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What is Pico de Gallo seasoning made of?

Pico de gallo, also known as salsa fresca, is a fresh salsa commonly used in Mexican cuisine. It is made from chopped tomato, onion, cilantro, lime juice, and chile peppers.


The main ingredients in pico de gallo are:

  • Tomatoes – The base of the salsa. Chopped tomatoes provide flavor, texture and moisture.
  • Onion – Usually white or red onion, chopped. Adds crunchy texture and sharp flavor.
  • Cilantro – The leafy green herb, chopped. Provides freshness and characteristic flavor.
  • Lime juice – Squeezed from fresh limes. Adds brightness and acidity to balance the flavors.
  • Chile peppers – Such as jalapeño, serrano or habanero. Brings spice and heat to the salsa.
  • Salt

Beyond the core ingredients, pico de gallo recipes can also include:

  • Garlic – Minced or finely chopped garlic for extra flavor.
  • Pepper
  • Cumin
  • Chopped avocado or mango
  • Cubed cucumber
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Lime zest
  • Mint
  • Green onion

The exact ingredients and proportions can vary depending on personal preferences and regional styles. But the base of tomatoes, onions, cilantro, lime juice and chili peppers are essential.

Reasons for Ingredients

Each of the main ingredients in pico de gallo serves an important purpose:

  • Tomatoes – The chopped fresh tomatoes provide the main body and bulk of pico de gallo. Tomatoes offer moisture, bright acidic flavor, color and texture.
  • Onions – Onions add crunch and sharp, pungent notes. They also provide moisture and more texture.
  • Cilantro – Cilantro brings fresh herbal aroma and flavor. It also adds color and visual appeal.
  • Lime juice – The acidity from the limes helps balance and brighten the flavors. Lime adds tartness and complements the tomatoes.
  • Chiles – The chile peppers contribute mild to intense spicy heat, depending on the type used. They also provide flavor depth.
  • Salt – A sprinkle of salt enhances and unifies the flavors. Salt brings out the flavors of the vegetables and chiles.

Combined in the right proportions, these ingredients create an irresistible fresh salsa full of complementary flavors, textures, colors and aromas. The zesty lime, sharp onion, cooling cilantro, sweet tomato, spicy chile and savory salt all work together in each bite.

Making Pico de Gallo

Making authentic homemade pico de gallo is simple, requiring just a bit of chopping and mixing. Here is a basic recipe and method:


  • 3 ripe tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 white onion, finely diced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 1 handful cilantro, chopped
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. Wash, core and dice the tomatoes into 1/4 inch pieces. Place in a bowl.
  2. Peel and finely dice the half onion. Add to bowl.
  3. Seed and mince the jalapeno. Add to bowl.
  4. Chop the cilantro leaves and tender stems. Add to bowl.
  5. Cut the limes in half and squeeze their juice over the ingredients. Toss to combine.
  6. Add the salt and stir ingredients together until well incorporated.
  7. For best flavor, cover bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes to let flavors meld before serving.
  8. Adjust seasoning if desired. Serve chilled with tortilla chips.

The pico de gallo will keep fresh in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. The flavors may deepen over that time.

Serving Suggestions

Pico de gallo is extremely versatile and can be used in many dishes:

  • Scoop onto tacos, tostadas, burritos or tamales
  • Top off fajitas or grilled meats
  • Serve as a salsa with tortilla chips
  • Use as a relish for sandwiches or burgers
  • Stir into rice or beans
  • Spoon over eggs at breakfast
  • Mix into guacamole
  • Garnish for soups or salads
  • Add to ceviche

Its bright, fresh flavor pairs perfectly with richer foods like Mexican cheeses, avocados, meats and seafood. A spoonful or two of pico de gallo can spice up any dish.


To maintain its fresh flavor and texture, proper storage of pico de gallo is important:

  • Keep refrigerated at all times, at 40°F or below.
  • Store in an airtight container to prevent drying out.
  • Use within 2-3 days for peak flavor and texture.
  • The aromas and brightness will fade over time.
  • Salsa may become watery and tomatoes lose their crisp texture.
  • Discard pico de gallo if it becomes overly watery or mushy.

Well-sealed glass jars or plastic containers work best. The salsa can also be stored in its original bowl covered tightly with plastic wrap. Just be sure the container is airtight.


Pico de gallo is a nutritious salsa option. A 1/2 cup serving provides:

Nutrient Amount
Calories 20
Fat 0.5g
Sodium 114mg
Carbohydrates 4g
Fiber 1g
Sugars 2g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 15mg
Vitamin A 270IU
Calcium 14mg
Iron 0.5mg

It provides vitamin C, vitamin A, fiber and small amounts of other vitamins and minerals. The vegetables contribute antioxidants as well. Pico de gallo makes a very nutritious, low-calorie salsa or condiment.


Pico de gallo is an uncooked Mexican salsa made from fresh chopped tomatoes, onions, chiles, cilantro and lime juice. Its bright, refreshing flavor comes from the mixture of vegetables and herbs. It can serve as a dip, topping, relish or seasoning. Store pico de gallo refrigerated and use within 2-3 days. When made traditionally from quality ingredients, pico de gallo provides great flavor and nutrition to any Mexican meal.