Pico de Gallo

$2.59 recipe / $0.22 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
5 from 3 votes
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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.

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Pico de Gallo

5 from 3 votes
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.
Overhead view of a bowl of pico de gallo surrounded by tortilla chips, salt, tomatoes, cilantro, and limes
Servings 12 ¼ cup each
Prep 10 mins
Total 10 mins

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
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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  

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  1. Perfect Pico! I used this for a salsa chicken bake and it was amazing. Wayyy fresher (and cheaper!) than what you’d get at the store.

  2. for someone that´s from Central America this recipe is perfect; only us latinamericans can know how great it is to see this recipe be true to its form. My mom has always added a dash of vinegar and a pinch of ground oregano, and ground pepper and ground cumin.

  3. I make something similar but instead of vidalia onions, I use mexican pickled purple onions (they seemt o be easier on my stomach than regular onions). Makes for a really tangy salsa.

  4. Excellent and easy to do recipe!! All in my family loved it. Thank you so much!!!

  5. I love a fresh salsa in the summer! This recipe looks so simple and so good! Plus I love how cheap it is! I try to stick to cheaper recipes that are also healthy any time I can, so I appreciate your blog! :)

  6. One of my aunts makes her pico de gallo (rooster) this. She calls it pico de gallina (hen). I always add a little green pepper, just whatever I have–bell, Anaheim, poblano, even jarred jalapenos.

  7. Here’s a tip to this outstanding recipe.
    As I live alone and therefore make this salad to last for some days, but it really loses the “it factor” after more than
    one day.
    The fix is if you want to make Pico De Gallo for a week, make the recipe but do not add the lime juice until just prior to serving. I make serving bowls that I put into the fridge (with half an unsqueezed lime) and then squeeze and add the lime prior to serving. YUM!!

    1. OMG, that makes so much sense! Thanks for this. I imagine that the acid in the lime juice is what breaks down my pico faster than I want, since I also will use it for days on end. Good way to keep freshening it. I might even keep the cilantro out (chopped, but in a separate container) and put it in as I go. Thank you.

  8. We LOVE pico but it is labor intensive with all that cutting of tomatos (though totally worth it if you have the time, and maybe a glass of sangria and a few friends as you work.) THIS is exactly what I always think I wish I had a food processor for…but I notice you don’t use on for this and I wondered, why?

    1. I was only making a small amount, so it really only took 2-3 minutes to chop everything up. For me it wasn’t worth the cumbersome cleaning of my food processor. :) Plus, I feel like the processor would have chopped it smaller than I wanted.

    2. Eek, wouldn’t that make the tomatoes soupy? What about a mandoline? Easy slices, then dicing is less hassle.

  9. I am in lust with this website. Thank you for all these awesome recipes. Everything is organized and explained really well. Cheers!