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Achiote Red Rice Pilaf

Brown rice, onions, and carrots cooked in an brightly seasoned tomato broth, achiote red rice pilaf has the deep color I’ve always dreamed about for Mexican red rice. Praise be to the Mayan gods for giving us achiote (ah-chee-o-tay), a common cooking spice in the Mexican Yucatán peninsula!

Achiote Red Rice Pilaf

Achiote aka annatto brings bright color and unique flavor to this simple rice dish. Orange-red, it comes from the same bright annatto seeds that tint cheddar cheese orange. Give me white cheddar cheese, please, but, for rice, give me the punch of annatto achiote!

Click here to PIN Achiote Red Rice Pilaf!


Achiote Paste for Achiote Red Rice Pilaf

Sauté of Rice for Achiote Red Rice Pilaf

Achiote red rice pilaf details:

  • Mexican cooks would definitely start with white rice to make their classic achiote red rice, but I use brown basmati rice.
  • Vegetable juice is an easy convenient way to add tomato flavor to rice. I keep cans of V8 juice in the pantry for Robbie’s go-to salad dressing.
  • It doesn’t take much achiote to get rice this red-orange color–two teaspoons to a cup of rice. A small block of achiote paste lasts for a long time. I’ve had a package of achiote for more than a year and it’s still as good as when I first opened it.
  • Idea: Dress up a side dish of onions and chile strips with a dab of achiote.
  • A box of achiote paste lists annatto seeds, vinegar, garlic, salt and “flavorings.” You can make achiote from scratch with the annatto seeds, and spices like cumin and allspice, or go with the convenience of the purchased paste. Look for achiote paste in Mexican grocery stores or well-stocked Latin food aisles in supermarkets. Or order it online through my Amazon link.
  • Idea: Serve with Spinach Patties bathed in green tomatillo salsa verde.

I’m liking these achiote-sparked vegetarian dishes from other bloggers:

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  • Priscilla

    As always, your recipes inspire me but the photos are icing on the cake. Reply · 23 February, 2015

    • Letty

      Thanks Priscilla! Reply · 23 February, 2015

  • I have got to get me some of that achiote paste. This rice is beautiful and I bet it spicy and extremely tasty!! Reply · 26 February, 2015

    • Letty

      MJ –annatto seeds have a nondescript fruity flavor with bright color for sure. A fingertip of achiote is not incendiary at all– let me know how you use it. Reply · 26 February, 2015

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