Homemade Pico De Gallo

Tammy | Chez Nous
by Tammy | Chez Nous
2 cups
15 min

Having been raised by Southern parents in Europe, I’m not sure I can explain my love of Mexican food! I don’t remember the first time I ate it, but I know that I’ve eaten plenty of it since! To make a homemade pico de gallo, it only takes a bit of chopping vegetables, adding in some herbs and spices, and before you know it, you have a homemade pico de gallo.

Is pico de gallo the same as salsa?

Simply said, no, although I’ve read that in Mexico, pico de gallo is sometimes called salsa fresca. They are quite similar in that they are both tomato based, have some pepper and herbs, and are eaten with chips, or served with a variety of Mexican dishes. However, pico de gallo is always made from fresh ingredients and salsa can be cooked or have cooked ingredients. Also, fresh pico de gallo is more dry than soupy like a traditional salsa.

Obviously, homemade pico de gallo starts with tomatoes! I use roma tomatoes and scrape out the seeds to keep the pico de gallo as dry as it should be.

Pro Tip: what to do with the scooped out tomato bits

I save the scooped out seeds and pulp in the freezer and pull it out to use in soups and spaghetti sauce. They have a ton of flavor!

Why white onions, specifically?

White onions have more of an “onion-y” flavor than yellow ones and they don’t break down like yellow onions which is why we use yellow onions in cooking. Using white onion in a pico de gallo ensures that the flavor will come through and that the pico will be crunchy fresh.

What kind of peppers should be used?

I don’t know enough about traditional Mexican food to state the answer definitely. I’ve heard that serranos are common, but I usually use jalapeno. I remove the seeds, but feel free to keep them if you like more spice!

The list of ingredients of short: tomatoes, white onion, jalapeno pepper, cilantro, granulated garlic, cumin, lime juice, and salt.

Put it all in a bowl and season it with salt. You’ll have to taste it to be sure it is seasoned correctly. Just grab a chip from that newly opened bag!

There’s really not a more simple condiment to your Mexican dinner!

Recipe details
  • 2  cups
  • Prep time: 15 Minutes Cook time: 0 Minutes Total time: 15 min
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  • 2 cups Roma tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup white onion finely chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons jalapeno pepper finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro finely chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic see notes
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • Salt to taste

Cut the tomatoes in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Cut in ¼-inch cubes and put in a bowl large enough to combine all the ingredients.
Add the chopped white onion, chopped jalapeno, chopped cilantro, lime juice, granulated garlic, and cumin. Stir to combine. Add salt, taste, and adjust as needed.
  • You can use fresh garlic if you’d like, but I feel that it gives quite a bite that ends up staying with you a bit too long!
Tammy | Chez Nous
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  • Cso51108026 Cso51108026 on Aug 05, 2022

    This is beautiful!! I use basically this same recipe, minus the cumin, but I get lazy with chopping, so I pulse it in the food processor to whatever consistence I'm in the mood for. I have a version I got from a friend who actually won a salsa contest (!), and she uses the stems from a bunch of cilantro (more concentrated flavor), as well as a small can of chopped olives (! - I didn't think it would work, but the briny olives basically eliminates the need for salt!). SO GOOD!!! But, boy - your pics are gor-go-us! Thanks so much for posting!!! I hope loads of people try your recipe; definitely the real deal!!! :) ~Chrissie

    • Jean Reid Jean Reid on Aug 05, 2023

      Yes, Chrissie! Cilantro stems are the bomb! So many people avoid using them, and they are packed with flavor. I, too, add all my salsa ingredients to my food processor. Hand chopping all of those ingredients is just too time-consuming for me.

  • EDNA G GARZA EDNA G GARZA on Aug 08, 2022

    It looks delicious but I would just suggest to eliminate de cumin. I come from a Mexican family and cumin is not used in our traditional pico de gallo. Another tip would be to cut the onions first and add the lemon to taste while you chop the rest of the ingredients. Hope you can give this a try and taste the difference....I know you'll love it either way. Edna ;)

    • Jean Reid Jean Reid on Aug 05, 2023

      I always add cumin to my homemade salsas and pico. I love the earthiness it provides. Try it both ways, folks, and see which one you like best. Nowhere in the recipe text does it talk about this recipe being traditional, BTW.