Classic Pico de Gallo Recipe

The Food Lab

Unraveling the mysteries of home cooking through science.

Classic Pico de Gallo Recipe

[Photograph: J. Kenji López-Alt]

"Pico de gallo" translates to "rooster beak," but what it refers to is the classic Mexican condiment made from fresh tomatoes, raw onion, chopped chilies, herbal cilantro, and vibrant lime juice.

Pico de gallo keeps for up to three days in the refrigerator in an tightly sealed container.

Why It Works

  • Salting and draining diced tomatoes improves their texture, flavor, and color.
  • Yield:Makes about 1 quart
  • Active time: 10 minutes
  • Total time:30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds (680g) ripe tomatoes, cut into 1/4- to 1/2-inch dice (about 3 cups); see note
  • 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 (15ml) lime juice from 1 lime

Directions

  1. 1.

    Season tomatoes with 1 teaspoon (4g) 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.