The Best Simple Chinese 5-Spice Substitutes

chinese 5 spice substitutes

If you’re struggling to find Chinese Five Spice, it’s OK! Here are my favourite Chinese 5-Spice Substitutes…

What is Chinese 5-Spice?

You’re not going to believe this but Chinese 5-Spice is a blend of five different spices used in Chinese cooking. I know ;)

It contains Star Anise, Fennel Seeds, Cassia (or Cinnamon), Black Pepper and Cloves.

Simple Chinese 5-Spice Substitutes

1. Garam Masala

I was surprised how similar the Indian spice blend Garam Masala is to Chinese 5-Spice.

Both contain fennel, cinnamon and cloves but Garam Masala includes carraway seeds and cardamom. And is missing the star anise.

Given they are so similar just substitute 1:1.

2. Garam Masala + Star Anise

For an even closer match add some ground star anise to your garam masala.

Start with 1/4 teaspoon ground star anise and 3/4 teaspoons garam masala for 1 teaspoon of Chinese 5-spice.

3. Star Anise

Given this is the largest spice in the 5-spice blend, it can be substituted.

Although I would use less so it doesn’t overpower.

4. Cinnamon

Cinnamon or cassia is one of the spices in the blend. And while it won’t have the same complexity, it will add the spicy sweetness you get from 5-spice so better than nothing! Again, start with less so it doesn’t overpower.

5. Baharat

This is a long shot but if you happen to have the Lebanese spice Baharat in the house it could be used. Baharat contains paprika and cumin which will give a different vibe, but better than no spice :)

How to Store Chinese 5-Spice

In an airtight jar in your pantry.

Favourite Chinese 5-Spice Recipes

More Articles Similar to Chinese 5-Spice Substitutes

Also see see the Simple Ingredients Substitutes Index.

Have fun in the kitchen!

With love,
Jules x