Best Pico de Gallo Recipe

This best pico de gallo recipe is always a home run. It’s just 6 ingredients (plus salt), and perfect for dipping chips and topping tacos!

Best Pico de Gallo Recipe

Got tomatoes? Let’s make pico! There’s something so carefree about pico de gallo. Maybe it’s Alex and I spent much of a trip to Mexico on the beach shoveling loads of fresh pico into our mouths while watching the waves. Whatever the case, if you’ve got ripe tomatoes, pico is the perfect place to start. Use it as a salsa with tortilla chips, use it on top of grilled or broiled salmon, or of course, throw it into a taco. Want to know how to make the best pico de gallo recipe?

Related: 15 Best Fresh Tomato Recipes

What does pico de gallo mean?

Pico de gallo translates literally to “beak of the rooster” in Spanish. It’s a type of salsa made with fresh tomatoes; and the name perhaps refers to the bird feed-like texture (no one seems to know the true origin!). A pico de gallo recipe often features tomatoes, onion, peppers, cilantro, and fresh squeezed lime juice. It’s always made with raw tomatoes, and is typically quite chunky.

What’s the difference between pico de gallo and salsa? Well, salsa typically has a runnier, smoother texture; pico de gallo is usually chunkier and hand chopped. Salsa can also be made with cooked tomatoes, though a salsa fresca is made with raw tomatoes. Salsa fresca is very similar to pico, so the difference is all in the texture. Here’s a photo of our salsa fresca: you can see the texture is more pureed since it is made in a food processor.

Salsa Fresca Recipe
Our “best” salsa fresca recipe…which, of course, you could make instead!

How to make pico de gallo

This recipe is so simple, you could probably rattle off all the ingredients if you had to guess them! Here are the main players in pico de gallo, which you simply chop finely and mix together in a bowl:

  • Ripe, red tomatoes*
  • White onion
  • Jalapeño pepper
  • Cilantro
  • Lime juice
  • Cumin
  • Salt

It might go without saying, but the quality of your homemade pico de gallo is 100 perfect dependent on the quality of your tomatoes! Don’t skimp here. Find the ripest, juiciest tomatoes you can find: bonus points if they are from the farmers market or you grew them yourself! If you’re at the grocery buying tomatoes, make sure it’s at least tomato season: or you know a brand that has really great greenhouse grown tomatoes. (Greenhouse tomatoes can be pretty decent year round.)

Whatever the case, if you’re not sure, take a little taste of the tomato when you go to cut it. If it doesn’t taste good — stop and don’t make this recipe!

Best pico de gallo recipe

Demystifying how to core and chop the tomatoes

The most time consuming part of making homemade pico de gallo is chopping those tomatoes. Since you want to chop them as small as possible, it will take a bit of time to get it right. Here you’ll want to core and remove the seeds of the tomato before chopping them. Not only does this make it easier to chop, it also makes the texture of the pico not too watery and seedy.

Because it’s easier to show rather than tell, we made you a video! Here’s a little primer on how to chop tomatoes for this pico:

Video: How to core, seed and chop a tomato

Let us know what you think in the comments below!

Jackfruit tacos
Pico on jackfruit tacos

How to use pico de gallo (let us count the ways!)

What are some ways to use this best pico de gallo recipe? We’re glad you asked. Here are some of the ways we love to use pico:

What’s your favorite way to use it?

Homemade pico de gallo

This best pico de gallo recipe is…

Vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free.

Best Pico de Gallo Recipe

Best Pico de Gallo Recipe

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (6 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: About 3 cups 1x


This best pico de gallo recipe is always a home run. It’s just 6 ingredients (plus salt), and perfect for dipping chips and topping tacos! 



  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh tomatoes (about 4 medium), enough for 2 cups finely diced
  • 1/2 cup minced white onion (about 1/4 large onion)
  • 1 to 2 jalapeño peppers, seeds removed (depending on your spice tolerance)*
  • 1/4 cup packed finely chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


  1. Dice the tomatoes, removing the core and seeds. See this video for how to do it! It will take a while for this part, but hang in there!
  2. Finely chop the onion. Remove the seeds from the jalapeño peppers and finely chop them. Finely chop the cilantro.
  3. Mix the tomatoes, onion,  jalapeño peppers, cilantro, cumin, lime juice, and kosher salt in a bowl. Serve immediately. You can store a few days refrigerated as well. The pico de gallo will accumulate water as it sits; drain as necessary.


*Using 1 seeded jalapeño pepper comes out very mild. If you’d like more spice, add the second pepper and you can add some of the seeds as well to come to your desired spice level.

  • Category: Condiment
  • Method: Raw
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Keywords: Pico de Gallo, Pico de Gallo Recipe, Salsa Recipe, Best Pico de Gallo

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

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