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overhead shot of the oil

Annatto oil (Rou-Cou, Achiote)

Learn how to make your very own annatto oil to add colour to so many Caribbean dishes. It's so quick and easy using 2 ingredients.
Course Extras
Cuisine Caribbean
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 1 cup
Calories 190kcal
Author Charla


  • 1 cup olive oil
  • cup annatto seeds


  • Add the olive oil to a saucepan on medium heat.
  • Allow the oil to heat through for about a minute.
  • Once the oil has heated through, sprinkle in the annatto seeds and stir a few times.
  • Immediately reduce the heat to low (very very important) and let the seeds simmer until bubbles begin to form and the colour of the oil is a redish hue (use a non staining spoon to check the readiness).
  • Once the oil is ready, remove it from the stove and allow to completely cool.
  • Once the oil has cooled down, use a jug and fine mesh strainer to extract the oil and discard the seeds.
  • Pour the oil into a mason jar/oil dispenser/bottle of your choice.
  • Store and use accordingly


  • Make sure you are using fresh annatto seeds, you don't want to use seeds that have been gathering dust for several months are the oil won't be as potent.
  • Annatto stains so please be mindful of that, wipe down any surface, use non staining utensils and wash clothing immediately.
  • DON'T I REPEAT DO NOT prepare the oil on HIGH HEAT because this will result in a very bitter tasting oil (If you do this then you will have to hold yourself accountable, not me!! you were warned).
  • Only make the amount that you need - double or half the recipe accordingly.
  • Any leftover oil should be stored in a dark cool place away from sunlight (very important) it should take for several months.
  • Don't freeze or refrigerate the oil, it's more potent when stored in a dark pantry and directly out of sunlight.


Calories: 190kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Potassium: 2mg | Calcium: 2mg | Iron: 1mg