Tikin Xic or Achiote Rubbed Fish recipe


Achiote Rubbed Fish

Achiote Rubbed Fish

Tikin Xic

Recipe Yield

6 servings

Cooking time

1 hour 15 minutes

Rate this recipe

4.50 from 8 votes


  • 6 red snapper, snook, sea bass, or bronzino fillets deboned (about 6 ounces each)
  • 2 dried guajillo chiles stemmed and seeded
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons white distilled vinegar
  • 4 ounces (or 6 tablespoons) achiote paste
  • 9 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup white onion coarsely chopped
  • 5 whole cloves hard stems removed
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt divided
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Warm corn tortillas optional

To Prepare

  • Place the fish in a large baking dish.
  • Toast the guajillo chiles on a pre-heated comal or skillet, set over medium heat, for about 30 seconds per side. Place the toasted chiles in a saucepan, cover with water, and set over medium-high heat. Simmer until chiles rehydrate, soften and plump up, about 10 to 12 minutes.
  • In the jar of a blender, add rehydrated guajillos, plus a couple tablespoons from their simmering liquid, as well as the orange juice, lime juice, vinegar, achiote paste, garlic, onion, cloves, allspice, pepper and salt. Purée until completely smooth.
  • Pour the marinade over the fish, making sure the fish is completely covered in the marinade on both sides. Cover with plastic wrap and let it marinate in the refrigerator anywhere from 30 minutes to 12 hours.
  • When ready to bake, remove from the refrigerator at least 15 minutes ahead of time to bring to room temperature. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Butter a large baking dish and place the marinated fish, skin side down. Reserve the remaining marinade.
  • Bake the fish anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish, until it flakes the fish with a fork. It should be moist and look opaque, but don't let it get dry and overdone.
  • While the fish cooks, place a saucepan over medium heat and heat the oil. Once it is hot, pour in the marinade; it will splatter so you may want to use a lid as a shield. Simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, partially covered, stirring often, until the marinade has thickened to a light puree or thick sauce consistency. Serve in a small bowl with a spoon, for your guests to add more sauce to the fish as they eat it, or to spoon over the tacos if making.


80comments inAchiote Rubbed Fish

  1. Michael in Alabama

    Mar 20

    I made this recipe with speckled trout because I had some that I needed to do something with. I’m sure it is better with snapper, but this kicked the specs up a notch. I’ll definitely make it again. Thank you so much. I’ve made a number of your recipes and they’ve all been good. Thank you for sharing this truly remarkable culinary heritage with us!

    I did have one question concerning the achiote paste. I found achiote powder in small packages (10 to a box). The recipe calls for 6 tablespoons. The box said one small package would suffice for 4 servings. So, I used about 1.5 packages and made a paste using the pepper water. I’m now thinking I should have used more powder. Any thoughts on that?

    1. Pati Jinich

      Mar 31

      Use that achiote powder to make a paste until you feel that it is the right consistency Michael, like semi hard and still maleable 😉

  2. Michael R., Phoenix, AZ

    Jul 09

    Made this today with some beautiful cod filets. I added the sautéed peppers that I saw when the episode aired recently on PBS. I used a combination of red bell, orange bell, and two poblanos, along with onions and sliced garlic. Sautéed them in a pan with a bit of butter over medium-high heat until charred, but still a bit of crunch left. I used some of the left-over guajillo chile water to keep the chiles moist.

    The fish was so tender and flakey, and the peppers, when served with the simmered marinade on top, made each mouthful a complete JOY!

    Next time, I will slice some oranges and limes and serve them alongside, to squeeze over the fish.

    Thanks, Pati! I’ll be making this again!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Nov 05

      Yummy!!!! Thanks to you for sharing Michael!

  3. Mike Watson

    Apr 19

    Would you recommend cooking the fish on the grill?

    1. Pati Jinich

      Apr 19

      I think that is a great idea, I love grilling every time I get a chance 😉

  4. Hope

    Oct 19

    Very pretty and very tasty! Different taste for me as an American, but so familiar with my half-Mexican boyfriend. He remembers as a little boy, in Mexico, eating whatever his mother put on a plate for him! Sadly, his mother died from Covid 8 months ago, so anything Mexican I whip up for him puts a smile on his face! Living in Tucson makes it easy for me to buy achiote paste, but thank God for online shopping, eh?! Much love to you and yours, Pati. Your genuine, funny personality shines as brightly as your food!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jan 04

      Thanks so much for your kindness Hope and my condolences you and your boyfriend for your loss. I am so glad you guys enjoyed this recipe 🙂

  5. Lori

    Aug 18

    Hi Pati, I would like to try this recipe but I am concerned about the amount of time the fish is in the marinade. Won’t the acid in the marinade will cook the fish?

    ❤️❤️❤️ your show!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Aug 18

      Maybe a bit, but it is what happens with Ceviche right? If you are concerned, just give it 30 minutes and cook. Enjoy 🙂

      1. Michael R., Phoenix AZ

        Jul 09

        I went 4 hours on the marinade and it was fine. Flakey, tender, moist. Just don’t over-cook, as Pati warns!

  6. Anonymous

    Jan 13


    1. Pati Jinich

      Jan 16

      Delighted you liked it!

  7. Joe Skraba

    Jun 05

    I’m making this for the 3rd time today. I have used red snapper each time. I love the marinade. First time I marinaded for 9 hours, second time only 3 hours. Longer was better. Other Tixin Xic recipes also use bell peppers, onions and tomato slices on top before baking, which I did as well. I also wrap marinaded fillets in banana leaves before baking. Serve on white corn tortillas with pickled red onions, a little cilantro. It has been wonderful the two times I made in the past. Tonight I am rolling it out for neighbors!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jun 08

      Thanks so much Joe! It is incredible how much flavor some achiote provides in this recipe, enjoy!

  8. Rachel

    Mar 23

    Has anyone ever used this with tofu?

    1. Pati Jinich

      Mar 24

      I haven’t…but let me know how it goes, Rachel.

  9. Steve

    Aug 28

    Sra Jinich,
    You often include “sea salt” in recipes. Given recent reports of biological, radiological, and plastic contamination of evaporatively produced sea salts, do you consider sea salt “safe” or culinarily significant enough to be worth the risk these contaminates pose?

    I really enjoy your show, and the insights you bring the life, culture, history of your homeland. I, and many other North Americans respect and appreciate the nation and people of Mexico. I hope our relationship with Mexico improves, soon.

    1. Pati

      Sep 11

      Hi Steve. As far as I have researched there is no risk with using sea salt. But you can feel free to substitute for sure.

  10. Mylo

    Jun 17

    Hello would like to know how to make the achiote paste I am not able to find it in the markets in my neighborhood
    Thank you

    1. Pati

      Jun 18

      I don’t have a recipe…I buy it. There are lots of brands who sell the paste online. Here’s some more information: http://patijinich.com/pati_2020/achiote_paste/

  11. lisa varnberg

    May 08

    I am a chef and so embarrassed to say that when I serve fish to my very sophisticated children there is always tears and fights. This past cinco de Maya I was mesmerized by a marathon of your shows. As I watched the show from the Idla Muejers I heard your son say that tikin xic was the best fish he had tasted. I made it….
    They ate it…not tears, little fighting! Thanks so much, we so enjoyed it! Love your food and your show!

    1. Pati

      May 09

      That’s awesome! Thank you for sharing, Lisa.

  12. Steve

    May 05

    And I thought your fish with plums and tequila was my favorite dish of yours. I love you version of Tikin Xic. Much easier than steaming in banana leaves! Paired it with a variation of your orange blossom rice and a southwest style roasted zucchini and corn side dish. Beautiful flavors, beautiful plating. Thanks so much.

    1. Pati

      May 06

      Yay! So glad you love the fish, Steve.

  13. Cathy

    Mar 08

    Hi Pati, I love watching your show on PBS, I miss your show, waiting for your show to air. I would like one of your cook book….how could I find your cook book. Thanks so much, Cathy…I just think you have a sweet family…

    1. Pati

      Mar 08

      Thank you for tuning in Cathy! You can find my books on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Pati-Jinich/e/B00C5URXXU/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1 or at Barnes and Nobles.

  14. Joylan

    Oct 16

    Love your show Pati. Thanks for the great recipes.

    1. Pati

      Oct 18

      Thank you so much Joylan!

  15. Lorrie

    Oct 14

    Hi Pati,
    I want to make this as each month I do a themed “international” dinner for my family. I am planning my Mexican day for December. My family does not like spicy at all. On a spicey scale from 1-10, how spicey is it. It looks so darn yummy

    1. Pati

      Oct 27

      It is pretty mild…the chiles used – the Guajillo http://patijinich.com/pati_2020/guajillo_chile/ – is pretty mild.

  16. Lynne

    Oct 11

    Can you substitute chicken for the fish? It looks delicious but my husband is not a seafood person.

    1. Pati

      Oct 12


  17. Alicia

    Sep 07

    I cooked … omg .. it was delicious, very delicious .. it was beutilul fish I’ve ever eat and cook by myself… thank You so much for shering that recipies :)))..

    1. Pati

      Sep 07


  18. Erin

    Sep 01

    Hello Pati
    This recipe looks great!
    Australia is herd to get mexican products…
    Is Achiote paste like a fish or seafood paste?
    Guajillo chilies…are they hot or medium chiloes??
    Thank you!!

    1. Pati

      Sep 07

      Achiote paste is used for all sorts of dishes not just fish…http://patijinich.com/pati_2020/achiote_paste/. You can use it with chicken and so much more…http://patijinich.com/pati_2020/recipe/fast-track-chicken-pibil-sandwich/
      Guajillos chilies are typically pretty mild….http://patijinich.com/pati_2020/guajillo_chile/.

  19. dy

    Sep 01

    I just today received one of your cook books and settled down to watch season 5 here in Australia. I so love your food and its a wonderful side step to my ‘normal’ cuisine which is fairly world encompassing. I also love the family interaction and travels.
    Tonight’s food showed the yum looking dish of Tikin Xic but it wasn’t in my new book, thank heavens that I can find this here on your generous share site. I have been buying up big from a local Mexican chile mojo shop.
    So back tonight to my home made ‘tortilla’ refried beans and salsa, heaven .
    Thanks for inspiring me, I cant wait to get fish and try above recipe 🙂

    1. Pati

      Sep 07

      Thank you so much for sharing! I’m so happy to hear that you are so inspired and that you love the recipes so far…I hope you enjoy many more!

  20. Kylie

    Aug 03

    Hello Pati. I am going to cook this recipe for dinner tomorrow night and I cant wait! We are going to serve with tortillas. What do you suggest we have with it? We were thinking pico de gallo…

    1. Pati

      Aug 03

      The sauce is super flavorful on its own, and I love it with a great side like http://patijinich.com/pati_2020/recipe/roasted-broccoli-cauliflower-with-queso-cotija-dressing/

      1. Kylie

        Aug 04

        yum, I remember that sauce from the same episode. May have to save that for next time – we are a little short on Mexican supplies here in Australia! Muchas gracias Pati

  21. Mary

    Jun 22

    I love this recipe. I plan on using it with other fish, also. Should be great when snapper is unavailable in here. And can you tell me where I can find that beautiful bowl you had? It was white with bright flowers. I think food should be displayed as beautifully as it tastes!

    1. Pati

      Jul 06

      Most of my plates and bowls are from a small town in Mexico called Tlaquepaque, which is known for its ceramics.

  22. Rosy

    Jun 16

    Muchas gracias!! estare esperando.

  23. Lilia

    Jun 11

    Pati, if I use less fish than recipe calls for, can I keep extra marinade in fridge for another use? If so, for how long?

    1. Pati

      Jul 06

      Yes! For up to a week if it didn’t touch the fish.

  24. Rosy

    Jun 07

    Hola pati, me encanta ver tu programa , todas tus recetas se miran muy faciles y deliciosas. Me gustaria saber como puedo ver las recetas en español para entenderlas mejor? , gracias!

    1. Pati

      Jun 09

      Hola!!! En un par de meses vamos a tener el sitio con todas las recetas en español: checa en Agosto!!

  25. Cheryl

    May 20

    Hi Pati….i luckily live by the water do i picked my snapper
    ..had it prepped ready for tonite….

    1. Pati

      May 22

      Lucky you Cheryl! Hope you loved the snapper.

  26. Miriam

    May 02

    Snapper is in the fridge. I’ll be making it tomorrow. Saw your show and looked healthy and delicious! I’ll come back to tell you how it was. Only down side, fish guy wouldn’t debone for me. I’ll have to take them out afterwards.

    1. Pati

      May 05

      Miriam let me know how you liked it!

  27. Rosa

    Apr 29

    Gracias por tus Ricas recetas

    1. Pati

      May 01

      Muchas gracias Rosa!

  28. Debra Louise

    Apr 22

    Never had red snapper or used these spices, but, yum it was good. I love your show and finally decided to make a recipe. I think your ceviche is next.

    1. Pati

      Apr 24

      Thank you Debra! So glad you liked it and hope you love the ceviche.

  29. Terry D

    Apr 21

    I LOVE your series! I especially like how easy it really is to recreate your masterpieces! I can’t wait to try this recipe- I live in NH so I’ll be looking for a fresh local fish……

    1. Pati

      Apr 27

      Thank you so much Terry!

  30. Jon C

    Apr 19

    Hi Pati,

    I just saw you make this and it looks KS delicious. Good timing because I am fishing tomorrow and will try this with the fresh fish (haddock) I hope to catch.

    1. Pati

      Apr 21

      Jon I hope you caught some haddock…and enjoyed the recipe.

  31. Steve

    Mar 27

    Hi Pati,
    Trying this recipe tonight. I have recipe you might like. Fish in a creamy poblano sauce.

    1. Pati

      Apr 03

      Hope you like it Steve! Here’s a recipe for snapper in poblano chile sauce…http://patijinich.com/pati_2020/recipe/snapper-in-a-poblano-chile-sauce/

  32. Monique

    Mar 25

    Hi loved your show, how hot spicy would this be or is it just flavor with no heat? Thanks

    1. Pati

      Mar 27

      Hola Monique, guajillo chiles are mild to moderate in heat.

  33. Donna Lee

    Mar 23

    Loved this episode, love all of them actually! On the show I thought the marinade was just achiote paste and OJ.
    Will give it a try, not sure I can get the chilis here tho. This show always makes me start browsing the airlines ?

    1. Pati

      Mar 27

      You should buy a ticket ?.

  34. Karlell

    Mar 21

    I cant wait to try this recipe!!! This episode made me a follower of your shows and has inspired me to make 2 dis he’s a week fro. your recipes. I’m also lookingredients into a Yucatan vacation!? Keep up the inspiration

    1. Pati

      Mar 23

      Super happy to have inspired your travel plans! Hope you continue to enjoy the show and recipes.

  35. Rosi Martinez

    Feb 25

    Gracias Pati por todas tus recetas ya he cocinado algunas

    1. Pati

      Feb 27

      Gracias Rosi!

  36. Walt Roberts

    Feb 14

    Can’t wait to make these. Love your recipes and show. Keep up the good work.

    1. Pati

      Feb 16

      Thank you so much Walt!

  37. marishka michener

    Feb 11

    Amazing, thank you Pati!

    1. Pati

      Feb 13

      I am so happy you enjoyed it Marishka!

  38. Mavis

    Feb 10

    I love this episode also! These recipies are great and I can’t wait to try them!

    1. Pati

      Feb 13

      Mavis, thank you so much! I hope you enjoy them

  39. Yolani Hernandez

    Jan 12

    I absolutely loved this episode! Not just because of the wonderful recipes and beautiful location, but also because of the endearing mother-son bonding that I saw between you and Juju. I can really tell that your greatest accomplishment (besides your fabulous cooking career) is that of being a blessed mother to 3 handsome young men. I look forward to seeing more episodes like this one.
    Yolani Saraih

  40. Yolani Hernandez

    Jan 12

    I absolutely loved this episode! Not just because of the wonderful recipes and beautiful location, but also because of the endearing mother-son bonding that I saw between you and Juju. I can really tell that your greatest accomplishment (besides your fabulous cooking career) is that of being a blessed mother to 3 handsome young men. I look forward to seeing more episodes like this one.
    Yolani Saraih

    1. Pati

      Jan 13

      Thank you, Yolani! I am a very lucky mom of 3 boys I absolutely adore… Thanks so much for your message and for tuning in.

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