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Pico de Gallo

Grab a spoon.

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Maybe a big one.  This Pico de Gallo is so good, you don’t need chips as a delivery vehicle.  But go ahead and grab some of those too, because the salty crunchiness kind of trumps the spoon.  Quality over quantity.

I didn’t use to make homemade salsas.  If I needed salsa for something, then I just went with whatever my jarred favorite was at the time…until we tried Chipotle back in 2005.  When one opened near us, we became regulars.  And for a period of time, let’s just say my husband visited very often. If he could find an excuse to grab it for lunch while he was out, he did.  I fell in love with the fresh salsas and decided to start making my own. It’s not that I never had fresh salsa before, it’s that now I was spoiled and had it often.  How hard could it be?  A few ingredients, all chopped up, mix them in a bowl and done.

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Except that it never tasted quite right to me.  I remember asking one of my friends, who happens to make all kinds of salsas, what the secret was to great salsa. Clearly, if you’re Mexican, salsa must be one of the easiest things to make because she looked at me kind of shocked that I couldn’t pull off a good one. But, in my defense, I was busy mastering my favorite scone and going through brownie trials, so pico de gallo was not on my list of things to perfect.  After two tries, I knew something was off, but I didn’t know what.

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Now I do. It was a bunch of things, but basically I was underplaying all of the ingredients that added dimension and flavor… salt, lime, jalapeno and cilantro.  I know, that’s almost everything, but if you don’t get the proportions right, and you fear making it too hot, you end up with a tomato onion salad. I’d like to tell you that I went through a few takes to figure it out for myself, but I didn’t.  I simply happened upon a recipe one day that had the exact flavor I was looking for.  And, the best part was, it had avocado in it! I could have my salsa and guacamole all in one bowl.  Perfect!

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When I tasted it, I knew it would be my go to salsa. It has just a little kick of heat, it’s so juicy from the tomatoes and lime, and the avocado adds a creamy richness.  It’s perfect over our carnitas (which I was going to share with you this week, even took photos, but I decided I wanted to work on the recipe a bit more.)  It goes without saying that it’s great for dipping your favorite chip into.  When we have carnitas, we always make Cilantro Lime Rice.  If we have a bit of rice left over on our plates, we’ll throw some pico de gallo on top before we finish it off.  Even though it’s best fresh, if I have leftovers, I’ll top a salad or sandwich the next day with it.

If you’ve never made your own fresh salsa, now’s the time.  Trust me.  This stuff is good enough to eat with a spoon.

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Been there.  Done that.

Pico de Gallo with a chip from

Pico de Gallo

Yield: 4 servings


  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • pinch of sugar
  • 1/2 medium sweet onion, finely chopped (I used a red onion)
  • 3 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded, ribs removed and finely chopped
  • 1 avocado, halved, pitted and chopped into small cubes
  • 1 lime
  • 3 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro


  1. In a medium bowl, gently toss the tomatoes with the salt and pinch of sugar.
  2. Add the onion and jalapeno and combine.
  3. Add the avocado cubes and squeeze lime juice over it to coat them fully. This will help them from becoming brown.
  4. Add the cilantro and toss the whole mixture gently to combine.
  5. Taste and add salt, sugar or lime to correct any imbalances. Serve.


*See photos in the post for how to easily seed a tomato. I just use a spoon to scrape out the seeds. This will leave you with the meat of the tomato that you will then chop up for the recipe. Seeding the tomato will insure your pico does not get too watery.

*I like to use kosher salt for this recipe because the flavor is not as sharp as table salt. If you use table salt, you'll need less, maybe 3/4 teaspoon, but start with 1/2 teaspoon and add more to taste.

*If you like a hotter salsa, leave the seeds and ribs on the jalapeno or pick a hotter pepper, like a serrano.

Recipe from Food Network

The Merchant Baker Copyright © 2015

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Sunday 15th of November 2015

This looks so delicious and simple to make! I think this is going to be our new Friday night snack :)


Sunday 15th of November 2015

Honestly, it's so good, I could just eat it with a spoon! It's a great snack...and healthy, too!


Wednesday 29th of April 2015

Awesome photos! We'd love it if you'd submit some to!

Kathy @ Beyond the Chicken Coop

Wednesday 29th of April 2015

Nothing better than homemade salsa! This looks like a winner.

Cyndi B

Tuesday 28th of April 2015

That looks so good!!Just need a big margarita,or sangria to go with it. This will help me make it through this never-ending work week. Putting it on our Friday date night menu.


Tuesday 28th of April 2015

Cyndi! It's only Tuesday! (I feel for you) Yes, a big margarita or sangria sounds perfect! Nothing like a "light" at the end of the tunnel! :)


Tuesday 28th of April 2015

Hi...Great recipe! You might also try roasting your jalapenos on a wire rack over an low to medium flame until the skins blister and turn black. Turn the chilies to roast all surfaces, then put the hot chilies in a brown paper lunch sized back to cool. The skins will peel off easily under a little water. Slit the chilies, remove the seeds, unless you want the heat and add to the other ingredients. The flavor is a little sweeter.


Tuesday 28th of April 2015

Thanks! Roasting is a great idea for those who might want to temper the heat of the pepper or add a little extra smoky flavor.

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