This simple and easy achiote chicken is delicious, flavorful, and easy to make! A whole bird is seasoned with achiote, garlic, and lime for a low-carb, keto-friendly dish that yields plenty of leftovers. If you like this, be sure to try my reverse seared tequila lime chicken breasts.
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This low-carb, keto-friendly achiote chicken is absolutely delicious. The combination of achiote, garlic, and fresh lime juice will make your taste buds soar. I had actually never eaten achiote chicken prior to moving to San Antonio. That was 7 years ago, and I’m in complete disbelief that it’s been that long. It still feels like I just moved here last week. Time really does fly.
My first encounter with achiote chicken was the version made by a local grocery store. While it tasted fine, I found it lacking a bit in flavor intensity. After toying around with different recipes in my home kitchen I finally found a flavor combination that I loved. Let’s get into some details.
What is Achiote?
Achiote is another word for annatto, which is made from the ground seeds of achiote tree/shrub (Bixa orellana). The fruit from said tree is actually inedible, but when ground, the seeds create powder or paste that is reddish in color and used in spices, dyes, and condiments. It’s rich hue makes it excellent as a food coloring agent.
The grocery store I go to sells achiote in two forms. The first is a paste that comes tightly packed/vacuum sealed in a small 3.5 ounce container. It ran me about $1.50. The other is powdered achiote seasoning in a 8.75 ounce spice container for about 3 bucks. I actually tested my achiote chicken several different times using both the paste and the powdered seasoning.
If you can find it, my preferred version is the powdered seasoning by far. By…far! I’ll tell you why. The paste is much more of a hassle to deal with. It’s clumpy, thick, and takes a lot of work to break down and spread onto the chicken. It’s doable but messy.
This recipe calls for the powdered version. The one that I purchased is a blend by Mi Tienda that contains the following:
- Garlic Powder
- Onion Powder
- Soybean Oil
Where Can I Buy Achiote?
I live in San Antonio, Texas which means that achiote powder is plentiful and readily available on my grocer’s spices and seasonings aisle. That would be a great place to start, depending on your geographical location. You may also check the “international” aisle in your grocery store. If all else fails, you can always order online; I will be sure to link some options below, so check the recipe card.
Is Achiote Chicken Keto?
This recipe is absolutely low-carb and keto-friendly. It contains just 1 grams of net carbs per ½ pound serving.
What Does Achiote Taste Like?
To me, achiote has a mild, earthy, peppery taste. I actually find that you need to “doctor” it up a bit to reveal a more boldly discernable flavor.
Is Achiote Chicken Spicy?
The vivid red color may initially lead one to believe that it would be very spicy, but this is not the case at all. It is very mild, so if you’re sensitive to spice you will still find it enjoyable.
What Ingredients Will I Need?
- 5 pound Whole Chicken (½ pound per serving)
- Achiote Powder
- Fresh Garlic, minced
- Unsalted Butter, melted
- Fresh Lime Juice
What Tools Do I Need?
- Sharp Knife/Kitchen Shears for Spatchcocking
- Wire Rack
- Baking Sheet
- instant Read Meat Thermometer
- Turkey Baster
How to Make Achiote Chicken
- I start by spatchcocking a 5 pound chicken. A 5 pound chicken yields (10) half-pound servings. If you need a visual of how to properly spatchcock your chicken, then check out this helpful video.
- Once the chicken has been spatchcocked, I use paper towels to pat it dry. This allows for extra crispy skin. I then place it on a wire rack rimmed baking sheet. This allows for air and heat to reach both the top and bottom of the chicken.
- Season the chicken using the achiote powder and minced garlic. Rub them both all over the top and bottom of the chicken. Ensure that you get both on top of and underneath skin for maximum flavor.
- I allow this to sit in my refrigerator, uncovered, for about 4 hours to get a quick dry brine. The salt content penetrates the surface and allows the interior of the bird to be nicely seasoned and moist.
- After dry brining, mix the melted butter and lime juice and pour the mixture all over the surface of the chicken.
- Preheat your oven to 400° F.
- Place the bird into the oven and allow to roast for 50 minutes, or until the innermost part of the chicken breast reads 160° F on an instant read thermometer.
- Every 15 minutes or so, use a baster to collect the drippings from the bottom of the pan and baste chicken for even browning.
- Remove the chicken from the oven and allow it to rest for 10-20 minutes as it cools and the residual heat dissipates (the temperature of the bird will initially continue to rise from the residual heat).
- Carve and serve.
What to Make With Leftovers:
Roasting an entire chicken will undoubtedly yield leftovers for smaller families. Here are some additional dishes you can make with the leftover meat:
- Achiote Chicken Bowls
- Chicken Salad
- Achiote Chicken Tamales
As usual, try it out and let me know what you think. When you make it, be sure to tag me on Instagram so that I can show you off. Join the family while you’re there. I’d love to hear from you.
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This simple and easy achiote chicken is delicious, flavorful, and easy to make! A whole bird is seasoned with achiote, garlic, and lime for a low-carb, keto-friendly dish that yields plenty of leftovers.
- 5 pound Whole Chicken
- 1.5 tablespoons Achiote Powder
- 3 Cloves Fresh Garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons Unsalted Butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon Fresh Lime Juice
Spatchcock the chicken. If you need a visual of how to properly spatchcock your chicken, then check out this helpful video by (source).
Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and place it on a wire rack rimmed baking sheet.
Season the chicken using the achiote powder and minced garlic. Rub them both all over the top and bottom of the chicken. Ensure that you get both on top of and underneath skin.
Allow the chicken to sit in the refrigerator, uncovered, for about 4 hours to dry brine.
After dry brining, mix the melted butter and lime juice and pour the mixture all over the surface of the chicken.
Preheat oven to 400° F.
Place the bird into the oven and allow to roast for 50 minutes, or until the innermost part of the chicken breast reads 160° F on an instant read thermometer.
Every 20 minutes or so, use a baster to collect the drippings from the bottom of the pan and baste chicken for even browning.
Remove the chicken from the oven and allow it to rest for 10 minutes.
Carve and serve.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 565Total Fat: 33gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 20gCholesterol: 206mgSodium: 188mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 62g