Mexican Annatto/Achiote Paste, Adobo Mexicano de Achiote Molido

Juliann Esquivel


Everyone asks me what is Achiote or Annatto? Sometimes I refer to it as in packets of Goya Sazon seasoning with culantro and achiote. Achiote trees grow abundantly in most tropical locations. The trees produce pretty flowers as well as seed pods in which you will find a bright red pulp as well as red seeds. These seeds are used to make a paste to flavor Mexican dishes. The seeds are also used because they give off a bright red color they are a natural dye for cheese, & coloring Carribbean Latino dishes. Mexican Achiote paste makes a delicious marinade for chicken, and pork. It is very easy to make. Next time your shopping at your favorite Latino supermarket buy some achiote seeds you will find them in the spice section. You are in for a very nice surprise. Achiote is wonderful for it's unique and earthy flavor and great for making beautiful yellow rice dishes. It is also not expensive as is the costly Saffron/Azafran, to color yellow rice. Here is a recipe for Mexican Achiote paste to marinade chicken,pork or any favorite Latino meat or stew dish. Enjoy

★★★★★ 1 vote
10 Min


1/4 c
annatto/achiote seeds
1 Tbsp
coriander seeds
1 Tbsp
oregano dried or 2 or 3 leaves fresh oregano
1 tsp
cumin seeds
1 tsp
black peppercorns
2 small
whole cloves
1 tsp
sea salt
6 large
cloves fresh peeled garlic
1/2 c
sour orange if not available then 1/4 cup lime juice mixed with orange juice to make a half cup
1/3 c
wine or apple vinegar
1 or 2 medium
or large jalapenos or serranos seeded or with seeds


1First lightly toast in a dry frying pan Annatto seeds, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, black peppercorns,and cloves. Do not scorch just lightly heat to bring out the flavors. Pour into a spice mill or coffee grinder and pulverize.
2Next add the sour orange juice or combination orange juice and lime juice and vinegar into a blender add the oregano, salt, garlic, and jalapeno or serano chiles and blend until all the garlic and peppers are liquified. Add the ground spices and blend again until all is smooth.
3Rub this marinade onto chicken, pork, fish or beef. Put into a large plastic freezer bag and let marinade overnight. Next day grill or bake or cook as you like. You can add a little or a lot of heat by adding a one or more jalapenos, or serrano peppers to the mixture when blending. Just remember by taking the seeds out from the peppers you will get the flavor but not so much heat. If you leave the seeds in then you will get much more heat. You can also opt to use only one chile pepper if you do not desire a lot of heat. Enjoy
4I will post an actual picture of annatto /achiote seeds tomorrow.

About this Recipe

Regional Style: Mexican