Homemade Achiote pasta

This achiote pasta recipe is perfect for seasoning many Mexican dishes, made from other seeds, fresh garlic, citrus juice and lots of spices. Learn how to do it at home!

Let's make achiote pasta tonight, my friends. Who is there? If you have never cooked with achiote pasta, you're in for a wonderful discovery of flavors that can just open up a whole new world of cooking. It is huge with flavor, unlike anything else you have ever tried.

You can buy achiote pasta from the store, certainly, but it's so much better when made at home as you can use fresher ingredients and control everything that goes into it. I like to make mine with habanero pepper for an extra spicy version, though you can make yours with milder or warmer pepper.

Let's discuss!

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What is Achiote Paste?

Achiote pasta is a flavorful blend of annatto seeds (aka achiote), garlic, optional chili, bitter orange juice and a blend of spices. Everything is ground down and then mixed to form a thick paste. It is best used as a rub or marinade, essential for certain Mexican dishes such as cochinita pibil, and widely used in Mexican cuisine.

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What are Annatto seeds?

Annatto seeds (aka achiote in Mexico) come from the pulp, which covers the seeds of a tree native to the Caribbean. Central and South Americans have used them as coloring for dishes such as meat, fish, vegetables and rice as well as a dye for clothing, paint and more. They are mild in taste when used sparingly, although they are certainly characteristic of their earthy and somewhat floral taste.

Let's talk about how to make achiote pasta, shall we?

Achiote paste ingredients

  • Annatto seeds – use 1/4 cup of annatto seeds (achiote) or 1 ounce by weight (28 grams). You can spend more if you want.
  • season – 1 tablespoon of Mexican oregano (or use Italian oregano), 2 teaspoons coriander seeds (or equivalent powder), 1 teaspoon bowl (or equivalent powder), 1 teaspoon black peppercorn (or equivalent ground black pepper), 1-2 cloves (or use ground) ) salt to taste. See the recipe notes for other optional ingredients.
  • The fresh additions – 6 cloves of garlic and 1 spicy chili pepper (optional – use a jalapeno for a touch of heat, serrano seeds for warmer, or habanero pepper for a good level of heat). I love habanero with this. Onions can also be added.
  • citrus – 1/2 cup of bitter orange juice is traditional, but may be hard to find for some chefs. If you can't get it, use 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice + 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice + 2 tablespoons white vinegar.

How to make Achiote pasta – the recipe method

Add annatto seeds (achiote), oregano, coriander, cumin, peppercorns and salt for a food processor or blender. Process of breaking everything apart. You can also use a mortar and pestle to grind them up.

Add the garlic, orange juice, lime juice and vinegar. I often just throw everything in the food processor and process it all up. I have a pretty powerful model.

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Treat to form a thick paste.

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You can adjust with extra juice or a little water for a thinner paste. Use as desired.

Makes about 1 cup.

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Boom! Done! Homemade achiote pasta, my friends. Easy enough to make, isn't it? I love these things. Super unique and absolutely delicious.

Recipe tips and notes

  • Optional ingredients. You can add other ingredients that you prefer. Other popular additions include bay leaf, cloves, lime and orange. Add a splash of hot sauce!
  • Use it as a rub or marinade. I mainly use this as a meat gum or a pork marinade. It's an important component of the cochinita pibil, which is a great Mexican recipe for pork marinated with achiote pasta and more citrus juice, cooked low and slow until it falls apart, then shredded. Perfect for tacos! Patty's absolute favorite. She orders it all the time.

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Where to buy Achiote pasta

If you prefer to buy achiote paste instead of making it, you can often find it at your favorite local Mexican grocery store or in the international section of some grocery stores, although you can also order it online. Order Achiote Paste from Amazon or Buy Annatto Seeds from Amazon to make your own (affiliate links, my friends!).

That's it, my friends. I hope you enjoy my achiote pasta recipe. Tell me if you make it. I would love to hear how it turned out for you. Keep it spicy!

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Try some of my other popular recipes

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Do you have questions? Ask loose! I'm happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you will leave a comment for some STARS. Share it on social media too. Don't forget to tag us on #ChiliPepperMadness. I will definitely share it! Thanks! – Mike H.

Achiote Paste Recipe

This achiote pasta recipe is perfect for seasoning many Mexican dishes, made from other seeds, fresh garlic, citrus juice and lots of spices. Learn how to do it at home!

Prep Time5 minutes

Cook Time5 minutes

Course: Main courses, spices

Food: American, Mexican

Keywords: achiote, annatto, marinade

Servings: 1

Calories: 144kcal

  • 1/4 cup annatto seeds achiote (1 ounce / weight / 28 grams)
  • 1 tablespoon Mexican oregano or use Italian oregano
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorn
  • 1 clove (use 2 if you love cloves)
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 spicy chili pepper (optional – use a jalapeno for a touch of heat, serrano pepper for warmer or habanero pepper for a good level of heat)
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup bitter orange juice or use 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice + 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice + 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • Add annatto seeds (achiote), oregano, cilantro, cumin, peppercorns and salt to a food processor or blender. Process of breaking everything apart. You can also use a mortar and pestle to grind them up.

  • Add the garlic, orange juice, lime juice and vinegar. Process for forming a thick paste.

  • You can adjust with extra juice or some water for a thinner paste.

  • Use as desired.

Calories: 144kcal | Carbohydrates: 32 g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 2g | Saturated fat: 1 g | Sodium: 15 mg | Potassium: 673 mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 761IU | Vitamin C: 133 mg | Calcium: 193 mg | Iron: 5 mg

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