Five-spice powder, a classic Chinese mix featuring star anise and cinnamon, is traditionally used to season Asian-style roast duck and pork. But the talk on Chowhound was recently all about how five-spice powder can enhance a variety of other dishes, too. For instance, mscoffee1 is a big fan of these nontraditional honey-glazed five-spice baby back ribs, applying the spice as a dry rub the day before cooking.

Some hounds really like the way five-spice works with chicken. Bryan Pepperseed uses this marinade for a grilled bird, while KitchenBarbarian recommends the grilled five-spice chicken recipe from Mai Pham’s Pleasures of the Vietnamese Table. And five-spice is used in an aromatic paste rubbed under the skin of CHOW’s Five-Spice Roasted Chicken (pictured).

Chowhounds also like five-spice powder in sweets. Add it to quick breads that call for cinnamon, cloves, or allspice, mariars suggests. JudiAU thinks it’s “really excellent” in cranberry sauce, and pitterpatter says a pinch gives a “haunting flavor” to chocolate icings and truffles.

Discuss: I have 5 spice powder. What can I make?

Photo by Chris Rochelle /

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