7 Best Recipes With Annatto For A Deep Color And Flavor

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Annatto is a spice that comes from the achiote tree. It has a unique flavor and color and can be used in both sweet and savory dishes.

Check out these recipes that use annatto to give your food an extra flavor boost. You’ll be surprised at how versatile this spice can be!

Best recipes with annatto

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Best 7 recipes with annatto

Hot and spicy Filipino kwek-kwek

Hot and spicy Filipino kwek-kwek
Kwek-kwek is a quail egg that’s been hard-boiled and then dipped in an orange batter. The batter is composed of baking powder, flour, food coloring, and salt.
Check out this recipe
Hot and spicy Filipino Kwek-kwek

Annatto powder is a better substitute for orange food coloring to bring that orange color to your delectable kwek-kwek dish.

You should use warm water to dilute the anatto powder, which should then be added to the dish with the other ingredients and properly mixed.

Filipino kutsinta

Homemade Filipino kutsinta recipe
Kutsinta is an all-purpose type of puto or steamed rice cake. This type of delicacy isn't that sweet, so if you’re watching your sugar levels, you can give this a try. You won't regret it, for sure!
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Kutsinta Recipe

Filipinos love native delicacies like bibingka, and kutsinta is one of them.

Although kutsina didn’t originate in the Philippines, it’s been adopted as a Filipino food, which has become a regular on menus during festivities.

You can find kutsinta all over the Philippines. There are street vendors selling them, as well as mall shops!

Pancit luglug

Pancit luglug recipe with shrimp and crackling pork
This pancit luglug recipe is also known as rice noodles with a medley of toppings and sauce. "Luglug" literally means "to dunk in water".
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Pancit Luglug

If you’re wondering what this noodle recipe is, it’s the infamous pancit luglug recipe, which is also known as cornstarch noodles or rice noodles in some variations, with a medley of toppings and sauce. “Luglug” literally means “to dunk in the water,” “submerge,” or “rinse.”

The name of this recipe refers to the actual act of dunking the freshly cooked noodles into hot water to reheat them. Then, you add the sauce after.

Pancit luglug is usually eaten as a midday snack in the Philippines, but it’s also your best friend to serve on any special occasions that’ll keep your guests coming back.

Kare-kare Filipino beef curry

Kare-kare Filipino beef curry recipe
This Filipino kare-kare recipe is a meat and vegetable stew with oxtail, beef or tripe, eggplant, banana buds, pechay, string beans, and other vegetables that are mainly flavored with a sweet and savory peanut sauce.
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Kare-Kare beef curry

Kare-kare is a well-known dish from Pampanga, aptly hailed as the culinary capital of the Philippines. Its name is derived from the word “kari”, meaning “curry”.

However, kare-kare has a far different background from Indian curry. It has a similar flavor to satay because of the use of peanuts in the sauce and uses achuete as a food coloring.

Chicken inasal

Chicken inasal recipe (original)
With the sudden boom of chicken inasal in Metro Manila, as started by that particular chicken inasal chain, who wouldn’t be familiar with chicken inasal? Its combo of chicken and unlimited rice at a very affordable price is irresistible!
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With this chicken inasal recipe, you’ll be able to replicate the store-bought dish and satisfy your cravings.

The key to a tasty inasal is the marinade and the sauce with annatto, in that it’ll give the chicken its unmistakable taste and color.

Pancit malabon

Pancit malabon recipe
This Pancit Malabon recipe, is a Rice noodle based dish that originated in Malabon, is a popular dish to be served in big celebrations, fiestas and even in impromptu celebrations in schools and offices.
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Pancit Malabon Recipe

Though there are a lot of businesses in Metro Manila that delivers Pancit Malabon to one’s area, it is still a different experience if this Pancit Malabon recipe is followed and made as a homemade fare.

The ingredients to this dish are very much similar to the ones used in Pancit Palabok, however, the difference lies in the fact that most of the ingredients of Pancit Malabon came from the seas, and also because of the different rice noodle used.

Filipino Pork Bopis

Filipino Pork Bopis recipe
You can get pork’s heart and lungs at the butcher’s shop or at the town’s wet market. You can also try to get them from the supermarket; just ask the staff if they have some!
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Pork Bopis Recipe

Bopis is a dish made with pork’s heart and lungs. You read that correctly!

This is a familiar dish as a pulutan (snack) at any drinking party in the Philippines.

However, since Filipinos eat everything with rice, bopis also found its way to the humble Filipino dinner table.

This pork bopis recipe, though its main ingredient isn’t that accessible in, say, a supermarket, is a very easy dish to cook.

Best recipes with annatto powder

7 Best Recipes With Annatto

Joost Nusselder
The best recipes that use annatto use it to add a little flavor, but most of all color to the dish.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Filipino
Servings 18 people
Calories 62 kcal


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ¾ tsp lye water
  • Annatto or atsuete (dissolved in about 1 tbsp water)
  • 2 cups water


Add annatto to a batter

  • In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients: flour, sugar, lye water, annatto, and water. Whisk until it's all properly mixed together.
  • Use a strainer to strain any lumps.

Add annatto to a mix

  • Rub some oil on the molds to avoid the mixture from sticking. That way, it’s easy to take out from the molds once cooked.



Calories: 62kcal
Keyword annatto
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


Annatto colors any dish in a deep red-orange hue, but it’s healthy and delicious too!

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Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.