Note: Olive oil can be used, but for a more annato-forward flavor, use a neutral oil like corn or canola.
- 1/4 cup annato seeds
- 2 chiles de arbol
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup oil (see note)
Toast annato, chiles, and bay leaf in a small saucepan on medium heat until spices are fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add oil and let it heat through until annato seeds begin to bubble and fry.
Reduce heat to low and cook until oil turns a dark, ruddy red, about 4 minutes (spices should continue to very gently sizzle the whole time). Remove from heat and strain into a glass jar or plastic squeeze bottle. Store in a dark place at room temperature for up to three months (oil will continue to be edible but will lose some flavor after this time).