Pico de Gallo — an Applebee’s Copykat

I was browsing copykat.com and spotted a reproduction of Applebee’s Pico de Gallo recipe. It’s very simple and sounded good, so I tried it. I don’t frequent Applebees enough to know how accurate this recipe is, but it tastes great!

Per usual, I made a few changes, so while this recipe strongly resembles the original, there are some distinct differences.

Applebee’s Pico de Gallo

  • 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 lbs tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 to 2 Tbsp jalapeno pepper, seeded & minced
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tsp seasoned salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 to 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 to 2 Tbsp Balsamic or white vinegar

Cut the tomatoes in half, cross-wise, remove the seeds, dice, and drain in a strainer for 10 minutes to remove excess liquid. Place in a large bowl. Add all other ingredients and mix until well blended. Allow to rest for at least 6 hours, it is better if allowed to sit overnight.


  • original recipe called for 3 large tomatoes, I upped that to make a larger batch; also I seed and briefly drain the tomatoes — it still produces a fair amount of liquid after several hours
  • original recipe called for 1 cup chopped onion, the onion I used was probably 1-1/4 cup
  • original recipe called for 2 tsp salt — I cut that in half and used seasoned salt
  • original recipe called for white vinegar — Balsamic provides more flavor
  • my version may have a bit more jalapeno, but I remove the membranes so it’s not hot
  • cilantro in the store didn’t look fresh, so I used the semi-dried that comes in a small container — it worked very well

Note on Jalapenos — 1 large jalapenos makes about 4 Tbsp minced pepper. Go light on this as it’s easier to add more than take some out.

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