A Natural Orange Color – Quick and Easy Annatto Seed Infusion

It is pumpkin time and that means that it is time for orange colored pumpkin soap!

One of my favorite natural colorants for getting a bright pumpkin yellow/orange color in soap is annatto seed. You can buy annatto seed whole or buy it powdered. I like to buy the whole seeds and infuse in oil.

Annatto seed comes from the achiote tree. It is used in Latin American & Caribbean cuisine, especially as a way to naturally color rice, stews and other foods yellow. We used fresh annatto seed (wookoo/wuku) straight from the pods in Haiti!

Annatto can color your soap a range of colors from yellow to orange.

Benjamin uses annatto to color his famous shampoo bar that you can find in his eBook, Cold Process Soap Recipes: 55 Tried-And-True Soap Recipes from a Successful Soap Company. He uses a less concentrated infusion to get this beautiful yellow color.

Quick Annatto Seed Infusion for Soapmaking

This is how I make a quick annatto seed infusion that I can use the same day. Of course, if you have time, let your infusion steep several days to get as much color as you can. But if you’re in a hurry or impatient, this works!

Pour 170 grams of olive oil (just under 6 oz.) in a microwave safe container. Add 15 grams of whole annatto seed. (You can use more or less depending on how much oil you want to infuse and the color you want to get.)

Heat to warm the oil and pull the color. You can use the microwave or simply put into boiling water (sort of like a double-boiler).

You just want it warm, not piping hot. I microwaved mine for about a minute and a half and then just let it sit to pull the color out. I stirred it every 5 minutes or so as I prepared my lye solution and other base oils.

Here it is ready to soap about an hour later!

And here is the annatto infusion + pumpkin puree in my cupcake bottoms! I simply used the infused olive oil in my recipe.

I’ll be sharing the complete cupcake recipe later this week.

Happy Soaping!



About the Author:

I am a soapmaker, author and blogger! I started blogging in 2008, sharing soap recipes, design tutorials and publishing articles on various topics of soapmaking.


  1. DEBRA MCCOY September 11, 2017 at 9:01 pm - Reply

    I am just getting started–haven’t had the courage to make any, but am watching videos, reading, etc to prepare. Thank you for this article!

  2. Brooke September 11, 2017 at 8:00 pm - Reply

    Oh…forgot to ask…how does the color hold up over time?

  3. Brooke September 11, 2017 at 7:59 pm - Reply

    Wow, that’s a bright yellow! I didn’t know you could make a yellow that bright naturally. The orange of the cupcake soap is very nice too, like a mellow orange (too bad I couldn’t say yellow 😉 I’d love to see a post on the amounts to use for various shades of yellow and orange. That may just need to go in my to do list!
    Thanks for sharing so much of your knowledge!

  4. A September 11, 2017 at 4:11 pm - Reply

    Thank you for this. Looking forward to hearing more since I have no way of knowing how much to use and in what proportions in a recipe.

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