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 Salsa fresca, also known as pico de gallo, is a fresh and vibrant Mexican salsa made with simple, classic Mexican ingredients.  The best part? It’s incredibly easy to make! Just chop, mix, and let the flavors meld for a delicious homemade dip that’s perfect for any occasion.

Salsa Fresca with evenly diced tomatoes cilantro onions and chips on the side

I enjoy making new salsa recipes. After you print this Salsa Frewsca recipe, be sure to check out my salsa verde, spicy pico de gallo, homemade salsa, shrimps pico de gallo, and cherry tomato salsa.

Salsa fresca vs pico de gallo

Salsa fresca and pico de gallo are very similar, but the difference lies in the texture. Salsa fresca has a more liquid consistency, while pico de gallo is chunkier and more like a salad. Both are made with similar ingredients, like tomatoes, onions, and cilantro, but the way they are chopped and mixed makes the difference. I personally love both, but for my homemade salsa fresca, I prefer the smoother, more liquid texture.

Ingredients You Will Need

This fresh salsa recipe only requires a few ingredients and seasonings. 

How To Make Great Salsa Fresca ingredients on a cutting board
  •  Tomatoes: For fresh salsa, I like to use meaty Roma tomatoes. However, if you can get your hands on an American-grown San Marzano variety, that would be great, too. 
  • Onions: I use a sweet white onion such as Vidalia. You could also use yellow or red onions instead. 
  • 1-2 jalapeño peppers, minced (adjust for desired spice level)
  • Garlic:  I suggest using fresh minced garlic vs the kind you buy in a jar all ready chopped. 
  • Cilantro: Wash it well and then chop the leaves and stems
  • Lime juice: Only use fresh, not the green bottle kind
  • Seasonings: cumin and coriander with a hint of lime zest to pack an authentic Mexican flavor. 

📝 Note: You can find the full recipe with ingredients and measurements in the recipe card located at the bottom of this post.

Do I Have to Use Cilantro?

I know, there are cilantro lovers and haters so, no you don’t have to use cilantro if you don’t like it. While cilantro is a traditional ingredient in salsa fresca, you can always leave it out or substitute it with another herb such as parsley, basil, or mint if you prefer. Authenticity is important, but so is enjoying the food you make.

What are the best tomatoes for this salsa?

For this salsa fresca recipe, I recommend using Roma tomatoes. They are firm, have fewer seeds, and have less water content, which makes them perfect for salsa fresca. Their texture and flavor will help ensure your salsa is not too watery.

However, if Romas are not available, then small meaty tomatoes such as  Campari tomatoes or plum tomatoes.

Choosing Ripe Tomatoes

When picking store-bought tomatoes, I always look for ones that are firm but give slightly when pressed. The color should be bright and even, with no soft spots or bruises. Once I get home, I store my tomatoes at room temperature on the counter rather than in the refrigerator. This helps maintain their flavor and texture.

Simple Step By Step Instructions For Making Salsa Fresca

I want to start this how-to recipe with a few tips that I have found helpful.

Tip For Chopping Tomatoes and Onions

The key to great salsa fresca is to keep tomatoes and onions consistent in size when chopping.    I have found the easiest way to get consistent small chunks is to use one of my favorite kitchen tools Fullstar 9-in-1 Vegetable Chopper. If you do not have a food chopper, a long sharp knife will work also.

Tomatoes on a cutting board being chopped in a food chopper with a small blade

Tip: If you have tomatoes that are juicy after chopping, then take a few pieces of paper towels and soak up the juice.

  1. In a large bowl, combine diced fresh tomatoes, finely diced white onion, chopped fresh cilantro, minced jalapeño peppers, and minced fresh garlic.
Salsa Fresca ingredients in a bowl chopped tomatoes zest lines cilantro seasonings onion garlic and jalapenos
  1. Zest the lime to get 1/2 teaspoon of zest. Sprinkle over the salsa mixture. Squeeze the lime to get 2 tablespoons of juice over the salsa. Place the zest and juice in the bowl.
A line being squeezed for juice and a zester that has graded lime skin for zest
  1. Gently toss all the ingredients together until well combined. Taste and adjust the lime juice and salt according to your preference.
Fresh homemadeSalsa Fresca with chopped tomatoes onions garlic cilantro and Seasonings in a bowl
  1. Let the salsa sit for about 1 hour in the fridge to allow the flavors to blend together and marinate.
  2. Stir and taste again to see if you need more salt or heat. Serve and enjoy!

Tips For The Best Salsa Fresca

🔪 Sharp tools: When making salsa fresca, I always make sure to use sharp cutting tools to get clean and precise cuts on my ingredients. I am no one for a mushy, textured, fresh salsa. 

 🍅 Pick ripe veggies: Fresh, ripe ingredients make all the difference, so I opt for the ripest tomatoes, onions, and jalapenos.

🍋 Keep it fresh:  I also like to add a squeeze of fresh lime juice for an extra burst of flavor. The citric acid in the lime juice also keeps the other ingredents fresh. 

👅 Taste as you go: This recipe is not a science but an artistic palate creation. Depending on the variety of your tomatoes, onions, and peppers, you might get a different flavor. So, don’t forget to taste as you go and adjust the seasoning to your liking!

⏲️ Give it time: Refrigerating salsa fresca for at least an hour after making it allows the flavors to meld and develop, resulting in a more delicious and well-balanced taste. This resting period also helps the ingredients to marinate, enhancing the overall flavor of the salsa.

Salsa Fresca ready to serve

Salsa Fresca Flavor Variations

This salsa fresca recipe is a basic starting point, and I want you to get creative! I love experimenting with different flavors in my salsa fresca! Here are some add-in ideas. I would add a 1/2 cup or so of one to create some new yummy salsa flavors. The possibilities are endless!

  • Diced mango for a sweet and tangy twist. 
  • Diced pineapple for a tropical kick. 
  • Finely chopped avocado for a creamy texture
  • Chipotle pepper for some smokiness. 

Adjusting Spice Level 🌶️

If you like spicy salsa, here are some ideas to bring on the heat! I suggest, testing the heat as you decide how spicy you want your salsa. You can always add more but do not take the heat away.

1. Jalapeño peppers for a mild to medium heat
2. Serrano chiles for a medium to hot heat
3. Habanero peppers for a very hot heat
4. Adding a pinch of cayenne pepper for an extra kick
6. A dash of hot sauce like Tabasco or Sriracha for an added zing

What To Do With Leftover Salsa

If you enjoy fresh, homemade salsa year-round, I have good news for you! This recipe also freezes well. Tap the 3x in the recipe card below and make a triple batch. Some for now and more for later! Do note, the salsa will have a slightly different texture after being frozen. Be sure to thaw over night in the fridge for best results.

How To Freeze Salsa

  1. Prepare: Make your homemade salsa according to the recipe.
  2. Freezer Containers: Gather freezer-safe containers with tight-fitting lids or freezer ziplock-style bags.
  3. Fill Containers: Portion out the salsa into a freezer container. I like to do two cups in freezer bags for our family. Just enough for a good Mexican Dinner Party. Fill the bags and remove any air by carefully pushing on the bag. In other words, burp the salsa. Label the contents and the date you are putting it in the freezer.
  4. Freeze: Lay the sealed bags on a large cookie sheet in your freezer. Allow them to freeze overnight. Remove the bags from the cookie sheet and stack them in your freezer.
  5. Thaw and Use Salsa: When you’re ready to enjoy your homemade salsa, remove it from the freezer and let it thaw in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight. You can also use the defrost function on a microwave if you’re in a hurry. Stir the salsa after thawing to restore its consistency.
  6. Storage Lenght Tip: Frozen salsa can be stored in the freezer for up to 6-12 months, depending on the quality of your freezer and how well it’s sealed. Enjoy your homemade salsa whenever you like without worrying about it going to waste!

How to Refrigerate Leftover Salsa

To safely refrigerate leftover salsa, transfer it into an airtight container and place it in the refrigerator. Fresh salsa should be consumed within 3-4 days when stored at a temperature of 40°F or below. 

How to Serve This Easy Fresh Salsa

This salsa is great for all kinds of Mexican foods, such as burritos, quesadillas, tacos, and enchiladas. 

Soups:  Serve as a topping with Easy Taco SoupTex-Mex Chicken Taco Soup Recipe, Creamy Taco Soup with Ranch Dressing, or Cheesy Tortilla Mexican Chicken Soup Recipe (Slow Cooker)

Nachos: This salsa makes a great topping on my Nacho Casserol and Cheesy Taco Dip With Ground Beef.

Eggs: For breakfast, warm a corn tortilla, place a fried egg on it, add my Easy Seasoned Tender Crock Pot Pinto Beans (Vegetarian)and then top it with the fresca salsa. Roll it up for an on-the-go breakfast. 

Tortilla Chips: My favorite way to eat salsa is for an appetizer befor,e a great Mexican Dinner Party.  It’s a classic party food when entertaining or having a Mexican Party.

I Want To Answer Your Questions & Hear Your Comments

Do you have a question about this recipe❓ I will answer in the comment form below👇🏼 the recipe card. Did you make this recipe? If so, could you be a gem and leave a comment and rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ below? This helps others find yummy 😋 recipes to make for their family and friends.

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Homemade Salsa Fresca in a bowl with cilantro and onions and tomatoes in it
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How To Make Great Salsa Fresca

Prep Time: 12 minutes
Chill: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 12 minutes
Servings: 4 cups
Learn how to make authentic and fresh salsa fresca with this simple and delicious recipe. Each bite will burst with the flavor of classic Mexican spices, sweet ripe tomatoes, onions, garlic, jalapenos, cilantro, and zesty lime juice.

Note: Be sure to read through the recipe’s post for tips and details about this recipe.

hand showing you to tap on the ingredient to add to your walmart and target list.

Ingredients
 

  • 4 cups tomatoes, Roma, diced fresh
  • 1/3 cup onion, sweet, white finely diced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped fresh, leaves and stems
  • 1-2 jalapeño peppers, minced (adjust for desired spice level)
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, fresh, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon lime zest
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice, fresh, not the green bottle kind
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder

Instructions
 

  • In a large bowl, combine diced fresh Roma tomatoes, finely diced white onion, chopped fresh cilantro, minced jalapeño peppers and minced fresh garlic.
    4 cups tomatoes, 1/3 cup onion, 1/2 cup cilantro, 1-2 jalapeño peppers, 2 teaspoons garlic
  • Zest the lime to get 1/2 teaspoon of zest. Sprinkle over the salsa mixture.
    1/2 teaspoon lime zest
  • Squeeze the lime to get 2 tablespoons of juice over the salsa.
    2 tablespoons lime juice
  • Add, salt, cumin powder, and coriander powder.
    1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder, 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
  • Gently toss all the ingredients together until well combined. Taste and adjust the lime juice and salt according to your preference.
  • Let the salsa sit for about 1 hour in the fridge to allow the flavors to blend together and marinate.
  • Stir and taste again to see if you need more salt or heat. Serve and enjoy!

Notes

Tips For The Best Salsa Fresca
  • Sharp tool: When making salsa fresca, I always make sure to use sharp cutting tools to get clean and precise cuts on my ingredients. I am no one for a mushy, textured, fresh salsa. 
  •  Pick ripe veggies: Fresh ripe, ingredients make all the difference, so I opt for the ripest tomatoes, onions, and jalapenos.
  • Keep it fresh:  I also like to add a squeeze of fresh lime juice for an extra burst of flavor. The citric acid in the lime juice also keeps the other ingredents fresh. 
  • Taste as you go: This recipe is not a science but an artistic palate creation. Depending on the variety of your tomatoes, onions, and peppers, you might get a different flavor. So, don’t forget to taste as you go and adjust the seasoning to your liking!
  • Give it time: Refrigerating salsa fresca for at least an hour after making it allows the flavors to meld and develop, resulting in a more delicious and well-balanced taste. This resting period also helps the ingredients to marinate, enhancing the overall flavor of the salsa.
Serving: 0.5cup, Calories: 39kcal, Carbohydrates: 9g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 0.4g, Saturated Fat: 0.1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g, Sodium: 301mg, Potassium: 414mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 1421IU, Vitamin C: 29mg, Calcium: 28mg, Iron: 1mg
Cuisine: Mexican
Author: Gina Dickson

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