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Chinese Five Spice Powder Recipe

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Chinese Five Spice Powder is a spice blend that is sweet, spicy, robust and vibrant. This homemade spice blend is easy and versatile to use. Made with cinnamon, fennel, cloves, star anise, and szechuan peppercorns, this Chinese Five Spice blend deserves a place in your spice cabinet.

glass bottle with homemade chinese five spice powder inside

The exact origin of Chinese Five Spice is not known, but it is said that it was the result of trying to make a “wonder powder” that achieves this flavor balance. And I would have to say they succeeded – just a touch of this spice blend creates a great flavor profile for your meals!

whole spices for Chinese Five Spice on plate with grey napkin

What is Chinese five spice powder?

Chinese Five Spice Powder is a fun spice blend that you should definitely have in your spice cabinet! 

It is made up of five spices: 

  • Star Anise
  • Fennel Seeds
  • Szechuan Peppercorns
  • Cinnamon
  • Cloves

These spices blended together also help to give all five basic tastes to the spice blend: sweet, butter, salty, sour, and umami. When these tastes are balanced, magic can happen!

This is one of those recipes where every household and restaurant has their own blend. Some recipes even add extra spices like ginger or orange peel.

Also try your hand at making Italian Herb Seasoning!

homemade chinese five spice in glass container with washi tape and marker

Most of the ingredients in Chinese Five Spice powder are familiar pantry spices, but one might have you scratching your head:

What are Szechuan peppercorns?

Szechuan peppercorns aren’t actually peppercorns at all! They are actually dried berries from a prickly ash tree and have a unique aroma and flavor that is almost a cross between a floral and citrusy taste. 

Szhechuan peppercorns aren’t spicy in the “oh my gosh, my mouth is on fire!” kind of spice, but more of a numbing/tingling spiciness similar to ginger. More than a flavor, Szhechuan peppercorns have more of a sensation. 

You can find Szhechuan peppercorns at Whole Foods, World Market, Amazon, or at speciality spice stores like Penzey’s. You can substitute ½ teaspoon of ground ginger and a ½ teaspoon of ground black pepper if you are in a pinch, but it won’t be quite the same. They are definitely worth finding! 

A note on cinnamon:

Did you know there are several different varieties of cinnamon? This recipe was developed with Cassia cinnamon, which is also known as Chinese Cinnamon. Cassia is a little more potent and intense than Ceylon, which is another well known variety of cinnamon.

Any kind of cinnamon you have on hand will work just fine, there is no need to get a special kind.

homemade chinese five spice powder in bowl

How to make your own spice blends

Making your own spice blends is really easy! Follow the steps below to create your own super flavorful blend that doesn’t have any additional additives. Because Chinese Five Spice really depends on the flavor of each ingredient, its better to make smaller batches than a really big batch. 

Note: Should you use whole spices or ground spices ?

For this Chinese five spice powder, I recommend using whole spices and then grinding them down with a spice grinder. You could use pre-ground spices if in a pinch, but ground spices are usually older and have lost some of their natural flavoring. By using whole you are just ensuring you have the best possible flavor!

spices for chinese five spice blend on plate with wooden spatula

How to make Chinese five spice powder

Chinese Five Spice is a really easy spice blend recipe to make! 

  1. Collect your whole spices and measure them out.
  2. Toast the spices in a dry skillet over medium heat until they are very fragrant, but be careful not to burn them or they will turn bitter.
  3. Remove the spices from the heat and allow to cool completely.
  4. Grind the spices in a spice/coffee grinder or blend with mortar and pestle.
  5. Store in an airtight container.

This Chinese Five Spice Powder will keep at room temperature in an airtight container for 6 months.


Shopping List:

  • Whole Star Anise
  • Whole Fennel Seeds
  • Szechuan Peppercorns
  • Cinnamon Stick
  • Whole Cloves

Tools Needed: 

  • Skillet
  • Spice Grinder (Don’t use the same one you grind coffee beans with or you will get flavor contamination)
  • Spice Jars

 

collage showing steps to make homemade chinese five spice

What do you use Five Spice powder for?

Chinese Five Spice seasoning is really versatile and easy to use. Here are some simple ways how to use Chinese Five Spice Powder!

  • Use it as a rub for chicken, pork, beef, duck, or seafood.
  • Add a sprinkle into stir fries.
  • Add it into your soups for great depth of flavor.
  • Use it with roasted spiced nuts
  • Sprinkle over sweet potato wedges or other vegetables before roasting.
  • Sprinkle some on top of your oatmeal
  • Substitute five spice powder for the spices in any crumble, crisp, cinnamon roll or gingerbread type recipe!
  • Create a spiced simple syrup for adding to teas, cocktails, and more!

spooning chinese five spice into glass container

Food tastes better when its shared with the ones you love!

There’s nothing I love more than seeing you make my recipes! If you make this Chinese Five Spice Blend, don’t forget to leave a comment below and rate the recipe!

And if you are on Instagram, tag @thegingeredwhisk and use the hashtag #gingeredwhisk on social media when you make my recipes so that I can share them and maybe even feature you. Follow along to get the latest updates:

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Yield: 24 servings

Chinese Five Spice Powder Recipe

glass bottle with homemade chinese five spice powder inside

Chinese Five Spice Powder is a spice blend that is sweet, spicy, robust and vibrant. This homemade spice blend is easy and versatile to use. Made with cinnamon, fennel, cloves, star anise, and szechuan peppercorns, this Chinese Five Spice blend deserves a place in your spice cabinet.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 6 whole star anise (or 2 TBSP ground)
  • 1 tablespoons whole fennel seeds (or 1 TBSP ground)
  • 1 Tablespoon szechuan
  • 1 ½ stick cinnamon (or 2 ¼ teaspoon grind)
  • 15 whole cloves (or ¾ teaspoon ground)

Instructions

    1. Collect your whole spices and measure them out.
    2. Toast the spices in a dry skillet over medium heat until they are very fragrant, but be careful not to burn them or they will turn bitter.
    3. Remove the spices from the heat and allow to cool completely.
    4. Grind the spices in a spice/coffee grinder or blend with mortar and pestle.
    5. Store in an airtight container.

Notes

Note: you can substitute the fennel and szechuan peppercorns with ½ teaspoon ground ginger and ½ teaspoon ground black pepper

This Chinese Five Spice Powder will keep at room temperature in an airtight container for 6 months.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

24

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 2Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 0g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram, and don't forget to tag #gingeredwhisk.

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Danielle

Sunday 9th of February 2020

The recipe that will really make my life so much easier! I have a few of my favorite dishes that need this blend, so I will probably prepare a lot of it in advance now and use it later as required.

Elaine

Sunday 9th of February 2020

I've been meaning to experiment with spice mixes but was not sure where I wanted to start. I am sure now! And great to know all the ways you can use this powder for - so versatile!

Cathleen @ A Taste of Madness

Saturday 8th of February 2020

I love making my own spices, but I have never heard of chinese five spice powder. I have got to give this a go!!

Tammy

Friday 7th of February 2020

Who knew 5 spice was so easy to make?! I didn't know fennel and szechuan were in the mix too...cannot wait to make this myself!

Anna

Friday 7th of February 2020

Such a classic spice mix, and it's so versatile too! Love your homemade version of it, it's so much better to make your own rather than buying from the shop! Works out much cheaper too!

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