Classic Pico de Gallo

The Food Lab

Unraveling the mysteries of home cooking through science.

Classic Pico de Gallo

[Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Salting and draining the tomatoes guarantees better flavor and texture in this take on the classic Mexican condiment.

Note: Use the ripest tomatoes you can find. In the off-season, this generally means smaller plum, Roma, or cherry tomatoes.

  • Yield:Makes about 1 quart
  • Active time: 10 minutes
  • Total time:30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes, cut into 1/4- to 1/2-inch dice (about 3 cups, see note above)
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 large white onion, finely diced (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 to 2 serrano or jalapeño chilies, finely diced (seeds and membranes removed for a milder salsa)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice from 1 lime

Directions

  1. 1.

    Season tomatoes with 1 teaspoon salt and toss to combine. Transfer to a fine mesh strainer or colander set in a bowl and allow to drain for 20 to 30 minutes. Discard liquid.

  2. 2.

    Combine drained tomatoes with onion, chilies, cilantro, and lime juice. Toss to combine and season to taste with salt. Pico de gallo can be stored for up to 3 days in a sealed container in the refrigerator.