Easy Pico de Gallo

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Get the zesty, chunky tomato goodness you crave from salsa in a fraction of the time with my Easy Pico de Gallo. This is the fresh and vibrant spice of life your salty tortilla chip has been searching for, and it’s just minutes away.

Fresh pico in white bowl next to corn chips.

Homemade Pico de Gallo

There’s nothing quite like sharing chips and fresh pico de gallo with friends while you grill in the backyard. Taking down a bowl (or five) with your family while waiting for a meal in your favorite Mexican restaurant is top level happiness. I know it’s hard to believe, but my freshly prepared pico de Gallo is going to elevate your salsa game to an all-new level.

Anybody who likes chips and salsa (and that’s pretty much everyone) is going to love this pico. They’re going to lick their fingers when that zesty juice mixes with the salty goodness of the chips. Better make sure everyone gets their own bowl.

What is pico de Gallo?

Pico de Gallo is a type of fresh salsa called salsa Fresca (easy enough to remember). Unlike traditional salsas which are cooked, pico is made and served fresh. The name actually translates to “beak of the rooster” in English. That’s because of the way your hand looks while you grab this spicy dish with your fingers. Like a chicken too impatient to wait for a plate.

Because pico is served fresh it’s going to be chunkier than more traditional salsas, and the flavor is more pronounced. It also contains less liquid than salsa, which means your chips will hold up better when you pile on the zesty, refreshing deliciousness. So I mean, who needs a plate?

Fresh tomatoes, onion, lime, and cilantro on cutting board.

Fresh Pico de Gallo Ingredients

With this short list of simple ingredients, you can serve this delicious pico de Gallo dish with complete quality confidence. You can find what’s in pico de gallo at almost any grocery store, the key is to pick the freshest options possible. Here’s a list of what you’ll need:

  • vine-ripened tomatoes
  • white onion
  • jalapeño peppers
  • fresh cilantro
  • lime for juice
  • salt
  • black pepper

Sure, you could get most or all of these ingredients dried, or in cans or bottles. But one of the best parts about pico de Gallo is that the ingredients are fresh. Freshness is kind of the whole point.

How long does it take to make pico?

Honestly, making fresh pico de Gallo only takes a couple minutes. It’s as simple as chopping up your tomatoes, peppers, and herbs, and mixing them together with your seasonings. That’s it, you’re good to go. Remember, what sets this apart from more traditional salsas is it’s meant to be consumed fresh.

While it takes less than 10 minutes to prepare this easy pico, there is a challenge ahead. And that challenge is letting it set for about an hour. The reason for this is to give all that tangy lime juice and salt a chance to infuse with everything and bring out all the fresh flavor to the surface. I promise the deeper flavors are worth the wait if you can control yourself.

Chopped pico de Gallo ingredients in glass bowl.

How to Make Pico de Gallo

Now that you know how fast it can be, let me show you how easy pico de Gallo is to make. In just a few easy steps with a couple basic tools, you can make fresh and zesty pico. All you need is a large bowl, a cutting board, and your favorite knife. I like to use my 8 inch chef’s knife and my wooden cutting board but whatever you have will do just fine.

  1. Dice. You want to dice your tomatoes evenly and then add them to your bowl. Remember, you’ll serve this recipe fresh, so there’s no cooking process to break things down. Be sure to dice your tomatoes small enough for guests to enjoy everything while scooping.
  2. Chop. Grab about 20 sprigs of fresh cilantro and remove the leaves. Chop those up into a pile to release the scent, and add it to the tomatoes in your bowl.
  3. Cut onions. Dice or sliver your onions and then add them to bowl. If you want to avoid those onion tears, be sure you’re using a good, sharp knife. I keep my knives onion ready with my WorkSharp Knife Sharpener, or you can use your preferred sharpener.
  4. Seed and mince. Remove the seeds and stems from your jalapeños, and then mince them and add to your bowl. This is going to give you a little sweet heat for a depth of the flavor you’ll love. You can experiment on the heat levels as you get more comfortable making pico.
  5. Juice. Cut your lime in half and then squeeze the juice onto the tomatoes, cilantro, onions, and jalapeños in your bowl. You’re going to be mixing it all together, but try to squeeze it evenly throughout the bowl.
  6. Season and stir. Add fresh cracked black pepper and salt and then stir everything together with a wooden spoon. Continue adding salt and stirring until you reach your desired taste. If you over-salt, add a little more lime juice.

Fresh made pico in white bowl next to fresh ingredients.

How long does pico last?

If for some reason you run out of burritos or chips before pico, it will remain fresh in an air tight container for up to 24 hours in your refrigerator. It will technically remain safe stored this same way for up to 7 days. However, you’re going to lose most of your zest and freshness after that first full day. You can bring that fresh-flavor back with a quick squeeze of lime or another pinch of salt.

What to Serve with Pico

Once you get a scoop of this fresh, sweet, zesty treat on a salty chip, you’ll want to put it on everything. I can’t blame you but I can help you. Here are a few of my favorite recipes to zest up with some pico.

Pico de Gallo on corn chip.

Easy Pico de Gallo Recipe

Let’s keep cooking. I’m all about helping you make better BBQ, feed the people you love, and become a backyard BBQ hero. You can find this recipe and hundreds more of my favorite recipes in the Hey Grill Hey app. If making this recipe made you happy, be sure to rate it 5 stars and leave me a comment below.

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Easy Pico de Gallo

By: Susie Bulloch
0 from 0 votes
Get the zesty, chunky tomato goodness you crave with my Easy Pico de Gallo. It's the spice of life your tortilla chip has been searching for.
Prep Time10 minutes
Total Time10 minutes
Servings6 people


  • 1 pound vine-ripened tomatoes diced
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro chopped
  • 1/2 medium white onion diced
  • 2 jalapeño peppers seeds and stems removed, minced
  • 1 lime halved for juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


  • Dice. Dice vine-ripened tomatoes evenly and add to bowl.
    1 pound vine-ripened tomatoes
  • Chop. Chop fresh cilantro and add to bowl.
    1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • Cut onions. Dice or sliver onions and add to bowl.
    1/2 medium white onion
  • Seed and mince. Remove seeds and stems from jalapeños, mince, and add to bowl.
    2 jalapeño peppers
  • Juice. Half lime and squeeze juice into bowl.
    1 lime
  • Season, stir, serve. Add fresh cracked black pepper and salt. Stir and salt to taste. Serve with your favorite chips or dish.
    1/4 teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon salt


Calories: 22kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 0.2g | Saturated Fat: 0.03g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.03g | Sodium: 393mg | Potassium: 224mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 776IU | Vitamin C: 20mg | Calcium: 15mg | Iron: 0.3mg

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

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