How Long Does Pico de Gallo Last Before It Goes Bad?

Pico de gallo makes a good pile atop tacos, tortilla chips, barbecue, pasta, a plate of eggs, and even beans. If you love salsa, you’ll find yourself always making more than you need. Your concern shifts from what to serve with this salsa to how long you can keep the bowl of salsa.

After investing time and energy into a tasty bowl of salsa over the weekend, throwing it out is not an option. More so, you may need it during the week. How then can you preserve it? How long does it last?

What is pico de gallo?

Pico de gallo, translated to Spanish means “rooster’s beak.” Many people believe that this translation comes from how people ate it. Back in the day, people ate it with their hands by pinching the vegetables between the thumb and index finger.

Pico de gallo or salsa fresca (fresh sauce) is a salsa commonly eaten in Mexican cuisine. This salsa is a bowl of chopped tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, and onions. The tomatoes, pepper, and onions are seasoned with salt, lime juice, and chili powder.

Salsa fresca is commonly served with Mexican foods like tacos, quesadillas, and nachos. Pico de gallo is a salsa, but it is not the traditional salsa.

The difference is in how each is prepared. Salsa is made from cooked ingredients and is soupier, while salsa fresca is a bowl of raw ingredients.

How long does pico de gallo last?

The best time to eat salsa fresca is the day you prepared it, but if you have leftovers, it can last up to one and a half weeks if you store it properly.

How long does pico de gallo last at room temperature?

Pico de gallo lasts only two hours at room temperature. This is why you should eat it immediately after preparing it.

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How long does pico de gallo last in the fridge?

A plate of pico de gallo can last up to one week in the refrigerator if you store it in an airtight container.

How long a plate of salsa fresca lasts in the refrigerator depends on factors like the freshness of the ingredients, the coldness of your fridge, and how tightly sealed the container is.

How long does pico de gallo last after the sell-by date?

As long as the store-bought pico de gallo is still unopened, it can last up to five days past its sell-by date. Once you open it, refrigerate it and eat it within three days.

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How long does canned pico de gallo last?

Canned salsa fresca can last up to twelve months if you follow the right steps. The vegetables will become soupy, but they will remain fresh.

How to tell pico de gallo is bad

Smell it

When salsa fresca has gone off, it’ll smell sour, caustic, and sweet. Any smell that is nothing like when the salsa was fresh, throw it out.

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Touch it

When fresh vegetables have gone bad, they become slimy and rubbery. If you open a plate of salsa fresca and notice this when you scoop it, you shouldn’t eat it. Otherwise, you risk getting poisoned with bacteria.

Taste it

Tasting the vegetables is only necessary when you can’t make out anything from the appearance and smell. You don’t need to taste a spoonful to detect spoilage. If it tastes sour, overly sweet, or rubbery, the salsa has gone bad, and you should throw it out.

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How to preserve pico de gallo

  • Refrigerate it within two hours if you’re not eating all of it
  • Drain off excess liquid before refrigerating or freezing salsa fresca
  • Also, after three days of cooling the salsa, drain off the excess liquid every day
  • Store in an airtight glass container or a freezer-safe sealable container
  • Do not open the container too frequently
  • Store salsa fresca in cans to preserve it longer
  • Additionally, add lime juice to salsa fresca to keep it fresh


Can you freeze pico de gallo?

You may freeze pico de gallo to keep it up to six months, but it’s not advisable. Fresh vegetables like tomatoes and onions don’t freeze well. When frozen salsa fresca thaws, the texture will change, and the tomatoes will become mushy.

However, if you plan to use salsa fresca to make a new meal that will be perfect with the mushy vegetables, you can freeze it. Also, do not refreeze thawed salsa fresca.

Can old pico de gallo make you sick?

You may get sick from eating pico de gallo, which has been stored for too long and has been exposed to bacteria.

Can you eat pico de gallo leftovers?

Yes, you can. If you have stored your salsa leftover properly, it’s safe to eat it a few days after. However, this salsa is best served fresh.


Pico de gallo doesn’t have a very long shelf life, but you can preserve it for up to ten days if you store it properly. The ingredients in this salsa are acidic and highly perishable, so if you’re storing it, you have to be very careful.

The ingredients also break down quickly and lose taste. Although you can freeze this salsa, it is not advisable. Most importantly, when you are ready to eat the salsa leftover, carefully examine it for signs of spoilage. If you notice any, it’s best for the bin.

Thanks for reading.

Visit Cheffist to read more articles on the shelf life of food, signs of spoilage, and preservation.