Recipe Index

Annatto seed oil

Makes 1/2 cup oil


From the pages of Viva Vegan, a brilliant red-orange oil infused with annatto seed essence. Really easy to make, and recommended if you enjoy annatto color enough and plan on making recipes like the Venenzuelan tofu scramble or the Philipino peanut stew the same week. Use this oil in place of frying up individual batches of annatto seeds in these recipes.


Annatto seeds are sometimes called achiote, just in case you’re out shopping for these little dark red seeds. They’re a common sight in the spice and seasonings aisle of Latin American groceries or any market that sells a wide range of ethnic products.


  • 1/2 cup mild olive oil, peanut oil or mild vegetable oil
  • 3 rounded tablespoons annatto seeds


1. In a small saucepan warm annatto seeds in oil over low heat, stirring occasionally. Once oil is warmed and the color of the seeds starts to seep into the oil, cook for 2 minutes. Turn off heat and let cool to room temperature.


2. Place a funnel into the neck of a small 1/2 pint clean, dry bottle or jar. Fit a fine mesh metal strainer on top of the funnel and strain the oil into the jar. Discard the seeds, cap the bottle tightly and store at room temperature. Store oil in a cool, dark cabinet and it will last as any typical vegetable oil.