Pico De Gallo vs Salsa: What Is The Main Difference?

Pico De Gallo vs Salsa

Adding a bowl of Salsa or Pico De Gallo to your tortilla chips can turn the whole Mexican-themed lunch, dinner and even snacking experience to a whole new level. Most individuals are quiet familiar with salsa but for some they are not familiar with Pico De Gallo. Salsa and Pico De Gallo are two Mexican dips that have some similarities such as its ingredients and preparation, however there are other things that actually set them apart from each other. In today’s guide, let us talk all about Pico De Gallo Vs Salsa and their differences as well as the recipes on how to make each Mexican Dish.

What is Pico De Gallo?

Pico De Gallo is also called Salsa Fresco. It is actually a type raw and fresh-ingredient salsa that mainly consists of onions, Jalapenos, , lime juice, Tomatoes (Chopped), salt and garlic cilantro to taste. Often, you can add Jicama or fresh corn for a more tastier and healthier dish.

Unlike Salsa, Pico De Gallo is not blended nor juice but more chunkier and the ingredients are not thinly chopped. . Also, with salsa you can have different variations of its ingredients, but with Pico de gallo the recipe is always using fresh ingredients.

What is Salsa?

Salsa, in French literally means “sauce”. It refers to either mixtures of cooked or fresh ingredients. Basically, Salsa can go for combining different variations of ingredients. Most of the time, Salsa is made with onions, herbs, chiles, bell peppers and canned tomatoes. However, fruits and vegetables such as corn and beans is also an option to add to the mixture. Peppers, tomato and onion should always be visible with Salsa.

There are four different types of Salsa that includes the following:

Salsa Verde

In Spanish, Salsa Verde also means green sauce. It is also known as Tomatillo salsa or Green Salsa. It has a tangy sweetness taste great addition to Tacos, corn chips and other Mexican food.

Salsa Brava

Salsa Brava is also known for as Fierce Salsa because it is characterized as a super spicy dish because of its raw habaneros (the hottest variety of chili)included in the dish. Salsa Brava often brings a sharp and strong smell of the dish similar to Salsa Verde wherein its flavor comes from Cilantro and Jalapeno peppers.

Guajillo Chile Salsa

Guajillo Chile salsa is a Mexican sauce that is made using Guajillo Chile that are dried. The chiles are usually large but thin, characterized as having bright red skin.

Pico De Gallo Vs Salsa

Both Pico de Gallo and Salsa are two delicious Mexican dish that can be used in whatever dish you want to pair it with, although it is usually paired with Corn chips or Tortilla chips.

Differences between Pico de Gallo and Salsa

Pico de Gallo is chunkier and less juicy as than Salsa

Most of the time, even when salsa is cooked or eaten raw, the consistency of this dish is always juicy and saucy.

Pico De Gallo on the other hand is drier, although there is very little liquid and some moisture to it but it is just because of its ingredient which is the Tomato juice and and lime juice that creates the liquid that is usually found at the bottom of the dish bowl. You have the option to remove the liquid from the lime juice and tomato juice by straining it. That is if you just want your Pica De Gallo to remain dry.

Pico De Gallo dish is always fresh

Pica De Gallo is always going to be fresh, this means that is is never cooked and will always be served uncooked. The freshness of the ingredients used is what this dish relies on so much.

Pico De Gallo, unlink Salsa, its ingredients are finely chopped while with Salsa is it usually blended or sometimes a mortal and pestle is being used, there is always a difference in the texture of these two dishes.

Salsa can have more ingredients than Pico De Gallo

The ingredients used for making salsa can have different variations. The tomatoes in salsa can either be charred or roasted before blending it with the rest of its ingredients. Also, Tomatillo salsa or also known as salsa Verde can also be made for a different flavor kind of Salsa.

While Pico De Gallo on the other hand is usually made with a mixture of these ingredients: Fresh Tomatoes, Onions, Cilantro and Lime Juice.

Pico De Gallo and Salsa are prepared in a different way

Preparing Pico De Gallo is by simply slicing and chopping the ingredients and mixing them all together, while in making salsa you will needing a food processor (blender or mortar and pestle) to blend the ingredients so that a smoother, more pureed outcome.

Sometimes, a food processor is used when making Pico De Gallo but it is not really advisable to do so since food processor tends to make ingredients soft and blended.

Below are the easy recipe on how to make Pica De Gallo and Salsa:

Homemade Pico De Gallo Recipe

  • Preparation Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Servings: 2


  • 4 Roma Tomatoes (Medium sized-Diced)
  • 1/3 White onion or Yellow Onion (Medium sized-Diced)
  • 1 or 2 Jalapeno Peppers (seeds are removed-diced finely)
  • 1.4 cup Cilantro (Minced)
  • 2 tbsp. Tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp. Fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp. Salt to taste (Kosher)
  • 1 tsp. fresh ground pepper to taste


  1. Slice the fresh tomatoes, Onions and Jalapeno peppers in diced or chunks and place them in a large bowl.

  2. Add the minced Cilantro to the bowl mixture.

  3. Add Tomato sauce and Fresh limes.

  4. Season the mixture by adding salt and pepper to taste according to one’s preferences then serve.

Make sure Pica De Gallo is consumed within 3 days, and no more than that, while it is still a fresh Pico de Gallo and still taste great.

Fresh Salsa Recipe

  • Preparation time: 5 minutes
  • Servings: 14


  • 5-6 ripe roma tomato.
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 2 green onions (chopped)
  • 1/3 cup red onions
  • 1 Jalapeno peppers or Serrano pepper (seeds are removed- chopped)
  • 1/3 cup Fresh Cilantro
  • 1 large cloved garlic (Chopped)
  • 2 tbsp. Fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin (ground)
  • Salt
  • Pepper


  1. Place all the ingredients inside the food processor (Blender).
  2. Press Pulse setting in food processor for 1 second burst making sure all ingredients are chopped finely by then.
  3. Transfer blended mixture to bowl and serve. You can add it to your Tortilla or Corn chips.

Salsa are best taken after is has been refrigerated or when cold. When storing salsa, you can put the dish in the refrigerator and it could last for a maximum of 1 week.


What is the difference between Fresh Salsa and Salsa Picante?

There isn’t much of a difference between the two aside from how the ingredients are chopped and the consistency result. Salsa ingredients are roughly chopped while Picante ingredients are finely chopped that results to a more thin consistency of its sauce.

What can I pair Pica De Gallo with?

Generally, Pica De Gallo always goes well with anything you pair it with such as tacos, Nachos, Tostadas, Burritos, Eggs, Corn Chips. You can also use Pica De Gallo to make Guacamole, an avocado based dip.

How to make Salsa Fresca from scratch?

Making Salsa Fresca involves a simple process. Make sure the ingredients are fresh and Ripe. All you need to do is to chop the ingredients in small sizes then mix all the ingredients together. Best used with dishes such as Molletes and Quesadillas.

Is eating Pico De Gallo unhealthy?

No, in fact, Pico De Gallo is considered to be the healthiest salsa there is. The ingredients used in making and preparing Pico De Gallo are all fresh and very healthy vegetables.

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