If you have ever made spice blends at home, you know that they taste SO much better than store bought. This Chinese Five Spice blend has off the charts flavor that is perfect for your next Asian dish.
I absolutely love Chinese flavors. They use an amazing blend of spices that are so diverse and different from our usual flow at my house. My kids actually love it too, so we end up eating a lot of Chinese at our house. If you are in the mood for better than takeout Chinese food, you’ve got to try this Wonton Soup, this delicious Moo Goo Gai Pan, and this Sweet and Sour Pork.
Chinese Fice Spice Powder
I know what you are thinking, can’t I just buy Chinese five spice at the store? Of course you can, but then you are missing out on the amazing fresh flavor of grinding your own spices! Seriously, when you grind up whole spices they release all of their oils for the best flavor you’ll ever taste. It’s hard to even compare it to store-bought versions! Once I made my first spice blend at home (taco seasoning), I was totally hooked on making them at home.
Now that I’ve convinced you that you absolutely have to try this recipe at home, let’s talk about how to use it in your kitchen! Chinese five spice is so versatile, it goes amazing with so many proteins! I love to use it as a seasoning for short ribs and pretty much any kind of beef. The warm seasonings really bring out delicious and exciting flavors in soups too! It’s amazing on Asian-style BBQ chicken or pork. Just substitute the seasonings in this recipe for the Chinese five spice and you will be blown away by how much flavor you can get out of your chicken!
So of course Chinese five spice is made with five spices! They are warm inviting spices that will take any dish to the next level. The thing about this particular spice blend is that it isn’t always the same five spices. Depending on the region, area, and sometimes even household, people will use different spices! Other common spices are black peppercorns, nutmeg, ginger root, and a cinnamon stick (instead of ground cinnamon). That’s also helpful if you don’t have all of these ingredients on hand, you can switch things up and make your own flavor profile! You can find the measurements below in the recipe card.
- Sichuan Peppercorns: These are authentic for the spice blend. You could use black pepper if you wanted an easy substitute.
- Whole Star Anise Seeds: I really recommend using whole star anise and blending it up because the flavor is so much stronger than if you buy pre-ground!
- Fennel Seeds: It has a little bit of a licorice taste and really brings the recipe to life.
- Ground Cinnamon: You could also buy a cinnamon stick, which is so flavorful when you grind them up!
- Ground Cloves: Cloves are just so flavorful and have the most amazing smell! This warm spice is one you don’t want to leave out.
Chinese Five Spice Recipe
If you don’t have a spice grinder, you can use a coffee grinder to blend up your Chinese five spice. Of you could even do it with a mortar and pestle! That method definitely takes a lot longer but it is really satisfying to do by hand. Other than that, there is nothing to this recipe! Follow the order of blending the ingredients because it will work best the way I have it laid out for you.
- Grind Ingredients: Add your peppercorns, star anise, and fennel seeds to a spice grinder. Grind until it all comes to a fine powder
- Mix: In a small bowl add your ground cinnamon, cloves, and freshly ground spices together. Mix well.
- Store: Store in a small airtight container at room temperature. This spice has a very strong flavor so you’ll want to start with a conservative amount in the recipes you use it in and add more to taste.
Tips for Making Chinese Five Spice
Like most recipes, you can adapt this Chinese five spice recipe to suit your needs. You can really add and take away whatever you want so that it tastes exactly the way you hoped it would. Here are some tips for making this recipe your own.
- Other Spices to Add: There are a lot of different ways that people all over the world make this spice blend, and it is really up to you how you want it to taste! Some other spices you could add are ginger or nutmeg. You could use black peppercorns instead of Sechuan if that’s what you have on hand. You can experiment with using all whole spices, or all ground spices. Switch things up and find out what works best for you!
- To Toast or Not to Toast: When you are using whole spices like star anise, fennel, peppercorns, and cinnamon sticks, you can toast them in a dry skillet until fragrant to release some of their oils. This will get those amazing flavors popping before grinding them up so you get the most flavor possible out of them. It’s up to you if you want to take that extra step! If you are using all ground ingredients, you will have nothing to toast. You are more than welcome to toast the whole spices in this recipe.
Storing Homemade Spice Blends
Homemade spice blends like this Chinese five spice don’t last quite as long as the store-bought versions because they don’t have any preservatives. This spice blend will last up to 6 months when stored correctly! Here’s how to store your spices.
- In the Pantry: Store your blend in an airtight container for up to 6 months. Make sure it says in a cool dark place to maintain the most flavor. The flavor will be very strong in the beginning and begin to fade over time.
Chinese Five Spice
- 2 tablespoons sichuan peppercorns
- 6 whole star anise seeds
- 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
Add your peppercorns, star anise, and fennel seeds to a spice grinder. Grind until it all comes to a fine powder
In a small bowl add your ground cinnamon, cloves, and freshly ground spices together. Mix well.
Store in a small airtight container at room temperature. This spice has a very strong flavor so you’ll want to start with a conservative amount in the recipes you use it in and add more to taste.