condiments / recipes / savory / sides / vegan + vegetarian

Pico de Gallo

Pico de Gallo

I love Pico de Gallo. It is similar to salsa, but in a drier, more relish-like form. Tomatoes, onion, jalapeno, cilantro, and lime are the building blocks and most folks add garlic, too. I can never leave well enough alone, so of course, I added a couple of extras.

Anyway, I can’t eat the Crispy Tacos I love so much without Pico! Well, that’s a lie: I will definitely still eat them if I don’t have it, but it’s a very sad, delicious, time. Pico de Gallo adds a freshness that can’t be replaced when you’re eating something greasy or super cheesy and rounds out the eating experience.

Pico de Gallo

Pico de Gallo Ingredients

Feel free to jump to the full recipe, but here are useful notes about the ingredients you will need to make this Pico de Gallo recipe:

  • Roma tomatoes: You might find them labeled as ‘plum tomatoes.’ They’re sort of oblong shaped, tend to be small, and should be firm to pressure, but not rock hard. Regular tomatoes will work in a pinch, but do try to find roma if you can.
  • White onion: Red onion will do fine here. White onion has a slightly more intense flavor than red, so it’s my preference, but I’ll use whichever I have on hand. The Pico de Gallo seen in these photos has both white and red onion (I had used some of both for other things, and needed to use the rest).
  • Jalapeno: Always remove the seeds and membranes if you’re not good with heat. If you need it super mild reduce the amount of jalapeno. If you’d like it hotter increase it or swap it out for serrano.
  • Garlic: We’ll chop all of our Pico de Gallo ingredients pretty evenly sized except the garlic. The garlic should minced and crushed almost into a paste if you can get it there.
  • Cilantro: Mandatory. I don’t care if cilantro tastes like soap (I am so sorry you are one of those folks btw) cilantro is non-negotioable! You can decrease or increase the amount to your tastes, tho.
  • Lime juice: Freshly-squeezed. I’m not one to try to tell you what to do in your own kitchen, only make gentle suggestions (unless it’s about draining fried foods on wire racks instead of paper towels) so I gently suggest you roll and juice a couple of fresh limes. Bottled will do if you must, tho. Lemon is not a sufficient substitute, it will throw off the flavor.
  • Kosher salt: Sea salt is cool, just reduce the amount. Only use enough to bring out the flavors of the other ingredients in the Pico de Gallo
  • Ground cumin, chili powder: My own lil’ additions. Togther they add a very subtle, pleasing smoky heat to pico that only further heightens that freshness effect. Or, this is what I’ve convinced myself they do. I use ancho chili powder most regularly.

How to Make Pico de Gallo 

Full instructions are included in the recipe below, but here is a basic overview of what you’ll need to do, along with some important tidbits to help you make the most of this Pico de Gallo recipe:

  • I mean… just make it. Add everything to a medium sized bowl and stir until well combined. Be gentle so you don’t damage the flesh of the tomatoes too much, but thorough so the ingredients are evenly distributed.
  • Chill it. It’s good immediatey, but better if you give the flavors time to meld and settle. Cover tightly – so everything in your fridge doesn’t start smelling like Pico de Gallo – and refrigerate for at least 15-30 minutes before serving. Dassit!
  • Time is ticking. You have 4 days to use this up. After the first day you’ll want to serve it with a fork or slotted spoon to avoid all the moisture that will be released as it sits.
Pico de Gallo on top of Carne Asada Nachos

What To Serve Pico de Gallo On 

You can make endless variations with this Pico de Gallo recipe, so please feel free to customize yours to taste!  For example, you could…

Obligatory Pin – 

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Pico de Gallo

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  • Author: María
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 12 1x


Rooster’s Beak or “beak of rooster” is the literal translation. Don’t ask me why.


  • 10 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 medium white onion, minced
  • 1 large jalapeno, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced into a paste
  • 1/2 C fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 C lime juice, freshly squeezed
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt, to taste
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/8 tsp chili powder


  1. Add the tomatoes, onion, jalapeno, cilantro, and garlic to the bowl. Give them a few turns with a silicone spatula to start to combine them, then pour over the lime juice.
  2. Add the ground cumin, chili powder, and salt. Stir until well combined. Be gentle so you don’t damage the flesh of the tomatoes too much, but thorough so the ingredients are evenly distributed. Cover tightly and refrigerate for at least 15-30 minutes before serving. Dassit!
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 5
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