Try this easy Mexican fruit salad recipe (pico de gallo fruta). It is the perfect blend of sweet, spicy, and salty. Vibrant, colorful summer salad you will make again and again.
The first time I saw a big serving bowl of pico de gallo fruta, I almost passed it by. The highlight of my community gardening class was the weekly potluck lunch. That day someone had brought brightly colored Mexican fruit salad.
It had juicy red watermelon and crunchy green cucumbers in it. Can you even mix those two? And was that chili powder sprinkled on top?
Curious to a fault, I scooped some onto my plate. I gave it a taste and was hooked. It perfectly balanced spicy, salty, sweet, and tart flavors. That is when I knew I would make that salad again and again.
Pico de gallo Mexican fruit salad (also known as pico de gallo de frutas) is light, refreshing, and bursting with fruity flavors. This version uses a combination of watermelon, mango, and pineapple. Plus, cucumber and jicama to add a cool crunch.
The fruits are undoubtedly the stars, but this fruit salad wouldn’t be half as good without the chili lime seasoning. Don’t skip it.
You may also be interested in the best sides to serve with fruit salad. This list has you covered for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert.
Pico de Gallo vs. Pico de Gallo de Frutas
Pico de gallo literally translates to “rooster’s beak” in English, but is often called salsa fresca. The ingredients are chopped in small enough pieces to be the size of bird feed.
What is the difference between pico de gallo and pico de gallo de frutas?
Unlike pico de gallo salsa made with tomatoes, onions, and peppers, pico de gallo fruta is made with watermelon, jicama, and mango.
However, both pico de gallo recipes are flavored with salt, lime juice, and cilantro. Pico de gallo fruta also has chili powder sprinkled throughout.
It is like Mexican fruit cups sold by Mexican street vendors. The fresh fruit is cut into long spears, sprinkled with chili powder, and served in clear plastic cups.
This Mexican fruit salad recipe has similar fruit. But instead of fruit spears, it has cut fruit. But the fruit cubes don’t have to be as small as bird feed.
I made this recipe a few times to get it just right. Here are the tasty tips I learned along the way.
- Drain the ingredients. My first salad attempt was good, except for all the liquid at the bottom of the bowl. All the fruits in this salad and the cucumber have a high-water content. The salad has the potential to get soggy quickly. Especially if you make it ahead.
One way to combat this is to drain each fruit after it is cut. Yes, this does add to the prep time, but it is worth it. The salad feels fresher. Less waterlogged.
If you have more than one colander, you will need it. If you only have one, use it for the watermelon. Use a cheesecloth, paper towels, or a coffee filter as a colander substitute to drain the other fruit.
- Use cold fruit and veggies. If you use any canned fruit, chill the can before draining it. Likewise, chill the watermelon before you cut it. This salad is best just a few minutes after it is made. But it also tastes best chilled. So, chill first and then cut.
- Have extra chili lime seasoning available. Whether you make your own or use premade seasoning, have extra for guests who like a little more fire than you.
When watermelon is in season, think pico de gallo de fruta. I know I do. Watermelon is the backbone of the salad. It is refreshing, juicy, and tastes best when chilled.
Watermelon is the ingredient that can turn the salad soggy in a flash, so here’s a tip. After you cut the watermelon, let it drain in a colander until you are ready to mix the salad.
This minimizes the moisture in the salad.
Use a fresh mango if they are in season. If not, use frozen mango. Frozen mango is brightly colored and looks better in the salad than canned mango. Although the little cups of Del Monte mangos taste just as good in the salad, they aren’t as pretty.
Thaw frozen mangoes before mixing them into the salad.
- First, measure the fruit.
- Next, run it under warm water in a colander for several minutes.
- Then let it drain in the colander while you finish the other prep work. It should be ready to go when you are.
Use fresh, canned, or frozen pineapple in this recipe. Whichever is more convenient.
- Fresh pineapple takes more time to prep.
- Frozen pineapple needs time to thaw.
- Canned pineapple is the easiest. Don’t forget to drain it well.
English cucumbers are the long skinny ones with thin skin. These are the best ones to use, although any cucumber is fine.
Cucumbers are a watery vegetable that can also do well with a little draining. Cut the cucumber and sprinkle the pieces with a pinch of salt. Let the cucumbers drain on a paper towel for a few minutes.
Jicama is sometimes called the Mexican turnip. Jicamas are covered with a thick brown skin that you peel off before cutting the flesh. Its taste will remind you of an apple – only it isn’t as sweet.
Often jicama is sliced into matchsticks, but I prefer to dice them in this salad.
Don’t skip the cilantro, even though it takes some work to pull off and chop the leaves.
Fresh Lime Juice
Freshly squeezed lime juice brightens the fruit, making it ready for the spicy, salty seasoning.
Use a chili lime seasoning. Tajin is a delicious well-known brand. Trader Joe’s, McCormick, and Mrs. Dash are other brands that also sell a chili-lime salt blend.
If you are looking for Tajin, check out the produce department of your grocery store. That is where I have seen it most often.
You can also make your own blend with chili powder, salt, sugar, and citric acid (or dehydrated lime juice if you can find it). I’ve included a recipe for the seasoning with the salad.
How to Make Mexican Fruit Salad
This salad is simple. Just dice up fresh produce, finish with cilantro, lime, and chili seasoning. Here are all the details.
Prep the Fruit
If you are using frozen mango or pineapple, prep that fruit first. If not, cut the watermelon first.
- Scrub the outside of the watermelon, cucumber, jicama, and mango (if using fresh) with a vegetable scrubber under cool running water.
- Slice the watermelon in half. Lay one half face down with the red side on the cutting board. Start at one end and cut 1-inch-thick slices. Then, cut the rind off each watermelon slice. Finally, chop the watermelon into cubes.
- Drain the watermelon. Measure out the watermelon for the salad and place it in a colander over a bowl to catch the drips. Refrigerate as it drains (optional).
- Prep the mango and pineapple. If you are using frozen fruit, measure the fruit and run it under warm water for about 20 seconds. Then leave it in a colander to drain. If you are using canned fruit, open the can, measure the fruit, and let it drain.
- Peel and dice the jicama. Dice the cucumber. (Optional: Peel the cucumber before dicing it. I prefer to leave it unpeeled.) Sprinkle the cucumber with a pinch of salt and leave it to drain on a paper towel. Pat it dry before adding it to the salad.
- Chop the fresh cilantro.
- Juice the limes.
Make the Salad
I prefer draining all the fruit for about 20 minutes. But the draining time is up to you. If you are in a hurry, reduce the time or skip that step.
- Add the watermelon, mango, pineapple, cucumber, and jicama to a large bowl with half of the cilantro.
- Pour in the lime juice.
- Add as much chili seasoning as you like. Start with 2 teaspoons and go from there. Be sure to taste as you go.
- Cover and refrigerate for 10-15 minutes to give the flavors time to meld.
- Garnish with the remaining cilantro and serve.
Making Your Own Chili Seasoning?
- Combine the chili seasoning ingredients in a small bowl. Stir and use it in the salad.
How to Store Leftover Pico de Gallo Fruta
Store Mexican fruit salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
As time passes, the fruit juices will accumulate on the bottom of the bowl. Drain the liquid at the bottom of the bowl each time you eat leftovers. Another option is to use a slotted spoon when you dish yourself out a serving.
Have the chili lime seasoning ready to go. You will like sprinkling more on the leftover salad to perk it up.
This salad does not freeze well. The watermelon and celery will get mushy, and the texture will change.
Although this fruit and vegetable combination is especially good, you can swap out almost any type of fruit in the salad for your favorite fruit. Substitutions always bring their own unique flavor.
- Honeydew melon
In Spanish, Mexican fruit salad is called ensalada de frutas. This could be any fresh fruit salad.
However, there are several fruit salad dishes with unique names. Here are a few of them.
Bionico Salad. This is a dessert fruit salad made with chopped fruit and covered with crema. It is topped with coconut and granola.
Ensalada de fruta con nuez. This is a simple Mexican fruit salad with walnuts. The salad’s components are apples, walnuts, dried cranberries, and crema (or sour cream).
Frutas con crema. This translates to fruit with cream. The ingredients in this sweet fruit salad are chopped fruit drenched with a sweet sauce made from sweetened condensed milk, crema, and whipped cream.
Ensalada Navideña. This is a Christmas fruit salad. It is made with chopped fruit covered in a creamy dressing. The sauce has sweetened and condensed milk, crema, and cream cheese. It is topped with pecans, coconut flakes, and raisins.
It is not a good idea to freeze this fruit salad. Watermelon, celery, and cilantro will not thaw with the same consistency.
What to Serve with Mexican Fruit Salad
Serve this fruit salad with a variety of Mexican food during the summer months when watermelon and other summer fruits are in season.
- Burritos. This salad with a squeeze of lime juice and a hint of spice compliments most burrito flavors. Any night is a good night for burritos. Check out all my other ideas to serve with burritos.
Serve it with copycat Taco Bell bean burritos or California burritos with fries. Plus, find out how to reheat burritos.
- Chicken salad sandwiches. Check out this canned chicken salad recipe for a crowd.
- Tacos. Show your colorful side by serving it with tacos at your Cinco de mayo celebration.
- 2 cups of seedless watermelon, diced
- 1 cup of mango, diced
- 1 cup of pineapple, diced
- 1 cup of English cucumber, diced
- ½ cup of jicama, peeled and diced
- ¼ cup of fresh cilantro, chopped and divided
- Juice of 2 limes
- 2 to 4 teaspoons of chili lime seasoning (like Tajin)
Homemade Chili Seasoning (if making your own)
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- ½ teaspoon of fine salt
- ½ teaspoon of granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon of lime juice concentrate (or citric acid)
If you are using frozen mango or pineapple, prep that fruit first. If not, cut the watermelon first.
- SCRUB the outside of the watermelon, cucumber, jicama, and mango (if using fresh) with a vegetable scrubber under cool running water.
- SLICE the watermelon in half. Lay one half face down with the red side on the cutting board. Start at one end and cut 1-inch-thick slices. Then, cut the rind off each watermelon slice. Finally, chop the watermelon into cubes.
- DRAIN the watermelon. Measure out the watermelon for the salad and place it in a colander over a bowl to catch the drips. Refrigerate as it drains (optional).
- PREP the mango and pineapple. If you are using frozen fruit, measure the fruit and run it under warm water for about 20 seconds. Then leave it in a colander to drain. If you are using canned fruit, open the can, measure the fruit, and let it drain.
- PEEL and DICE the jicama. Dice the cucumber. (Optional: Peel the cucumber before dicing it. I prefer to leave it unpeeled.) Sprinkle the cucumber with a pinch of salt and leave it to drain on a paper towel. Pat it dry before adding it to the salad.
- CHOP the fresh cilantro.
- JUICE the limes.
- ADD the watermelon, mango, pineapple, cucumber, and jicama to a large bowl with half of the cilantro.
- POUR in the lime juice.
- USE as much chili seasoning as you like. Start with 2 teaspoons and go from there. Be sure to taste as you go.
- COVER and refrigerate for 10-15 minutes to give the flavors time to meld.
- GARNISH with the remaining cilantro and serve.
- Feel free to substitute the chili seasoning for Tajin if you’re short on time or don’t have all the ingredients on hand.
- The chili seasoning for the pico de gallo Mexican fruit salad can easily be doubled or tripled. Make as much as you like.
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