Szechuan Spicy Peanuts (黄飞鸿花生, Huang Fei Hong Spicy Peanuts)

Szechuan spicy peanuts are an addictive beer accompaniment. Crunchy, salty, slightly sweet, and fiercely hot, with the citrusy tingle of numbingness. You won’t able to stop once you pop the first peanut into your mouth.

Szechuan Spicy Peanuts (黄飞鸿花生, Huang Fei Hong Spicy Peanuts) - Crunchy, salty, slightly sweet, and fiercely hot, with the citrusy tingle of numbingness. You won’t able to stop once you pop the first peanut into your mouth.

The real name of this spicy peanut dish is Huang Fei Hong spicy peanuts (黄飞鸿花生), a famous Chinese snack that combines the numbing spicy Szechuan seasoning with fried peanuts. I wasn’t surprised when I saw it recommended by Saveur as “pure dynamite”.

It’s difficult to find this snack in Asian markets here in the US. And they are pricey on Amazon. The good news is that now you can make them at home.

Creating the perfect Huang Fei Hong Spicy Peanuts requires quite a bit of effort.

The most time consuming part is peeling the peanuts.

In this recipe, I used the old-fashioned method – soaking the peanuts in warm water and peeling them one by one. Not that it’s the fastest or the easiest way to do it. It’s what my mom does. I’m sentimentally attached to this method because it reminds me of the good ol’ homemade food at my parents’ place. If you’re going to use the same method, make sure you turn on the TV while peeling the peanuts. It makes the process less tedious.

Or, you can use this smart way to peel a ton of peanuts faster (you’ll need to roast the peanuts first, so skip the frying step in the recipe below if you peel the peanuts this way).

Szechuan Spicy Peanuts (黄飞鸿花生, Huang Fei Hong Spicy Peanuts) - Crunchy, salty, slightly sweet, and fiercely hot, with the citrusy tingle of numbingness. You won’t able to stop once you pop the first peanut into your mouth.

The second step is frying the peanuts. To make proper crispy and crunchy peanuts, you need to roast them very slowly without burning them. You could (1) cook them with a little oil and constantly stir them; or (2) fry them. I tried both and the latter was the winner. The peanuts cooked more evenly. Plus, it saved a lot of stirring. I suggest you use a wok, so you can use the minimum amount of oil to cover all the peanuts. The peanuts will barely absorb any oil and you can save the oil for later use.

Szechuan Spicy Peanuts (黄飞鸿花生, Huang Fei Hong Spicy Peanuts) - Crunchy, salty, slightly sweet, and fiercely hot, with the citrusy tingle of numbingness. You won’t able to stop once you pop the first peanut into your mouth.

The third step is to season the peanuts.

To do this step properly, you have to remove the extra oil from the wok. Otherwise you’ll end up with oil-soaked peanuts that are bland and flavorless.

The other key to seasoning is to use ground spices instead of whole chili peppers and Szechuan peppercorns. Yes, the real-deal Huang Fei Hong peanuts contain whole chili peppers in the bag. They are just there as garnish. The peanuts won’t absorb enough flavor during the short cooking time. So always use plenty of ground spices to properly season the peanuts.

It might seem like a ton of flavoring for such a small batch of peanuts. But trust me, it is not too much. This won’t be the healthiest thing in the world, but using less spices will definitely kill the joy.

You will spend an entire hour (or two, if including the soaking time) to make this small appetizer. But once you pop a peanut into your mouth, you’ll know it was worth every single minute.

Szechuan Spicy Peanuts (黄飞鸿花生, Huang Fei Hong Spicy Peanuts) - Crunchy, salty, slightly sweet, and fiercely hot, with the citrusy tingle of numbingness. You won’t able to stop once you pop the first peanut into your mouth.If you give this recipe a try, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it (once you’ve tried it), and take a picture and tag it #omnivorescookbook on Instagram! I’d love to see what you come up with. Cheers, friends!

5.0 from 2 reviews
Szechuan Spicy Peanuts (黄飞鸿花生, Huang Fei Hong Spicy Peanuts)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Snack
Cuisine: Chinese
Serves: 4 to 6
Ingredients
  • 1 cup raw peanuts
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil or enough to cover the peanuts
  • (Optional) 5 dried chili peppers and 1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorn for garnish
Spice mix
Instructions
  1. Cover peanuts with warm water. Let soak for 30 minutes to 4 hours. Peel and discard the skin. Drain and pat dry peanuts with paper towel.
    Szechuan Spicy Peanuts Cooking Process Szechuan Spicy Peanuts Cooking Process
  2. Combine all the ingredients for the spice mix in a small bowl.
    Szechuan Spicy Peanuts Cooking Process
  3. Add peanuts into a wok and oil to cover. Turn on medium heat. Cook until the peanuts start to sizzle. Turn to medium low heat. Cook and stir occasionally until the surface turns pale yellow. Transfer peanuts using a colander onto a plate layered with paper towels. Remove extra oil from the wok and reserve just 1 teaspoon.
    Szechuan Spicy Peanuts Cooking Process Szechuan Spicy Peanuts Cooking Process
  4. (Optional) Add chili peppers and Sichuan peppercorns into the same wok. Cook and stir until fragrant.
  5. Return peanuts to wok. Add the spice mix. Stir to mix well so the peanuts are evenly covered with spices. Transfer peanuts onto a big plate to cool. Don’t worry if the peanuts are not crispy enough when they’re still warm. They’ll crisp up and become crunchy once completely cooled.
    Szechuan Spicy Peanuts Cooking Process Szechuan Spicy Peanuts Cooking Process
  6. Serve immediately as a snack or store in an air-tight container.
Notes
1. To make roasted Sichuan peppercorn powder, cook whole Sichuan peppercorns with a bit of oil until dark and very fragrant. Let cool and transfer to a coffee grinder. Grind until peppercorns turn to flakes. You can make extra and save it in an air-tight container in the fridge. It will stay good for many months.
I won’t suggest using store-bought Sichuan peppercorn powder. But if using, add less (1/4 teaspoon as a start) to the dish.

 

 

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Meet Maggie

Hi I'm Maggie Zhu! Welcome to my site about modern Chinese cooking - including street food, family recipes, and restaurant dishes. I take a less labor-intensive approach while maintaining the taste and look of the dish. I am originally from Beijing, and now cook from my Austin, Texas kitchen.

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12 thoughts on “Szechuan Spicy Peanuts (黄飞鸿花生, Huang Fei Hong Spicy Peanuts)

  1. Patti

    Spicy Peanuts is definitely something my husband would enjoy. Like Jennifer, I will be making him a batch for Father’s Day. Thanks for sharing such a great recipe.

    Reply
  2. Ellen

    They serve this as a complementary appetizer in a very small portion at a local Szechwan restaurant. Recipe looks great. Can I use a ready made blistered peanuts instead of cooking fresh peanuts from scratch?

    Reply
    1. Maggie Post author

      I believe you can use blistered peanuts without any problem. You might want to use less salt, since these cooked peanuts are already seasoned. Happy cooking 🙂

      Reply
  3. Scott

    I began making these a little while ago, and your recipe is THE BEST!

    I’ve learned to go really easy on the oil as being heavy handed with it leaves you with oily peanuts. Blecch!

    Also, I’ve found that getting the more “flavorful” and more red Szechuan peppercorns gives you some really lip-tingling peanuts!
    I like that, so I always get the red package from the Asian market nearby.

    These are always a big hit when I have people over. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

    I plan on giving bags of them away this Christmas.

    Reply
    1. Maggie Post author

      Hi Scott, I’m so glad you like these peanuts! Yes the red Szechuan peppercorns are the fresh ones (the stale ones turn black), so they are much more flavorful. It’s great that you can find them in the Asian market. I always bring them from China directly!
      Thanks for taking time to leave a comment. Have a nice week ahead and hope your Christmas gift will be a hit 🙂

      Reply
  4. Dan

    Thanks for the recipe. I love Huang Fei Hong peanuts and they have stopped stocking them here in most shops (UK). However, for me the peanuts did not hold the flavour that well; I am going to double up the chilli and peppercorns and see if that helps. They were also super oily.

    Reply
    1. Maggie Post author

      Hi Dan, yes the peanuts do not hold spices so well because their surface is so smooth. You can definitely increase the chili pepper and peppercorns powder. Also, try use even less oil to toast the whole chili pepper and peppercorns, so the peanuts won’t be so oily in the end.
      Happy cooking and I hope they turn out better the next time 🙂

      Reply
      1. Dan

        Thanks for the reply. I used much less oil, basically cooked the seasoning in it and tossed the peanuts after in the pan, then transferred to an oven for roasting. They don’t stick the flavour quite as much, but they are less oily. Your use of equal measure sugar to chilli is a stroke of genius – I found even the scraps of chilli that don’t stick are delicious because they’re balanced by the sweetness, and I think if I substituted it again with something agave nectar the spices would stick even better as per candied nuts. Very pleased with them now. Just have to buy a larger bag of raw peanuts to bulk bake!

      2. Maggie Post author

        Hi Dan, yes I enjoy eating the scraps of chili too 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing your method! I would love to try roasting the peanuts in the oven the next time. Sounds like a great method to get them crispy without making the peanuts too oily. Also, interesting idea of using agave nectar. Pretty sure it goes great the the chili too. Now I’m craving the spicy peanuts! I’ll need to bake another batch soon!