Pico de Gallo is a fresh, raw salsa with great flavor that can be eaten with tacos, burritos, or as a topping for rice and beans. This salsa recipe will teach you how to make this delicious Mexican dish at home!
Perhaps most of you already know this delicious salsa, but hey! It is close to summer, and grilling season is about to start (at least here in my area), and I find this a good reason to post this recipe.
Salsa Mexicana, or “Pico de Gallo Salsa”, known in some areas of México, is one of the easiest salsas to make. It can be ready in a matter of minutes to top your grilled chicken, steaks, or fish! Basically any meal you like! The name Salsa Mexican comes because it has the color of the Mexican Flag: Red, white and green.
History Behind Salsa Mexicana
It is said that salsa Mexicana, also known as pico de gallo or just pico, originated in the state of Puebla. The name pico de gallo means "rooster's beak" and some say the name comes because it looks like it was chopped by a rooster's beak. Others believe that the way it is chopped resembles a rooster meal.
It is said that people back then used to use two fingers to pick the salsa and eat it forming a beak with their fingers.
Frequently Asked Questions About Mexican Pico De Gallo
Before I share my recipe, here are a few questions I've been asked and I wanted to answer.
Which tomatoes are best for making salsa?
The best tomatoes are the vine-ripened red ones you buy at your local farmer market in season - they are the sweetest! Just remember to let the tomatoes become fully ripe; when you bring them from the store most times, they need more time to be ready.
Also, I don't use store-bought cherry tomatoes. They're not flavorful enough unless they are organic.
If you don't have access to these types of tomatoes, plum tomatoes are another good option. If you live in an area where they are hard to find some people had used canned tomatoes, you will need to rinse them first, but they're not as sweet.
How do I make salsa without tomatoes?
You can substitute tomatoes with avocados and mangoes to make a delicious avocado salsa or molcajete. You can even make pico de gallo with pineapple! There is another Pico de Gallo Salsa in some regions of Mexico that use fruit, like Mango and oranges.
However, depending on the final dish you are preparing, using these alternatives will be different, so it's up to you!
Which is the best spicy pepper to use for pico de gallo?
I like to use 2 serrano peppers but you can also swap it out for 1 jalapeño pepper instead. If you use Habanero pepper, like in Yucatan, then it is called "Xnipec Salsa"
Can I make prep the ingredients ahead of time?
You can prepare the ingredients ahead of time, making sure they are stored in the refrigerator in separate containers, as shown in the picture below.
How long does this salsa last in the fridge?
It may last up to 2-3 days in the refrigerator but I don't recommend keeping it any longer than that due to oxidation and spoilage.
Plus, after a few days, the flavors of the pico will start losing their freshness and it won't taste as good.
Different Variations Of This Pico Recipe
You know that most of the ingredients in a Mexican salsa are a combination of tomatoes and chopped peppers, fresh or cooked, and seasoned in many different ways.
Some have lime juice, cilantro, avocado, red onion, scallions, and even fruit! Each region of the country (as well as families) have their own special variations.
For us at home, it gets a little twist when we eat baked chicken rotisserie-style. I personally like to add finely chopped cabbage and radishes. My family likes to use it on a salad or to top our favorite tacos (especially these tacos al pastor).
If you have a special variation of this salsa, please let me know. I would love to try it!
Authentic Pico De Gallo Salsa
This recipe for authentic salsa Mexicana will teach you how to make this delicious dish that can serve as an appetizer or side dish with the main course.
Here's a list of everything you need:
- Ripe tomato (finely chopped)
- Onion (finely chopped)
- Serrano peppers
- Lime juice
- Cilantro (finely chopped)
Please note: For exact measurements of the ingredients listed above, scroll down to the recipe card located at the bottom of this post!
How To Make Salsa Pico De Gallo: Step By Step Tutorial
This recipe is super easy to make!
All you need to do is:
- Add the chopped tomato, onion, and serrano pepper to a bowl.
- Add the cilantro, lime juice, and salt as well.
- Mix gently until all the ingredients are coated with lime juice.
- Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.
What to serve with pico de gallo
Whenever I make this fresh salsa at home, I love to make some sort of a taco like these crispy cod tacos and these chorizo potato tacos to eat with. The tomatoes and lime juice from the salsa really give the tacos some light freshness they really need sometimes.
I also like to use the pico and add a spoonful of it to my black bean soup and salad!
More Authentic Mexican Recipes To Enjoy
If you enjoyed this recipe for pico de gallo salsa, take a look at some of these other authentic Mexican recipes:
- Hot Piquin Salsa
- Fresh Salsa Roja
- Creamy Jalapeño Salsa
- Habanero Tomatillo Salsa Recipe
- Red Molcajete Salsa
I hope you make this authentic Mexican tomato salsa! If this recipe was of any help to you, come back to let me know your experience. Please leave us a comment done below and tell us all about it!
Pico de Gallo Salsa (How to Make Authentic Salsa Mexicana)
- 1 large ripe tomato finely chopped
- ⅓ large onion finely chopped
- 2 serrano peppers or 1 jalapeño pepper finely chopped
- Juice of 1 lime
- ⅓ cup of cilantro finely chopped
- Salt to taste
- You can prepare the ingredients ahead of time, making sure they are stored in the refrigerator in separated containers as shown in the picture.
- Put the chopped tomato, onion, serrano pepper in a bowl. Add the cilantro, the lime juice and salt, mix gently until all the ingredients are coated with the lime juice. You can eat this pico de gallo salsa right away or cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving to enhance the flavors.