The Best Pico de Gallo

It’s Cinco De Mayo today! Even better, it’s Taco Tuesday!

Accordingly, what is better than a little bit of homemade pico de gallo? It’s easy to make and only requires chopping time. Next thing you know, you’ll be scooping up wonderful goodness with a tortilla chip.

Even better, pico de gallo can be a garnish on tacos and in a pinch (not that I’ve done this or anything) even eaten with crackers.

Celebration With Friends

For years we met our friends Mike and Molly for a little Cinco de Mayo fun. Sometimes it was for dinner out, other times it was tacos in, but we always had margaritas.

Kids came along, and whether or not we can meet between school and work and sports and dance, we still always text a picture of a margarita or a taco.

Friends are friends, and the best ones last forever.

Simple Ingredients

Pico de gallo is comprised of basic, tasty ingredients. It’s a mix of tomato, onion, spicy pepper, garlic, cilantro, and lime juice. And of course, a little kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.

pico de gallo

The jalapenos at our local grocery are often mild, so we add cayenne pepper or substitute Serrano peppers as needed. Of course, heat level is all up to your taste buds. Adjust accordingly!

Tomatoes, Onions, and Peppers, Oh My!

Yes, you can buy salsa and pico de gallo at the grocery store. All the work is done for you and you can simply enjoy it.

At the same time, when you make pico yourself, you can decide how much of each component you want. Like lime juice? Add more. Prefer less heat? Cut back on the jalapenos. Not a fan of onion breath? Well… who is?

pico de gallo

Start with the onion and jalapenos and chop those bits of goodness up. Try to keep the pieces as uniform as possible, but the truth is, it doesn’t really matter. This is pico, and texture and size doesn’t matter! Except, mayhap, for the onion. Big chunks of onion can be, er, oniony.

Next up, the tomatoes.

pico de gallo

Mr. Alexander, who not only makes a mean pico de gallo but a tasty guacamole, suggests quartering the tomatoes and then cutting out the seeds. For myself, I cut the tomato in half and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds, then chop it up. Both methods are fine, and I’m sure there a dozen more ways to de-seed a tomato.

Since Mr. A happened to be the person chopping the tomatoes, you get his version.

Now we’re on to the garlic, lime juice, salt, and pepper stage. As with many recipes, these ingredients are to taste. I have amounts in the recipe, but you can always play with this.

pico de gallo

Taste, adjust, taste.

A recipe is only a guideline! Unless you’re baking, of course, but that’s a different story.

P.S. The pico really does fit in that bowl once it’s stirred.

Last But Not Least

The final ingredient is cilantro, which you can find in the herb section of your local grocery store. Like most herbs, it bruises easily. That can be a plus in some recipes, but for pico de gallo you want it to be as crisp as possible. Adding it last ensures it is stirred as little as possible.

pico de gallo

Interestingly, some people love cilantro and others find it has a soapy taste. There’s science there, but I don’t know the details. For my family, cilantro is bright and almost sweet, but my father hates the stuff. So this is another ingredient that you can omit or modify the amounts, as it suits you.

The best part of cooking is being able to adjust to your own tastes.

This pico can be maintained in the fridge for 5 days, covered. The longer the ingredients meld, the better it tastes.

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

The Best Pico de Gallo

Simple ingredients meld together to make a complex treat.
Prep Time40 mins
Course: Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: celebration, cinco de mayo, onion, pico, pico de gallo, snacks, tomatoes
Author: Alyssa Alexander


  • 5 ripe tomatoes chopped
  • 2 medium onions chopped
  • 4 jalapeno peppers chopped
  • 5 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp garlic chopped
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 1 bunch cilantro


  • Chop tomatoes, onion, and jalapenos. Mix.
  • Add garlic, lime juice, salt and pepper. Mix.
  • Add cilantro. Mix gently.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.