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What Can I Substitute For Sazon

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Today, we're diving into a topic that will appeal to food lovers who are looking for a healthier alternative to sazon. This spice blend is commonly used in many Latin American and Caribbean dishes to enhance the flavor through its combination of culantro (sawtooth coriander), cumin, black pepper, garlic, and other spices.

Sazon has been a go-to ingredient for many worldwide due to its ability to add a unique blend of flavors to various dishes. 

And if you follow my site, you will see that many of our Puerto Rican recipes include sazon as an ingredient.

However, some people may not be comfortable using sazon due to its high sodium content or MSG (monosodium glutamate) presence. Therefore, it's helpful to know some substitutes or make your own that can be used instead of sazon without compromising on the taste quality! 

five dry seasonings on white background.

What Is Sazon Seasoning?

Sazon seasoning is a popular spice blend in Latin American cuisine, particularly in countries like Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Cuba. It typically contains a variety of spices, including garlic powder, oregano, cumin, and coriander, along with achiote powder or annatto seeds, which give it its distinct orange-red color.

The flavor of sazon seasoning is bold and savory, with hints of earthy and smoky notes. It is commonly used to season meats, poultry, fish, and rice dishes. Suppose you're looking for a substitute for sazon seasoning.

In that case, adobo seasoning is a good option, or you can try making your own blend using a combination of dried spices and achiote powder or turmeric for color.

Learn how to make Sazon Seasoning:

What Is a Substitute for Sazon Seasoning?

If you can't find sazon seasoning in your grocery store, don't worry – you can use plenty of substitutes in its place. One popular option is to mix together ground annatto seeds (or achiote powder), ground coriander, cumin, garlic powder, and dried oregano.

If you can't find annatto seeds or achiote powder, saffron threads or turmeric can also be used in a pinch. Adobo seasoning is another substitute option with similar ingredients and flavors but without the colorful appearance of sazon.

With these substitutions, you can still add bold and delicious flavors to your dishes, even without sazon seasoning.

Close up of blended seasoning with a wooden spoon on the side.

What Ingredients Are in Goya Sazon Seasoning?

Goya Sazon seasoning is a popular choice for adding a burst of flavor to dishes. The ingredients in this seasoning blend include coriander, cumin, garlic powder, annatto (achiote) seed, oregano, salt, and pepper.

The presence of annatto seed gives sazon its distinctive reddish-orange color. However, it's worth noting that some pre-packaged sazon seasonings may contain MSG, which some people may want to avoid.

Suppose you're unable to find sazon seasoning or prefer to avoid MSG. In that case, there are various substitutes you can try, including making your own seasoning blend using a combination of herbs and spices like cumin, coriander, and garlic powder.

What Can I Substitute for Sazón Goya?

When you're in a pinch and don't have Sazón Goya, don't fret. Plenty of other brands and substitutes can give your dish the same flavor and color boost. 

One option is annatto or achiote oil, providing the same rich color without the added spices. Another substitute is adobo seasoning, which contains many of the same ingredients as sazón but without vibrant coloring. 

Paprika is also a viable substitute, but remember that it may not have the same spice level as Sazón Goya. 

You can create a tasty and vibrant dish even without Sazón Goya on hand by experimenting with different spices and seasonings.

Red paprika spice powder on white table with spoon.

Is Paprika the Same as Sazon Seasoning?

Paprika and Sazon seasoning are not the same, but they both add flavor and color to dishes. Paprika is made from dried, ground bell peppers or chili peppers and has a mild, sweet flavor. 

Sazon seasoning, on the other hand, is a blend of spices commonly used in Latin and Mexican cuisine, including coriander, cumin, garlic, turmeric, and annatto, which gives it its characteristic orange-red color. 

While paprika can be used as a substitute for Sazon seasoning, it won't have the same complex flavor profile. Therefore, if you're looking for a more authentic substitute for Sazon, try using Adobo seasoning or Ancho Chili Powder.

Can I Use Paprika Instead of Sazon?

If you're out of sazón and wondering what you can substitute for it, paprika is a good option. While paprika won't replicate the exact flavor of sazón seasoning, it can add a touch of similar warmth and color that sazón usually provides.

Paprika is widely available and won't alter the taste of your dish too much, making it a great substitute for sazón seasoning.

Just remember that paprika doesn't contain any other spices found in sazón, so its flavor profile will be different. Nevertheless, it can be a worthy alternative in a pinch.

close up of adobo dry seasoning.

What Is Equal to Sazon?

If you're looking for a substitute for sazon seasoning, you'll be happy to know that plenty of alternatives are available.

One such substitute that is equal to sazon is adobo seasoning. Made up of a blend of spices, including cumin and oregano, adobo seasoning can be used instead of sazon to add flavor to your dishes. 

Another option is to use Cajun seasoning, taco seasoning, cilantro lime seasoning, or even annatto oil, depending on your specific dish.

It's important to note that sazon seasoning contains MSG, so if you're looking for a healthier option, these substitutes are great. Experiment with different options to find the perfect substitute for your dish.

Homemade Sazon Seasoning Recipe

Below is a homemade sazon recipe you can create using what you have.

How to Make Sazon Seasoning

How to Make Sazon Seasoning

Yield: 1 Cup
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Learn how to make this popular sazon seasoning at home. This recipe is salt-free, gluten-free, GMO-free.


  • 2 Tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 Tablespoons ground cumin seed
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 Tablespoons ground coriander
  • 3 Tablespoons ground annatto seed or sweet Spanish paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon ground oregano


1. Place all of the spices on a small plate and mix until well combined. Alternatively, you can pour each measured seasoning into a jar, then place the lid securely on and shake until well combined.


Store in an airtight container in a cool dark place. This mix will stay fresh for a few weeks. It won’t go bad; it’s just that ground spices tend to lose their aromas sooner than whole spices. Use on all of your favorite Latin recipes.

One packet of Goya Sazon = 1.5 teaspoons of this recipe. There are about 48 servings in this recipe.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 48 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 4Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 0g

These nutritional calculations might not be accurate. Please speak with a licensed nutritionist to assist you.

Did you make this recipe?

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