Go Back Email Link
+ servings
Horizontal image wooden bowl with orange achiote seeds next to a glass bottle half-filled with achiote oil in front of an orange and white windowpane kitchen towel with a wooden spoon on top

How to Make Achiote Oil

Make this staple condiment in Hispanic and Caribbean cuisines easily. Store for up to one year.
Course Miscellany
Cuisine Puerto Rican/Hispanic
Keyword achiote, olive oil
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 16 ounces
Calories 197kcal


  • fine-mesh strainer
  • sauce pan
  • funnel


  • 1 1/2 cups (350 ml) olive oil or similar neutral-tasting oil
  • 2 cloves garlic smashed, optional
  • 1/2 cup (80 grams) annatto seeds (achiote)


  • Add the olive oil and garlic cloves to a small saucepan.
    Bring the oil and garlic to warm over low heat.
  • Once little bubbles begin to surround the garlic cloves, add the annatto seeds to the oil.
    Use a metal (non-staining) spoon to stir the seeds into the oil.
  • Heat the annatto in the oil for 15-20 minutes, or until the oil turns a very deep red-orange color.
    If, while the oil is heating, you notice the garlic is starting to brown, reduce the heat or remove the pot from the stove altogether.
  • After 15-20 minutes, remove the pot from the heat and allow the annatto seeds to steep in the oil for 5-10 minutes more.
  • Insert the narrow end of a funnel into a pint-sized jar that has a tight-fitting lid. Line a few layers of cheesecloth, or place a fine-mesh strainer, in the funnel.
    Carefully pour the achiote oil into the funnel to strain the seeds and garlic. Discard what remains in the funnel.
  • Seal the jar and store in a cool, dark area of the kitchen or pantry.
    Use as needed.


  • Optional flavorings include: dried herbs, peppers, and/or whole spices.
  • Achiote seeds and oil stains badly. Be sure to use metal or glass equipment or utensils to prepare the oil. 
  • Achiote oil will keep for up to one year at room temperature. 
  • The oil can be frozen, but it is not recommended. Avoid refrigerating the oil as it reduces the shelf-life. 


Calories: 197kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 1mg | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 1mg | Iron: 1mg