Chinese Five Spice Recipe

5 from 4 votes

Make this Chinese five spice recipe at home; it’s less expensive than buying it! 5 spice adds incredible flavor to many Asian dishes.

close up of cinnamon sticks, star anise, fennel seeds, cloves, and peppercorns in a spice grinder for chinese five spice recipe

5 spice powder is a unique blend that is supposedly based on the five elements found on Earth.

However, it’s more commonly known for containing all five culinary tastes – sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and umami. This makes it a staple in any cook’s kitchen.

Make your own from scratch for rich flavor without the preservatives and other additives.

Chinese Five Spice Recipe

Cuisine: Asian / Chinese

This spice blend is very common in both Chinese and Taiwanese cooking. It adds plenty of heat and flavor to dishes like Shumai.

detailed map of china and surrounding countries

Alternate names/spellings: 5 spice, five spice powder

Use: Pantry spice

Uses for 5 Spice

While it can be used in almost anything, not just Asian cuisine, here are some of the most popular uses:

  • Stews and broths
  • Marinades and sauces
  • In breading for fried foods
  • Rub for meat or vegetables
  • Glaze with honey or molasses
  • In salad dressings
overhead photo of whole spices in skillet for chinese five spice recipe

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

Note: This is just a partial list of ingredients. For the full ingredient list, see the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

  • Cinnamon stick – In order to toast cinnamon with the other spices, it needs to be in its stick form. Ground cinnamon can be substituted if needed, but the flavor won’t be as strong in the spice blend.
  • Sichuan peppercorns – These come from the seeds of the prickly ash shrub and aren’t considered any hotter than regular black peppercorns.

    However, the spice has a tingly, mouth-numbing effect that can enhance the spiciness and any flavors it’s combined with. If you can’t find these, black peppercorns can be used instead.
overhead photo of 5 spice in a spice grinder

All you need to make this recipe is a small skillet and a spice grinder. Then toast and grind the spices for a homemade spice blend in just a few minutes!

Video: Making Chinese Five Spice Recipe

Want to see this recipe in action? Just watch the video located in the recipe card at the bottom of post!


  1. Toast the spices: Add everything to a dry pan and toast over medium heat until fragrant. This will enhance the flavors and release any oils.
  2. Cool: Transfer the spices to a small bowl or dish and allow them to cool completely to preserve their aromas.
  3. Grind: Use a coffee or spice grinder to combine the spices into a fine powder.

Recipe notes

  • Storage – Keep the spice blend in a sealed jar for up to 1 month. While it won’t go bad after that, it will lose its potency over time.
  • Larger batch – If you use a lot of Chinese Five Spice, feel free to double or triple the recipe so you always have enough on hand.
  • Save time – Toasting the spices is not required and can be skipped if you’re in a hurry.
  • Different varieties – The blend of ingredients can vary based on region and even household. While this recipe uses the five most common spices, other blends may contain orange peel, ginger root, nutmeg, turmeric, or cardamom.
small white bowl on a counter with Chinese 5 spice powder and a small metal spoon

Chinese 5 Spice Substitutes

For a similar blend, combine the cinnamon, cloves, and star anise. Then replace the fennel seeds and peppercorns with ground ginger instead.

Or, try one of these other spice blends instead. None of them will have the same combination of flavors, but they will add the necessary spice and heat.

  • Cayenne pepper, cinnamon, and ground cloves
  • Allspice with a pinch of ginger
  • Garam masala with star anise
  • Splash of sambuca liqueur
Still Hungry?

Subscribe to my Newsletter, follow me on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube for all my latest recipes and videos.

This post, first published on Silk Road Recipes July 30, 2020, was last updated with new content on Sept. 15, 2021.

close up of cinnamon sticks, star anise, fennel seeds, cloves, and peppercorns in a spice grinder

Chinese Five Spice

5 from 4 votes
Chinese five spice is a traditional Chinese spice blend made with cinnamon, fennel, cloves, star anise, and Sichuan peppercorns.
Servings: 16
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 2 minutes
Total: 7 minutes



  • Add the spices to a small saute pan (except ground cinnamon if using). Toast over medium heat until fragrant. Transfer the spices into a small bowl to cool.
  • Once cooled, transfer toasted spices and ground cinnamon (if using) to a coffee or spice grinder. Blitz to a fine powder. Transfer to an airtight jar.



Calories: 3kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 12mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 1mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Course: Pantry Staples
Cuisine: Asian, Chinese
Author: Kevin
Have You Made This Recipe? Let Me Know on InstagramTag @keviniscooking or tag me #keviniscooking!
white skillet with whole spices above text reading Chinese Five Spice Blend Silk Road Recipes


I was bitten by the cooking bug as a kid cooking and baking along side my mom. After an ROP restaurant course in high school, I went to work in restaurants and catering. My love of travel and food has led me across the world and I love to share those foods with family and friends.

Free Bonus
Kevin's Guide to Amazing International Cooking
My secrets to authentic & delicious international recipes

Explore More

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


  1. I will make this later today and THANK YOU! I have looked at a number of stores, but not found it. I make many other spice blends myself and always find it better to do myself than buy it. It’s fresher and less expensive!

  2. 5 stars
    I found many recipes that require 5 spice and I can’t find it in any of the stores I have looked for it…so glad I found the recipe to make it here…now I can make it myself and start enjoying the recipes the call for it…thanks for sharing

  3. 5 stars
    This is such an easy and flavorful recipe. We make a lot of Asian inspired food at home so this spice is PERFECT!

  4. 5 stars
    This is not only a delicious recipe but it is so pretty when you are making it! Your photos are amazing! love the capture of the star anise! Be using it a lot!

  5. 5 stars
    So this is how to make it. Thanks for taking the time to share these spice blends. I always thought it would be harder to make. I add more cinnamon, but this base is PERFECT.

  6. Good Afternoon

    Is your blog and the recipes related in anyway to the Silk Road spice company, which started in Missoula, Montana? Just curious. It was a great restaurant that closed to focus on its spices.