achiote powder substitutes

10 Best Substitutes for Achiote Powder

Achiote powder is a common ingredient in Mexican cuisine to enhance the color of any dish. And we all know how important the visual aspect is to make a dish look appealing. After all, a tasty-looking dish instantly makes everyone a little hungrier than before!

Those of you who know Latin American culture know how essential achiote powder is while cooking. But unfortunately, this powder is not easy to find in local stores. So, what do you do when you don’t have achiote powder but you need it to cook the best Mexican dish possible?

Well, you look for the best achiote powder substitutes, of course! Let’s talk about some of them that you can also use the next time you wish to cook something Latin American. 


10 Best Substitutes for Achiote Powder 

1. Paprika

paprika- Substitutes for Achiote Powder 

If you’re seeking achiote powder substitutes, paprika is the first ingredient that comes to mind. Paprika is a versatile spice that may provide both color and flavor to your food. The mild powder known as paprika is created by drying peppers.

Its widespread availability at neighborhood grocery stores is a key element in its popularity as a substitute. This magnificent deep crimson color will instantly improve any dish you create. Paprika is the ingredient you need to get if you’re searching for anything to add some spice to your food.

How to Substitute:- The same amount of paprika can be used in place of achiote powder.

2. Turmeric

Turmeric powder in a bowl

Native to India, Turmeric or Turmeric powder, in particular, is another nice replacement for achiote powder. Southeast Asian cooking uses turmeric for giving that stunning yellow color to curries and other cuisines. Though the one noticeable difference between turmeric and achiote powder is that Turmeric is a bit orangish-yellow in color. 

Though mostly used in India, Turmeric powder can also easily be found in grocery stores in most countries. Keep in mind that turmeric has a bit more of an earthy taste but it can still enable you to recreate the taste of achiote powder properly. 

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How to Substitute:- Achiote powder can be substituted with half as much turmeric powder. This will assist you in preventing the earthy flavor of the turmeric from overpowering the meal.

3. Ground Cumin

ground cumin- substitutes-for-achiote-powder

Another achiote powder substitute that comes from India is ground cumin. It’s also another popular spice that can be found anywhere around the world, no matter where you live. Cumin is a bit spicier than achiote powder, so it’s perfect for those who don’t mind a little extra kick to their meals. 

Whether you like meat dishes or vegan options, ground cumin can improve the taste of anything. Used regularly in Southeastern dishes, ground cumin can easily be used to improve the taste of Mexican favorites as well. 

How to Substitute:- Achiote powder can be substituted for the same proportion of ground cumin. 

4. Nutmeg

nutmeg is achiote powder substitute

Myristicaceae trees, which are indigenous to Indonesia and the West Indies, are the source of nutmeg. Granted, it is much darker than achiote powder and has a brownish-green hue. However, the flavor is remarkably similar to it, making it a great alternative.

The seasoning nutmeg is widely accessible around the world and gives dishes a flavor that is almost woody. In addition to providing meals with a distinct flavor, nutmeg is well known for having several health benefits. However, be careful not to utilize it excessively—no matter what you plan, this will never come out well.

How to Substitute:- To substitute the achiote powder, use a very small amount of nutmeg.

5. Hibiscus Powder

hibiscus powder

Hibiscus Powder, often used for cosmetics, is surprisingly one of the best achiote powder substitutes. The color of this powder also matches achiote powder, and you don’t need to worry about altering the taste of your dish too much. 

It’s another of those stand-ins that can be used in just about every dish you can imagine. Due to its exceptional health advantages, hibiscus powder is a fantastic item to keep in your home pantry. Hibiscus powder’s mild flavor makes it a suitable replacement for achiote powder.

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How to Substitute:- The same quantity of achiote powder can be utilized in place of hibiscus powder.

6. Beet Powder

Beet Powder- achiote powder substitute

Due to its gorgeous crimson hue, beet powder quickly replaces achiote powder in a great way. Beets are dried to create beet powder, which has a subtly sweet taste. Smoothies will improve ten times when some beet powder is added.

In addition to being used in cooking, beet powder is another ingredient that is commonly employed in the cosmetics industry. Use beet powder if you don’t mind the slightly sweet taste and still want to give your cuisine that gorgeous red color to stand out on the dinner table. Iron, vitamin C, fiber, and other beneficial minerals are also included in beet powder.

How to Substitute:- Only use half as much beet powder as achiote powder if you don’t like sweet stuff. Feel free to add the exact same quantity of sweetness if you don’t mind it.

7. Saffron Powder

saffron powder

The saffron powder can be an alternative you could appreciate if you don’t mind spending a little extra on the best achiote powder substitutes. Without drastically affecting the final flavor, saffron gives your food a lovely scarlet color.

Make sure to taste the Saffron powder before using it in any meal as certain brands have a tendency to taste stronger. Achiote powder can be substituted with saffron due to its similar color if you can see beyond how pricey it is. For the purpose of giving the visuals a little more color, it may also be employed in a variety of recipes.

How to Substitute:- When swapping saffron powder for achiote powder in any dish, we suggest using only half the recommended amount.

8. Annatto Oil

Annatto Oil

Annatto oil has also become another popular replacement for achiote powder due to its similarity in taste. Annatto is available in powder, paste, and liquid form, but Annatto oil is commonly available around the world. Thus we decided to add that as a replacement to this list for you to consider. 

Also Read:  13 Best Substitutes for Garlic Powder

Because annatto oil has an earthy flavor similar to achiote powder, it is simpler to incorporate it into any of your foods. Because it is also less expensive, you don’t need to spend a lot of money to find a suitable alternative to achiote powder. Additionally, this oil has a faint smoky flavor that enhances whatever you prepare going forward.

How to Substitute:- To properly balance the flavor of one teaspoon of achiote powder, use two tablespoons of annatto oil.

9. Ginger


Another achiote powder substitute that comes from Asian kitchens is ginger. The color is a bit more on the yellow spectrum, which isn’t the same as achiote, but it can still work well. Though ginger does have a strong flavor, so only use it in your meals if you like the flavor. Otherwise, there are several other substitutes that might work better for you. 

How to Substitute:- Depending on the food it is added to and the person’s personal taste, the appropriate amount of ginger should be utilized.

10. Food coloring

Food coloring

The last option on our achiote powder substitutes is food coloring. Only use this option if you are simply looking for a substitution that will give similar color. Food coloring won’t help you improve the taste of the final dish, but it will enable you to get the desired final look. 

How to substitute:- Add a little amount of food coloring of your choice at a time till you reach the desired color. 


Now you know the top 10 alternatives to achiote powder for when you run out of it. Hopefully, you won’t get trapped the next time you need achiote powder. You can fully savor your Mexican food and other pleasures as well!

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