Pico de Gallo

Pico de gallo is one of my favorite fresh summer condiments because it only takes a few minutes to make and it’s just so fresh and vibrant. The flavor just screams “summer!” I’m always so in awe of recipes that have only a few ingredients, but taste so good and pico de gallo is a great example of that. There’s something magic about the combination of fresh lime and salt that totally transforms this bowl of tomatoes, onions, and cilantro. Simple, magic, delicious.

Originally posted 5-22-2011, updated 6-30-2020.

A bowl of pico de gallo surrounded by chips, tomatoes, limes, cilantro, and salt.

What is Pico de Gallo?

Pico de gallo is a fresh salsa made with tomatoes, onions, jalapeños, salt, lime, and cilantro. Unlike most jarred salsa that you find in the store, this mix is not cooked, so the flavor stays very fresh and vibrant, and the texture is less saucy and more chunky. 

How to Use Pico de Gallo

If you’re wondering how you use pico de gallo, the answer is “on everything.” It’s a condiment that can be spooned over just about any savory food for an added boost of freshness. Here are a few things I like to spoon it over:

Where’s the Jalapeño??

Okay, so there is where I diverge from traditional pico de gallo recipes. I, for whatever reason, despite how much I like spicy food, prefer mine without jalapeño, so the recipe below is written sans jalapeño. If you want to make it in the traditional fashion, simply seed and finely dice one jalapeño and add it into the mix.

What Else Can I Add?

Pico de gallo is a great starting point for any number of fresh salsas. Here are some other ingredients you can add to flesh it out and make it into a more complex salsa:

  • pineapple
  • avocado
  • corn
  • mango
  • peaches
  • chipotle peppers

Pico de gallo being spooned over green chile enchiladas

Shown spooned over Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas.


Overhead view of a bowl of pico de gallo surrounded by tortilla chips, salt, tomatoes, cilantro, and limes
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5 from 2 votes

Pico de Gallo

This fresh and easy pico de gallo only takes a few minutes to make and adds vibrant flavor to your tacos, enchiladas, nachos, and more.
Total Cost: $2.59 recipe / $0.22 serving
Author: Beth - Budget Bytes
Prep Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 10 mins
Servings: 12 ¼ cup each

Ingredients

  • 2 tomatoes (2 cups diced) ($1.50)
  • 1/2 Vidalia onion (1 cup diced) ($0.37)
  • 1 lime ($0.50)
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro ($0.20)
  • 1/4 tsp salt ($0.02)

Instructions

  • Finely dice the tomato and onion. Finely chop the cilantro. Add the tomato, onion, and cilantro to a bowl.
  • Squeeze the juice of half the lime over the vegetables in the bowl (about 1 Tbsp). Add a pinch or two of salt, and stir everything to combine. Taste the mixture and add more salt or lime juice to your liking. Allow the salsa to sit for five minutes before serving.
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Nutrition

Calories: 13.8kcalCarbohydrates: 3.45gProtein: 0.5gFat: 0.12gSodium: 102.42mgFiber: 0.97g
Nutritional values are estimates only. See our full nutrition disclosure here.

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Close up of a chip topped with pico de gallo, the bowl in the background

How to Make Pico de Gallo – Step By Step Photos

Fresh tomato, onion, lime, cilantro and salt on a cutting board

Since pico de gallo is a FRESH tomato salsa, it starts with all fresh ingredients: tomatoes, onion, lime, cilantro, and salt. I like to do a 2:1 ratio of tomato to onion, so I used two small tomatoes and half of an onion. I also prefer to use a sweeter onion for pico de gallo, so it doesn’t overwhelm the salsa, so I used a Vidalia onion.

Chopped tomato onion and cilantro in a bowl

Finely dice the tomatoes and onion, and finely chop the cilantro (about ¼ cup).

lime being squeezed over the bowl of vegetables

Squeeze fresh lime juice over the diced vegetables. For the amount of pico de gallo I am making here, I used about 1 Tbsp of lime juice, or the juice of half a lime. The great thing about pico de gallo is that you can just make it according to your own tastes, without measuring anything.

stirred pico de gallo in the bowl, salt and limes on the side

Season with a pinch or two of salt, then stir everything together. Taste, and adjust the salt to your liking. I used about ¼ tsp of salt. Let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes before serving to allow the juices to extract and flavors to blend. Make sure to give it a good stir just before serving to redistribute the flavor.

Overhead view of a bowl of pico de gallo surrounded by tortilla chips, salt, tomatoes, cilantro, and limes