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Pico de Gallo or Salsa Fresca

Pico de Gallo or Salsa Fresca, and Salsa Mexicana are all one of the same…an amazing fresh salsa for just about anything you want to use it on. From chicken and fish, to chips and salsa, pico de gallo is the perfect sauce for Mexican food.


Pico de Gallo or Salsa fresca is a fresh salsa from Mexico.

Standard ingredients include fresh tomatoes, chilies, onion and chilies.

From there it is anyone’s guess what you may add for flavor but I’m pretty happy with the basic combination.

I do add a bit of chipotle to achieve a smoky flavor and some garlic because how can I can’t?

Many salsa frescas contain olive oil, lime juice or vinegar.

I don’t think they’ re necessary unless your ingredients, particularly tomatoes, lack flavor. Olive oil adds more calories and I don’t need those.

If you want your salsa thin, feel free to add tomato juice or tomato sauce or even a squeeze of lime juice.

Personally, I like to taste the tomatoes and not the tartness of lime juice.

Salsa fresca is often served on tacos because it is not too thin and won’t drip off your taco!

If you add salt to the salsa that will help bring juices out, too and make your salsa more liquid. Sometimes tomatoes aren’t as juicy as we would like them to be so adding liquid helps with consistency.

Personally I like a thick salsa fresca so this is the recipe I use. And because it stays on chips well.

Feel free to adjust the spiciness of your peppers.

Fresh jalapenos left with seeds and ribs are spicier than those deseeded. Your choice.

pico de gallo

I also like to add a canned chipotle in adobo sauce as I like the smokiness and the heat that it gives.

You can find them in the Mexican section of your grocery in a can labeled chipotle peppers in adobo.  Transfer them to another container and store them in the fridge indefinitely.

Use them in salsas, eggs or in marinades. They are a great ingredient to have on hand.

What is a chipotle pepper?

And just so you know, a chipotle is a smoked jalapeno and adobo is a sauce of tomatoes, vinegar and spices.

Salsa Fresca

I admit that whenever I experience a new Mexican restaurant the first thing I judge is the quality of their chips and salsa.

Poor salsa doesn’t leave me wanting to forge ahead, but generally I must.

And remembering that restaurant with the poor, tasteless salsa does not find me going back.

Maybe it is old salsa. Or salsa made with ingredients past their prime or perhaps the tomatoes are under ripe? And often they add water to keep that salsa lasting all day!

Whatever. There are a million different  ways to wreck salsa, but honestly that should be a crime if you are a Mexican restaurant.

I mean, it just ain’t that tough to make good salsa.

That being said-there are a million ways to make salsa. And most of them, I truly enjoy.

But salsa fresca-pico de gallo, salsa mexicana are the most basic of salsas.

Is there a difference between them? There really isn’t. My guess is it depends on local custom what you call it.

salsa fresca

What is pico de gallo?

Pico de gallo actually means rooster’s beak, though no one really know why this salsa fresca is known by that name.

Some say it is because when you dip a chip your thumb and forefinger resemble the shape of a rooster’s beak.

In fact, salsa Mexicana is called that because it contains all the colors of the Mexican flag but it is still salsa fresca or pico de gallo.

Fresh ingredients, and not much liquid seem to define pico de gallo or salsa fresca.

This recipe is my son’s favorite pico de gallo. It contains juicy red cherub tomatoes that are showing up in most groceries year round.

I think they have a sweet, full of tomato goodness that is perfect for salsa making when big garden tomatoes aren’t available. 

This salsa will keep in the fridge for about a week, if it lasts that long!

Salsa fresca is easy to make which is a good thing when you have a hungry boy to feed. This salsa fresca recipe also makes a lot, which is a good thing, especially when his friends show up!

pico de gallo


Salsa Fresca is also easily modified to accommodate everyone’s taste buds.

Some of us may like it with bigger chunks. Some more smooth. Others crave cilantro and some hate it. Some like it spicy, some don’t.

The important thing is not to be afraid to create your own favorite combination. You can’t destroy salsa, I promise!

Take a few minutes. Make a great salsa. Serve it with corn chips or over grilled chicken or fish. Of course you could also spoon it directly into your mouth!

Other things to try:
Breakfast Burritos
Red Chile
Green Chile Egg Souffle
Tomatillo Salsa
Mexican Shrimp Cocktail
Avocado Corn Soup

Please Pin and Share the Salsa Fresca!

Salsa Fresca

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pico de gallo

Pico de Gallo or Salsa Fresca

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 6 reviews
  • Author: Abbe Odenwalder
  • Prep Time: 15 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 Minutes
  • Total Time: 15 Minutes
  • Yield: 2 cups 1x
  • Category: Sauce/Condiment
  • Method: Food Processor
  • Cuisine: Mexican


Salsa Fresca, Pico de gallo, and Salsa Mexicana are all one of the same…an amazing fresh salsa for just about anything you want to use it on. From chicken and fish, to chips and salsa, pico de gallo is the perfect sauce for Mexican food.


Units Scale

2 containers of cherub tomatoes – 10.5 oz each
1/2 white onion
1 5″ jalapeno – seeded and deribbed
2 garlic cloves peeled
1 chipotle from the can (See above)
1/3 c cilantro


Dump the tomatoes into your food processor. (If you want this chunkier, feel free to chop with a knife.) Using on/off button, process tomatoes until coarsely, but not too roughly chopped. Empty into a good sized bowl. If there is a lot of liquid, drain some off so your salsa isn’t too watery. But if you like it that way-no worries!

Place onion, jalapeno, garlic cloves, chipotle and cilantro in food processor. Chop until mixture is evenly chopped, but do not over process. Add to tomatoes. Stir well. Season with salt if desired.

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

Monica Hein

Sunday 8th of September 2019

This looks delirious! I love your blog!

Abbe Odenwalder

Sunday 8th of September 2019

Thanks so much Monica!

Kelsie | the itsy-bitsy kitchen

Wednesday 1st of May 2019

Chips and salsa are one of my weaknesses. I could make a meal out of just that! This looks perfect and I'll have to try your recipe next time I get a craving!

GiGi Eats

Tuesday 30th of April 2019

This looks gorgeously delicious!!! Throw a little avocado in there and then - well, I wouild probably just throw myself into the bowl, hahahaha!


Monday 29th of April 2019

Whatever you want to call it and whatever you want to serve it with I like a little jalapeno in the mix so I know I'll like this. GREG

All That I'm Eating

Monday 29th of April 2019

Do you know I've always chopped my salsa! I've not tried blending it before and the texture of your looks so good I will certainly need to try it next time. And I'll try adding some chipotle too.

Abbe Odenwalder

Monday 29th of April 2019

There is certainly nothing wrong with chopping. However this does save time and I prefer the texture of this and find it can be controlled easier than with just chopping. Enjoy!