Annatto seeds are often used to impart a yellow or orange color to foods, but sometimes also for its flavor and aroma. Its scent is described as "slightly peppery with a hint of nutmeg" and flavor as "slightly nutty, sweet and peppery".
- It is an important ingredient of cochinita pibil, the spicy pork dish popular in Mexico and the drink tascalate from Chiapas, Mexico.
- Commonly used in the Caribbean and Central American cuisine
- Use with beans, grains, rice, chicken, fish, okra, plantains
- Grind seeds or heat with oil and strain to make a cooking oil
- Annatto seed is often used as a substitute for saffron's golden color at a fraction of the cost, but it does not duplicate that spice's unique flavor. Instead, annatto seed has a slightly bitter and peppery flavor with a hint of mint.