Sazon Seasoning
Sazon Seasoning

Make your own sazón at home! The main spices in the classic spice mix are achiote or annatto, salt, cumin, coriander, garlic, onion, oregano and black pepper. It’s a versatile spice mix used as a rub before grilling, frying or roasting proteins.

Sazón is a versatile spice mix used in Latin American cuisine — it’s the main flavor (and coloring) in recipes like arroz amarillo (yellow rice), pollo de coco (chicken with coconut milk), and arroz con pollo (rice with chicken). ).

The main spices in a classic homemade sazón spice mix are achiote or annatto, salt, cumin, coriander, garlic, onion, oregano, and black pepper. Some variations also use turmeric, paprika, or saffron. The flavor profile is garlicky but not fiery. Achiote or annatto has a sweet and peppery flavor. Freshly ground coriander adds a nice citrus flavor. The savory flavors of sazón come from cumin, onion and garlic powder. Its mild astringency comes from oregano.

Our classic homemade sazón seasoning mix recipe makes about 1/2 cup seasoning mix, or 8 tablespoons. This is enough to use in a couple of dishes before you need to cook more.

Feel free to adjust the proportions of sazón to suit your tastes: you can increase or decrease the amount of salt, garlic, annatto to suit your taste buds.

What are annatto or achiote seeds?

The words annatto or achiote are used interchangeably – the seeds are most commonly used as a food coloring and seasoning. The seeds come from a tropical tree with roots in Latin America, and you can find annatto as whole seeds used in a ground spice mix, as a paste, or as an oil.

Did you know that annatto gives its color to some dairy spreads like butter and margarine, cheddar cheese, some puddings, cakes and other baked goods? Without annatto, many of the foods we know would actually be pretty pale.

Grocery stores or online stores carry annatto/achiote seeds or powder. But if you can’t find annatto/achiote in your area, there are a few swaps that work: Consider swapping out achiote for saffron, turmeric, or paprika instead. These substitutes give your sazón its deep red color.

Using one of these exchangers will slightly change the flavor profile of your sazón. Saffron has a sweet, floral, and earthy flavor. Turmeric is also earthy and musky, a bit bitter and peppery. Depending on what type of pepper you use (sweet, smoky, or hot), your sazón could have a sweeter or subtly smoky flavor — or some fiery spice.

How to use Sazon

In addition to using sazón as a rub, marinade, and flavoring for proteins, soups, stews, beans, and rice, it is found in traditional Latin American recipes such as Puerto Rican salmorejo, pastelón, and asopao de camarones y gandules.

How to store Sazon

Store sazón in a cool, dark place at room temperature in an airtight container. If stored properly, sazón can be kept for up to a year.

More recipes for hearty spice mixtures

  • Dukkah spice mix
  • Basic pickle mix
  • The best dry rub for steaks
  • The best dry rub for chicken
  • The best dry rub for ribs

Sazon seasoning

preparation time
10 mins

total time
10 mins

1/2 cup


  • 1 tablespoon cumin

  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds

  • 2 tablespoons achiote (annatto) seeds

  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder

  • 1 tablespoon onion powder

  • 2 tablespoons of salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  1. Grind cumin, coriander, and achiote seeds:

    You can grind the spices with an electric spice grinder, blender, food processor, coffee grinder, or mortar and pestle.

    If using an electric spice grinder or coffee grinder: Fill the spice grinder with cumin seeds, coriander seeds, and achiote seeds (be careful not to exceed the maximum amount listed). Process until your spices look like a fine powder with small to no large chunks, 10-25 seconds.

    If using mortar and pestle: Place cumin seeds, coriander seeds, and achiote seeds in mortar and pestle. Using firm pressure, crush the spices and continue grinding until you reach the desired consistency.

  2. Make the spice mix:

    In a medium bowl, combine ground cumin, ground coriander, ground achiote, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and black pepper.

  3. Spices seven:

    Using a fine-mesh strainer, sift the spices over a large bowl to extract any large particles or shells of spice that have not been fully processed.

  4. Save Sazon:

    Pour sazon into a container and seal tightly. Store sazón in a cool, dark place at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 1 year.

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