Chinese Five Spice Recipe


1 whole stick or 5 grams of cinnamon stick or bark, broken up

5 whole stars or 5 grams star anise pods

2 teaspoons or 5 grams whole cloves

3 1/2 teaspoons or 5 grams Sichuan peppercorns or white peppercorns

1 1/2 teaspoons or 5 grams fennel seeds



Chinese Five Spice Recipe

1. Heat a small skillet over medium heat

2. Add all the spices and stir, toasting them until fragrant. 2 to 4 minutes

3. Transfer to a small bowl and let cool

4. Using a mortar and pestle, spice grinder, coffee grinder grind until a powder.

5. Sift out any of the remaining large pieces

Store in an airtight container in a cool dark place.

It is not necessary to pull the large bits out. And if you are going to use it in a soup or braise it is better to not grind. 

The history of Chinese Five Spice dates back centuries and is deeply rooted in Chinese culinary traditions. While the exact origin of the blend is uncertain, it has been a staple in Chinese cuisine for a long time.

Chinese Five Spice has its roots in ancient Chinese philosophy and traditional medicine. It is believed that the combination of these five spices creates a balance of flavors and promotes harmony within the body. The spices were chosen based on their distinct flavors and their ability to represent the five fundamental elements of Chinese philosophy: wood, fire, earth, metal, and water.

The use of these spices can be traced back to the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD), where the concept of "wuxiang" or "five flavors" became popular. During this time, Chinese cuisine began to develop a more complex and sophisticated taste profile, incorporating a balance of sweet, sour, bitter, spicy, and salty flavors.

The exact composition of Chinese Five Spice is unknown. It is believed that other ingredients such as ginger, nutmeg, cardamom, or even dried tangerine peel may have been one of the spices. The combination of star anise, cloves, Chinese cinnamon, Sichuan peppercorns, and fennel seeds or Chinese celery seeds has become the popular blend.

Chinese Five Spice has not only been used in cooking but also has cultural significance. It is often associated with festive occasions, such as Chinese New Year, and is used to add a special touch to celebratory dishes.