Authentic and Family Friendly Pico De Gallo

2 Pico with ingredients

Pico De Gallo, or “Rooster’s Beak” in Spanish, will always have a special spot in my heart. I am a self-proclaimed serial snacker, and the calories can add up after a while! This snack satisfies my desire for something to crunch on without the guilt.

In fact, since all the ingredients here are raw, eating pico de gallo is even more healthy than canned salsa. Eating raw vegetables offer more of the vitamins and minerals than cooked vegetables, and typically canned salsa requires a lot more sodium.

And you can use it for way more than just eating with chips. If you want to dress up a salad, a taco, or an omelette, look no further.

1 Finished product

This recipe is the easiest thing to make in the world! All you have to do is wash vegetables and chop them, and if you have a vegetable chopper, you could do it all in a fraction of the time.

The challenge is to find the balance between the flavors. The two key players in this recipe are the tomatoes and the onions, and if you can get a good ratio between the two, then you’re golden.

The problem is that onions can be real drama queens and like to steal the show. Unless you want your salsa to be bitter, make sure that your tomatoes have a good flavor and that you have about a 3 to 1 ratio of tomatoes to onions.

3 close up pico

Authentic and Family Friendly Pico De Gallo

Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 20 minutes
Servings 6


  • 1 lb tomatoes any kind
  • 1 small sweet vidalia onion
  • 1-2 jalapenos
  • ½ green pepper
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • cup chopped cilantro
  • ½ tsp salt


  1. Wash and dice the tomatoes and place them in a small mixing bowl.
  2. Peel, dice, and soak onions in water. Strain and add to the tomatoes.
  3. Wash, remove seeds, and dice jalapeno and green pepper; add to the bowl.
  4. Add minced garlic, lime juice, cilantro, and salt to taste. Stir.

4 Ingredients Pico de gallo

1. Prepare Tomatoes

Wash and dice the tomatoes and place them in a small mixing bowl.

Some people like to have very small pieces of tomato, but I prefer my salsa to be a bit more chunky so I can really taste the individual flavors.

5 Tomatoes

You can use any type of tomato that suits your fancy. Roma tomatoes are popular because they aren’t too expensive and they are more meaty than seedy.

I used some sweet tomatoes on the vine because they aren’t picked early and left to ripen during transport. Typically this means that they are a little fresher and have a better texture and taste, but they can be a little more expensive.

2. Prepare Onions

Peel, dice, and soak onions in water. Strain and add to the tomatoes.

6 Soak Onion

I am not a person who handles hot salsa, or any spicy food in general, with grace. Though onion doesn’t typically add too much spice, it can add an edge of bitterness, that will scream “heat!” to my brain when combined with the other spices in salsa.

So to take the edge off of the onions, I dice them and then soak them for a minute or two before straining and adding them to the tomatoes.

I also select a sweet vidalia onion instead of a red, yellow, or white because it isn’t as strong as the others.

3. Prepare Peppers

Wash, remove seeds, and dice jalapeno.

7 Jalapeno

Your jalapeno is where the heat is mostly going to come from in this recipe. You have a few choices here that will determine how hot this pico de gallo will be.

If you want your pico to be hot, then keep the seeds in when you are dicing your pepper. Or you can add another pepper or two to the recipe. Or heck, buy an even hotter species of pepper.

If spicy pico is not your jam, like me, be very careful to remove all the seeds and only put one or two peppers in.

Fun fact: Jalapenos can be red or green. If they are green, they were picked early in the season. If they are red they were left on the vine for longer before they were picked.

Dice the green pepper.

8 green pepper

Since I’m not one who likes a lot of heat, but I do like the taste and crunch of pepper, I add a green pepper to the mix. It mimics a jalapeno without the heat, so I can get a bit more variety in my pico without burning my face off.

4. Add The Rest

Add minced garlic, lime juice, cilantro, and salt to taste.

9 salt lime garlic cilantro

Fresh cilantro may be hard to find at all times during the year. However, you can find dried cilantro or a tube of chopped cilantro in the salad makings aisle. You definitely can’t replace the flavor of fresh cilantro though, so try to get it when you can.

Once it’s all added into the mixing bowl, stir. Then grab a chip and take a taste test.

And then another…

And another…

And hey, go crazy. I’m pretty sure you shouldn’t be overcome by guilt if you eat the entire bowl. In fact, your body might thank you.

There are so many things to like about pico de gallo, but my favorite thing about it is that it is so versatile! Even my picky three year old loves it, and couldn’t wait for me to take pictures before diving in.

10 dipping into pico

If you have a great base recipe and know what each ingredient contributes to the recipe, you can personalize it to fit exactly what you like. You could add in avocado for the tang or seedless cucumber for the mild crunch.

What are your favorite add-ins? Comment below!