Prepared chili paste, turmeric, saffron and paprika are each viable substitutes for achiote paste in recipes that call for it. Paprika, garlic, cumin and oil constitute an effective substitute as well.
To prepare an achiote paste substitute, add to a small bowl 1 1/2 tablespoons of paprika, 1 tablespoon white vinegar, 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 minced garlic clove and 1/4 teaspoon of cumin powder. Mix all the ingredients until the concoction is smooth and adopts the texture of a paste.
This recipe yields approximately 3 tablespoons. Achiote paste and substitutes primarily serve as a food colorant or a flavor enhancer. As such, use achiote paste substitute as the basis of a marinade or to add flavor and color to rice.