Pico De Gallo

Homemade Pico De Gallo is one of the quickest, easiest and healthiest ways to perk up grilled chicken, add punch to salads and sandwiches and of course season your Mexican favorites. Authentic pico de gallo is no more than a fresh tomato salsa recipe and it doesn’t require a bevy of ingredients. In fact, the best pico de gallo recipe only needs 5 ingredients and 5 minutes to make.

I am combining tomatoes and white onion in a bowl.

5 Ingredients In Homemade Pico De Gallo

  • Tomatoes
  • White Onion
  • Serrano Peppers (or Jalapeno peppers)
  • Cilantro
  • Fresh Lime

Don’t shy away from heat for the best pico de gallo recipe, but don’t go overboard, either. It’s a component of the overall blend. If you are sensitive to heat, remove the seeds and membrane as that’s where MOST of the spice component comes from. If you like spice, you can leave all or part of the seeds and membrane to mix with your authentic pico de gallo.

Slicing jalapenos for the pico de gallo.

What Does Pico De Gallo Mean?

The literal translation is “Rooster’s Beak”. Pico meaning beak and Gallo is the Spanish word for rooster.

Why Do They Call It Pico De Gallo?

There are several thoughts on this subject.

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Rick Bayless (famed chef of Mexican Cuisine – and a personal hero of mine) supposed it could be from the bird-feed like consistency of the salsa.

Sharon Tyler Herbst,  author of Food Lover’s Companion, speculates that it was because of the way people would pick up the salsa between their thumb and forefinger… like a roosters beak.

While natives of Sonoran Mexico, explain that the fresh tomato salsa recipe is named because the pepper resembles a roosters beak.

Adding cilantro and lime zest to the pico de gallo recipe.

Pico De Gallo Vs. Salsa – What’s The Difference?

Authentic pico de gallo is literally a fresh tomato salsa recipe. The difference being that most salsas are thinner and more liquidy — sometimes having been pulsed in a food processor or blender, while homemade pico de gallo is chunky with identifiable pieces of each of the ingredients.

Is Homemade Pico De Gallo Healthy?

In a word, YES. With Potassium Vitamin A, Vitamin C and even Calcium, this is a condiment you can feel good about eating.

How Many Calories In A serving of Pico De Gallo

It really depends on what you’d qualify as a “serving”. If it’s by the tablespoonful, it’s about 5 calories. My servings are a bit more generous — usually 1/4 to 1/3 cup – and even then you’re only looking at 20-25 calories. IMO this is practically a “negative food” in that it takes more calories to prepare and consume it than the salsa actually contains.

Stirring the vegetables together in a bowl.

How Long Does Salsa Last In The Refrigerator?

Technically, you can keep it for 5-7 days, however, I’ve found that it’s best consumed within 2 days. Beyond that the tomatoes start to break down — and remember this is a fresh tomato salsa recipe — you want to eat it at its peak. Plus this recipe doesn’t make a ton of pico de gallo — it’s usually enough for 4 people and a taco dinner.

Can I Freeze Homemade Pico De Gallo?

Theoretically, yes. However when you freeze fresh vegetables that haven’t been blanched, the cells of the vegetables will expand and burst when they freeze. Consequently, when you defrost them, you’ll have more liquid and the tomatoes in particular will slump and not be as bright. I’d avoid freezing it.

A white bowl filled with fresh pico de gallo.

What To Serve With Authentic Pico De Gallo:

More Fresh Salsa Recipes:


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A fresh bowl of pico de gallo.
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4.75 from 8 votes

Best Pico De Gallo Recipe

This authentic pico de gallo has just 5 ingredients. This fresh tomato salsa recipe is a bright accompaniment to mexican favorites, grilled meats and seafood, even your Saturday morning eggs.
Author: Lisa Lotts
Course Condiments
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword pico de gallo, salsa
Dietary Restrictions Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Low-Carb, Paleo, Vegan
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 4


  • 2 ripe plum tomatoes seeded and diced
  • ½ cup white onion finely diced
  • 1 jalapeno seeded and minced
  • 1 lime
  • ½ cup cilantro chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • In a medium bowl, combine the diced tomato, onion and jalapeno.
  • Zest the lime with a microplane and measure about ½ teaspoon of zest. Add to the tomato mixture. Squeeze about 1 tablespoon of lime juice from the lime and add it to the pico de gallo mixture.
  • Add fresh cilantro and toss to combine. Taste for seasonings and add salt and pepper as desired. Serve immediately. Can be refrigerated in an airtight container for 1-2 days… beyond that the tomatoes will start to degrade.


Calories: 20kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 4mg | Potassium: 130mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 431IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 13mg | Iron: 1mg

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  1. Krissy Allori says:

    5 stars
    I love pico de gallo and I love to use it for many recipes. Thanks for this easy, delicious recipe. It’s a perfect balance of all the flavors.

  2. 5 stars
    My big YES! Yes, I have got all the five ingredients and 5 minutes of my precious time to make this delicious recipe. I cannot wait to try!

  3. 5 stars
    I absolutely love pico de gallo! This recipe has my name all over it. I can’t wait to scoop up some of this.

  4. 5 stars
    This is so good and easy to make! Love how you broke down the types of vitamins are in this!

  5. 5 stars
    I love pico de gallo but have never made it! Now I can see how easy it is. Thanks for sharing!