Chilis Pico de Gallo

Chilis pico de gallo can be made in minutes. This fresh salsa goes great with corn tortilla chips or as a topping for tacos, burritos, salads, and Margarita Lime Chicken.

fresh pico de gallo, tortilla chips, lime, tomatoes, and peppers

Chilis is the place where you want to go to grab a drink and some fun and exciting Tex Mex food. Their Blooming Petals are iconic. Their perfectly thin and crisp corn tortilla chips are irresistible. You can enjoy their famous pico de gallo with their chips.

I love Chili’s pico de gallo. It is wonderfully fresh and perfect on tacos, served with chips, or as a fun topping on grilled chicken or even a burger.

Ingredients for Pico de Gallo

This salsa fresca (fresh salsa) is made from raw ingredients, there is no cooking required to make this fresh accompaniment to so many dishes.

The ingredients for this recipe are super easy. You need ripe red tomatoes, white onions, cilantro, fresh lime juice, salt, pepper, and jalapeno pepper. I like to buy my ingredients just before I make it. This way I know I am getting the ripest tomatoes.

chopped tomatoes, onions, lime, jalapeno peppers and more

6 Tips for making the best pico

  • Ripe tomatoes – look for ripe red tomatoes. You want tomatoes that have rich red color and, when gently squeezed, they should give a little. You do not want to use tomatoes that are squishy, as they are overripe and your pico won’t last as long if you make it with overripe tomatoes.
  • Remove the seeds of the tomatoes – Remove the seeds and some of the juice of the tomatoes. Pico that is watery is salsa!
  • White Onions – white onions are critical because they are not “too hot”. White onions are traditionally used for this recipe and it is because their flavor blends better than yellow onions. Look for firm unblemished white onions. Do not use onions that have a green tint to them or where the shoots are starting to grow from these onions. Those onions are past their prime for eating but are perfect for planting
  • Cut everything into small pieces – the more finely you chop your ingredients, the better the flavor will be. Why? The greater the surface area of the chopped vegetables means the flavors will mingle together.
  • Can’t stand the heat – devein the jalapenos. Remove the ribs and the seeds from these peppers, as they carry most of the heat. Still, feel nervous about the heat? Used pickled jalapenos. The pickling seems to remove most of the heat. Also, be sure to finely chop these peppers!
  • Remove the ribs from the cilantro – the ribs of cilantro can be woody. The ribs are ok when cooking because they break down. The best flavor of the cilantro is in the tender leaves, not the stalks. So pull the leaves off the stalk when chopping the cilantro.

How long will pico de gallo last?

Well, yours might not last that long once you put it out to serve. But it if does make it through the meal and the chips, it will last for about a week in the refrigerator.

After about a week the tomatoes become mushy, the cilantro wilts, and all of the water of the vegetables begins to release turning into this spicy relish into a mushy slightly fermented mess.

How to make pico de gallo

Select the freshest vegetables you can find, this way the flavors really shine. Then give the tomatoes a good wash, and cut them in half. If the tomatoes are super juicy give them a quick squeeze over the sink and squeeze out some of the juice. You don’t want a watery pico, that’s too much like salsa!

Chop everything very finely. If you are concerned about the heat of the pico, you can remove the seeds from the jalapenos, or you may want to use pickled jalapenos, pickled jalapenos are often milder than the fresh variety.

a mixing bowl with finely chopped onions, tomatoes, cilantro, jalapenos, and salt

Place all of your ingredients into a bowl, and sprinkle salt over them. Let them rest a moment or two before you add the lime juice, then give everything a good stir. I like to let mine rest about 30 minutes before serving.

Should you refrigerate pico de gallo?

If you have any leftover, yes you should refrigerate it. So cover it up and place the container in the refrigerator.

fresh pico de gallo, and chips

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fresh pico de gallo, tortilla chips, lime, tomatoes, and peppers

Chilis Pico de Gallo

Make pico de gallo just like Chili's. 
4.75 from 4 votes
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Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Chilis Pico de Gallo
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 6kcal


  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup diced tomato
  • 2 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon diced jalapeno


  • Dice both tomatoes and onions. Chop cilantro, and add enough diced jalapeno seeds to suit your desired hotness. Mix together, and serve.


Calories: 6kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 0g | Fat: 0g | Saturated Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 42mg | Fiber: 0g | Sugar: 0g | Vitamin A: 30IU | Vitamin C: 2.9mg | Calcium: 7mg | Iron: 0.1mg

About Stephanie Manley

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of's Dining Out in the Home, and's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Michele

    4 stars
    One of my favorite recipes, I would not leave out some squeezes of lime and some garlic powder or pressed garlic (as well as a bit of salt) for total perfection!

  2. Jsmes

    5 stars
    It used to be yellow onions when Chili’s made the awesome blossom. The double hearted collosal onions were used for everything else having onions in it. It was this way at least up to 2000…probably later. Former manager

  3. Domeze2

    chilis employee is completely right on the pico that is how it is made i worked there as well and made it all the time. as for the salsa it comes in a bag and we add tom to it i myself am not sure what is in the bag they use

  4. Indy

    i tried this and even though it was good it didnt even come close to chili’s this wasnt sweet like theirs

    You know I never noticed their pico being sweet. Sometime restaurants vary just a bit, and it isn’t the same everytime you go despite their quality control. ~Stephanie

  5. Chili's employee

    I work at Chili’s, and I make this stuff daily. I’d like to make a few corrections. Firstly, the onions must be RED onions. Secondly, the amount of onions should be about a quarter of the volume of toms (we do it by weight), and the amount of jalapenos should be about an eigth of the volume of tomatoes. The amount of cilantro should be much less, about a tsp for this recipe. You also need about an 1/8 cup of lime juice, 1/2 tsp of seasoned salt, and 1/8 tsp of kosher salt.

    • Stacia Hearn

      hey chili’s employee…what about the red salsa? i have been making copycat recipes but cannot get it right. ??? any suggestions for that?

      • "other" Chili's employee

        thats something that would be hard to do, as we just basically mix water and tomatoes in house, the rest is a salsa base that comes in bags.

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