Homemade Pico de Gallo is one of the best ways to make any Mexican dish extra flavorful. This recipe only needs a few fresh ingredients like tomatoes, jalapeños, cilantro, lime juice, and onion. Authentic and spicy, this mix is even better than Chipotle and so easy to make!

Chips are served along side a bowl of fresh and colorful pico.

There’s nothing quite like adding a big spoonful of homemade pico de gallo to a Steak Fajita, Barbacoa Taco, or even on top of some Fiesta Lime Chicken.

Or treating it more like salsa and digging straight in with some Baked Tortilla Chips.

No matter which way you serve it, pico always tastes SO much better when it’s made with fresh ingredients at home.

The tomatoes have more flavor, the lime juice is slightly sweet and not too tart, and you can add as much or as little pepper as you want so it’s got the perfect level of spice.

And while it does take a little bit of time to chop everything, once that’s done you simply mix it up in a bowl and dive right in!

Tomatoes, onion, jalapeno, limes, garlic, and cilantro, salt, and pepper are the ingredients in this recipe.

Ingredients

The simple ingredients to make Homemade Pico de Gallo include:

  • Tomatoes – The more flavorful the better since these make up the bulk of the dip. Opt for organic, fresh tomatoes. Look for a bright red color instead of a pale pink. Vine-ripened and Roma tomatoes are best since they have a good amount of flavor and a lot of “meat”. Avoid using Beefsteak since they don’t have much flavor and Cherry or Grape since they’ll have too much skin.
  • Onion – White, red, or sweet all work. A red onion will have more punch, white is in the middle, and sweet will be the mildest flavor.
  • Peppers – Either jalapeños or serrano peppers can be used. Include as much or as little as you’d like, depending on the preferred spice level. Taste them before adding.
  • Lime juice – Be sure to use freshly squeezed. This adds a sweet but acidic balance to the dish. Lemons can be substituted but will give the recipe a totally different flavor.
  • Cilantro – Pretty much a must when making pico de gallo. Make sure you finely chop the cilantro and THEN measure it out for the most accurate amount. Remove the stems and only use the leaves for the most flavor.
  • Garlic – Fresh, finely minced garlic cloves provide the most taste. Can also sub with ¼ teaspoon garlic powder.

How to Make Pico de Gallo

The steps to make Homemade Pico de Gallo are easy to follow. Please see the recipe card for more detailed ingredient amounts.

Seed and Dice

To prepare the tomatoes, remove the seeds and watery part in the middle. This will ensure a better texture.

Then, finely dice the meat into pieces no bigger than ½-inch. Try to keep the cubes similar in size.

Here are more tips on how to dice a tomato.

Chop the Ingredients

Next, cut up the garlic, peppers, onions, and cilantro.

Here is how to mince garlic. Fresh garlic will provide the most flavor. Using a garlic press will save time. However, you can use garlic powder if needed.

Whether you are using jalapeños or serranos, cut the peppers in half. For less spice, remove the seeds and ribs from the inside. If you like that extra punch, keep them. Then, dice the peppers into very small pieces.

Most of the flavor is in cilantro leaves, so remove them from the stems. Chop first, then measure. This will give you the most accurate amount.

Next, cut an onion. Remove the outer layers and ends, then finely dice into small pieces

Ensuring tiny, evenly sized cuts in all the ingredients will help distribute the flavor. Plus, it will avoid one ingredient overwhelming a bite.

Mix Together

Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl. To save some time and dishes, use the bowl you will be storing the fresh pico de gallo in. Add in the fresh lime juice along with salt and pepper.

Thoroughly stir with a slotted spoon to mix well.

Meal Prep and Storage

  • To Prep-Ahead: Chop onions and jalapeños up to 2-3 days ahead of time. Pico can be made the day before, as well.
  • To Store: Store sealed in an airtight container with plastic wrap directly over the pico to limit air exposure for up to 1-2 days.
  • To Freeze: It is not recommended to freeze as the texture will change.
A tortilla chip is loaded with fresh and healthy pico de gallo.

FAQs

What is the difference between fresh salsa and pico de gallo?

The main difference is related to texture. Salsa and pico generally have the same ingredients. However, salsa has more liquid and is often puréed while pico contains chopped tomatoes, onions, and jalapeños.

Why does my pico de gallo get watery?

Tomatoes naturally contain a lot of water, and adding salt to the pico will draw it out through osmosis. Discarding the seeds and loose insides will reduce the excess liquid in the pico.

Is pico de Gallo actually Mexican?

Sometimes called salsa Fresca, pico originated as a side dish in Mexico.

What do you eat pico de Gallo with?

Pico goes fantastic with many Mexican dishes. Try it on tacos, burrito bowls, enchiladas, on rice, or just with chips.

What does pico de Gallo mean?

Literally translated to “rooster’s beak,” people originally used two fingers to pick up pico, resembling the namesake.

Expert Tips and Tricks

  • Just the meat. Be sure to remove the watery insides and seeds of the tomatoes so the dip doesn’t end up liquidy.
  • Use gloves. Jalapeños contain oils, especially in the veins and seeds, that can severely hurt your eyes or skin. Wear gloves to avoid contact and immediately wash your hands after handling.
  • Keep it even. Ensure all of the ingredients are consistently diced before combining.
  • Not too salty. Salt can draw liquid out of the tomatoes and make the pico watery.
  • Plus it up. Add something extra to the pico, like corn, avocados, or peaches. Or, sprinkle with chile powder or cumin. The variations really change the flavor.
Pico de gallo is served with tortilla chips for a healthy Mexican appetizer.

Make it a Meal

Add Homemade Pico de Gallo to any of these delicious dishes to make a meal:

More Mexican Dip Recipes

If you are a chip-a-holic, try one of these dips next:

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5 from 1 vote

Homemade Pico de Gallo Recipe

Homemade Pico de Gallo is one of the best ways to make any Mexican dish extra flavorful. This recipe only needs a few fresh ingredients like tomatoes, jalapeños, cilantro, lime juice, and onion.
A hand is used to dip a tortilla chip into the fresh pico.
Yield 8 servings
Prep 20 minutes
Total 20 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 1 ½ lbs. tomatoes 4-5 medium-sized
  • 1 cup white onion finely diced
  • 1-2 jalapeño peppers or serrano, seeded and finely diced
  • cup cilantro chopped and then finely packed to measure
  • 2 Tbsp. lime juice freshly squeezed
  • 2 cloves garlic finely minced
  • ¾ tsp. salt to taste
  • tsp. black pepper

Instructions 

  • Seed tomatoes and then finely dice. You should end up with roughly 2 cups.
  • Add the tomatoes, diced onion, jalapeño peppers, cilantro, lime juice, garlic, salt, and pepper to a large bowl. Toss until mixed and well combined.
  • Serve immediately or store covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Enjoy!

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5 from 1 vote

Notes

Meal Prep and Storage

  • To Prep-Ahead: Chop onions and jalapeños up to 2-3 days ahead of time. Pico can be made the day before, as well.
  • To Store: Store in an airtight container for up to 1-2 days.
  • To Freeze: It is not recommended to freeze as the texture will change.

Nutrition

Calories: 26kcal, Carbohydrates: 6g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 185mg, Potassium: 245mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 763IU, Vitamin C: 15mg, Calcium: 16mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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