Get my newest recipe via email:

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.

Achiote Red Rice Pilaf

Click here to PIN Achiote Red Rice Pilaf!

Praise be to the Mayan gods for giving us achiote (ah-chee-o-tay), the cooking spice from the Mexican Yucatán peninsula! Achiote spice gives this simple rice dish its bright orange-red color and unique subtle flavor.

What is achiote?

Achiote is a spice made from ground annato seeds. It’s been described as having a peppery aroma with nutty, sweet, and earthy flavors.

You might see achiote referred to as annato, but achiote is made from annato seeds that are ground with other spices. 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 purchased paste.

It doesn’t take much achiote to turn 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.

Look for achiote paste in Mexican grocery stores or well-stocked Latin food aisles in supermarkets. Or order achiote paste online through my Amazon link.

Read more about achiote here.

Search fish with achiote and you’ll find plenty of recipes to choose from. You might see Cochinito Pibil or Pollo Pibil on restaurant menus–achiote is the marinade or sauce seasoning for these meat dishes.

Achiote Paste for Achiote Red Rice Pilaf

Achiote red rice pilaf details:

  • Mexican cooks would likely make their classic achiote red rice with white rice, but I use brown basmati rice to make it a bit more healthful.
  • 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.

Sauté of Rice for Achiote Red Rice Pilaf

More awesome rice dishes:

A reader fave, this recipe for Lentil Very Brown Rice.

Mouthwatering good–Dirty Rice with Collards and Leeks.

>>>>> Serving idea: Use this rice for a side with Spinach Patties bathed in green tomatillo salsa verde.

More achiote-seasoned vegetarian dishes :

To get my latest recipe posts and newsletters, subscribe here. (I hate spam too, and I will be the only person who uses your email address.)

For more vegetarian recipe ideas, peruse my Pinterest boards.

Find more vegetarian ideas on my Facebook page.

Follow me on Instagram!

This post contains affiliate links. When you purchase products via my links, it doesn’t cost you anything and I earn a tiny commission, which helps me continue to provide free content here on Letty’s Kitchen. Thank you!! 

6 comments

  • 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

4.80 from 5 votes (5 ratings without comment)

Leave a Reply

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.