients until it suits your tastes.
  • If you store this pico de gallo in the refrigerator for a few days, the tomatoes will continue to release their juices. Drain the salsa a bit prior to serving to keep it from having too much liquid.

Recipe Variations

  • If you're not a fan of cilantro, omit it or add fresh parsley.
  • For extra texture and color, add about a few tablespoons of drained and rinsed black beans and a few tablespoons of cooked corn kernels.

Is Homemade Salsa Healthy?

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

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