This Cucumber Pico de Gallo is the fresh and flavorful dip you need to make this summer. Ready in under 10 minutes, it’s the perfect way to use up all of your garden-fresh tomatoes and cucumbers. Enjoy this healthy dip with tortilla chips, on tacos, in a burrito, or as a garnish for grilled meats. The possibilities are endless!
Homemade pico de gallo with tortilla chips is easily one of my favorite summertime snacks. It’s fresh, flavorful, and good for you, too!
And when my summer garden is overflowing with fresh tomatoes and cucumbers, I love making this cucumber pico de gallo recipe. It’s seriously the best pico de gallo ever.
Cucumber pico de gallo is the perfect way to use up all your garden-fresh vegetables. But, even without a garden, this quick and easy dip is still a fantastic way to enjoy all of the best produce summer has to offer.
So, if you’re looking for your new favorite snack this summer, keep reading to learn how to recreate this delicious, homemade cucumber pico de gallo recipe for yourself.
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What is Pico de Gallo?
If you’ve ever found yourself wondering what the difference between salsa and pico de gallo is, you’re not alone.
Pico de gallo (a.k.a. salsa fresca) is a type of salsa traditionally made using fresh, raw ingredients. On the other hand, salsa is primarily made from cooked ingredients. Additionally, salsa tends to have a thinner consistency and is more blended together, while pico de gallo is generally chunkier.
Fun Fact: Pico de gallo means “beak of the rooster” in Spanish. Interestingly, pico de gallo has nothing at all to do with roosters or chickens in general.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Fresh Summer Vegetables- Whether you grow your own fresh vegetables or buy them, fresh cucumber salsa tastes best when made with in-season produce.
- Ready in 10 Minutes- This healthy dip is ready as soon as you chop and mix the vegetables. So easy!
- Easy to Make- All it takes is a little knife work and you’re on your way to the freshest, most flavorful snack you’ll enjoy all summer long.
- Healthy- This Mexican cucumber salsa is one snack you won’t feel guilty about this summer. Jam-packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, it’s practically begging you to eat the whole jar. Plus, it’s naturally gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan.
- Perfect Pairing- Pair this pico de gallo with grilled meats, seafood, and all sorts of Mexican dishes.
- Canning-Friendly- Make a big batch of cucumber pico de gallo and preserve it for later! Then, you can enjoy the best of your summer garden all year long.
Here are some notes on key ingredients. For a full list of ingredients, check out the recipe card below.
- Cucumber- To prevent the pico de gallo from becoming overly watery, it’s important to deseed the cucumbers. Peeling the cucumber is optional, but I prefer mine peeled.
- Tomato- Roma tomatoes, beefsteak tomatoes, and globe tomatoes are all good choices. The key is removing the seeds to reduce the amount of liquid going into the pico de gallo.
- White Onion- Sharp and pungent, white onions bring a wonderful onion flavor to this pico de gallo with cucumber recipe. Finely dice the onion so you don’t end up with a huge bite all at once.
- Jalapeño- Adds a bit of heat to this light and refreshing dip. Remove the seeds and inner membrane if you prefer your salsa fresca less spicy.
- Cilantro- One of my favorite herbs, fresh cilantro brings a vibrant, fresh, citrusy flavor to the dip.
- Lime Juice- As an acid, lime juice helps to preserve the pico de gallo and gives it a wonderful, refreshing bite.
- Kosher Salt- For seasoning.
Step by Step Instructions
Here is how to make this cucumber pico de gallo.
Step 1: Rinse and prepare vegetables. Clean and rinse the tomatoes, cucumber, jalapeño, and cilantro to remove any dirt, debris, and pesticides. Pat them dry with a clean kitchen towel or paper towel.
Step 2: Finely dice all ingredients. Peel the cucumber, if desired. Deseed the tomatoes, cucumber, and jalapeño. Finely dice the tomatoes, cucumber, onion, and jalapeño and add them to a large bowl. Then, finely chop the cilantro and add that to the mixing bowl. Squeeze in the lime juice and sprinkle in the kosher salt.
Step 3: Mix the pico de gallo and chill. Stir the chopped vegetables together to combine. For best results, refrigerate for at least one hour prior to serving.
How to Dice a Cucumber for Fresh Pico de Gallo
Deseeding and dicing cucumbers may seem a bit challenging, but I promise it’s easy once you learn how to do it. All you need is a clean cutting board and a sharp knife.
Step 1: Cut the cucumber into quarters. Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise. Then, cut each half in half lengthwise again. This should leave you with 4 long strips of cucumber. Flip each piece of cucumber so that the seeds are facing up.
Step 2: Remove the seeds. Carefully run a sharp knife down the length of the cucumber where the seedy middle meets the cucumber flesh. Discard the seeds.
Step 3: Dice the cucumber. Cut each deseeded piece of cucumber lengthwise into thinner strips. Then, cut the thin strips into smaller pieces of diced cucumber.
Can Cucumber Pico de Gallo be Made in a Food Processor?
A food processor can come in handy if you want to quickly prepare a big batch of pico de gallo. Keep in mind, however, that pico de gallo is supposed to be chunky. Therefore, if you do use a food processor to make pico de gallo, I recommend roughly cutting the vegetables first and only pulsing them a few times.
Tips for Success
- Plan ahead. Cucumber pico de gallo is best after it’s had a little time to sit. Make the pico de gallo at least one hour prior to serving for the best flavor.
- Finely dice the veggies. Dicing the vegetables small will make for a better chip dipping experience.
- Adjust the spice level. I wrote this recipe with jalapeño, but you can certainly use bell pepper for a milder flavor or habanero for a little extra spice.
- Drain excess water. If your cucumber pico de gallo becomes watery after some time in the refrigerator, simply drain it off before serving.
- Need cucumber pico de gallo for a crowd? This recipe is perfect for all of your summer cookouts and backyard barbecues because it doubles easily. In fact, you may even want to triple the recipe because pico de gallo with chips is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.
Substitutions and Variations
- Tomatoes- Replace the tomatoes with additional cucumber, red bell pepper, jicama, or even radishes! Don’t be afraid to get creative.
- Cucumber- Use English cucumber in place of a standard cucumber. Or swap the cucumber for jicama, celery, or zucchini squash.
- White Onion- Red onion or green onion can be used for a more mild onion flavor. Alternatively, use 1 teaspoon of onion powder in place of fresh onion.
- Jalapeño- For spicier pico de gallo, try using a serrano, cayenne, or habanero pepper. If you like milder salsa, opt for poblano or green bell peppers.
- Cilantro- Use parsley, green onion, or a little lime zest to make pico de gallo without cilantro.
- Lime Juice- Don’t have a lime on hand? Use lemon juice or a splash of apple cider vinegar instead.
- Nightshade-Free- Leave out the tomatoes and jalapeño and make this cucumber pico de gallo with just cucumbers and jicama. If you want to add a little more color, diced strawberries or mango would be delicious in a nightshade-free version of this recipe.
- Sweet- I love a good fruit salsa. My favorite fruits to add to this fresh cucumber salsa recipe include mango, pineapple, strawberries, and kiwi. Add a bit of lime zest to make it extra fruity and refreshing.
- Extra Spicy- If you’re like my fiancé and you just can’t get enough spice, there are a few ways to jazz up this pico de gallo. Of course, adding a spicier pepper in place of the jalapeño is the easiest way. However, you can also add a few shakes of cayenne or hot sauce to the dish as well.
- Add Spices- Try adding a few shakes of cumin, chili powder, or garlic powder for some extra flavor.
What to Serve with Cucumber Pico de Gallo
Cucumber pico de gallo is a great condiment to have on hand, especially during the hot summer months. It pairs wonderfully with a variety of grilled meats and vegetables. And of course, it’s also delicious with tortilla chips, tacos, burritos, and other Mexican dishes.
Here are a few of my favorite recipes to pair with this pico de gallo with cucumber.
Storage and Canning
How to Store
- Refrigerator- Store leftover cucumber pico de gallo in a glass mason jar or in another airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. The fresher the ingredients are when you make the pico de gallo, the longer it will last in the refrigerator.
- Freezer- While you can technically freeze cucumber pico de gallo, I do not recommend it. Freezing will cause the cucumbers and tomatoes to become very mushy upon defrosting.
How to Can Cucumber Pico de Gallo
Yes, you can preserve your garden-fresh cucumber pico de gallo by using the water bath canning method. While it won’t remain as fresh and crunchy as when it was first made, it is still an amazing and flavorful salsa.
Here is how to water bath can this cucumber pico de gallo.
Step 1: Heat the pico de gallo. Bring the cucumber pico de gallo to a simmer over medium heat for 3-4 minutes to get it hot.
Step 2: Fill the sterilized canning jars. Using a funnel, ladle the pico de gallo into sterilized, heated mason jars. Make sure to stir the salsa around in the jars to remove any air bubbles and leave approximately ½-inch of headspace. Wipe the rim of the jars to remove any spilled pico de gallo.
Step 3: Boil the filled jars. Carefully tighten the canning lids onto your jars and place them into the hot water bath, making sure they’re covered by 1-2 inches of water. Cover the pot and bring the water to a boil. Allow the jars to boil for 15 minutes, then turn off the heat.
Step 4: Cool completely. After 5 minutes, remove the jars from the hot water and place them onto a kitchen towel on the counter. Allow the jars to cool, undisturbed, for 12-24 hours. You should hear a popping sound from each jar after a few minutes, which means you successfully created a seal.
For more information on water bath canning, check out this Water Bath Canning for Beginners Guide.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! Cucumber pico de gallo is a delicious way to get your daily vegetables in. Especially if you use vegetables grown in your own garden. By eating pico de gallo, you’re getting a healthy dose of fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Don’t skimp on the salt! Pico de gallo needs salt to enhance the natural flavors of the fresh vegetables. If your pico de gallo tastes a bit bland, try stirring in an extra pinch of salt.
Cucumber pico de gallo is a versatile dip or condiment. Serve it with tortilla chips or cucumber slices for a low-carb option. Additionally, pico de gallo makes a fantastic topping for grilled steak, chicken, salmon, shrimp, and other meats. It is also a delicious condiment for Mexican dishes such as tacos, quesadillas, burritos, nachos, and more.
Yes, removing the tomato seeds is important when making pico de gallo. Tomatoes contain a lot of water, especially the seedy center. By removing the seeds, we’re ensuring that our pico de gallo doesn’t become too watery.
Absolutely. Pico de gallo is meant to be a fresh, chunky salsa. If your cucumber pico de gallo becomes watery after sitting for a while, simply drain the liquid off just before serving.
Cucumber Pico de Gallo
- 3 medium ripe tomatoes deseeded, diced
- 1 large cucumber deseeded, peeled (if desired), diced
- ½ medium white onion finely diced
- 1 jalapeño deseeded, minced
- ½ cup fresh cilantro finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons (about 1 lime) lime juice
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Clean and rinse the tomatoes, cucumber, jalapeño, and cilantro to remove any dirt, debris, and pesticides. Pat them dry with a clean kitchen towel or paper towel.
- Peel the cucumber, if desired. Deseed the tomatoes, cucumber, and jalapeño. Finely dice the tomatoes, cucumber, onion, and jalapeño and add them to a large bowl. Then, finely chop the cilantro and add that to the mixing bowl. Squeeze in the lime juice and sprinkle in the kosher salt.3 medium ripe tomatoes, 1 large cucumber, ½ medium white onion, 1 jalapeño, ½ cup fresh cilantro, 2 tablespoons (about 1 lime) lime juice, ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Stir the chopped vegetables together to combine. For best results, refrigerate for at least one hour prior to serving.
- Quick Tip: Drain off any excess liquid just before serving.
- Storage: Store in the refrigerator in a glass mason jar or airtight container for up to 4 days.