Pico de Gallo or Salsa Fresca

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.

Salsa Fresca

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

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? 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. 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.

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!

Salsa Fresca

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!

Pico de Gallo is also great on nachos. Check out these two recipes from my friends:

Easy Nachos from Christi of Love From The Oven and

21 Ideas to Top Nachos from Melissa’s Southern Style Kitchen

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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Salsa Fresca

Pico de Gallo or Salsa Fresca

  • 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.



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.

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.

Keywords: salsa fresca, salsa fresca recipe, pico de gallo, fresh tomato salsa fresco, salsa cruda, salsa mexicano

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  • Monica Hein
    September 8, 2019 at 9:26 am

    This looks delirious! I love your blog!

  • Kelsie | the itsy-bitsy kitchen
    May 1, 2019 at 1:10 pm

    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
    April 30, 2019 at 10:41 pm

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

  • sippitysup
    April 29, 2019 at 7:21 pm

    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
    April 29, 2019 at 4:02 am

    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
      April 29, 2019 at 11:49 am

      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!

  • Katherine | Love In My Oven
    April 28, 2019 at 8:55 pm

    I JUST found a big bag of tortilla chips in the pantry and it had me craving chips with salsa. This looks like the perfect recipe for those chips!

  • sue | the view from great island
    April 28, 2019 at 8:59 am

    You and I need to throw a party today, girl! I’d love some of this epic salsa to go with all my guacamole 😉

  • Tricia @ Saving Room for Dessert
    April 28, 2019 at 5:42 am

    You are brilliant Abbe! I have to try adding chipotle to my next bowl of salsa or pico. LOVE this stuff! Thank you for sharing this awesome recipe 🙂

  • Easyfoodsmith
    April 28, 2019 at 4:50 am

    I would certainly add garlic and Chipotle. It sounds so delicious.

  • Eha
    April 27, 2019 at 7:33 pm

    Thank you, Abbe, for making matters simpler for a ‘poor’ Down Under gal ! Asian, African and Middle-Eastern: I would know what I am talking about – in spite of a gorgeous gf in Mexico I won’t pretend I have all the answers . . . perchance it is not so complicated after all . . . !

  • Anonymous
    December 31, 2014 at 5:12 am

    This needs lime juice added to it to make "real" pico !

  • Abbe Odenwalder
    July 10, 2013 at 3:45 am

    Thanks so much TJ! I'm going to buzz right over!

  • T.J. {Sugar Blossoms}
    July 10, 2013 at 2:43 am

    Hi There! I wanted to let you know I featured you on Sugar Blossoms. Stop by and check it out!

  • Abbe Odenwalder
    June 5, 2013 at 3:52 am

    Amy, I'd love to give you a spoon!

  • Amy
    June 3, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    I agree with you, nothing more sad than a tasteless salsa. I love how simple your recipe is with just a few ingredient. Nothing is better than using the best and fresh ingredients you can get your hands on. 🙂 Okay, now, may I have a spoon too?

  • Abbe Odenwalder
    May 29, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    Thanks so much, Angie. Lori, I confess that I think salsa and gazpacho are kissing cousins. Great idea!

  • Lori @ Foxes Love Lemons
    May 29, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    I totally agree – if I go to a Mexican restaurant, and they have terrible chips and salsa, I have very little interest in staying! haha. I will confess that I don't make fresh salsa at home as much as I'd like to. We have a really great company here in my town that makes refrigerated, fresh salsa – it basically takes like what I WOULD make at home, if I chose to do it. Sometimes I eat it with a spoon and pretend it's gazpacho 🙂

  • Angie Schneider
    May 29, 2013 at 11:31 am

    I definitely want mine more spicy! This is so delicious, Abbe.

  • Paula @ Vintage Kitchen
    May 28, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    We have our own version of salsa to eat with barbecued meat, and it tomatoes, onion and red pepper with vinegar and little oil. Can´t beat a fresh batch of salsa for summer outdoor food!

  • Abbe Odenwalder
    May 29, 2013 at 1:35 am

    As long as it's a soup spoon, Denise! And Paula, I think all cultures must have some kind of red sauce, right?

    And Mr. KR, really? You know how I feel about pictures and coming from you that means a lot! And lime, that's all right, too!

    Liz, trade for brownies?

  • Liz Berg
    May 29, 2013 at 1:19 am

    Oh, yeah, who needs chips? Though I could do major damage to both your salsa and a bag of chips 🙂

  • Kitchen Riffs
    May 28, 2013 at 11:34 pm

    Good pictures! I love make my own salsa (pico de gallo, whatever!). Although I do like that hit of lime. I don't usually add a canned chipotle to my salsa, though – I should give this a try (love those little devils!). Good stuff – thanks.

  • Denise [email protected] Brazil To You
    May 28, 2013 at 8:55 pm

    Homemade Salsa: I agree…Give me a spoon, definitely!