Substitute for Chinese Five Spice (+ Homemade Recipe)

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The delicious powder known as five-spice is mainly utilized in Asian cooking as a key component of rubs and marinades. Fennel seeds, cloves, star anise, Chinese cinnamon, and Sichuan peppercorns make five-spice, as the name implies. So, in case you don’t have Five Spice at hand, we’ll help you substitute for Chinese five spice in this article.

Although five-spice is a unique and wonderful ingredient, it may always be swapped out for other comparable spices. You could be surprised by the variety of alternatives available if you’re looking for Chinese five spice. Discover what they are and how to utilize them to improve your food.

Star Anise The closest alternative is star anise, the main component of Chinese five-spice powder.
Baharat Baharat is a flexible substitute for Chinese five-spice powder and has a comparable rich flavor.
Allspice Allspice provides Chinese Five Spice its depth by fusing the scents of clove, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
Garam Masala Garam Masala has components in common with Chinese Five Spice Powder; however, it is a little spicier.
Star Anise and Dried Red Chili Dried Red Chili is fiery and spicy, whereas Star Anise is savory and sweet. Consequently, combining their results in a fantastic taste profile.
Ras El Hanout Ras El Hanout employs a range of aromatic spices as an excellent substitute for five-spice powder in dishes, including soups, baked products, and meat.
Fennel with Sichuan peppercorns As an excellent alternative to five-spice powder in meals like soups, baked goods, and meat, Ras El Hanout uses a variety of flavorful spices.
Cinnamon sticks and dill Dillweed and cinnamon are great Chinese five-spice alternatives since you probably already have them in your home. Getting people to try your food, though, will require some work.
Za’atar Although there are regional differences in Za’atar recipes, the most popular ingredients include sumac, oregano, sesame seeds, salt, and thyme.
Homemade Chinese Five Spice Powder Homemade Chinese Five Spice Powder is easy to make and gives you precisely the flavor you want.

Star anise

Substitute for Chinese Five Spice

Popular spice star anise has a spicy, sweet, and peppery taste. Actually, the flavors of licorice, fennel seeds, and cloves are quite similar to star anise. People substitute it for the Chinese five spices because of this. So when is it okay to use star anise?

To put it simply, you may utilize the whole star anise pod while cooking with it. This includes stews, soups, and braised dishes. After they are done cooking, remove them from the pot immediately. The same holds for stews, BBQ, and baked goods flavored with star anise powder.

Chinese five spice equals one tablespoon of star anise.

Even though star anise is a potent spice on its own, you can always add onions, nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon to your dishes to enhance the flavor.

Baharat (Lebanese seven-spice)

Substitute for Chinese Five Spice

Bharat is the name of a common spice mixture used in Middle Eastern cuisine. The seven main spices in Baharat are cumin, paprika, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, coriander, cardamom, and black pepper. But other ingredients in Baharat include sumac, mint, turmeric, and chili peppers.

Baharat’s aromatic fragrance, which is smoky, earthy, and sweet, makes it a good substitute for the Chinese five spices. Stews, soups, and rice may all benefit from their addition, and you can use it as a seasoning for meats like chicken, cattle, fish, and lamb. (Although we don’t have meat recipes on this website.)

Chinese Five Spice is equivalent to 1 Tbsp of Baharat.


Substitute for Chinese Five Spice

Allspice is often used as a stand-in for Chinese Five Spice in households where it is unavailable. The sweet taste of allspice, which is reminiscent of pepper, cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon, can give every dish its own unique twist. Despite its versatility, allspice is most often recommended for use in savory dishes, such as meat, soups, stews, marinades, and even desserts.

However, like za’atar, it should be used slightly to prevent overpowering the flavor of the cuisine.

1/2 teaspoon of allspice equals 1 tablespoon of Chinese five spice

Garam Masala

Garam masala, a blend of ground spices, is a standard ingredient in Indian cuisine. Black pepper, cumin, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, coriander, and cardamom are common components of Garam Masala; however, these spices might vary by region. Varieties that use ginger, saffron, mace, bay leaves, or fennel seeds are also possible.

Garam Masala is a spice blend that adds a warm, sweet, and moderate spiciness to a wide variety of dishes. Therefore, Garam Masala has replaced Chinese five spices in chefs’ kitchens everywhere.

If you’re interested in giving it a go, remember to begin with shallow doses and increase them gradually.

Chinese Five Spice: 1 Tbsp Equals 1/2 Tbsp Garam Masala

Fennel seeds and star anise are two other spices you may add to Garam Masala to enhance its taste even further. One tablespoon of Chinese five spice equals one tablespoon each of powdered star anise, fennel seeds, and garam masala.

Star Anise and Dried Red Chili

Substitute for Chinese Five Spice

As you are already aware, dried red chile gives spice and heat, while star anise has a savory yet sweet flavor. These two components may readily provide you with the all-inclusive taste that Chinese 5 Spice powder offers when combined.

This pairing of two ingredients creates the umami, bitterness, sweetness, saltines, and spice that make up the five flavors of Chinese cuisine. For every teaspoon of Chinese Five Spice, add one star anise, and then adjust the amount of dried red chile to your own preference. When they are both finely powdered, use it as a garnish for dishes like stews, meats, soups, etc.

Ras El Hanout

Substitute for Chinese Five Spice

Ras El Hanout is a spice blend created with anywhere from 30 to 80 distinct spices that is popular in Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco. Ras El Hanout comes in various flavors, but the most common ones are anise, nutmeg, cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, pepper, turmeric, and mace.

Because of its unique combination of spices, Ras El Hanout may have a very distinctive flavor. However, it often has a pleasantly sweet and peppery flavor with a hint of woodiness and a bitter aftertaste. Soups, stews, meat, vegetables, and a wide range of other dishes may all benefit from using Ras El Hanout.

Whether you want to use Ras El Hanout in place of Chinese five spice in a dish, you need the first check to see if it has the right ingredients. You should also avoid using too much of it, since doing so may turn an otherwise great meal into a spicy or sweet nightmare.

Ras El Hanout is equivalent to 1/2 Tbsp of Chinese Five Spice.

Fennel with Sichuan peppercorns

Substitute for Chinese Five Spice

Ground fennel seeds and Sichuan peppercorn may substitute in for the five spices traditionally used in Chinese cooking. The final taste will be sweet, citrusy, and bitter, strongly resembling five-spice.

Two tablespoons of powdered fennel seeds and one tablespoon of Sichuan peppercorn make up the other two ingredients in Chinese five spice.

If you can’t get Sichuan peppercorn, you may use black peppercorn instead. Think about the increased heat and bitterness that will result from the mix.

Chinese five spice equals 1/2 tablespoon of ground fennel seeds plus 1/2 tablespoon of black peppercorn.

Cinnamon sticks and dillweed

Substitute for Chinese Five Spice

Some common culinary spices, including dillweed and cinnamon, may pitch in wonderfully for the Chinese five-spice. But you’ll have to make an effort to get them to try your dish.

Omit fresh dillweed in your food since it will get limp and destroy the taste. You’ll want to chop it up first, then add it to your dish a little at a time. Try adding one or two cinnamon sticks to give your food an authentic, woodsy flavor.

1 teaspoon of Chinese five spice equals 1/2 teaspoon of chopped dillweed plus one or two cinnamon sticks.

Try this amazing: Vegan Tres Leches Cake


Substitute for Chinese Five Spice

Famous for its citrusy and nutty taste, za’atar is another spice and herb blend. While Za’atar recipes might vary depending on the locale, sumac, oregano, sesame seeds, salt, and thyme are often included. The versatility of za’atar means it may be used in various preparations, including condiments, soups, sauces, marinades, cereals, vegetables, meat, and even dips and sauces.

One of the things that make Za’atar-flavored five-spice blends interesting is that they include za’atar as one of the spices. So it should come as no surprise that Za’atar is a popular substitute for Chinese five spices. Due to its strong taste, you should only use a tiny quantity of this combination.

Za’atar equals one-third of a tablespoon of Chinese five spice.

Homemade Chinese Five Spice Substitute

Of course, you may always make some Chinese 5 Spice powder at home rather than seeking for alternatives. In addition to giving you the precise flavor you want, most of the components are probably already in your home.

You only need ground spices like Sichuan pepper, Chinese cinnamon, cloves, star anise, fennel seeds, turmeric, nutmeg, ginger root, cardamom pods, etc. to produce your own handmade Chinese Five Spice powder. After obtaining them, ensure all your components are thoroughly mixed into one fine powder.
That’s it! You have just the zinger you need right here.

Ingredients for Chinese Five Spice

A combination of five or more different spices ground into powder is known as the Chinese five-spice. The number five does not relate to the number of elements in the spice blend; instead, it alludes to the classic Chinese flavors of sweet, bitter, sour, salty, and savory.

The following are the primary components of the five-spice:

  • Star anise
  • fennel seeds
  • Sichuan peppercorns
  • cloves, and
  • Chinese cinnamon (cassia).

Anise seeds (aniseed), cardamom pods, ginger root (ground ginger), turmeric, nutmeg, Mandarin orange peel, cardamom, licorice, and galangal may also be included in authentic Chinese five-spice.

Ajwain seeds, black pepper, and white pepper were also present in the Chinese five-spice sold in the US.

Substitute for Chinese Five Spice Recipe

Chinese five-spice is a flavorful spice combination with notes of toasty cinnamon and anise that resemble licorice. For other alternatives, read the entire page or use this method for making your five-spice powder. You won’t ever desire store-bought five-spice again since this combination is so delicious!


  • 6 star anise pods (around 5-6 grams) or 1 Tbsp of ground star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick (around 5-6 grams) or 1 Tbsp of ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp of fennel seeds or 1 Tbsp of ground fennel
  • 2 tsp of Szechuan peppercorns
  • ½ tsp of whole cloves or ½ tsp of ground cloves


  • Cinnamon bark should be broken up into tiny bits.
  • Add the remaining whole spices together with cinnamon bits to a spice (or coffee) grinder and pulse until a fine powder forms.
  • For the finest flavor, store the ground spices in an airtight container (or spice jar) and consume them within a few months.

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