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 love making my own spice blends. Sometimes it’s difficult finding a really good authentic blend. I knew I hit the jackpot here just after blending.the aroma was Devine & the flavor is spot on. So much better than Preble dedicated than I’ve used in the past,thank you!

  2. Great recipe, thanks. I am so happy to make fresh spice mixes. Next time I will try a little less fennel seed – it rather dominates the flavour profile.

  3. This is the best spice blend I’ve ever made. Definitely toast the whole spices ahead of time. Your whole house is going to smell amazing!

  4. So good on crispy fried tofu! I tried a little 5 Spice in our smoothies and in homemade chocolate brownies .. yum! Not having a spice grinder, I used a mortar and pestle (with tellicherry black peppercorns bc I didn’t have Szechuan). I ground the spices for about an hour, then sifted, kept the fine grounds and offered up the other, chunkier half in my neighborhood’s Buy Nothing group. Seeing that post, a neighbor offered me some of their Szechuan peppercorns. Now I’m set with authentic Five Spice and a new friend.

    1. I love all this Crystal! That’s a good workout and the buy nothing group is very inspiring- love how it all comes back around.❤️

    1. Maybe! I have used my vitamix, it is not always evenly ground but it works just fine in recipes.

  5. Why are the whole cloves crossed off of the receipt ? I want to make this for the first time and I am looking forward to doing it properly

    1. Hi Ronald- those are “check boxes”, you must have accidently checked the cloves off your list? It is just to help you keep track of ingredeints- what you need to buy or what you have. 🙂

  6. I had ran out of 5 spice and I didn’t want to go to the shops so I googled this recipe and within 5 minutes I had my 5 spice. I will never buy it in a jar again. Cheap and simple *****

  7. Simple and delicious recipe…when India was under British rule in 1615, the British East India Company brought Indians from Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka across Asian countries to work as government workers. This is how the five spice came to be. You see the heavy influence in the cooking in Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Malyasia. The East India Company took resources from India and sold it abroad for profit and the five spices came to China. Cheers.

  8. Made this in my spice grinder. Smells fabulous. Added 1 T. coriander seed. Pretty sure this would still taste good with 1 or 2 tsp. Cloves. Fiddling with 1/2 tsp. is annoying.
    Recommend doubling to make it worth the effort.

  9. Hi Sylvia, thanks so much for this recipe! I really wanna make it so I can use it in a chili oil, but I don’t have a coffee grinder or any kind of grinder, really – only a blender. So, do you think there’s any alternative for how to grind it, maybe manually? I don’t have a mortar and pestle either hahah but do you think I could grind the spices manually using something similar? Thank you a lot already :))

    1. Hi Bia- in a pinch, I have used my cast iron skillet- placed spices between two pieces of parchment and ground with the skillet. Also, I bet your blender would work!

  10. Came out great. But when they say earth elements what is metal? The heavy metals in store spices? Because I don’t dig eating those. I grow my own herbs and vegetable’s so not having that!Growing Saffron now! $$$$ herb. Labor intense! Lol. Thanks for the recipe!

    1. Hi Michael- No not heavy metals. 🙂 The element of metal, in Chinese Medicine, represents Fall- a time of purging or detoxing- and this also represents “spicy” or a little heat to help support the body in doing this- in this case through the Szechuan Peppercorn. 🙂

    1. Hi Brandon- cloves, the spice. So measure that much out in the whole form, not ground cloves. 🙂

  11. Your recipes look very good I will be trying the eggplant dish and maybe a Tofu dish with the Szechuan spicy sauce. Will let you know how it works out. Thank you for sharing your skills with others. Much appreciated.

        1. Hi Patsy, I would start crush 1/2-1 teaspoon of the seeds. You can always add more.

  12. I used to think Chinese 5 spice was a boring ingredient. I was so wrong.

    I tried to pick some up at the store a few weeks ago but couldn’t find any at the store, so I decided to make my own and found this recipe.

    Truly– I had no idea what 5 spice *really* was until I made it myself. Thank you for opening my eyes.


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