Basic Mexican Salsa

This image courtesy of Shutterstock

This fresh, lively salsa is Mexican cuisine at its best. Make it with the sort of produce a Mexican would use—shockingly red, ripe tomatoes that have never seen the inside of a refrigerator, crisp sweet white onion, fresh cilantro, and fresh lime juice—and you’ll understand why it turns up at every self-respecting Mexican cookout. So popular is this salsa, it goes by several names besides salsa fresca, including salsa mexicana and pico de gallo.



Make Ahead RecipeYes

OccasionGame Day

Dietary ConsiderationDiabetic, Egg-free, Gluten-free, Halal, Kosher, Lactose-free, Low Carb, Peanut Free, Soy Free, Tree Nut Free, Vegan, Vegetarian

Taste and TextureGarlicky, Herby, Hot & Spicy, Savory, Tangy, Tart

Type of DishDip/spread, Salsa, Sauces


  • 3 medium ripe tomatoes, seeded
  • ½ medium onion
  • 2 to 4 serrano or jalapeño chilies, seeded and minced (for a spicier salsa leave the seeds in)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice, or more to taste
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt (kosher or sea), or more to taste


  1. Cut the tomatoes and onion into the finest dice you have patience for. Transfer the tomatoes and onion to a bowl. Add the chilies, garlic, cilantro, lime juice, and salt the tomato mixture and gently stir to mix. Correct the seasoning, adding salt or lime juice; the salsa should be highly seasoned. The virtue of this salsa lies in its freshness. Serve it within 1 to 2 hours of making.

Try This!

Spoon this salsa over any type of grilled seafood, poultry, or meat. Serve it with tacos and fajitas. Use it as a dip for chips or as a sauce for grilled fish or mussels or mix it with scrambled eggs.


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