Pico de Gallo, a flavorful salsa mixture, made with fresh tomatoes, jalapenos, onion, lime juice, and cilantro. Learn the secret to the best Fresh Pico de Gallo, along with my simple tips to make it last longer and taste even better.
Also known as Salsa Fresca, Pico de Gallo loosely translates to mean a Roosters Beak. I have no idea what that has to do with tomatoes, onions and jalapeños but give me a bowl of pico and a bag of tortilla chips on a gamey and Im a happy camper!!
Why is this pico de gallo is the best??
So, what makes this Pico de Gallo recipe different? It’s all about the secret ingredients. While most recipes for this pico de gallo are similar, this one has a special twist. I include two special ingredients in my recipe. Honey and olive oil are added to give the dish a unique combination of flavor and richness that you won’t find in other recipes.
The inclusion of olive oil in this recipe isn’t just for the sake of taste. It has amazing flavor but it is also a trick I picked up when I was working as a line cook at a Tex-Mex restaurant. It also serves a practical purpose. Olive oil has the magical property of keeping the ingredients fresher for a few extra days. In the fast-paced restaurant business, where every minute and ingredient counts, this is a fantastic bonus. Even at home, I want my pico de gallo to be as fresh the next day as it was on day 2.
Simple Ingredients to make fresh pico de gallo
- Veggies: The base of fresh pico de gallo is the veggies. You want fresh ripe red tomatoes, a large red onion, and jalapeño pepper. All of the veggies should be diced into small pieces so that the pieces are about the same size. This helps create the perfect bite of chunky salsa.
- Seasoning: Fresh Cilantro, and lime juice with salt and pepper create the flavor profile that everyone knows and loves when it comes to pico de gallo.
- Secret Ingredients: For my recipe, you are going to add olive oil and hot honey. This is what will set this recipe above any other you have tasted or made before.
How to Make Pico de Gallo
Chop the Produce: Remove the seeds and the membrane of the tomatoes. Only dice the filets of the tomatoes. Add all of the produce to the mixing bowl. Zest the lime and squeeze the juice into the bowl.
Add the Secret Pop of Flavor: Add the olive oil and honey to the bowl and mix everything together well. Season well with salt and pepper. Taste the balance.
Chill: Chill the pico de gallo for at least an hour before serving for the best flavor.
What’s the difference between pico de gallo and salsa?
Pico de Gallo is a type of salsa, but not all salsas are pico de gallo. Salsa refers to any type of sauce made from chopped or pureed vegetables and fruits, often with the addition of spices and herbs for flavor. Homemade Pico de Gallo specifically refers to a fresh salsa mixture that is typically chunky and uncooked, making it perfect for dipping.
Unlike other salsas, this recipe is an uncooked salsa and relies on the freshness of its basic ingredients to give it its distinct flavor. It is typically made with a handful of ingredients, diced tomatoes, onions, jalapeno peppers, cilantro, and lime juice. While this chunky salsa is a popular topping for tacos, burritos, and other Mexican food dishes, but it can also be enjoyed on its own with tortilla chips as a restaurant style salsa and chips appetizer.
Uses for pico de gallo
This recipe is perfect for chips and dip but there are so many ways you can use it.
- Use it as a condiment on burgers or sandwiches for a flavorful kick.
- Mix it into cooked rice or quinoa for added flavor and texture.
- Add it to scrambled eggs or omelets for a fresh and savory breakfast option.
- Use it as a topping for grilled meats or seafood for a burst of freshness.
- Mix it with diced avocado to make an easy and delicious guacamole.
- Incorporate it into a salad dressing for added flavor and texture.
- Serve it alongside grilled veggies for a flavorful side dish.
- Use it as a topping for baked potatoes or grilled corn on the cob.
- Add it to your Fish Tacos for added flavor.
- Mix it with diced mango or pineapple for a tropical twist on pico.
I hope this easy recipe gave you all the knowledge to make your very own that the best Mexican restaurant would be proud to serve on Cinco de Mayo. drop a comment below if you have any questions
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Tips and variations
While the traditional recipe includes tomatoes, raw onions, jalapenos, cilantro, and lime juice, there are many ways to switch up the ingredients for different flavors and textures.
- Always use fresh ingredients. It makes the difference between a so-so fresh salsa recipe and an authentic pico de gallo with fresh flavor.
- Red onion provides the strongest flavor but white onion or yellow onion can be used in a pinch.
- Add diced fruit such as mango or pineapple for a sweeter twist.
- Use different types of peppers such as serrano or habanero for a spicier version.
- Swap out the tomatoes for tomatillos for a tangy and tart taste.
- Add black beans to make the pico de gallo a more filling recipe. This bulks it up, adds protein, and can create burrito bowls when served with rice.
- Use different herbs such as parsley or basil instead of cilantro.
- Add diced avocado or cucumber for added texture and creaminess.
- Cut the heat. If you love the idea of honey but this is too spicy for you, you can use regular honey in place of hot honey. Or use less hot honey, and mix it with regular until you get to the sweetness level you like.
- Add a splash of tequila or your favorite alcohol for a boozy twist on pico de gallo.
- Experiment with different types of citrus juices such as lemon or grapefruit instead of lime.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container. Store the sealed container in the refrigerator.
Fresh Pico de Gallo
- 2 cups Tomatoes Small Dice
- ¾ cup Red Onion Small Dice, one large red onion
- 1 bunch Cilantro Chopped
- 2 Jalapenos Small Dice
- 2 Limes Juice and zest
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 tbsp Hot Honey
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Start by prepping the produce. Remove the seeds and membrane of the tomatoes and only dice the filets of the tomato. Add all your produce to a large mixing bowl. Zest Lime, then squeeze juice. (pro tip: microwave the limes for 15 seconds to make them easier to squeeze so you get all the juice out)
- Add olive oil and honey to the bowl and combine all ingredients evenly. Season with salt and pepper, then taste to balance the flavors of the pico de Gallo.
- Chill for at least 1 hour before serving.
- Serving Size about ¼ cup
- Serve with Chips, Over salads, tacos, quesadillas, or chili.
- Store in a sealed container for up to 5 days. Fresh pico does not freeze well, so I don’t recommend it.
- If you don’t like the flavor of cilantro, you can substitute flatleaf parsley.
- You may also use yellow onions instead of red if you prefer.
- Remove the seeds from the jalapeno before dicing to control the spice level, or only use one in the recipe. If small children are eating the pico, you can substitute ¼ cup of diced bell pepper to remove all spice.