Salsa Bandera (pico de gallo)

Salsa bandera, also known as pico de gallo is an easy and budget friendly Mexican fresh salsa made with just a few and simple ingredients. The beauty of this recipe is in its simplicity.

Salsa bandera, also known as pico de gallo, in a bowl with tortilla chips and lime wedges on the side.

Salsa bandera is a popular Mexican salsa made from fresh tomatoes, chilies, onions, and cilantro. It is known for its vibrant and refreshing flavors and often served as an appetizer with totopos chips.

Probably you know this recipe as pico de gallo, that’s because it is also a common name for it.

But in Mexico you’ll find it often as salsa mexicana or salsa bandera, because its red, white, and green ingredients are said to resemble the colors of the Mexican flag.

Close-up of salsa bandera.


  • Tomatoes: Roma tomatoes are a popular choice due to their firm texture and fewer seeds. However, any ripe plum or vine-ripened tomatoes work well. Look for tomatoes that are vibrant in color, smell fragrant, and feel heavy for their size.
  • Chilies: To make this fresh salsa you can use either jalapeño chili peppers or serrano chiles, both works perfect.
  • Onion: Use white onion or opt for red onion to add a pop of color too.
  • Cilantro: This gives a fresh and herby flavor to this recipe!
  • Lime: Fresh lime juice is key for this recipe, in a pinch, use lemon juice but always opt for fresh instead bottled.
  • Salt: A good pinch of table salt.

How to Make Salsa Bandera

Wash and pat dry the tomatoes. Dice them and place them into a medium mixing bowl.

Top tip: I prefer leaving the seeds and core of tomatoes, it makes my salsa juicier which is how I like it. If you prefer a more salad-style pico, scoop out the seeds of your tomatoes, then dice them.

Diced tomatoes in a mixing bowl.

Peel and cut the ends of the onion, then dice it or roughly chop it. Add it to the bowl with tomatoes.

Diced onions added to the bowl with tomatoes.

Wash throughly the cilantro under cold water, pat dry it well with kitchen paper towels to remove the excess moisture.

Chop it and add it to the bowl with the other ingredients.

Chopped cilantro added to the bowl with tomatoes and onions.

Now, chop the chili peppers, you can remove the seeds and membranes for a milder flavor or leave them for more heat, however you prefer. Add to the bowl.

Next, squeeze the juice of a lime, you can also start with only half then adjust later if needed. Season with salt and mix all ingredients until combined. Adjust salt and lime juice if needed.

Salsa bandera (pico de gallo) mixed and ready in a bowl.

And that’s it! Each bite is a burst of freshness and a contrast of flavors.

You’ve got the sweetness of the tomatoes, the kick from the jalapeños, the zing from the lime juice, and the earthiness of cilantro. All coming together in this delicious salsa bandera.

Recipe Tips & Notes

  • Adjust the spiciness by adding more or fewer chili peppers or by including some or all of the seeds and membranes.
  • Taste as you go, especially when adding lime juice and salt, to achieve the right balance of flavors.
  • Letting the fresh pico salsa rest in the refrigerator for a bit before serving allows the flavors to meld and develop.
  • You can customize this recipe by adding extras like minced garlic, diced avocado, or mango for a unique twist.

How to Serve

This easy Mexican salsa can be served as an appetizer with corn chips, salty crackers or toasted bread. It is also the best pairing for carne asada!

Or it can also be a perfect top for tacos, tostadas, and nachos. Here are my favorite recipes to use this salsa with:

  • Chicken tostadas.

I love to serve salsa bandera with homemade frijoles de la olla and queso fresco, then enjoy with warm tortillas.

Mexican salsa bandera in a bowl.


  • This pico de gallo salsa last up to 3 days in the fridge. Since is made with fresh ingredients —specially tomato, it can’t last longer and I personally don’t recommend leaving it in the fridge for more than 3 days.
  • Sometimes I like to add a splash of vinegar; this not only add an extra touch in taste but also helps the sauce to last longer.

This is one of my favorite 5 de mayo potluck recipes by the way. It is just so easy to make ahead and a crowd-pleaser.

If you want to make it the day before, chop all ingredients, but I recommend discarding seeds and core from tomatoes to prevent extra moisture. Then place all chopped ingredients in different containers.

Next day, mix all ingredients in a bowl and season with salt and lime juice, give it a good mix and there you go, a fresh salsa to enjoy with your favorite Mexican dishes!

More Mexican Salsa Recipes

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Salsa Bandera (pico de gallo)

Salsa bandera, aka pico de gallo is an easy and budget friendly recipe. Is made in just a few minutes using fresh vegetables.

  • 2 medium fresh tomatoes (diced)
  • 1 medium white onion (chopped)
  • 1 jalapeño or serrano chili pepper (chopped)
  • ¼ cup cilantro (chopped)
  • 1 lime (juice)
  • salt (to taste)
  1. Place tomatoes into a medium bowl.

  2. Add onions, green chili peppers and cilantro.

  3. Add lime juice and a pinch of salt.

  4. Mix to combine and adjust salt to taste.

  5. Serve.

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