How Far Ahead Should You Make Pico de Gallo? Timing Tips

When you’re busy, you can always make your pico de gallo ahead of time. But how far ahead so it still tastes good? You can make pico de gallo 1–7 days ahead and refrigerate it …

glass bowl with pico de gallo

When you’re busy, you can always make your pico de gallo ahead of time. But how far ahead so it still tastes good?

You can make pico de gallo 1–7 days ahead and refrigerate it to make it safe. But remember that with each passing day, the quality like the flavor, texture, and even the smell will change.

So, how many days ahead be the best time, and can you pre-cut the ingredients and make them the next day? Scroll down to find out!

How Far Ahead Should I Make Pico De Gallo?

Pico de gallo is a dip that’s made fresh and served fresh. The ingredients are raw and fresh, in contrast to salsa where you can use canned, roasted, or cooked ingredients (source: Master Class). 

pico de gallo in jar

With pico de gallo, it’s important that you use fresh or raw ingredients and serve it freshly made out of the bowl if you want to adhere to its authentic roots. However, we know that time isn’t always on our side.

Many of us are busy. Preparing and serving pico de gallo fresh isn’t always on the top list of priorities for the day. This is why making it ahead is also possible, or buying it a day before you serve it would also work. 

If you have the ingredients and you plan on making it ahead, make it 1–3 days before you serve it. Pico de gallo can keep for 3–7 days. But by the time it makes it to day 7, its quality would have drastically changed, with its flavors and texture being considerably different.

Here is a simple table that summarizes the pros and cons of making pico de gallo several days ahead, provided you store them in the fridge at the right temperature:

Number of DaysProsCons
1 to 3 daysClose to when it was made fresh Not fresh
Quality starts to deteriorate
4 to 7 daysStill edibleQuality has deteriorated
Taste and texture have changed

Can I Make Pico de Gallo a Day Ahead? 

You can make pico de gallo ahead. We recommend making it just a day before you eat or serve it so it’s closest to its original state which is freshly made.

Is it better to make it the night or the day before? The rule, really, is that pico de gallo should be fresh. If you can’t prepare it fresh because you are busy or for some other reasons, you should make it closest to the time you would eat or serve it to other people.

So, in this case, making it the night before and refrigerating it would be closer than making it the day before. The flavor, texture, or smell won’t change either way. 

Tomatoes are pretty watery, In fact, 95% of them are water (source: Bupa). Pico de gallo mostly contains tomatoes. Tomatoes, especially if they have their seeds intact, can make the pico de gallo watery if it’s left outside for too long, or when it’s heated. 

glass bowl with pico de gallo

Does Pico de Gallo Taste Better from Scratch?

Making pico de gallo fresh and serving it right after is the way to go. This is the traditional way.

Making it ahead is also acceptable. But you hate to remember and expect that the texture and flavor will change.

You can also pre-cut some of the ingredients like the chili peppers and onion, and cut tomatoes, cilantro, and lime the day you will serve pico de gallo so it tastes fresh. Tomatoes comprise most of pico de gallo and cutting them on an actual day will help your pico de gallo taste fresher and better.  

You can try experimenting with different days ahead so you can find what works best for you, especially if you prepare it often. We hope this helps!