Annato and Oil

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

Achiote oil, also called axiote and annato, is widely used in Cuban Sofrito. It adds a distinctive flavor to Cuban cooking. This bright orange-red seasoned oil is made from achiote seeds, which are also used to flavor Mexican dishes from the Caribbean states. The Cuban seeds are sold by weight, and are usually available in Latino markets. Mexican axiote seeds are sold pre crushed and seasoned in block form.

Makes2 cups



Total Timeunder 1 hour

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, halal, kosher, lactose-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegan, vegetarian

Five Ingredients or LessYes


  • 2 cups olive oil
  • ½ cup achiote seeds or ½ block Mexican axiote (If using Mexican axiote, dissolve in ¼ cup hot water)


  1. In a small saucepan, heat oil over medium heat; when hot, add seeds or half the axiote block dissolved in warm water; lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes until oil acquires a rich orange-red color.

  2. Remove from heat; cool.

  3. Strain oil, discard seeds, and store in a jar in refrigerator for later use.

  4. The oil will keep for several months.


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