How Long Does Pico De Gallo Stay Fresh and 3 Storage Tips


Whipping up a batch of deliciously tangy fresh pico de gallo with tortilla chips is always a people pleaser. But what if you make too much, how long will pico de gallo last and how can you store it to maximize shelf life? This post has the answers you are looking for and more!

Photo of pico de gallo in a small white ceramic bowl set against a white backdrop
Photo by Harris Shiffman

How Long Does Pico De Gallo Last?

Pico de gallo will last about 2 hours at room temperature, up to 3 days in the fridge, up to 6 months in the freezer, and up to 12 months when canned. Making sure you store your pico de gallo correctly by using airtight containers for fridge or freezer storage to help maximize shelf life.

Pico de gallo shelf life by storage method:

Storage MethodShelf Life
Room Temperature2 hours
Refrigerating3 days
Freezing6 months
Canned12 months

How to Make Pico De Gallo Less Watery?

To avoid your pico de gallo from getting watery after you dice the tomatoes put them into a bowl and salt them, let the tomatoes sit out and strain off the excess liquid. It should only take 5 to 10 minutes for the salted tomatoes to release a lot of their juices, strain these juices and then add your tomatoes to your other diced pico de gallo ingredients.

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Removing the excess liquid from your pico de gallo also helps store it better since less liquid makes it easier to press plastic wrap on top of the pico de gallo limiting its exposure to air when storing.

It’s also important to drain off excess liquid before freezing because liquid expands when frozen potentially cracking your container.

3 Ways to Store and Preserve Pico De Gallo

Depending on how long you want your pico de gallo to last will determine the best method for storing. If you only need your pico de gallo to stay fresh for a few days put it in the fridge but if you need it to last up to 6 months or even a year freezing or canning is the way to go. See below for step-by-step guide for storing pico de gallo in the fridge, freezer, and canning:

Refrigerating – Stays fresh for up to 3 days

  1. Take your pico de gallo and place it in a sealable container
  2. Drain off any excess liquid
  3. Tear off enough plastic wrap to cover your container and make sure the plastic wrap is sitting on top of the pico de gallo to eliminate as much air exposure as possible
  4. Seal your container filled with pico de gallow
  5. Place the pico de gallo filled container into the fridge

Freezing – Stays fresh for up to 6 months

  1. Take your pico de gallo and place it in a freezer safe sealable container
  2. Before sealing make sure to pour out any excess liquid in your pico de gallo
  3. Seal the container
  4. Place pico de gallo filled container into the freezer

Canning – Stays fresh for up to 12 months

Technically, canned pico de gallo ends up more like a salsa than a traditional pico de gallo. None the less, it’s still delicious and has the familiar tangy flavors we all enjoy.

If you are new to canning, make sure to read the USDA canning guide before attempting. It’s extremely important to properly sterilize everything when canning or you can get an outbreak of botulism.

  1. Sterilize your equipment and jars by washing ever single piece in hot soapy water make sure to rinse them off well before using
  2. After sterilizing, cover your jars with water and bring to a boil, leave the jars in the boiling water for 10 minutes. After they have boiled for 10 minutes, turn the heat off and leave jars in the hot water until ready to fill
  3. Place your lids into simmer water. Remove the lids from the water when you are ready to place them onto the jars to seal
  4. Put your pico de gallo into a large saucepan
  5. Bring the pico de gallo to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 3 minutes
  6. Using a sterilized ladle or funnel put the pico de gallo into the hot jars, filling to about 1/2 inch from the rim
  7. Using a bubble freer, remove any bubbles or air pockets. If you need to add more pico de gallo after freeing the bubbles now is the time to do so
  8. Add pre-warmed lids and twist on tops to secure the lid firmly but not excessively tight
  9. Place sealed jars into a pot of boiling water and bring to a full boil for 15 minutes then turn off the heat
  10. Remove the jars from the hot water after the water has been cooling for 5 minutes. Cool your jars of pico de gallo overnight on a heatproof surface
  11. After your canned pico de gallo has rested for 12 – 24 hours, check jars to make sure they have sealed. If they successfully sealed label and date your jars
  12. Store your canned pico de gallo in a pantry for up to 12 months
  13. After opening a jar of pico de gallo make sure to refrigerate and consume its contents within 1 week

For more instructions on canning salsas and pico de gallo watch the imbedded video below:

Does Pico De Gallo Freeze Well?

Pico de gallo can be frozen and the familiar flavors will all be there once thawed, but the texture will change. During the freezing process moisture in the ingredients, especially the tomatoes, expands. This expansion leads to a softer texture compared to fresh pico de gallo. So pico de gallo isn’t the best food for freezing but if you’re using it in cooking it works just fine as the mushier textures won’t matter as much.

Photo of pico de gallo in a medium sized beige ceramic bowl. Behind the pico de gallo is a lime, tortilla chips, guacamole and a batch of tomatoes
Photo by Bhofack2

5 Ways to Tell Pico De Gallo has Gone Bad and Spoiled

There are 5 telltale signs that your pico de gallo has spoiled and gone bad:

  1. Tomatoes are soggy and mushy
  2. The cilantro is excessively wilted
  3. Mold is growing
  4. Abnormal discoloration
  5. The pico de gallo smells off or rancid

If you notice any of the above signs are present in your pico de gallo it’s time to throw it out. It’s not worth trying to salvage or mask these unpleasant characteristics – eating spoiled food can give you a stomachache or worse make you very ill. If your batch of pico de gallo has gone bad, it’s best to start a new fresh batch if you’re looking to eat some more.

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