Sazón

published Apr 5, 2022
Sazón Recipe

In this recipe, you’ll find dried oregano, cumin, coriander, and a secret weapon called achiote, which lends sazón its distinctive bright red color.

Makesabout 1/2 cup

Prep5 minutes

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a gray ceramic bowl with a mix of spices, unmixed
Credit: Laura Manzano

If you’ve ever enjoyed the inexplicably rich and complex flavors of Puerto Rican, Dominican, or Mexican cooking, there’s a pretty good chance it’s thanks to sazón. Sazón translates from Spanish to simply mean “seasoning” — but there’s nothing simple about this blend that has adapted from country to country, picking up regional variations along the way. 

What Is Sazón Made Of?

As profound an effect sazón can have in cooking, the effort required to make it at home yourself is anything but. While different recipes call for differing combinations and proportions of spices, most typically include dried oregano, cumin, coriander, and a secret weapon called achiote — otherwise known as ground annatto seeds — which lends sazón its distinctive bright red color. Achiote is the most unique ingredient in the mix, however. Most spices suggested for making sazón can probably already be found in your spice cabinet.

What Should I Cook with Sazón?

Because sazón is a mix of versatile spices, there are few things sazón won’t work with. 

  • Sprinkle it on meats and veggies before hitting the grill.
  • Mix it into soups and stews.
  • Sprinkle it on french fries, popcorn, or really anything fried and crispy.
  • Mix it into butter for a flavorful compound butter!
Credit: Laura Manzano

What’s the Difference Between Sazón and Adobo?

Adobo typically lacks the achiote that sazón is famous for, but otherwise they are pretty close cousins! 

Sazón Recipe

In this recipe, you’ll find dried oregano, cumin, coriander, and a secret weapon called achiote, which lends sazón its distinctive bright red color.

Prep time 5 minutes

Makes about 1/2 cup

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons

    kosher salt

  • 1 tablespoon

    ground cumin

  • 1 tablespoon

    dried oregano

  • 1 tablespoon

    garlic powder

  • 1 tablespoon

    ground annatto seeds

  • 1 tablelspoon

    onion powder

  • 2 teaspoons

    ground coriander

  • 2 teaspoons

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon

    ground turmeric

Instructions

  1. Place 2 tablespoons kosher salt, 1 tablespoon ground cumin, 1 tablespoon dried oregano, 1 tablespoon garlic powder, 1 tablespoon ground annatto seeds, 1 tablespoon onion powder, 2 teaspoons ground coriander, 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, and 1 teaspoon ground turmeric in a small bowl. Stir with a fork until combined, breaking up any lumps in the spices. Stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months.