Homemade Five Spice Powder

Making five spice powder is much easier than you think. It creates a superior spice mixture that is cheaper and makes your Chinese dishes immediately taste better.

You only need a few ingredients and 5 minutes to make a superior five spice powder at home!

Five spice powder is a must-have ingredient in a Chinese kitchen. This versatile spice mix is perfect for cooking stir-fry, marinade, sauces, and dry rubs. The powerful spice has a sweet and warm tone that immediately adds depth of flavor to any dish.

Many bottled five spice mixes from grocery stores have a pungent licorice flavor, which is the result of adding too much star anise. That’s why I prefer to make five spice powder at home, so I have total control of the flavor balance.

More importantly, making your own five spice powder from whole seeds or spices creates a superior taste. Whole spice tends to hold its flavor better than powder. You can further toast the spice to release it aroma and essential oils.

Five spice powder cooking process

Once you have toasted the spices and ground them to powder, you will find the homemade five spice powder is very fragrant with an aroma resembling cooked meat. It tastes way better than the store bought one.

Five spice powder cooking process

You can change the five spice powder slightly with your personal touch as well.

For example, you can blend in additional spices such as black cardamon pod, green cardamon pod, black peppers, dried ginger, or aged tangerine peel. Take note that, no matter which species you plan to add, the amount should be moderate and not overpower the main flavor profile.

You can store the homemade five spice powder in your drawer for about a month, before it starts to lose its potency. You can also store it in the fridge to prolong its lifespan. Once the flavor starts to fade, spend a few minutes making a new batch and you’ll be on your way to cooking delicious Chinese food!

Homemade Five Spice Powder

Making five spice powder is much easier than you think. It creates a superior spice mixture that is cheaper and makes your Chinese dishes immediately taste better. 
4.67 from 3 votes
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Course: Condiment
Cuisine: Chinese
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 3 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 2 tablespoons
Author: Maggie Zhu


  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns
  • 1 inch (2 cm) cinnamon stick , broke apart
  • 1 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 star anise , broke apart into petals


  • Add all the spices into a small pan. Roast over medium heat until fragrance is released. You should hear faint sizzling noises if you hold the pan close to your ear.
  • Transfer the spices into a small bowl to cool.
  • Once cooled down completely, transfer to a coffee grinder or use a mortar and pestle. Ground until it turns to fine powder. Transfer to an airtight jar and store in cool, dark place out of direct sunlight.



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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 New York kitchen.

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Recipe Rating

15 thoughts on “Homemade Five Spice Powder

    1. Maggie Post author

      It really depends on the brand, but most of the five spice I’ve tried in the US has this problem. After I made five spice once at home, I decided never buy from grocery store again because the quality of homemade version is so much better 🙂
      Happy cooking and hope you like the recipe as much as I do!

  1. valerie

    Maggie..thank you so much for the Chinese five spice recipe..you definitely are spot on regarding the store bought, the star anise is too dominant. I love this spice because it is so versatile, I even add a pinch to my black tea?. I have been searching for a perfect spice recipe and yours is the one..again, thank you?

  2. J-Mom

    I didn’t even think to make it at home. I bought the jar and it’s probably going to loose it’s scent before I finish using it. I will definitely make it myself next time.

  3. veronica

    oh Maggie, yesterday was my second time, used my homemade five spice, and i satisfied with mine…..also, i ‘ve learned from you made the chili oil….thank you maggie

    1. Maggie Post author

      So glad to hear you like the homemade five spice! I’ve never purchase it again since I started making my own. So fragrant isn’t it?
      You’re the most welcome 🙂

  4. Damon

    When I read licorice flavor automatically thought that fennel seed and star anise where the same thing!! Learned something new today.

  5. eeljapan

    5 stars
    Maggie, I always wondered what five spice powder would smell and taste like, but never tried because I was afraid of not liking it. Since I happened to have all the ingredients in my kitchen, and the vegetarian oyster sauce and home made chilli oil (both from your site) call for it, I gave a try. Now my kitchen smells like an authentic Chinese restaurant after making vegetarian chou mein – so nice 🙂 Very excited to use it to other dishes in the coming weeks as well. Thank you!

    1. Maggie Post author

      So happy to hear you decided to give the five spice powder a try and liked it! It is very potent and adds tons of flavor to the dish. Can’t wait to hear what you’ll cook the next 🙂

  6. Melinda Smith

    Maggie, I’m confused on the cinnamon stick size. Is it a regular length stick, but 2cm wide or is it a regular size stick, but only using 2cm of it? Please respond because I’ll be making this this week for your 5spice and garlic roasted potatoes. Thanks in advance!

  7. Peter Beckles

    Don’t hae Sichuan peppercorns.
    I realize that the Sichuan is “different”. but is there an adequate substitute?

  8. Peter Beckles

    I tried your 5-spice powder recipe but with local peppercorns.
    I t is completely different from the packaged odorless dust that I have been buying.
    I eventually added 1/2 teaspoon of cardomom powder.
    Lovely aroma.

  9. movielady

    5 stars
    My kitchen smelled absolutely wonderful after making this. 🙂 Again, thanks for the marvelous recipes for staple ingredients!