Our Easy Pico de Gallo combines a handful of fresh ingredients for one tasty dip. Plus, it comes together in about 10 minutes! Serve with chips or as a refreshing topping on your favorite dishes.
Learn the surprising pico de gallo meaning, plenty of tips for making it at home, plus the difference between pico de gallo vs salsa!
Easy Pico De Gallo
Bright, bold veggie flavor meets subtle heat and a burst of citrus. Who knew such simple ingredients could make such a delicious combination?
This recipe for pico de gallo, meaning “roosters beak,” is an easy way to liven up any dish — or enjoy it on its own!
Use up the rest of the cilantro with a batch of Chipotle guacamole, then serve both dips with chips and sliced veggies for an easy appetizer.
Pico de Gallo vs Salsa
It all comes down to texture! A simple pico de gallo combines freshly chopped ingredients — typically just tomatoes, onions, lime juice, and cilantro.
Salsa, on the other hand, can be made with fresh or canned ingredients and is often blended.
Even though chunky salsa exists, it still has a saucy consistency and contains much more liquid.
You can also add all kinds of things to homemade salsa, and there are so many varieties to choose from!
From roasted or verde to fruit and veggie-based concoctions, there’s always a new combination to try.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Tomatoes – Plum or Roma tomatoes are the best option as they are easy to dice and have a lower water content than other varieties.
- Onion – White onion is the way to go for simple pico de gallo. If you’re sensitive to the natural bite, you can soak the pieces in ice water for a few minutes.
Just be sure to drain well and pat dry!
- Jalapenos – Remove the ribs and seeds to reduce the heat. Also, don’t forget gloves to protect your skin from the irritating oils found in the skin.
- Garlic – While not in the traditional recipe for pico de gallo, I can’t resist the flavor! Feel free to leave this out if you prefer.
- Lime Juice – Freshly squeezed is always best! Make sure your citrus is room temperature to get out as much juice as you can.
How to Make Simple Pico de Gallo
- Chop the ingredients.
A serrated blade is the best option for tomatoes, but any large blade will do the job for the remaining ingredients.
It’s important to use a sharp knife to prevent squashing or bruising any of the ingredients, especially the cilantro.
- Mix together.
After draining the tomato, combine the veggies and garlic in a bowl. Add lime juice and salt, mix again, and give it a taste. You can add more salt and citrus to taste.
- Boost the flavor.
While optional, there’s any easy way to really get the most bang for your buck when it comes to flavor!
Chop the onion and jalapeno first, then let them marinate in the lime juice and salt while you work on the tomatoes and cilantro. Plus, it doesn’t take any extra time!
- Let it sit!
You can certainly dig in right away, but I suggest waiting at least 30 minutes. This allows the flavors to marry together, making every bite extra delicious!
Clearly, this easy pico de gallo was meant for crispy tortilla chips, but there are so many other ways to enjoy it too!
Spoon onto all of your Mexican food favorites like tacos, nachos, and even burrito bowls.
You can also incorporate this easy pico de gallo into breakfast! Top your eggs, avocado toast, or cheesy bacon hashbrown waffles with this zesty blend of veggies.
Recipe for Pico de Gallo FAQ
Understand that tomatoes contain a lot of water, and salt draws out even more of that liquid from vegetables!
Try to use tomatoes that aren’t quite as juicy, like Roma or plum, and be sure to drain them before mixing with the other ingredients.
You’ll also find more and more liquid at the bottom of your bowl the longer this easy pico de gallo sits. Simply drain it off before digging in again!
Absolutely! In fact, it’s often even better the next day. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator and drain off any excess liquid before serving.
This simple pico de gallo will keep for 3 to 4 days. If you’ll be serving it to guests, I recommend making it no more than 1 day in advance.
The name literally translates to “rooster’s beak.” It is understood that this veggie dip was originally eaten with the index finger and thumb, which looks similar to how the bird would eat!
With love, from our simple kitchen to yours.
Other Appetizer Recipes
Easy Pico de Gallo
- 6 large plum tomatoes
- 1/2 medium white onion, finely diced
- 1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
- 2 jalapeños, seeded, and finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2-4 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
- Core, quarter, and remove the seeds from the tomato. Place the tomato quarters flesh side down on a double thickness of paper towels to drain.
- To cut the tomatoes, julienne each quarter, turn, and finely dice. Add the tomatoes to the bowl. Add the onion, cilantro, jalapeños, and garlic to the bowl. Toss to combine. Add the salt and lime juice to taste and toss again.
- Allow the flavors to develop at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before serving.
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.
Originally Published October 2011, updated and republished July 2023
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