Five Spice Powder is probably one of the most well-known Chinese seasoning blends, and a popular shortcut for getting that signature flavor.
What is five spice powder made of?
We did an informal audit of five spice powders, and it’s usually a combination of: Chinese cinnamon, fennel seed, star anise, and cloves. When it comes to the fifth spice, it can be a bit of a wild card between ginger, white pepper, and Sichuan peppercorns!
That said, the beauty of this recipe is that there’s some wiggle room based on what spices you have on hand, and you can cater them to your taste.
Some of you may have also heard of another less common Chinese spice, thirteen-spice powder. If you want to recreate that recipe at home, that one will be a biiiit more complicated as you can imagine. It may include Chinese black cardamom (tsaoko/cao guo), amomum fruit, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, pepper, star anise, fennel, costus root, angelica, galangal, sand ginger, and regular ginger.
Our Five Spice Powder Recipe
Like I said, five spice powder has four core ingredients: cinnamon, fennel, star anise, and cloves—the last one can be up to you! That said, I like the dimension that Sichuan pepper powder adds. Sand ginger also adds a particularly good flavor, but I’ve included it as optional.
We started with a mix of powders and whole spices and used our blender to combine everything into a fine powder. You can also use a spice grinder if you have one, or just buy the individual powders and combine them (as long as they’re fresh!).
I know some of you may also want to multiply this recipe, so I’ve included standard tablespoon/teaspoon measurements as well as ratios, so you can make equivalents according to other units of measure.
How to Use Five Spice Powder
Some of our favorite recipes rely on five spice powder!
There are weeknight favorites like Quick and Easy Asian Pork Chops and Five Spice Chicken, for example. There are also authentic classics like Cantonese Roast Pork, our Easy Peking Duck with Mandarin Pancakes, and Char Siu BBQ Pork (you can also make Char-Siu Style Oven Baked Ribs!).
Experiment at home, and let us know what your favorite five spice powder recipe is!
How to Make Five Spice Powder: Instructions
Gather your cinnamon, fennel seeds, Sichuan peppercorns, cloves, star anise, and sand ginger (if using). Take any of the whole spices you have and toast them in a dry pan over low heat until fragrant.
Transfer to a blender or spice grinder, and blend all the spices into a fine powder.
Store in a sealed container away from heat or light. Use within 24 months. Recipe makes about 1/3 cup.
How to Make Five Spice Powder
- 1 tablespoon ground Chinese cassia cinnamon (1 part)
- 2 tablespoons fennel seeds (2 parts)
- 1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns (1 part)
- 1 teaspoon cloves (1/3 part)
- 4 star anise (for calculations, consider this equivalent to 1 part)
- 1 tablespoon sand ginger powder (1 part; equivalent to about 4 grams dried sand ginger slices, optional)
- Gather your cinnamon, fennel seeds, Sichuan peppercorns, cloves, star anise, and sand ginger (if using). Take any of the whole spices you have and toast them in a dry pan over low heat until fragrant.
- Transfer to a blender or spice grinder, and blend all the spices into a fine powder. Store in a sealed container away from heat or light. Use within 24 months.