Annatto Oil

(Aceite con Achiote)

2 Comments

Annatto oil is made from annatto seeds, a rusty-red dried seed, from the tropical America Tree known as Bixa Orellana.  The fruit of the annatto tree is spiny, bright red and shaped like a heart.  The fruit is not edible and when fully ripened, it splits open exposing the seeds.

The Taíno Indians cultivated the annatto seeds and mainly used the seeds to make body paint.  They also initiated the sofrito cooking process by adding the annatto to their cuisine for color and flavor.  The annatto oil is mainly used to add color to many tropical dishes in Latin American and the Caribbean.  If you look at certain dairy products like cheese and butter, you will find annatto coloring listed as one of the ingredients.

I only prepare the annatto oil when I am going to make pasteles (root vegetable/starchy fruit dough mixture with pork meat filling) and alcapurrias (root vegetable/starchy fruit dough mixture with ground beef filling).

Let’s Start Preparing the Annatto Oil!

All you need is just two ingredients – Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Annatto Seeds

Heat olive oil over low heat in a 1-quart saucepan.  Add annatto seeds.  Stir well. 

 

Cook over low heat until the oil changes into a red-orange color, approximately 2 to 3 minutes.  Stir occasionally.  

When the oil is heating, the red-orange pulp that surrounds the annatto seeds gets extracted into the oil, changing the color of the oil.  Do not overheat.  As a result, the oil will turn dark red and have a bitter taste.  

Remove saucepan from heat and carefully strain oil through a fine-mesh sieve into a dish.  Discard the used annatto seeds.

The Annatto oil is now ready for you to use to add color to your favorite Caribbean dish.  

Our parents would pour the annatto oil into a glass jar (cover with lid) and store the sealed jar in the kitchen pantry for no more than 5 days.  Because they prepared meals on a daily basis, the annatto oil was consumed within a few days.   As I mentioned earlier, I only prepare the annatto oil when I plan to make our delicious pasteles and alcapurrias.

Click on the button below to watch my YouTube video on How to Make Annatto Oil!

Recipe and Nutritional Facts

Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is approximate only.  Please refer to our Nutritional Facts Disclaimer for more information.

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Annatto Oil


  • Author: Aida's Kitchen
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 5
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 2 cups 1x

Description

Annatto oil is made from annatto seeds, a rusty-red dried seeds, from the tropical America Tree (Bixa Orellana) and is used to add color to many tropical dishes.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 cups extra virgin olive oil
  • ¾ cup annatto seeds

Instructions

  • Heat olive oil over low heat into a 1-quart saucepan.  Add annatto seeds.  Stir well.
  • Cook over low heat until the oil changes into a red-orange color, approximately 2 to 3 minutes.  Stir occasionally.   Do not overheat.
  • Remove saucepan from heat and carefully strain oil through a fine-mesh sieve into a dish.  Discard the used annatto seeds.
  • Annatto oil is now ready for you to use whenever your favorite Caribbean dish needs coloring.

Notes

You can pour annatto oil into a glass jar (cover with lid) and store sealed jar in kitchen pantry for no more than 5 days.

Keywords: Annatto Oil

Nutritional Facts Disclaimer

Category: Condiments, Recipes

2 Comments. Leave new

  • I only have ground annatto. Is there any reason why I shouldn’t dissolve it into the heated oil to use? I’m thinking I’d have to use less, sort of like when you substitute dried herbs for fresh, so I;d start with four tablespoons and see how the color/flavor is from there.

    Reply
    • Hi Tiffanie, I would try to add at least 2 tablespoons of ground annatto to one cup of oil. You can always make adjustments with the color and flavor after the oil has been heated. Thank you for your question.

      Reply

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