Total Time
Prep 1 min
Cook 4 mins

Annatto seeds, known as achiote (ah-chee-OH-tay) in Spanish, are small irregularly shaped, deep reddish colored seeds about the size of a lentil. They grow in pods but are sold loose in jars in the spice aisle. Steeping annatto (achiote) seeds in hot oil for a few minutes will do more than give the oil a brilliant orange-gold color; it will infuse it with a nutty, delicate aroma and add a quick kick to whatever you use it in. In addition to using achiote oil in traditional yellow rice or to sauté onions, garlic and such, you can use it straight, painted onto fish and poultry headed for the grill or broiler. Word of caution - this *can and will* stain whatever it touches!


  1. Heat the oil and annatto seeds in a small skillet over medium heat just until the seeds give off a lively, steady sizzle.
  2. Don't overheat the mixture or the seeds will turn black and the oil a nasty green.
  3. Once they're sizzling away, pull the pan from the heat and let stand until the sizzling stops.
  4. Strain off as much of the oil as you are going to use right away; store the rest for up to 4 days at room temperature in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid.
Most Helpful

This is exactly how it is done. It also works well with olive oil (not extra virgin olive oil).

threeovens January 24, 2011

A beautiful colored oil that works nicely with Spanish rice. Thank you Susie! Made for Photo tag.

Sharon123 November 03, 2007