10 Substitutes for Chinese Five-Spice – How to Swap and Why

Chinese Five-Spice is a popular spice mix used in Chinese cuisine. It’s made up of five spices: star anise, cloves, Chinese cinnamon, Sichuan pepper, and fennel seeds.

However, what happens if you can’t find the Chinese Five-Spice or don’t have any on hand?

Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered!

This blog post will list 11 substitutes for Chinese Five-Spice that taste just as good or better.

So read on to see what suitable substitutes you can use the next time!

Chinese Five Spice Substitutes:

  1. Garam masala
  2. Star anise
  3. Garam masala and star anise
  4. Baharat
  5. Za’atar
  6. Allspice
  7. Ras el hanout
  8. Fennel seeds, Sichuan peppercorn
  9. Cinnamon, star anise
  10. Homemade five-spice

Garam masala

Garam masala is a popular spice blend that originated in India, but it can also be used as a substitute for the Chinese 5 spice.

Garam masala has many of the same flavors as the Chinese five-spice, including cinnamon, cloves, and pepper, making it a great choice if you want to add a slightly more subtle flavor to your dish.

Additionally, garam masala contains ingredients like cardamom and coriander leaf that are often missing from traditional recipes for five-spice.

One great use for garam masala is in Asian stir-fries and marinades. Its warm spiciness also works well with meat dishes like roasts or grilled chicken.

Garam masala is also versatile enough for use in sweet baked goods or vegan cuisines, such as desserts and curries.

Overall, using this flavorful seasoning blend instead of Chinese five spice will add new layers of taste and complexity to any dish you prepare.

So if you want to shake up your usual cooking routine, consider using garam masala instead of five spice the next time you cook!

Star anise

Star anise is one of many possible substitutes for the popular Chinese five spice blend. Like this traditional blend, star anise lends a rich, spicy flavor to dishes, making it a great choice for adding depth and complexity to savory and sweet recipes.

Star anise is also known for its strong licorice flavor, which gives it some of the same aromatic qualities as the spice blend it can replace.

Compared to other spices, star anise contains relatively high amounts of antioxidants and may have health benefits like helping to lower blood pressure or supporting heart health.

This versatile spice can be used in many dishes, from soups to stews and curries to baked goods and glazes.

Whether you are looking for a way to add depth and intrigue to your cooking or simply want to try using a different spice in place of Chinese five spice, star anise is a great option that offers many unique benefits.

Garam masala and star anise

Garam masala is a common spice blend used in Indian cuisine, while star anise is a key ingredient in Chinese five-spice powder. When these two spices are combined, they make an excellent substitute for Chinese five-spice powder.

This substitution works well in dishes with savory and sweet primary flavors, such as braised meats, beef, chicken, or even fish.

The benefits of using this combination as a substitute are twofold. First, it helps to cut down on the number of ingredients required for a dish. Second, it delivers a more complex flavor than Chinese five-spice powder, which can be quite overwhelming.

When Garam masala and star anise are used together, they create a balance of flavors that will please any palate.

To substitute this for 5 spice, you’ll need to mix 1/2 tsp of garam masala with 1/4 tsp of star anise powder. This mixture will replace 1 tsp of five spice in any dish.


Baharat is a popular spice blend used in Middle Eastern cuisine. Made up of a mixture of different spices, including cloves, fennel seeds, cumin, and cinnamon, Baharat is sometimes used as a substitute for Chinese Five Spice. This is because Baharat shares similar flavor profiles as Chinese Five Spice.

For example, Baharat includes both cinnamon and cloves, which gives it a sweet and warm aroma that pairs well with savory dishes such as roasted chicken or beef.

Another benefit of using Baharat as a replacement for Chinese Five Spice is that it adds an exotic twist to traditional recipes.

By incorporating Baharat into your cooking repertoire, you can add new flavors and unique aromas to everyday meals.

Whether you’re adding Baharat to soups, stews, curries, or stir-fries, this versatile spice mix will help you create complex and interesting flavor profiles that are sure to impress your family and friends.


Za’atar is a popular spice blend used in Middle Eastern cuisine, which contains a mixture of dried herbs and spices.

It has many different uses, including as a seasoning for meat, fish, and poultry, as a marinade or rubs; and as a flavor booster for sauces, dips, and soups.

However, it can be difficult to find za’atar at many local grocery stores or specialty markets, but luckily you can use several excellent substitutes instead.

You can make your own spice blends by using different combinations of spices like traditional Chinese five-spice powder, stock cube mix, Italian seasoning, herbes de Provence, or ground dried ginger root, ground cardamom pods, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika.

While each of these different substitutes will give your dish slightly different flavors and aromas from the original za’atar blend, they all come with their own unique benefits.


Allspice is often considered to be a good alternative for Chinese Five Spice. This is because Allspice has a similar flavor profile to that of Chinese Five Spice, with a blend of sweet, savory, and pungent flavors.

It contains many of the same ingredients as Chinese Five Spice, including ginger and star anise. In addition, allspice shares many of the same health benefits as Chinese Five Spice, including anti-inflammatory properties and the ability to boost circulation.

Therefore, Allspice can be used in a variety of different cases as a substitute for five spice powder.

Allspice can give your dish more flavor than regular Chinese Five Spice powder. However, it is a good choice if you want to avoid additives.

Overall, using Allspice as an alternative for this popular blend can offer users many health benefits as well as delicious flavors!

Ras el hanout

Ras el hanout is a popular spice blend used in many dishes throughout the Middle East. It is often used as a substitute for the traditional Chinese five-spice blend, which is typically made using cloves, cinnamon, star anise, fennel seeds, and Sichuan pepper.

Although Ras el hanout and five spice can be used to add flavor and complexity to various recipes, they do have slightly different flavor profiles.

Ras el hanout tends to be more complex and earthy, while five spice leans more towards sweet and spicy flavors.

Additionally, Ras el hanout may provide some health benefits that are not offered by five spice.

For example, Ras el hanout contains ginger, which can be helpful in fighting nausea or indigestion. At the same time, five spice does not include any ginger and therefore does not offer this benefit.

Ras el hanout can be a great alternative to five spice powder in many cooking applications and may even offer some healthful properties that the latter does not.

Fennel seeds, Sichuan peppercorn

Fennel seeds and Sichuan peppercorn can be used to replace Chinese Five Spice. Fennel seeds have a sweet taste, while Sichuan peppercorn has a citrusy flavor.

This mixture is a good replacement for Chinese Five Spice because it can be used in sweet or savory dishes.

Fennel seeds are high in fiber, which can help to regulate digestion. Sichuan peppercorn also has a number of benefits, including anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.

This spice blend is a good option for those who are looking for a healthy alternative to 5 spice.

Cinnamon, star anise

Cinnamon and star anise is a popular mixture used as a substitute for Chinese five-spice.

This blend is commonly used in baked goods, curries, and marinades. However, cinnamon and star anise can be used to replace Chinese five spices in any recipe that calls for the spice blend.

The benefits of using this substitute include the fact that cinnamon and star anise are more readily available than Chinese five-spice.

In addition, this mixture is less expensive than Chinese 5 spice. Cinnamon and star anise also have their own unique flavor profile that can add an interesting twist to your favorite recipes.

Homemade five-spice

Chinese Five Spice is a blend of five spices that is used extensively in Chinese cuisine. The most common Five Spice powder contains star anise, cloves, cinnamon, Sichuan pepper, and fennel seeds.

If you don’t have Chinese Five Spice on hand, or if you want to make your own Homemade five-spice, you can just use the same ingredients.

The ratios of the spices may vary depending on personal taste, but a good starting point is 1 teaspoon each of star anise, cloves, cinnamon, Sichuan pepper, and fennel seeds.

Just grind the spices together until they form a fine powder. This Homemade five-spice can be used to replace Chinese Five Spice in any recipe.

There are several benefits to making your own Homemade five-spice.

First of all, you can control the quality of the spices that you use. By using fresh, high-quality spices, you will end up with a Homemade five-spice that is far superior to any store-bought version.

In addition, by making your own spice blend, you can adjust the ratios of the spices to suit your own personal preferences. If you like a bit more heat, for example, you can add a bit more Sichuan pepper.

Making your own Homemade five-spice is also a great way to save money. Store-bought versions of the spice blend can be quite expensive, but by making your own, you can get the same quality at a fraction of the cost.


Finding a suitable five-spice substitute isn’t difficult, as there are many spices that can be used to create a similar flavor profile.

The best five-spice substitutes will depend on what you have on hand and what you are looking for in a replacement.

If you want a healthy alternative, then using cinnamon and star anise or making your own Homemade five-spice blend is a good option.

Each of the other options has its own benefits, so it really comes down to personal preference.

Do you have a favorite five-spice substitute that we didn’t mention?

Let us know in the comments below!

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