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Difference Between Pico de Gallo and Salsa

Pico de Gallo vs Salsa

Mexican cuisine is full of flavor with various spices and ingredients which are native to the country. It is very distinct and is known throughout the world because of its unique blending of native and European ingredients that has evolved since the 16th century.

It is rich in spices, such as; oregano, cocoa, cilantro, cinnamon, epazote, garlic, onion, and chili which is a very common ingredient in Mexican sauce or salsa. Salsa is a tomato-based spicy hot sauce that is common to Mexico and other Central American countries.

It is used as dips and was originally made by using molcajete or a mortar and pestle. Today, blenders are used to make it. There are many types of salsa; some of them are:

Salsa Rota or red sauce, made with cooked tomatoes, chili peppers, onion, garlic, and cilantro.
Salsa Verde or green sauce, which is made with cooked tomatillos which are from the tomato family but are spherical and green with a husk.
Salsa Negra or black sauce, made from dried chili, oil, and garlic.
Salsa Taquera or taco sauce, made with tomatillos and morata chili.
Guacamole, made with avocado as the main ingredient and is thicker and used as a dip.
Salsa Cruda or raw sauce, which is also known as Salsa Picada or chopped sauce. Salsa Mexicana or Mexican sauce, Salsa Fresca or fresh sauce, Salsa Bandera or flag sauce, and Pico de Gallo or rooster’s beak.

Pico de Gallo is made with fresh raw tomatoes, lime juice, chili peppers, onions, cilantro leaves, and other raw ingredients that are coarsely chopped. It has less liquid and can be used as fillings for tacos and fajitas.

“Pico” came from the word “picar” which means “to chop or mince” and “to bite, sting, or peck.” “Gallo” or “rooster” is a metaphor for “macho” in Mexican culture which is exhibited through a man’s ability to withstand the spicy burn of chili.

Pico de Gallo does not necessarily contain chili, though. There are different ingredients that can be made into Pico de Gallo that include fruits, such as; mangoes, watermelon, orange, cucumber, avocado, and papaya. These are served as snacks and are sold outside schools.

Salsa has become very popular not only in Central and Latin America but the whole world as well. It enhances whatever food that is prepared with it, and it makes eating a unique experience with its variety of ingredients and flavors.


1.“Salsa” means “sauce or dip” while Pico de Gallo is a type of salsa.
2.Most salsas are made with tomatoes and chili which are blended or crushed while Pico de Gallo can be made with various ingredients that are coarsely chopped.
3.While most salsas have ample amount of liquid, Pico de Gallo contains only a little.
4.A salsa is usually used as a dip for fish, meat, and other foods, but Pico de Gallo can also be used as a filling for tacos and fajitas because it is thick.

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  1. Pico de Gallo is incredibly difficult to find jarred, I suspect because it never contains vinegar. Salsa is frequently found jarred, and 99% of the time jarred Salsa will contain vinegar.

    (I hate vinegar, so I pay attention to these things)

    • The reason you can’t find pico de gallo jarred is because it is a raw preparation and the process of canning makes it a cooked item. 🙂

  2. Pico de gallo, contrary to everyone’s perception of it as a salsa, is actually a relish.

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