Curious about annatto? We're answering all your questions about it, including what it tastes like, how the texture feels and what annatto is used for in recipes.
You definitely won't want to eat an annatto seed straight. It's so hard that you may struggle to grind it up in your spice grinder. Even cooking annatto seeds won't make much difference.
This is a seed that's enjoyed for its flavor but frequently used specifically for its brick red color. The best way of getting these characteristics out of the seeds and into your food is by infusing cooking oil with them.
Are Annatto Seeds Spicy?
There may be some pepperiness to these seeds, but they're not spicy per se. Some people even find them to have a hint of tartness, but spiciness, like you'd find in chili peppers, is not a trait of annatto seeds.
One reason people might associate them with heat is that they're often used in dishes that call for chili peppers and smoky flavors.
What Contains Annatto?
As a colorant, annatto is commonly listed in the ingredients of orange and yellow cheeses, salad dressings, beverages and snack foods. If it has an orange or red hue, it may be colored with annatto.
As a condiment, annatto is typically used in a variety of non-vegan dishes, but it can be added to vegan sauces to simmer tofu or any mock meat in.