These Chinese five-spice cookies are gonna make you say bye-bye-bye to boring plain sugar cookies and nǐ hǎo to these crisp and spiced lovelies. They’re sugar cookies and so, so much more. Depending upon your five spice blend, it may include ground star anise, cinnamon, ginger, fennel seeds, Szechuan peppercorns, and cloves. Perfect at the holidays or any time of year, actually. And perfect with tea thanks to the crisp texture that stands up to dunking.Renee Schettler Rossi

Star-shaped cookies on a piece of parchment paper.

Chinese Five-Spice Cookies

4.85 / 13 votes
These Chinese five-spice cookies get their kick from the traditional components of five-spice powder, which may include ginger, cinnamon, star anise, fennel, Szechuan peppercorns, and cloves. (Yes, that’s six spices, not five. What can we say? We’re overachievers.) Say hello to your newest holiday tradition.
David Leite
Servings20 cookies
Calories94 kcal
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time1 hour 40 minutes


  • 2 1/2-inch round cookie cutter or favorite holiday-shaped cutter


  • 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 unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • Dump the flour, Chinese five-spice powder, and salt in a small bowl and whisk thoroughly.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) and adjust the rack to the center position.
  • 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.
  • Remove the dough from the freezer and quickly cut out the spice cookies with a 2 1/2-inch round cookie biscuit cutter (or if it's the holidays, your favorite cookie 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.) Find more information on storing and freezing your cookies here.


Serving: 1 cookieCalories: 94 kcalCarbohydrates: 11 gProtein: 1 gFat: 5 gSaturated Fat: 3 gMonounsaturated Fat: 1 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 21 mgSodium: 34 mgFiber: 1 gSugar: 5 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2017 David Leite. Photos © 2017 The Picture Pantry. All rights reserved.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    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!

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

  2. 5 stars
    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.

  3. 5 stars
    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.

    1. 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!