What's the difference between Pico de Gallo vs Salsa? While these are both popular Mexican condiments there are some key differences in ingredients and techniques. Learn all about the difference between Pico de Gallo and salsa and then can try my easy recipe for Pico de Gallo.
Let's talk about these two easy-to-make fresh salsas, both made with simple ingredients, both perfect for dipping tortilla chips into.
What is Pico de Gallo?
Pico de Gallo is also known as "salsa fresca" or "fresh salsa" and is a chunky uncooked condiment made with fresh ingredients like tomato, diced jalapeño, lime juice, and cilantro.
The ingredients for pico de gallo are all used fresh, not cooked, and are finely diced to result in an even mix of the ingredients. The ingredients are not blended and the flavors all stand out on their own.
What is Salsa?
Salsa is a more general term for sauce. Salsa is made with similar ingredients to Pico de Gallo but in different ratios - usually being more tomato heavy.
Salsa can be cooked or raw, while Pico de Gallo is always raw (fresh!).
The ingredients for salsa are typically tomato, onion, lime juice, cilantro, plus other spices and dried or fresh chilies.
For salsa the tomato, onion, and chilies can be either used fresh, boiled, roasted, or charred and then blended. Salsa has a smoother texture than Pico de Gallo but can still be left a bit chunky for some texture.
Pico De Gallo vs Salsa vs Salsa Verde
Pico de Gallo is a fresh chopped mix of tomato, onion, jalapeño, lime, and cilantro while salsa is a cooked or uncooked blended version of the same ingredients with other variations. Salsa Verde is made with tomatillos instead of tomato. The ingredients are cooked (either boiled, roasted, or charred) and blended just like red salsa.
Ingredients for Pico de Gallo
See the recipe card for exact amounts.
Substitutions for fresh salsas
Instructions for Pico de Gallo vs Salsa
How to Make Pico de Gallo
I remove the wet insides and seeds and then finely dice the flesh. You can keep the tomato insides if you want to.
Finely dice the onion and add it to a bowl with the tomato.
I remove the inside of the jalapeño because I don't want to eat the seeds and core. Keep the seeds for a spicy pico!
Add the jalapeno to the bowl with onion and tomato. Season with salt.
Add the chopped cilantro and lime juice.
Stir well to combine and then let sit in the fridge for 30 minutes for the flavors to combine well. You can also serve it right away.
Tips for making fresh salsas
What to serve with Pico de Gallo & Salsa
I love a chips and dip moment so I like to serve Pico De Gallo and Salsa Verde with my homemade baked flour tortilla chips.
Store Pico de Gallo in the fridge for up to 3 days. Salsa can keep in the fridge for 5-7 days.
Pico De Gallo and Salsa have most of the same ingredients but the techniques are different. Pico De Gallo is a fresh chunky salsa where the ingredients are chopped not blended and not cooked. Salsa is usually blended in some way and although the ingredients can be raw they are usually cooked.
Yes, while jalapeño peppers are most typical in pico de gallo you can choose serrano, anaheim, poblano, or habanero peppers.
You can dice them fine or keep it bigger, either way chop everything to the same size so the flavors distribute evenly throughout the dish.
Pico de gallo will stay fresh in the fridge for up to 3 days but the ingredients will release their juices over time.
Pico De Gallo
- 1 small onion (diced)
- 1-2 Roma tomato (diced)
- 1 jalapeño (diced)
- 1 bunch cilantro (roughly chopped, about ¼ cup)
- juice of one lime
- salt (to taste)
- Dice tomato, onion, and jalapeño. I like to remove the seeds and wet insides of the tomato and deseed the jalapeño. Add everything to a bowl.
- Roughly chop the cilantro and add it to the bowl
- Squeeze over lime and season with salt. Stir.
- Store in the fridge for 30 minutes for the flavors to mingle or serve immediately.
Nutritional information is an estimate. Values vary based on products used.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to purchase through my link, at no extra cost to you.
This post was originally posted on February 1, 2017.
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