Heads Up! Pico de Gallo!

Really quick before the new episodes start up tomorrow! Here’s how to make pico de gallo! “Pico de gallo” translates from Spanish to “beak of the rooster” and theories on that name mostly all revolve around the sharpness of a rooster’s beak being analogous to the spicy pop of pico de gallo. It’s a very simple chopped condiment, not quite a salsa, perhaps more similar in texture and use to a chutney.

pico de gallo

Fancy a spot o’ pico, guv’na?

The genius behind it is that it literally goes well with any meats, fishes, savory appetizers, quesadillas, burritos, and even makes a good pasta sauce in a pinch.

Shove it into a gordita with meat, beans, or cheese.

Add it to queso to make queso especial (especially especial if you add some guacamole too).

Throw it on a taco salad.

Bring it to a potluck with a bag of chips.

Put it on burgers.

Top any kind of taco with it. Seriously, the options are many and nearly endless.


Pico de Gallo Recipe

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4 from 1 review

A fresh, chopped salsa

  • Author: Hilah Johnson
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 2 cups 1x
  • Cuisine: Mexican


  • 1 cup diced tomato
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno or serrano pepper, minced (and seeded for less heat)
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 lime, juiced (about 2 tablespoons)
  • salt (maybe 1/4-1/2 teaspoon)


  1. Mix it all together.
  2. Eat it now or let it chill for up to 2 hours. It’s best served the same day it’s made.

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While it’s tempting, for me at least, to just hack up your tomatoes and onions willy-nilly, you’ll get a better pico del gallo if you take the time to finely dice them. A smaller, more even cut makes a pico that stays better on a chip or in a taco.  Like so:

Pico de gallo ingredients

Small dice for tomatoes and onions; mince the pepper, garlic, and cilantro


  1. Brady Hamilton on September 19, 2011 at 10:38 am

    LOVE IT! I had some leftover pico de gallo a week or two back and I decided to put it in my mini food processor and made pizza sauce out of it and it came out awesome!

    • Hilah on September 19, 2011 at 11:06 am

      Brilliant idea, dude! I love new ways to use leftovers!

  2. Anna on September 19, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and nom!!!!!!!!

    • Hilah on September 19, 2011 at 10:48 pm

      I know! I srsly heart pico.

  3. Randy on September 22, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    Now I know what’s wrong with every pico de gallo recipe I’ve tried before: no garlic and usually no lime juice. I can’t wait to try this!

    BTW, checking the box for e-mail notifications of followup comments doesn’t work anymore. I’ve checked my spam folders.

    • Hilah on September 23, 2011 at 3:17 pm

      You gotta have lime and garlic!
      Hmm, thanks for the tip. I’ll look into that.

      • Randy on September 25, 2011 at 9:09 pm

        Since I posted that I’ve gotten a notification of GSF’s followup on zucchini pancakes on 9/22 and your followup to that on 9/23. So the problem seems to related to recent blog entries. As soon as my laptop stops overheating, I’ll check my emails for when the problem actually started.

  4. Randy on September 28, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    This just in: surveys have indicated that there’s been a huge drop in the sales of bottled salsas in recent weeks. Investigators from Pace are in Austin, TX looking for clues. In related news, surveys show that the sales of tomatoes, tomatillos, onions, garlic and chile peppers have increased dramatically.

    • Hilah on September 28, 2011 at 5:44 pm

      Hooray for everyone saving themselves from crappy salsa!!!

  5. Randy on October 5, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    One of my all-time favorite sides is a baked potato drenched in butter. When the calories became an issue, among the butter replacements I tried was salsa. Usually, it was store-bought salsa and while I like the result, it will never eliminate the memory of butter. Your episode on baked sweet potato fries inspired me to substitute a sweet potato whenever I want a baked potato. Today for lunch, I was scrounging around in my refrigerator and spotted the latest of probably a dozen batches of your pico de gallo. The proverbial light bulb went off and I had one of the most satisfying things I’ve ever eaten: a baked sweet potato topped with pico de gallo.

  6. Eduardo on August 14, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    This was delicious! And easy!
    Also, leftover pico de gallo works well next morning (or afternoon) sauteed with some egg and chorizo or sausages for hangover tacos. Try it in molletes too…

    • Hilah on August 14, 2012 at 4:10 pm

      Oh yeah! Hi Eduardo! I’m gonna get those molletes for you, I swear it. 🙂

  7. Great Stone Face on September 30, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    I made some for our last Redskins tailgate at FedEx Field and it was a big success both as a sidedish and as a topping on our chicken and shrimp fajitas. This week is an away game, but I made pico de gallo con queso fresco, using your pico recipe as the base, then modifying it into a cheesy pico using Marc Bittman’s method. He said to substitute a half a peeled/seeded/chopped cucumber for the garlic, then ad a half-cup of grated queso fresco. Delicious again as a side dish. (Our main dish is baked hotdogs stuffed with cheddar cheese and wrapped with crescent roll dough — a Pillsbury special.)

    • Hilah on October 1, 2012 at 1:12 pm

      Mmm. I bet that queso fresco pico would be great on top of chili, too… It looks so refreshing, it would be a good balance of flavors and textures.

  8. kathleen on August 13, 2013 at 10:20 pm

    I’ve never made pico de gallo, but i actually have all these ingredients without going to the store, so I’m doing this tonight! I’m sure my husband will love me when he gets home from work 😛

    • Hilah on August 15, 2013 at 7:15 am

      That’s great, Kathleen! 😀 It’s so fast and easy and brightens up any meat dish, and even goes good on soups!

  9. Dorothy on February 24, 2014 at 5:37 am

    In Kenya we call this Kachumbari. Roast beef is not complete without this at the side.

    • Hilah on February 24, 2014 at 6:44 pm

      Thank you, Dorothy! I love learning about foods in other countries, even if they are the same food with different names. 😉

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