Pico de gallo – What is it, how to make it, and why you should.

Apr 28, 2022 | Recipes

Pico de gallo, you’ve heard the name, you’ve seen it around, you might have even eaten it. But, do you know what it is? How to make it? In today’s post, you’ll learn everything you ever wanted to know about this delicious Mexican dish, including how to make it and what to do it. So, without further ado, gather some friends because pico de gallo is meant for sharing. Now, let’s get cooking. You can find the recipe directly below, but keep reading for more information.

What’s the difference between Pico de Gallo and Salsa?

There are many different kinds of salsa. Salsa means sauce. Think about how many different kinds of sauce there are in French cooking. There are hundreds, if not thousands. Mexican cuisine is the same. They have countless versions of salsa. Some are like the thick, cooked version you buy in the jar at the grocery store. There are salsas that are liquids or very liquidy. Then, there are salsas like pico de gallo that are uncooked. Essentially, pico de gallo is composed of the same ingredients as a grocery store salsa, but it’s not cooked. Everything is fresh. This gives pico de gallo more of a bite and fresh summery flavour. Some people consider pico more of a finely chopped salad or side dish than a salsa, but I disagree. And honestly, how you think of it doesn’t really matter. It tastes just as delicious either way.

Traditional pico de gallo is typically onion, cilantro, tomatoes, peppers, and lime. Today’s version is not far off the traditional recipe, but with the addition of a little garlic and some spices. Check out this link to learn more about pico de gallo.

How To Make Pico de Gallo


The ingredients for this recipe are tomatoes, cilantro, pickled jalapeno, garlic, red onion, cumin, salt, red wine vinegar, lime juice and zest. All of the ingredients are hand-cut, very small. I used pickled jalapenos because I had them on hand, and while adding a little heat, they help balance the acidity of the finished salsa. Of course, you can leave out the cumin if you’d like, but I find that it adds a nice flavour.

Making Pico de Gallo

There really isn’t too much to say about making pico de gallo. I already mentioned cutting everything very small by hand. It’s essential that you don’t just throw everything into a blender or food processor. Pico de gallo should have texture. You should be able to see the different ingredients. Put all the ingredients in a medium mixing bowl, and mix well. When zesting the lime, make sure you only get the green part in the bowl and zest the lime directly over the bowl keeping the flavour from the essential oils in the food rather than on a cutting board. You can use the pico de gallo immediately after making it, but covering it and putting it in the fridge for an hour helps the flavour develop.


What do you do with it once you’ve made pico de gallo? You can throw it on a taco, dip chips in it, and put it on a piece of grilled fish. Or, put it in a burrito. Think of it not just as a dish on its own but as an additional ingredient. Over the years, I’ve made a bunch of different salsas on this site and if you like this recipe, you may also like my pineapple pico do gallo and my mango pico de gallo. If you want to learn more about salsa in general, check out this post I did about Everything I Know About Salsa.

The Wrap-Up

If you’ve never had a fresh salsa like pico de gallo, you’ve got to try it at least once. It’s an entirely different beast from the grocery store variety. But, even if you make it just to dip chips in, you’ll be happy you gave it a chance. Next week’s post will be similar to this in a way. I don’t want to give away too much just yet. But, this post and next week’s post are building to something that I’m very excited to share with you, so stay tuned cause you’re not going to want to miss it.

That does it for today. Thanks for reading. I hope you’ve enjoyed the post. Remember to share this on Facebook or Pinterest and leave a comment below. I love to hear from you. Finally, remember to sign up for my mailing list so you don’t miss out on exclusive recipes and cooking tips. Members of the mailing list also get a sneak peek at all the upcoming posts. Sign up below. Have a great day! I’ll see you back here next Thursday.

Pico de Gallo

Pico de Gallo is fresh salsa used commonly in Mexican cuisine. Use it for dipping tortilla chips, topping tacos and more.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Resting Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Condiment
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Mexican Food, Pico de gallo, Salsa
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Chef Ben Kelly



  • 1/4 cup red onion, minced
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp pickled japapenos, minced
  • 2 tbsp cilantro, minced
  • 1 cup Roma tomatoes, minced
  • 1 lime, juice and zest
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar


  • Put all the ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Mix well.
  • Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed with salt and pepper.
  • Transfer the pico de gallo to a small serving bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap.
  • Put the bowl in the fridge and let the pico rest for one hour to allow the flavours to come togther.
  • Serve the salsa right away or store it in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


  1. John

    5 stars
    Totally authentic, and totally tasty.


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