Chinese Five-Spice Cookies

Chinese Five-Spice Cookies Recipe

These Chinese five-spice cookies are basically a sugar cookie with the addition of sweet Chinese spice powder, which can include ground star anise, cinnamon, ginger, fennel seeds, Szechuan peppercorns, and cloves. The cookies are the perfect accompaniment to tea. Because of their snappy, crisp texture, they can handle lots of dunking.

David Leite

Special Equipment: 2 1/2-inch round cookie or biscuit cutter

Chinese Five-Spice Cookies Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 20 M
  • 1 H, 40 M
  • Makes about twenty 2 1/2-inch cookies


  • 1 1/4 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup superfine sugar (or just blitz granulated sugar in a blender until finely ground but not powdery)
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • 1. Dump the flour, Chinese five-spice powder, and salt in a small bowl and whisk thoroughly.
  • 2. Using an electric mixer, beat the sugar and butter in a large bowl until creamy and well combined. Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix until fluffy, about 1 minute more.
  • 3. Stir in the flour mixture, combing just until everything is incorporated and a soft dough forms. Shape the dough into a disk, wrap it in plastic, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  • 4. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) and adjust the rack to the center position.
  • 5. Unwrap the dough, place it on a fresh piece of plastic wrap, and roll the dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Slide the wrap and the dough onto a baking sheet and place the whole shebang in the freezer for 5 minutes to firm it slightly.
  • 6. Remove the dough from the freezer and quickly cut out the spice cookies with a 2 1/2-inch round cookie or biscuit cutter, spacing them 1/2-inch apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until the edges are golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Immediately transfer the spice cookies to a wire rack to cool. (The cookies will keep in an airtight container for up to 1 week.)
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  1. Mel says:

    These sound amazing. And I have a jar of Chinese 5-spice in the kitchen right now leftover from a soup I made (and I haven’t had another reason to use it yet). Thank you!

  2. jenijen says:

    I made these last weekend and they are so good and so different. I love that they aren’t super sweet, and they *are* perfect with a cup of tea :)

    • David Leite says:

      Hi jenijen, so glad you liked the cookies. They’re one of my favorite tea-dunking snacks. I developed these years and years ago (when I was still young and beautiful) and I still turn to them every fall and winter. So nice to tuck into.

  3. Angie says:

    These cookies are delicious! The dough was a little difficult to work with, but I couldn’t be more pleased with the finished product. Thank you!

    • David Leite says:

      Angie, so glad you like the cookies. I agree the dough is tough to work with, but slipping it in and out of the fridge certainly helps.

  4. Angie says:

    David — I had to write and tell you that I tried something a little different when I made the cookies a second time. After I got the dough together, I placed it in wax paper and rolled it into a log shape. I wrapped the whole thing in plastic wrap and let it freeze overnight. This morning I just pulled the cookie log out of the freezer, peeled away the plastic wrap and wax paper and just sliced the frozen dough into 1/4″ rounds. I baked at same temperature and same amount of time. So easy and I couldn’t be
    happier to have my new favorite cookie! Thanks again for this great recipe.

    • David Leite says:

      Angie, I couldn’t be happier. I developed that recipe a million years ago. It’s so delightful to me that you’ve discovered it and that you added to it–making the preparation better. Thank you!

  5. mike says:

    Just made these for Christmas and they were a hit! I made a few alterations just for simplicity’s sake. After my dough was combined, I simply took a teaspoon and made small mounds on my pan, which I then pushed into small rounds with a fork. After baking, I placed a small amount of chocolate glaze on each one since they were destined to be stand alone Christmas cookies.

    End result: delicious. Even my little nieces loved them.

  6. Nuna says:

    Amazing cookie! We added ~ 1 tablespoon candied ginger, diced, and ~ 1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped. This will be one of our go-to henceforth! Thank you very much, David!

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      On behalf of David and everyone at Leite’s, Nuna, you’re welcome! Love that you added candied ginger!

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