A simple authentic recipe for Chinese Five Spice that takes 5 minutes from start to finish! Video.

jar with Chinese Five spice with spoon, beside small dish with whole spices- fennel seeds, star anise, cinnamon stick, cloves, and szechuan peppercorns.

Origin of Chinese Five Spice

Interestingly, Chinese Five-Spice Powder is based on the five elements—fire, water, wood, earth, and metal. According to traditional Chinese medicine, the five elements manifest in different parts of the body, and when there are imbalances in these elements, illness can result. For thousands of years, herbs and spices have been used to restore balance in the body, and that is why Chinese five-spice powder came to be.

Chinese Five Spice | 30-second video!

Why You’ll Love This!

  1. Quick & easy! A simple 5-minute recipe using spices you may already have on hand.
  2. So many uses. Use in marinades, stir-fries, noodle bowls, soups and stews, and to season rice, veggies, and protein. This spice is used a lot in Chinese cuisine!
  3. Incredible flavor. An aromatic spice that is sweet, earthy, and spicy with a cooling effect.
  4. Better than store-bought! The flavor is much more fresh and bold! It elevates the flavor of any dish.

What spices are in Chinese Five Spice?

small dish with whole spices for Chinese Five Spice- fennel seeds, cinnamon stick, whole cloves, star anise, and szechuan peppercorns.

The ingredients and ratios of spices vary greatly from region to region and even from household to household depending on personal tastes and preferences, but the most common ingredients are:

  1. Star Anise
  2. Fennel Seeds
  3. Szechuan Peppercorns (or black peppercorns)
  4. Whole Cloves
  5. Cinnamon Stick (Chinese cinnamon if you can find it)

How to Make Chinese 5 Spice

Step 1: Toast the whole spices. Add the dry whole spices to a dry, small skillet and toast in the pan until fragrant, 2-3 minutes.

Step 2: Grind the spices. Place all ingredients in a spice (or coffee) grinder. Grind until smooth, like a fine powder.

Step 3: Store and use! Keep Chinese Five Spice sealed in an airtight spice jar. Enjoy within 6 months!

glass jar with spoon holding up scoop of homemade Chinese Five Spice.


What is Chinese Five Spice made of?

Depending on region and personal preferences, this spice blend can vary a lot. It typically includes star anise, fennel, szechuan peppercorns, whole coves, and cinnamon sticks.

What does Chinese Five Space taste like?

This aromatic spice is sweet and earthy with cooling flavor, and hints of licorice (from the star anise). The cinnamon adds a touch of warmth, and the peppercorns give it a peppery bite.

What type of peppercorns should I use?

While sichuan peppercorns are preferred for this spice mix, you can use black pepper or white pepper as substitutions.

Do I have to toast the spices?

No, but it does elevate the flavor! If you are in a hurry you can skip this step.

If I don’t have a spice grinder or coffee grinder, what can I use?

You can also use a mortar and pestle to grind the spices. It will require more time and effort, and the spices might now be as fine, but it does work as an alternative.

5 Spice Storage

Keep Chinese Five Spice sealed in an jar or airtight container for up to 6 months for the best flavor. Store at room temperature in a dark place.

spoonful of homemade Chinese Five Spice in front of dish with whole spices used to make it- szechuan peppercorns, star anise, cloves, cinnamon stick, fennel seeds.

Breathe in the incredible aroma. Enjoy!

Ways to Chinese 5 Spice:

  1. Szechuan Eggplant 
  2. Tea Smoked Five Spice Salmon 
  3. Burmese Chicken (or Tofu) and Veggies 
  4. Lighting Speed Photon Soup
  5. Vietnamese Beef and Green Papaya Salad
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A simple authentic recipe for Chinese Five Spice that takes 5 minutes from start to finish!  #fivespice #chinese #spice

Chinese Five Spice Powder Recipe

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 34 reviews
  • Author: Sylvia Fountaine
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 2
  • Total Time: 7 minutes
  • Yield: ¼ cup 1x
  • Category: Spice blend
  • Method: Blend
  • Cuisine: Chinese
  • Diet: Vegan


Here’s a simple authentic recipe for Chinese Five Spice powder that can be made in 5 minutes flat. Fragrant and flavorful.




Toast any dry whole spices in a dry skillet, until fragrant, 2-3 minutes.

Place all ingredients in a spice grinder (or coffee grinder)  and grind until smooth.

Smell the goodness.

Store in a sealed, airtight spice jar -and for best flavor use within 6 months.

Makes ¼ cup.


Lightly toasting the whole seeds/pods in a dry skillet will create a more fragrant, intense flavor.

In a pinch you could sub 1 tablespoon anise seeds, but it won’t be quite the same flavor.


  • Serving Size: 2 teaspoons
  • Calories: 14
  • Sugar: 0 g
  • Sodium: 2.4 mg
  • Fat: 0.5 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 3 g
  • Fiber: 1.7 g
  • Protein: 0.5 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

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  1. I remember not liking 5 spice as a kid but this is excellent. Warm, earthy, spicy… a little bit of bliss.

  2. So, I have green sichuan peppercorns at home, and I’m wondering which type is traditionally used? Would the tartness of the green peppercorns work well with the sweet profile of the rest of the spices?

    1. Hi Ed, that is interesting! I have not tried the green ones, only the redish ones, so I am not sure!

  3. My take-out Szechuan chicken was NOTHING like I remember from my childhood. I found a recipe for Szechuan sauce, but didn’t have Chinese 5 spice. This recipe helped me immensely!

    I have to admit I didn’t have a few of these ingredients, either, so if you also do not, here are my substitutions:

    Szechuan peppercorns–>Black peppercorns
    Anise & Fennel–>Green cardamom pods and coriander

    I roasted everything, then ground them down in my mortar and pestle. Just a note, cinnamon sticks DO NOT grind into a powder that way. They just turn into small bits of bark. BUT, in the sauce they softened entirely. I didn’t even notice them.

    I want to try this recipe as written once I get my ingredients, but it was so good even with the substitutions that I imagine it’s PHENOMENAL with all the right stuff!

    Thank you for the recipe!

  4. What a fantastic recipe! I ran out of my usual Chinese five spice and stumbled upon this gem after a quick Google search. I had all the whole spices in my pantry except for Szechuan peppercorns, so I swapped in black peppercorn. From now on, I won’t bother buying Chinese five spice—this blend took my dish to a whole new level

  5. What quantities of the ingredients make one UK Cupful.

    You indicate
    “Makes 1/4 of a cup”
    Which one of the
    1/2x, 1x or 2X makes one cupful.


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