Pico de Gallo

So summer has officially hit in Louisiana. By 8:30 in the morning, I’m already sweating (or am covered in condensation…I’m not actually sure which). Come 4:30 in the afternoon and I’m contemplating the quickest way to end my misery. Since that’s also about the time I start getting ready for dinner, this means that I’m now whipping out every cool, quick, and easy recipe in my arsenal.

Now…one area where Sara and I are very different is that she actually got her degree in horticulture whereas I kill plants just by walking into the garden section of Lowe’s–it’s like they can sense my deadly presence. I’ve put off making my own pico de gallo for years because I always assumed that you had to use garden-fresh tomatoes and jalapenos. Then one day, I was craving pico like none other and was faced with this quandary: shell out $5 for some lifeless pico that’s been sitting in the produce section of the grocery store for heaven knows how long, or just suck it up and make my own. So I sucked it up, bought the greenhouse Roma tomatoes, and guess what? It was so good. So much better and so much cheaper than that store-bought garbage. The moral of the story? Garden tomatoes are awesome, but don’t let your lack of a garden (or the fact that your tomatoes aren’t ripe yet) stop you from making your own pico de gallo.
Pico de Gallo
Recipe by Our Best Bites
About 3 Roma tomatoes
1 smallish jalapeno pepper
1/2 small onion (white onions are traditional, but I love the color and flavor of red onions)
Freshly squeezed lime juice (use 1/2 lime for a little zing, use the whole thing for distinct lime flavor. In case you were wondering, I use the whole thing)
A very generous pinch of chopped cilantro–I just grab some using all my fingers at once. It probably comes out to about 1/4 c.
Kosher salt to taste; some people leave it on the bland side because a lot of foods pico de gallo is served with tends to be salty. Personally, I like it on the salty side.
Cut ends off tomatoes and then slice in half lengthwise. Under running water, gently run your finger under the membrane that contains the seeds. It’s okay if some seeds get in there, but if you have all of them, it’s going to get a little sloppy. Cut into small chunks. If you look at my pictures, I actually cut my tomatoes a little bigger than I really wanted them. I’m learning to let the little things go…Place in a small serving or mixing bowl or a really large cereal-type bowl.
Finely dice the onion. No one wants giant chunks of raw onion. Well, maybe some people out there do, but I don’t know any of them personally. Toss with the tomato mixture.
Finely chop the jalapeno, removing the seeds if desired (the seeds contain the majority of the heat, although the flesh is still pretty hot). I’m a pansy and absolutely don’t ever add seeds, but some of you are way braver than me, so this is totally up to you. Toss with the tomatoes and onions.
Add the fresh-squeezed juice of 1/2 of the lime. Taste. If you want to walk on the limey side, add a little more. I like to go easy on the heat and heavy on the lime, but I’m sure there are others out there who are the opposite.
Add your giant pinch of cilantro. Combine well. Add a generous sprinkling of Kosher salt, taste, and add more if desired. This is best if it stands for a few hours before you serve it, but it also may (okay, will) get a little wet in the bottom of the bowl, so you might want to strain it before serving it. It’s great just straight up on tortilla chips

or alongside our Chili-Lime Steak Salad, Chicken Taquitos, Chipotle Taquitos, or fill some warm homemade flour tortillas with Taco Chicken, Queso Fresco (you can usually find it near the cream cheese section of the grocery store), shredded cabbage, and top with a little pico de gallo for one of my most favorite meals in the whole world…



  1. looks good! i just made a huge vat of pico for a friends fiesta party last weekend. i made mine pretty much the same, but i added a bit of garlic powder too. it just gave it another little flavor note. i LOVE pico!!!

  2. Those pictures make me want pico at 6am! And that blue bowl makes my heart flutter. I think I need that too.

    Like Krista, I put fresh garlic in mine too- probably not as traditional, but so good!

    Looks awesome Kate

  3. I'm with you… plant killer. I'm not good with pets either, although I have never let one of my children go without water for days until they shrivel up, nor left them in a cage in the backyard and have them die of sun exposure:) Good news, right? So your pico looks exactly like mine, except I put in a pinch of sugar. I wish it wasn't my secret ingredient in practically every recipe, but it is. I'm gonna go make some pico de gallo. It is actually awesome first thing in the morning, because it turns scrambled eggs into a FEAST! Thanks…

  4. That looks just fabulous! I have always thought you had to use garden fresh tomatoes too. I am going to try this with plain ole grocery store tomatoes. Thanks for trying it and sharing the results!

  5. Love, love, love pico de gallo!! And the cilantro is a must. The first time I had cilantro I really didn't like it – reminded me of stinky feet. Anyway… now I love it and my pico de gallo is not complete without a large handful of chopped cilantro. YUM!!
    – Jennifer

  6. must get over my fear of jalapenos. must! that looks like SUMMER IN A BOWL! so yummy and fresh!
    I'm with you on the QUICK and easy meals for summer. Funny, i'm leaning more and more that way for dinner ALL YEAR round!

  7. I love making my own pico/salsa! My family can't eat anything else. Just last week my little brother brought me all of the ingredients to make a big batch for him and his roommates. If I want more of a salsa-y consistency I add two cans of petite diced tomatoes and then put about 1/3 of the finished product into the blender and blend it for a few seconds. So good! I also add garlic to mine.Like Sara,

  8. My husband was just commenting on Saturday that we needed to find a good recipe for pico de gallo and try making our own. Thanks for making my hunt so much easier. It looks delicious! I haven't done much with cilantro before; do you cut up the stems and the leaves, or just the leaves?

  9. I know, I know, I always think, "Garlic would be SO good," but the purist in me always wins out. Next time, I promise, I'll try it… 🙂

    And SJR–you mostly want the leaves, but if a stem or so gets in there, it's okay. Stick around, girl, and we'll have you wishing you owned stock in the cilantro industry! 🙂

  10. I made pico de gallo for the first ever a couple weeks ago…and the recipe was exactly the same except I used white onions. I also didn't know to take the seeds out of the TWO jalapeno peppers I used and after burning my something fierce and also touching my skin with jalapeno on my fingers, creating an insane burning sensation, I put some of that pico in a smashed up avocado and it was divine! *swoon*

    p.s. I live in Louisiana too and 2 big thumbs down for the weather!

  11. This looks YUMMY! These are the ingredients (except the peppers) that I add to avacados for guacamole.

    And you inspired me to grow my own herbs. They are doing great so I'll have to go grab a handful of cillantro & make some of this.

  12. I also add garlic, and a large serving spoonful of balsamic vinegar. My recipe would be about three times larger than yours, also. This is a great diet-food snack if you're careful with the chips! After having my hands burned from chopping jalapenos I learned to wear gloves, then I bought myself a KitchenAid immersion blender that has a wonderful chopper bowl. I always keep a jar of chopped onion in the fridge now, and a tiny one of chopped jalapenos in the freezer! We love our pico and pile it on our enchiladas as well as scooping it onto tortillas. Yum!

  13. I have been looking for a good recipe like this, but my family can’t have jalapenos. Has anyone tried it without them, or is there a good substitute? We can’t eat anything spicy, or hot.

  14. I just found your website this morning and I rushed out to the store to get all the ingredients for the pico and chicken taquitos. Everything on your site looks delicious, can’t wait to try out all your recipes!!! Thanks!

  15. Yummy pico! Loved it! My hubby thought to put some in his tuna fish for a tuna sandwich and let me tell you, it was incredible! You’ve got to try it for a quick and yummy lunch. 🙂

  16. I used raw garlic this first batch of the year – tomatoes (from the garden) cilantro, jalapeno,and red onion. I had forgotten the salt but later it helped offset the raw taste of the garlic. Next time I’ll try the pinch of sugar – thanks for the tip!

  17. I made this today and am excited to eat it. The only thing I would recommend is maybe mentioning in the preparation of the jalapeno is to use gloves if possible. I don’t usually cook with jalapenos and didn’t think to use gloves and now my fingers are burning :(. My mistake but it may help someone inexperienced with hot peppers. Thanks!! 🙂

  18. I have a problem when I make pico de gallo that I can’t figure out! When I chop up the red onion and add it to the rest of the ingredients, I get an overwhelming bitter taste. Any advice to get rid of that?

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