Pico de Gallo – A Family Feast®

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Pico de Gallo combines fresh tomatoes, zesty onion, spicy jalapeño peppers, cilantro, scallions, lime juice, salt and seasonings into a simple, fresh salsa!

Pico de Gallo - A Family Feast

What is Pico de Gallo?

Pico de Gallo is a fresh, uncooked condiment or topping typically made by combining chopped tomatoes, white onions, jalapeños, cilantro, lime juice, salt, and other seasonings.

Also sometimes called salsa fresca (fresh salsa) or salsa bandera (flag salsa – perhaps reflecting the colors of the Mexican flag), but the term Pico de Gallo literally translates to “roosters beak” – even though this salsa has nothing to do with poultry or roosters of any kind!

Pico de Gallo - A Family Feast

There are a few theories floating around that suggest that the name stems from how people used to eat it – grabbing the vegetables with fingers and thumb to form the shape of a beak. Others attribute the name to the zesty, spicy flavors “pecking” at your taste buds.

No matter which story you believe, Pico de Gallo is a delicious topping for any Mexican feast of tacos, salads, enchiladas, quesadillas and more. You can also enjoy it as a salsa with chips.

  • The fresh vegetables and zesty seasonings are simply fantastic and the perfect complement to many Mexican dishes.
  • This dish is quick and easy to make – only fifteen minutes or so of hands-on prep. Just note that you do want your Pico de Gallo to sit for about an hour or so to allow the flavors to meld.
  • It’s a great way to enjoy fresh garden tomatoes during the summer.
  • Fresh Tomatoes – We use Roma tomatoes because they have more pulp than juice and fewer seeds, giving our Pico de Gallo lots of body.
  • Scallions – You’ll include both the green and white parts.
  • Onions – You can use white or sweet onions. The white onions will lend a sharper flavor while the sweet onions are more mellow. Another option would be red onions, but sometimes that variety is harsh when eaten raw.
  • Jalapeños – Add more or less to suit your preferred spice level. If you include the seeds, they will add even more heat to the recipe.
  • Lime Juice – Squeezing fresh lime juice is best.
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Salt – This encourages the vegetables to release their moisture, which helps the various flavors meld.
  • Spices – We included garlic powder in our recipe today. If you want an even more zesty heat, add a pinch of cayenne pepper.
Pico de Gallo - A Family Feast

Not really. The whole idea behind Pico de Gallo is that it is a fresh salsa, made with fresh ingredients. If you only have canned tomatoes on hand, you might consider making this Restaurant-Style Salsa recipe instead.

  • Dice the tomatoes, scallions, onion, and jalapeño peppers. (We like our tomatoes in a larger dice, but you can also dice them into smaller pieces.)
  • Chop the cilantro.
  • Squeeze the lime juice.
  • Combine the diced vegetables, cilantro, and lime juice in a bowl along with the salt and seasonings.
  • Stir to mix well, then cover and chill for at least an hour so the flavors have time to meld together.
  • Serve as a condiment on salads, tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas – or serve with chips as a salsa.
Pico de Gallo - A Family Feast
  • Can I make Pico de Gallo ahead of time? You should make it at least an hour ahead of time for the best flavor. Just note that the salt in the dish will continue to pull the juices from the tomatoes and other vegetables – so it will become wetter the longer it sits in the fridge. If necessary, use a slotted spoon for serving so excess liquid remains in the bowl.
  • How do you store Pico de Gallo? Store covered in the refrigerator for up to two days for the freshest flavor.
  • Can I freeze any leftovers? We do not recommend it.


Pico de Gallo - A Family Feast

Pico de Gallo

Add fresh and zesty flavor to any meal with this classic Pico de Gallo recipe!

Preparation: 1 hour 15 minutesTotal: 1 hour 15 minutes



  1. Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir to combine.
  2. Refrigerate in a covered container and let sit for one hour to allow flavors to blend.

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© Author: A Family Feast


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