How to Make Chinese Five Spice? The Secret to Delicious Cooking

Chinese five spice can add a unique flavor and aroma to your various dishes, from savory meat dishes to sweet pantries.

Making your own Chinese five spice at home is easier than you think. In this article, we’ll discover how to make Chinese five spice and share some tips on how to use and store it.

Origin of Chinese Five Spice

The Chinese five spice have appeared in Chinese cuisine for thousands of years.

Until now, nobody can say the exact origins of this spice blend. However, some believe Chinese five spice made its debut in Southern China during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

People usually mix cinnamon, cloves, fennel, and star anise together with Szechuan peppercorns carefully to gain Chinese five spice.

The artistic combination of these spices creates a unique flavor profile that people commonly use in meat dishes, marinades, and sauces.

According to Chinese tradition, the five spices represent the elements of metal, wood, water, fire, and earth, which ancient Chinese people trust will give them good fortune.

Today, the use of Chinese five spice has been beyond the China border. People in other countries also love to add Chinese five spice to their dishes.

How to Make Chinese Five Spice

While you can certainly buy pre-made Chinese five spice at the store, making it yourself is a satisfying and cost-effective way to enhance your cooking.


When preparing ingredients to make Chinese five spice, you have two options: using whole ingredients or using ground powder.

If you have time and can find what you need in the supermarket, I have a vote for the whole ingredients.

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Grinding whole spices gives you a fresher and more intense flavor than pre-ground spices. The essential oils and flavors are released, giving you a more vibrant taste. Let’s have a closer look at what we should prepare:

  • Whole star anise: 14 pods
  • Cinnamon: 2 sticks
  • Whole cloves: 24 buds
  • Fennel seeds: 2 tablespoons
  • Sichuan peppercorns: 2 tablespoons

If you use ground powder, you can mix an equal proportion for all of them. You can always adjust to having the perfect recipe for your own Chinese five spice.

Prepare needed ingredients

Step-By-Step Instructions

You can easily make your own Chinese five spice from scratch with simple ingredients and these step-by-step instructions.

Step 1: Heat a frying pan without oil until you can feel the heat. Add the whole star anise pods, broken cinnamon stick, and whole cloves to the pan.

Step 2: Constantly shake and stir the pan for 4 to 5 minutes until you can smell fragrant and see the smoke. This process will help to release their essential oils and aromas.

Step 3: Take the pan off the heat and put the toasted spices onto a big bowl or plate to cool down.

Step 4: Apply the same process for fennel seeds and Sichuan peppercorns. However, they require 2-3 minutes to be fragrant and start smoking.

Step 5: Once the spices have cooled, grind everything in a spice or coffee grinder until they become powder. Put the powder into another bowl.

Step 6: Use a sieve or spoon to remove any left larger pieces from the mixture.

Step 7: Store the Chinese five spice in a glass container and keep it in a cool, dry, dark place.

Use a grinder

How to Use Chinese Five Spice?

You can use Chinese five spice to add a unique depth of flavor to dishes. Here are four main ways to use Chinese five spice:

1. A dry rub for meats

To create a dry rub, combine the Chinese five spice with salt and pepper in a small bowl. Then, using your fingers, massage the mixture onto your meat of choice.

Finally, grill or roast the meat as usual, and enjoy the delicious flavors of the Chinese five spice blend.

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This method is particularly effective with chicken, pork, and beef but matches other meats well.

2. The sauce in stir-fry dishes

Add a pinch of Chinese five spice to your stir-fry sauce for an excellent flavor.

Wait until you cook the main ingredients thoroughly, pour the sauce into the pan, and stir well to coat the ingredients.

3. In soups and broths

You can directly add a pinch of Chinese five spice to your soup or broth while cooking.

You can also use Chinese five spice to flavor other soup and broth ingredients, such as meatballs, dumplings, or noodles. Put a small amount of Chinese five spice when preparing them, or sprinkle some over the finished dish.

4. In pastries

Chinese five spice is another choice to add a unique flavor to your cookies, cakes, and muffins.

Start by finding a recipe you like and think would pair well with the spice blend. You can then add a small amount of Chinese five spice to the recipe. Let’s start with 1/2 to 1 teaspoon, depending on the quantity of the pantries.

You can improve the taste of dishes

How to Store Five-Spice Powder?

Proper storage of Chinese five spice can help maintain its quality and flavor over time. If you’re looking for tips on storing your Chinese five spice, look no further! Here they are!

1. Store in an airtight container

Store your Chinese five spice in an airtight container. This will help prevent moisture, air, and light from entering the container and spoiling the spice blend.

2. Keep in a cool, dry place

You should store Chinese five spice in a cool, dry place away from heat, light, and moisture. Exposure to heat and moisture can cause the spice blend to lose its flavor and aroma.

3. Label and date the container

It’s a good idea to label and date the container to help keep track of when you make or purchase the spice blend. This will ensure that you use the Chinese five spice while it’s still fresh and flavorful.

By following these simple storage tips, you can help extend the shelf life of your Chinese five spice and enjoy its unique flavor in your cooking for longer.

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Store in an airtight containe


What Is Chinese Five Spice Made Of?

Chinese five spice is a combination of five spices commonly used in Chinese cuisine. It usually consists of an equal proportion of cloves, cinnamon, fennel seeds, star anise, and Szechuan peppercorns.

What Can I Use Instead Of Chinese Five Spice?

If you find yourself without Chinese five spice, there are some options you can use. A good substitute is a blend of cinnamon, cloves, fennel seeds, and anise. Or you could use allspice or a mixture of cinnamon and star anise as a replacement.

Is Chinese Five Spice The Same As Garam Masala?

No, Chinese five spice and garam masala are not the same. Chinese five spice is popular in Chinese cuisine, while garam masala is in Indian cuisine.

Their ingredients are also different. Garam masala usually contains cumin, coriander, cardamom, and cloves.

Why Is Chinese Five Spice So Good?

Chinese five spice is a delicious and unique blend of spices that enhances the depth and complexity of dishes.

Chinese five spice can improve the taste of meat, vegetables, soups, broths, and even pantries, making it a versatile and flavorful ingredient.

What Can I Substitute For Star Anise?

If you don’t have the star anise, you can substitute it with other ingredients. Anise seeds, fennel seeds, or Chinese five spice powder can all be the best substitutes for star anise.

In A Nutshell

Chinese five spice is excellent assistance in your kitchen whether you’re using it to add flavor to meats, vegetables, soups, and more.

With this post, you know how to make your own Chinese five spice. Let’s give it a try! Making your blend at home is easy and rewarding.

With these tips on how to make, use, and store Chinese five spice, you’ll be well on your way to unlocking the secret to delicious cooking.