The 5 Greatest Achiote Paste Substitutes

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Achiote Paste is a tangy-sour spice with a savory taste.

It’s popular in South American, Caribbean, and East Asian cuisine.

It is derived from the seeds of the achiote tree, which grows on tiny evergreen trees native to tropical Central America and portions of South America. It is also known as annatto or Lombok.

Achiote Paste may be used in a variety of ways, either directly in recipes or in combination with other ingredients.

Stews, soups, rice dishes, fish and shrimp marinades, meat rubs, ceviche, chili powders, bagoong (a fish or shrimp paste used in Filipino cuisine), pickled vegetables, chorizo, and many dishes in Mexican taqueria are examples of these meals.

The taste of Achiote Paste, on the other hand, is difficult to deal with since it demands careful attention while cooking lest it become bitter or overpowering.

This challenge arises because the flavor of annatto is not well known among the general public.

In this post, we will look at several popular Achiote Paste replacements and discuss their taste characteristics.

What exactly is Achiote Paste?

Achiote paste, created from powdered annatto seeds, is a bright crimson, somewhat acidic spice.

It may be used to season stews, poultry, and rice dishes.

Before adding the paste to a meal in Mexico, it is often fried in oil or lard.

Achiote paste is known by several names in South America.

It is also known as achiote paste, recado rojo, or annatto paste.

Before cooking, marinade the meat in achiote paste.

Usually, marinating the meat in the spice for 4 hours is adequate to flavor it.

If you want to add extra flavor, marinade the meat in a covered container overnight.

Following that, dump the residual paste and thoroughly rinse the meat before cooking it.

In addition, the paste is combined with various spices and ingredients to make a tasty broth for braising meat or boiling rice.

Most Latin grocery shops and some well-stocked supermarkets sell achiote paste.

In a pinch, combine annatto seeds with either oil or lard to produce a paste.

The 5 Greatest Achiote Paste Substitutes

Don’t panic if you can’t locate achiote paste at your local grocery shop.

Here are five excellent alternatives to consider:

1st. Harissa

Harissa is a chili, coriander, caraway seed, and garlic paste.

You may prepare it yourself or buy it from a Middle Eastern bazaar.

This hot chili paste has a powerful taste.

It may be used to spice up meat recipes in North Africa and France.

The sauce may also be used as a sandwich spread.

Harissa may be produced using a wide range of chili peppers.

The sauce is traditionally used with lamb meals.

This paste also has a deep and smokey taste that is akin to paprika and cayenne pepper.

Sambal Olek No. 2

Sambal oelek is an Indonesian chili paste.

It is made using red chilies, vinegar, sugar, and salt.

This delectable sauce may be found at Asian grocery shops and internet vendors.

It’s important to notice that this chili paste has a considerably saltier taste than other chili pastes.

This is because salt was added to the mixture.

While cooking with Sambal oelek, you may use it in marinades or stir-fry dishes.

It will also impart heat and smokiness to any meal.

Any chili pepper may be used to make this chili paste.

Depending on the composition, it might be red or green.

3 Prepare Your Paste

You may manufacture your own achiote paste.

You’ll need lard and annatto seeds for this.

Add one tablespoon of annatto seeds for every three tablespoons of lard.

Let the mixture to rest overnight in a dark area at room temperature in an airtight jar.

When it has rested, blend it with the lime juice and cumin.

This will be your achiote paste replacement.

The end product is a bright orange paste that may be used as required.

This condiment may be used in stews, marinades, or rice dishes.

It’s also fantastic for fish and chicken dishes.

4 teaspoons cumin and cayenne pepper

Cumin is a spicy, fragrant spice that may be used in place of achiote paste.

In addition to cumin, cayenne pepper may be used for additional heat.

Mix these two spices and use them in the same manner you would achiote paste.

Cumin is most often used in Mexican and Mediterranean cuisines.

It’s important to note that this spice has a little bitter flavor, which makes it great for stews, soups, and marinades.

Cumin also complements tomatoes, onion, and garlic.

If achiote paste is not available, cilantro may be substituted.

This sauce may be used to marinate chicken meals.

5 teaspoons Guajillo Chili Powder

Ground guajillo chilies are used to make guajillo chili powder.

The taste of the powder is comparable to that of ancho or chipotle pepper, both of which are often used in Mexican cuisine.

It is, however, not as hot as those peppers.

This red chili powder may be used in place of achiote paste.

Use the powder in conjunction with other spices in your dishes.

You may produce your own guajillo chili powder by crushing dried guajillo chillies into a fine powder.

The powder may then be combined with other spices and used in recipes.

You may also use the mixture to marinate poultry or fish.


In South American cookery, achiote paste is a common ingredient.

Traditionally, this condiment is created using annatto seeds, allspice, and other spices.

Unfortunately, while traveling throughout the globe, it might be difficult to locate this product.

Fortunately, there are some excellent replacements that you may use in your recipes.

This condiment may be replaced with harissa, sambal oelek, achiote paste (create your own), or guajillo chili powder.

Each of these options has the brilliant red color and smokiness that your South American recipes need.

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