Did you know that making homemade pico de gallo is actually pretty darn easy to do? Honestly, I didn’t until I tried. This is my pico de gallo recipe that is NOT spicy.
Mexican food is my absolute favorite kind of food on the planet. When we order food delivery, m go-to lately is chimichangas with queso.
But my issue is that I can’t handle spice. Like at all!
The mild sauce at taco bell makes me sweat. I am that much of a lightweight.
So generally I skip the pico when I am eating out. It is always just too darn hot for me. Most of the time when people make pico they are way too jalapeno happy.
Now, I know that I am in the minority in this. Most everyone else in my life loves the heat.
If you love the heat, you can add all of the diced jalapenos that you want to your pico de gallo recipe. I even put a note about it in the recipe below.
What is pico de gallo?
Pico de gallo is a popular Tex-Mex dry salsa. It is generally made with seeded tomatoes, onion, cilantro, lime juice, and spices. You can serve it spicy or mild.
What’s the difference between pico de gallo and salsa?
The primary difference between pico de gallo and salsa is that salsa is soupy. Pico and salsa have the same basic ingredients. The difference is in how they are used. Salsa is made with stewed tomatoes while pico is made with seeded tomatoes that are drier.
Pico de gallo variations
There are so many variations that you can add to your pico de gallo recipe. These variation opportunities make this such a fun recipe.
- Add diced peaches
- Add green tomatoes
- Add diced mango
- Add diced avocado
- Add diced pineapple
- Add grilled corn
Can you freeze pico de gallo?
You can technically freeze pico de gallo but I don’t recommend it. Freezing it will change the texture. Frozen tomatoes tend to become soft and mushy when they are defrosted. Now, freezing pico is better than wasting it.
I wouldn’t recommend using defrosted pico de gallo as a dip but it would still be tasty atop a cheesy burrito as a topping for some soup.
Tips on making the best pico de gallo
- Use the freshest tomatoes that you can get your hands on. The tomato is the star of the show. I love to use vine-ripened tomatoes. They are generally a more vibrant red. If I can’t find those, I use roma tomatoes.
- Be militant about deseeding the tomatoes. Deseeding a tomato is admittingly annoying to do. However, the goal of this recipe is to make those tomatoes dry. So the dryer that you can get them the better the recipe will taste.
- Mince the garlic as finely as you can. While it is difficult to finely mince fresh garlic, or rather I should say kinda annoying, fresh garlic will add the absolute best flavor. However, if I am tired and looking for a shortcut I personally use some of my minced garlic from the jar.
- Allow the flavors time to meld. If you can make this recipe ahead of time and allow it about an hour in the fridge, it will be even better. Be sure to give it a good stir before serving the pico.
- Use more cilantro. Adding more cilantro than you think that it requires will greatly enhance the flavor of your homemade pico de gallo.
How to eat pico de gallo
Pico de gallo goes with so many foods. Don’t feel that you just have to stick with the traditional Mexican dishes such as enchiladas. Here are a few delicious ways to eat pico de gallo.
- Pork chops – Grill some pork chops and serve pico de gallo on top.
- Steak – Add a spicy flair to your next steak. Add some cotija cheese and pico de gallo atop the steak. Maybe even serve some Mexican street corn on the side.
- Burgers – Instead of just adding mustard to your burger, spice it up with some pico de gallo. Make burgers interesting again with this recipe.
- Omelet – Make a cheese omelet and serve pico de gallo atop it.
- Taco soup – Pico de gallo is the perfect topping for soup.
- Taco casserole – Make a cheesy taco casserole and then serve pico on the side.
- Baked potato – Spice up a baked potato by using pico de gallo instead of sour cream.
Ingredients in pico de gallo
- Tomatoes – Tomatoes are the primary ingredient. We use roma tomatoes in our recipe below. You can use any kind of tomato that you would like to use though. Our biggest recommendation is that you choose firm tomatoes. This will help when you are dicing them.
- Onions – Our recipe calls for red onion but you can use white or yellow onions as well. Each type of onion will impact the flavor. This flavor profile is a great reason to experiment with different types of onions. I would even recommend using Vidalia onions once or twice to see how you like them.
- Garlic – Fresh garlic will always taste best but as I previously noted, if I am in a hurry I will use minced garlic from a jar.
- Cilantro – Fresh cilantro is a must-have for this recipe.
- Lime juice – I recommend buying two limes for this recipe. It only requires the juice of one lime but squeezing fresh lime juice atop the pico right before serving is a nice touch.
- Cumin – A tiny bit of cumin goes a long way in this recipe.
- Peppers – I don’t personally add jalapenos to my version of the recipe but a lot of people do love that spicy kick.
How to make homemade pico de gallo
Making pico de gallo at home isn’t a difficult task but it does require a few minutes of focus.
Step 1: Prep the tomatoes – Wash and dry your tomatoes. Deseed your tomato and remove the core.
When I am done with remove the core and deseeding a tomato, I like to rinse it to make sure that there aren’t any seeds hidden in a crevice. Then I dry the tomato with a kitchen towel.
Step 2: Prep the garlic – Mince the garlic into tiny pieces. The garlic is best if it is almost tiny pieces of mush.
Step 3: Chop the cilantro – Chop the cilantro into small pieces but chop it so much that it becomes mushy. I personally use and eat the stem and not just the leaves. This is completely up to you. It will change the texture a bit but I like the extra kick of flavor and the tiny bit of crunch that the stem adds.
Step 4: Dice the onion – Dicing onion is not friendly on the eyes. I have yet to find a method that doesn’t make me cry. I actually tend to use this veggie chopper to dice my onions these days. The clean-up on it is a bit annoying but it is worth it for me. The key when it comes to dicing the onion for this recipe is to make the dices fairly small. Try to make them about the same size as the tomato dices.
Step 5: Dice the jalapeno – When dicing up a pepper it is very important to protect your eyes. I highly recommend using a separate cutting board, knife, and using gloves. We actually keep a box of these gloves in the kitchen for just such an occasion. Dice the jalapeno into tiny pieces.
Step 6: Mix – Add all of the ingredients to a bowl and stir to mix. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- 6 Roma tomatoes
- ½ medium red onion
- 6 T fresh chopped cilantro
- 1 lime
- 3 cloves garlic
- ⅛ t ground cumin
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Jalapeno as desired
- Wash and dry the tomatoes.
- Core and seed the tomatoes.
- Dice the tomatoes into small pieces.
- Dice the onion into small pieces.
- Finely chop the cilantro.
- Juice the lime.
- Finely mince the garlic.
- Mince half of the jalapeno or your desired amount. (I don’t add any to mine.)
- Add all ingredients to a medium bowl. Stir to combine.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve and enjoy.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 16Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 40mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 1g