Homemade five Spice Powder

Chinese Five Spice Powder is a popular seasoning mix in Chinese cooking.  It’s plend of sweet, spicy, earthy and bright flavors bring complexity to dishes.  It is similar to the Indian Garam Masala blend of spices common in their cuisine.  The ratios vary as do the ingredients from family to family, but the recipe below is a good guideline.  Grinding from whole spices when available helps to increase the pungency and aroma of this powdered blend. 

spice grinder or mortar and pestle
heavy bottomed saute pan
a tablespoon measuring spoon
small bowl
small teaspoon
container to store the spice mixture in when done

1 tablespoon whole Sichuan or Szechuan pepper*
15 whole cloves or  1 tablespoon of ground cloves
3 whole star anise or 1 tablespoon of ground star anise
1 tablespoon whole or ground fennel seed
3 sticks of Ceylon cinnamon or 1 tablespoons of ground cinnamon


Break the cinnamon sticks up into small pieces. 

Heat saute pan over medium heat.  Add the Sichuan peppers to the pan and cook until they become fragrant.  Remove from heat and allow to cool. 

Using the spice grinder or mortar and pestle, grind small amounts of the whole spices until all of them are ground.  Move ground spices into the small bowl.  Add any spices that started off ground to this mixture.

Mix the ground finely ground spices together in the small bowl to create a homogeneous mixture.  Carefully spoon the mixed spices into the storage container. 

Store in an airtight container in the spice cupboard for up to six months.  After that time the flavor will begin to diminish but will still be usable. 

*Sichuan peppercorns are not related to peppers or  peppercorns, and may be hard to find.  Some chefs say to omit them if they are unavailable.  Others say their flavor profile can be mimicked by combining one teaspoon black cardamom seeds, one teaspoon black peppercorns, and one teaspoon white peppercorns.