Pasta de Achiote

Pasta de Achiote

Achiote Paste, also known as “recado Colorado” in the Yucatan, where it originated. This marinating paste can be used on chicken, pork or fish. Although the base for achiote paste is sold under several brand names, ready to be mixed with orange juice, this homemade version has a much fresher, livelier taste and keeps for months in the refrigerator.

Annatto seeds are sold in Hispanic grocery stores and are also available online.


½ cup annatto (achiote) seeds

10 large garlic cloves roasted on a comal or griddle until charred, then peeled

½ tablespoon dried oregano leaves

½ teaspoon cumin seeds

4whole allspice

1tablespoon ground black pepper

½ tablespoon coriander seeds

1tablespoon of salt

1 cut bitter (Seville) orange juice, or use half sweet orange juice and half vinegar


Grind all of the ingredients except the orange juice in a spice mill or food processor. Add the orange juice, a little at a time, until a thick paste is formed.

Makes about 1½ cups.