Tikin Xic

Achiote Rubbed Fish

Tikin Xic
6 servings
Pati Jinich
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: achiote paste, allspice, bitter orange juice, bronzino, corn tortillas, fish, guajillo chiles, pati's mexican table, red snapper, sea bass, snook
Author:Pati Jinich
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Achiote Rubbed Fish recipe from Pati's Mexican Table Season 5, Episode 9 “Isla Mujeres Inspired”


  • 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.

69 comments on “Tikin Xic

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  1. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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!

  5. 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.

  6. 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…

  7. 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

  8. 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 :)))..

  9. 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!!

  10. 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. 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!

  11. 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. 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

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

  13. 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?

  14. 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!

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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……

  18. 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.

  19. 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 ?

  20. 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

  21. Pati,
    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

  22. Pati,
    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