Pico de Gallo Is Amazing But It’s Not Salsa

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Pico de gallo is a quintessential Mexican dish yet we often think pico de gallo is just salsa.

Food in Mexico is very diverse. But pico de gallo is one of the few dishes in Mexico that doesn’t have a lot of regional variations.

It is always finely diced tomato, onion, cilantro, pepper and lime.

You’ll find this fresh salad everywhere in Mexico.

It’s sometimes called salsa mexicana or salsa bandera (flag sauce) because the colours mimic the red white and green on the Mexican flag.

It’s also very similar to the pebre recipe in Chile, which contains aji peppers and garlic, and is eaten with bread or as a condiment for meat.

Yet no one can agree why it’s called pico de gallo, which translates as beak of the rooster.

Some say it is because the dish resembles the colours of rooster’s feathers.

Others believe it is from the act of picking food with your index finger and thumb, which resembles a rooster’s beak.

Traditional pico de gallo or Chilean Pebre sauce made of tomato onion aji verde (small green hot pepper) lemon juice and coriander leaves served for barbecue and traditional dishes photographed on wood with natural light (Selective Focus Focus in the middle of the pebre)

Difference Between Salsa and Pico de Gallo

Salsa and pico de gallo are similar in that they are excellent with Mexican antojitos but also very different. Pico de gallo is fresh, raw vegetables and never cooked. Unlike salsa which may be cooked or use canned tomatoes.

Salsa may be pureed and has much more liquid. Salsa is a dip whereas pico de gallo is a salad and a filling.

Salsa is a generic term that means sauce, there can be many different ingredients.

This is more of a pure Mexican recipe. There aren’t many variations or additions of ingredients.

The biggest difference may be the use of jalapeno or serrano peppers or the addition of garlic.

Many people mistake chopped tomato and onion as salsa but while they may have the same ingredients they can be very different.

How to Use Pico de Gallo

In Mexico it adds flavour, you’ll see it as a filling on tacos, with shrimp, on eggs at breakfast.

It can even replace salsa with nacho chips.

EASY RECIPE: Chocobananos

It is cheap, easy to make and healthy. It goes perfectly well with a charro negro or chelada beer.

But you want to know the craziest part?

Some people are actually eating store bought sauce!!!

Please put this on your list of things that you will never buy because it only takes 5 minutes to make.

Mexican pico de gallo

Mexican Pico de Gallo

Yield: 6-8 people
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Pico de gallo is a quintessential Mexican dish yet we often think pico de gallo is just salsa.


  • 3 tomatoes roma or plum tomatoes work well
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 jalapeno or serrano pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt


  1. Finely chop onion, pepper, tomatoes and cilantro.
  2. Put in a bowl and mix well.
  3. Add salt and lime juice.
  4. Enjoy!
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1 Amount Per Serving: Calories: 17Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 149mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 1g

Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although BaconisMagic.ca attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

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Join the Conversation

  1. Shweta | Online Flight Booking says:

    Its looking delicious. I like your blog post. Thank you so much for sharing it.

  2. Shweta | Online Flight Booking says:

    Looking so delicious. Thank you so much for sharing it.

  3. Really interesting – such a simple but tasty recipe. Never knew about the differentiation from salsa too. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Fiona Maclean says:

    It does look pretty good! I’ll have to try making pico de gallo the bacon is magic way;)

  5. Interesting as I actually did think it was the same thing!!

  6. Shweta | metal beads says:

    Mouth watering food you shared. Thank you so much for sharing it.

  7. Pico de gallo is salsa fresca, which is just a type of salsa.

  8. Salsa is just the Spanish word for sauce. What you are just calling “Salsa” is Salsa Picante. Pico De Gallo is Salsa Fresca. Further examples: Red or Green sauce is Salsa Roja or Verde. Ketchup would be Salsa de Tomate, etc.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Yes you’re absolutely right. That’s what I said “Salsa is a generic term that means sauce, there can be many different ingredients.”

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