Fast and super easy to pull together, restaurant style Pico De Gallo is full of the freshest raw ingredients. Tomatoes, onion, cilantro, serrano peppers and fresh squeezed lime bring all the flavor to this dynamic chunky salsa. This dish is always a crowd favorite, so make sure to get a scoop quick because it will be gone before you know it!
Why is Pico De Gallo so good?
We are lovers of all things salsa here. I mean how can you not be?! What’s easier than chopping up a handful of fresh ingredients and mixing them in a bowl together? Chips and salsa are honestly one of my favorite lazy lunches and snacks. When we were in Covid lockdown Dal and I decided to take a virtual salsa making class with a chef from Mexico.
It was such a cool experience and we really did learn a lot. A really cool fact she shared with us was that the colors in Pico De Gallo resemble the colors in the Mexican flag, making this not only an authentic dish but also a patriotic one at that.
One thing I love about salsa is that it comes in so MANY shapes, sizes and flavors! We love a good smooth creamy option like our Avocado Tomatillo Salsa. Or there’s our go to fruity number with mangoes and avocado. But we can’t talk about salsas and not mention the classic, Pico de Gallo.
Packed with fresh flavor there is something so addicting about a good authentic, homemade Pico De Gallo. This classic makes for the perfect healthy snack, topping on grilled meats or enjoyed served alongside your favorite Mexican dishes like Green Machine Quesadillas.
How to Make Pico De Gallo
There are thousands upon thousands of recipes out there for making a good restaurant style pico de gallo. But really the only thing you need to know for an expert level salsa fresca is to not make it to watery. When a pico is too wet all the yummy flavors we crave, the lime and salt, are sitting there in that puddle of liquid no one gets to enjoy.
To prevent having a big ole puddle Dal and I always remove the middles of the tomato. You could keep the middles and throw your tomatoes into a strainer if you prefer. It's up to you. Just make sure you're getting as much of that excess liquid off as you can. This way all that lime and salt goodness stays on your chopped veggies.
When chopping your tomatoes, onion, cilantro and peppers try chop them on the smaller side. You want your veggies to be small enough so that you get a little bit of everything in each bite. This is the best way to ensure a pico flavor explosion!
Also important when making pico is being sure to avoid a bowl or mixing spoon that will react with the acid in the citrus juices and tomatoes. Stick with non-reactive cookware to avoid an unwanted metallic taste. Non-reactive materials that will work best are glass, plastic and ceramic.
What to Serve Pico De Gallo with
Serve it as an appetizer with crispy, hot tortilla chips or alongside your favorite Mexican or Tex-Mex dish like Green Machine Quesadillas, or try adding a big spoonful on top of grilled fish and steak. Also delicious would be using this pico de gallo in a Seven Layer Dip for killer flavor and a yummy dish.
Key to Restaurant Style Pico De Gallo
The secret to a truly authentic Pico De Gallo is serrano peppers. Here in the States you’ll usually find that homemade pico recipes call for jalapeño peppers instead of serrano peppers. This is because these two peppers are used interchangeably in most recipes.
Serrano peppers are 3 to 4 times hotter than a jalapeño pepper though on the Scoville scale. While they do pack a bit more heat we prefer them for a more authentic flavor to our salsa. So if you think you are up for the challenge and can take the extra heat, swap out that jalapeño for a serrano pepper and buckle up!
Pro Chef – Mom Hacks
When handling any kind of hot pepper, wether it be jalapeños or serranos you are going to want to be sure to take extra care and not touch your eyes, nose or mouth. There is nothing worse than cutting a pepper and then transferring all of that heat to your face! You definitely don't have to wear disposable gloves when removing the seeds and pith. If you don't have disposable gloves around you can also use a plastic baggie.
No matter what you decide be careful not to touch your face while de-seeding and chopping your peppers. And thoroughly wash your hands after handling any part. Trust me when I say you will only make that mistake once.
Should I chill my Pico De Gallo?
Another key step to getting that delicious restaurant style flavor is making sure to prepare your Pico De Gallo in advance so it has the opportunity to sit. Chilling allows every flavor to meld together and intensify for a perfectly delicious dish.
Letting the salsa rest, even for just a few hours, in the fridge will make a big impact. Ideally though you’ll want to make this ahead and let it sit overnight. Your tomatoes will be juicier and each bite will be full of all those delicious flavors we all crave.
- 4 ripe tomatoes, cored and diced
- ¾ cup white onion, diced
- 4 serrano peppers, de-seeded and diced
- ¼ cup cilantro, finely chopped
- 1 lime, juiced
- ½ teaspoon salt, less if desired
- Prepare the tomatoes by hulling out the center and seeds. The goal is to remove as much of the tomatoes juices as possible. You can strain the tomatoes for extra measure if you like.
- Once centers are removed dice the tomatoes and onion and place in non-reactive bowl.
- Prepare the peppers by removing seeds and piths for a milder salsa. Dice peppers and add to bowl.
- Add finely chopped cilantro, lime, and salt to bowl.
- Using a non-reactive spoon stir ingredients together.
- If there is time, allow mixture to sit in fridge and chill so flavors can come together before serving.
- Use a non-reactive bowl and mixing spoon to avoid an unwanted metallic taste in your salsa. Non-reactive materials that will work best are glass, plastic and ceramic.
- Remove as much of the liquid from the tomatoes by hulling out the centers to keep your pico from sitting in a puddle of its own juices and taking all the flavor with it.
- You can use serrano and jalapeno peppers interchangeably. Serrano peppers will bring more heat to the dish.
- When chopping any kind of hot peppers take care when handeling the piths (center veins) and seeds. You can use gloves, a plastic bag to prevent exposure to your skin or be certain to wash your hands thoroughly before touching your face.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 22Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 137mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 1g