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How can I Cook with Annatto Seeds??

This weekend it got cooler and rainy... and I was chilly... so I decided to make CHILI! Aha! ๐Ÿ˜œ๐Ÿ˜œ

I wanted to try something different though, so I decided to take a recipe I've made before, Jalapeno Chili, and add something new... Annatto Seeds!

Annatto Seeds

Annatto Seeds come from the Achiote Tree. (If you want to see something funky, look up the Achiote Tree fruit, where the seeds come from!) Annatto Seeds have been used in cooking in a lot of different cultures, including Spanish cuisine, where it is sometimes used in place of Saffron. It is also used in a lot of Latin American cuisine, where it is used to make sauces, spice mixes, and also to add color to food. Annatto adds a bright orange-yellow color to food--in fact, it is what is used to color some cheese, like Cheddar and Colby!

Though it is most commonly used in the United States as a color additive, it does have a unique taste that can be incorporated into recipes. I would describe it as smokey, nutty, and somewhat sweet. The Annatto Seeds are VERY hard, so its easiest to work with the powder. However, when you make Annatto Oil, you can used to whole seeds to add taste and color to and oil, which can be added to your recipes! I really enjoy making Annatto Oil (Achiote Oil), which can be used to marinate meats, or add a unique taste to rice, sauces, or as I tried this weekend, cornbread! (Check out how to make Annatto Oil below the chili recipe!)


Jalapeno Chili with Annatto Seed Powder

Jalapeno Annatto Chili

  • 1 pound cooked ground beef

  • 1 green bell pepper

  • 1 small sweet onion

  • 2 jalapeno peppers

  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic

  • 2 cans diced tomatoes

  • 1 can pinto beans

  • 1 can black beans

  • 1 can chili beans

  • 2 tablespoons chili blend

  • 1 tablespoon seasoned salt

  • 2 tablespoons annatto seed powder

  • 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes


  1. Saute the green bell pepper, sweet onion, jalapeno peppers, and garlic in oil until the onions are clear.

  2. Mix the pre-cooked ground beef and the sauteed veggies in a pot and cook over medium heat.

  3. Add in the tomatoes and beans.

  4. Add in your seasonings.

  5. Stir constantly and increase the heat.

  6. Bring to a boil, and the reduce the heat.

  7. Simmer for 20 minutes.

  8. You can serve with cheese, sour cream, scallions! For a bonus, serve with Jalapeno Cornbread (I just used a box recipe!) cooked in Annatto Oil!

Annatto Oil

  1. Over medium heat, add 1 1/2 tablespoons of Annatto Seeds to 4 tablespoons of Olive Oil.

  2. As soon as the oil starts bubbling, remove the pan from heat.

  3. Let the oil soak for 30 minutes.

  4. Strain out the Annatto Seeds!

#annatto #cooking #naturalcooking

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