What is Annatto?

While the idea of only eating simple unprocessed foods is great, it can be challenging.

I try to go for the second best thing which is understanding what the unpronounceable ingredients are.

With that goal in mind I give you…


What is annatto?

Annatto is a natural yellow-orange food coloring.

It is obtained from the seeds of a tropical shrub called achiote.

Annatto is also sometimes called achiote or roucou and may also show up on labels as natural color.

It has a slightly nutty, sweet, and peppery flavor.

What is annatto used for?

It is used:

  • to color things such as butter, cheese, margarine, shortening, ice cream cones, rice mixes, and sausage casings.

Fun Fact: Central and South American natives used achiote seeds to make body paint and lipstick.

Is annatto safe?

Annatto appears to be safe for most people. However, it may trigger an allergic reaction (hives) in certain people.

Have you ever noticed this ingredient and wondered what it was?
Leave a comment


  1. Well, I’m bloody hungry now, ain’t I, after reading all about your food. Gotta go buy a sanger, eh? Otherwise, I’ll just keep eating my fingernails and there’s no nutrition in them!

    You have a good day, now!!! D.

  1. Bixa orellana | Find Me A Cure

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