Pico de gallo is bright, fresh, and bold. Add plenty of lime and salt for the perfect flavor balance then eat it right out of the bowl or use it to accompany your favorite Mexican meals.Jump to Recipe
What does pico de gallo mean?
When translated, it means “rooster’s beak”. Food historians believe it got its name from the way you’d hold your fingers and thumb together to pinch up the small pieces, making your fingers resemble the shape of a rooster’s beak.
What is pico de gallo made of?
Pico de gallo is a fresh salsa made from tomatoes, onion, jalapeno or serrano peppers, cilantro, salt and lime juice for acidity. You can use pico in place of salsa thats thinner and more watery.
What’s the difference between pico de gallo and salsa?
Salsa is made with similar ingredients, but it’s much thinner and liquid than pico de gallo. Salsa ingredients are usually blended or pureed and can be made well in advance of when you want to eat it. It can be canned and stored for longer shelf life.
Pico de gallo is always made fresh and meant to be eaten the same day or within a day or two at the very most.
How long does pico de gallo last?
Fresh salsas of this type are best eaten within 2-3 days. The longer it sits, the softer and more watery it will become. If you can make it and let it sit in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour before you want to eat it, it gives some time for the flavors to meld.
Can pico de gallo be frozen?
No you can’t freeze pico de gallo. When fresh vegetables are frozen their cell walls burst. When thawed all the water in the vegetables leaks out leaving the pico soupy and wet and the ingredients soft and spongy.
Tomatoes that are best in pico
Roma tomatoes are my first pick for pico. They are small, oval shaped and have a thick, waxy skin. Romas also have fewer seeds and pulp which you’ll want to remove to prevent making your pico too watery.
The drawback is that Roma tomatoes can be hit or miss on flavor in cooler months. If you want to make pico in winter, use cherry tomatoes instead. Don’t bother to de-seed these.
Pico de gallo is really best in summer when you can get fresh and in season ingredients to use.
What to eat with pico de gallo
Pico de gallo is really verstatile and you can treat it like a condiment or a stand- alone dish.
- Good tortilla chips are a must to dip in. We’ve discovered how much we love the new Siete maiz chips. MASA chips are cooked in beef tallow and free from junk oils and ingredients.
- Mashed avocado and pico go great together as a chunky guacamole. I always make pico first then add it to my avocados. If you didn’t want to mash, you could serve avocado halves and fill the hole where the pit was with pico for a pretty presentation.
- Homemade queso or cheese dip works a lot like guac. Toss some pico into your bowl of queso for extra spice and flavor.
- Seasoned taco meat is a staple you can’t go wrong with. When combined with great queso and guac, you have an amazing meal on your hands!
How to assemble pico de gallo
There’s nothing to it, really. De-seed your tomatoes if they are very pulpy or seedy. Dice the tomatoes, onions into 1/2 inch or smaller pieces and chop the jalapeno’s really finely. Remember people may need to scoop this onto a chip and get it in their mouths.
Chop the cilantro roughly (you can leave it out if you don’t like it), then add the juice of your lime and plenty of salt. Salt and lime are key here so feel free to taste and add more as needed.
Refrigerate or leave it on the counter for at least 30 minutes before digging in. If you won’t be eating yours right away, cover and chill.
Recipes that use pico de gallo
This versatile flavor booster can be used on any meat or fish recipe. Here are some of my favorite places to pile on fresh salsa:
You can also add pico to a can of refried beans, to scrambled eggs, or on top of your avocado toast at breakfast. Throw it in some Spanish or Mexican rice as an easy side dish.
Homemade Pico de Gallo
- 2 cups finely chopped Roma or cherry tomatoes about 5 Roma tomatoes
- 2 jalapeno peppers seeds and ribs removed (optional) and finely chopped
- 1/2 medium onion finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- If using Roma tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise and gently squeeze them over a bowl to remove the seeds and pulp. There's no need to de-seed cherry tomatoes.
- Finely dice the tomatoes, jalapeño, onion and cilantro and add to a medium bowl.
- Add the lime and salt and toss to combine.
- Allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes or so before eating. Best if eaten the same day but can be made two or three hours ahead if needed.