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Authentic Jamaican Recipes
For Yes, Annatto Spice!

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authentic jamaican recipes for annattoAuthentic Jamaican Recipes for Annatto Spice

Last week, I shared the amazing story of the Jamaican double amputee, Winston Barr and the wonderful work he is doing in the hills of St. James.

One of the items he produces is, yes, Annatto, and he does a fine job of it!

Annatto, by the way, is another wonder plant that has some incredible health benefits.

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It is a rich source of antioxidants which includes, cis-bixin, carotenoids, and vitamin A.

It also contains minerals like calcium, sodium, and iron.

It has a high concentration of tocotrienols, which is similar in effects and structure as vitamin E, is what makes this plant substance extremely powerful. It also has a relatively high content of dietary fiber as well.

jamaican annatto podsMs Barr showing off the fresh Annatto seeds from Jamaica

So in addition to... eye care, prevention of birth defects, skin care, healing of wounds, it directly helps in...

  • managing diabetes
  • the prevention of cancer
  • muscular degeneration
  • maintaining healthy bones
  • the treatment of gonorrhea
  • digestion, and
  • reducing signs of aging

We'll today, thanks to his wife, I'll share with you five (5) of their very own Jamaican food recipes for this powerful plant (spice), annatto.

Let's get creative shall we? Ready?

1) Annatto RunDown With Chicken Foot

  • 3 pounds chicken foot (precooked)
  • 2 cups coconut cream
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 11gram sweet peppers
  • 1 onion
  • Salt, Seasoning, Thyme and Pepper
  • 1 1/2 tbsp annatto powder
  • 1tbs wine (optional)
  • small amount of flour dough for spinners


  1. Pour coconut cream in saucepan
  2. Add sweet pepper, carrot, annatto powder etc
  3. Place precooked chicken foot in and cover
  4. If adding spinners, do so now.
  5. Allow to simmer for 15-20 mins, checking ocassionally until done.

2) Annatto SaltFish Pasta

  • /2 pound saltfish
  • 1 pk pasta
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 11g onion/ sweet pepper
  • 1 tbsp annatto powder
  • String bean (as desired)
  • Okra (optional)
  • 4-5 tbsp cooking oil
  • Rosemary  (if desired)
  • 1 tsp Jamaican pimento


  1. Partially cook string beans, carrots and okra
  2. Prepare saltfish (pick, remove bones etc) and pasta
  3. Saute onion and sweet pepper in annatto powder
  4. Add saltfish, pasta and vegetable etc.
  5. Sprinkle with desired seasonings and simmer for a few minutes.
  6. Remove and serve

3) Annatto Stew Fish

  • 3-4 pounds of fresh fish (seasoned)
  • 11 gram sweet pepper
  • 11 gram onion
  • few pegs of garlic
  • 1-2 tbsp of annatto powder
  • eskellion
  • thyme
  • 1 tsp pimento
  • pinch of ginger powder
  • 3 tbsp cooking oil
  • Rosemary


  1. Simmer seasoning ingredients for a few minutes until it takes the color of the annatto.
  2. Add fish to saucepan
  3. Cover and simmer for 12-15 minutes
  4. Serve  as desired with your favourite food.

4) Annatto Steamed Fish

  • 3-4 pounds of seasoned fish
  • 11gram sweet pepper
  • 1 scotch bonnet pepper
  • 11g onion
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 2-3 tbsp annatto powder
  • 1-3 medium carrots
  • thyme
  • eskellion
  • rosemary
  • 1 tsp pimento


  1. Spread oil in frying pan
  2. Add fish and other ingredients
  3. Allow to steam for 12-15 minutes or until done.

5) Annatto Mutton

  • 5-6 pounds of mutton
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 3 tbsp cooking oil
  • Escellion/ Onion/ Thyme
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • 1 tsp pimento
  • 6-7 tbsp annato
  • Carrots and Irish Potato as needed


  1. Season mutton overnight if possible. Add most of the annatto powder to the meat.
  2. Heat oil, adding the rest of annatto powder
  3. Add mutton and about 1/4 cups of water
  4. Cook tightly and cook to desired tenderness.

Where To Get Annatto from Jamaica?

Mr. Barr can we contacted at...
876-540-2871/ 876- 573-1728

If you prefer to get annatto online though, I'd recommend Amazon, I looked it up and noticed that they have it from many suppliers.

Check the current prices at amazon at this link.

You'd never guess that Annatto had so many applications right?

Well, there you go, six (6) simple and easy traditional Jamaican recipes for annatto - which is actually good for you!

Go now and show off your new found knowledge :-)

And if you have a new or modified version to any of these or other annatto recipes, share it with us below please.

And we have a whole lot more! Get even more free Jamaican recipes here.

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A patriotic Jamaican who adore its culture, Wellesley has been using this medium to share what he calls 'the uniqueness of Jamaica with the world' since April 2007.  

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