13 Spice Powder Recipe

Have you ever wondered what gives some dishes that complex, aromatic flavor profile? It's likely a special blend of spices known as 13 spice powder.

13 Spice Powder Recipe

This unique mixture packs a punch with its combination of 13 different spices that create an explosion of flavors.

Common Ingredients in 13 Spice Powder

So what exactly goes into this aromatic blend? While recipes can vary slightly, these are some of the most popular spices used:

  • Star anise: Provides a licorice-like sweetness.
  • Sichuan peppercorns: Features a bold, tongue-numbing quality.
  • Cinnamon sticks: Imparts a warm, sweet and spicy note.
  • Cloves: Delivers a strong, peppery punch.
  • Fennel seeds: Lends a light anise aroma.
  • Black cardamom pods: Supplies an intense menthol flavor.
  • Dried orange peel: Contributes a bright citrusy tone.
  • Ginger: Offers pungency and heat.
  • Galangal: Provides earthy, gingery complexity.
  • Licorice root: Adds sweetness and depth.
  • Cumin seeds: Brings a strong, nutty dimension.
  • White peppercorns: Provides subtle heat without much bite.
  • Nutmeg: Delivers nutty, somewhat sweet nuances.

The exact blend really depends on the desired taste profile and regional influences. Part of what makes 13 spice powder so unique is this captivating combination of contrasting flavors. Sweet pairs with spicy, citrusy meets earthy, and more, to create a symphony of aromas and tastes in one jar.

Key Takeaway: There are 13 main ingredients that typically go into this multifaceted spice blend, ranging from licorice-y star anise to tongue-tingling Sichuan peppercorns to warm cinnamon sticks and beyond.

Delicious Ways to Use 13 Spice Powder

Now comes the best part - using your hand-crafted seasoning! Here are some tantalizing ideas:

Season Proteins

Coat beef, pork, lamb or chicken with the spice mix before grilling, roasting or pan frying. It forms a flavorful, aromatic crust while infusing the meat with taste. For chicken wings, brisket or ribs, rub the blend into meat a day ahead to let flavors permeate before cooking low and slow.

Perk up Vegetables

Toss carrots, cauliflower, broccoli or other veggies with oil and the spice blend before roasting. You'll get caramelized veggies bursting with intriguing flavors. For an extra kick, sprinkle more on after cooking too.

Boost Soups and Stews

Add depth to simmering pots of soup by stirring in a spoonful or two of the spice powder a few minutes before serving. It pairs especially well with chicken noodle soup, beef stew, hot and sour soup and ramen.

Liven up Rice or Grains

Mix a teaspoon or more into rice pilafs, fried rice or quinoa to make the sides more exciting. The spices infuse the grains with intrigue. Use more or less to suit your heat preferences.

So don't let your spices languish in the pantry. Rev up recipes from stir fries to roast meats and beyond with the magic of 13 spice powder. A little goes a long way, so start with small amounts, taste and add more as desired.

13 Spice Powder Recipe

13 Spice Powder Recipe


  • 2 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 Tbsp Sichuan peppercorns
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 5 dried bay leaves
  • 3 black cardamom pods
  • Zest from 2 oranges
  • 1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 Tbsp grated fresh galangal or extra ginger
  • 2 tsp dried licorice root
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp white peppercorns
  • 1/4 whole nutmeg


  • Break up the cinnamon stick and nutmeg into smaller pieces. Leave whole spices intact.
  • Add all ingredients to a spice grinder, blender or mortar and pestle. Grind until a fine powder forms, working in batches if needed.
  • Transfer finished spice mix to an airtight container. Label bottle with contents and date.
  • Store in a cool, dark place and use within 3-6 months for optimal freshness.


What is the shelf life of homemade 13 spice powder?

Properly stored in an airtight container away from light, heat and moisture, it will last 3-6 months. After that, the spices start losing potency.

Can I use a coffee or spice grinder to make 13 spice powder?

Yes, an electric coffee grinder or spice grinder works great for grinding whole spices into a fine powder. Make sure to work in small batches and thoroughly clean grinder between uses.

What's the difference between 13 spice powder and Chinese 5 spice?

Chinese 5 spice contains 5 ingredients - usually cinnamon, star anise, fennel seed, cloves and Sichuan pepper. It has a narrower flavor profile. 13 spice powder builds on that with over twice as many spices added, creating a more complex blend.

What dishes pair well with 13 spice powder?

This bold, multifaceted seasoning shines on grilled or roasted meats, spicy Sichuan cuisine, noodle dishes, fried rice, steamed fish and vegetable stir fries. Frequently used in Chinese cooking but also works well blended into a wide array of Asian and fusion recipes.


For cooks looking to add show-stopping flavor to dishes without too much effort, 13 spice powder satisfies.

With ancient roots yet timeless appeal, this blend of 13 aromatics never disappoints.

Sarah Cortez
Sarah Cortez

My name is Sarah and I'm a baker who loves trying out new recipes and flavor combinations. I decided to challenge myself to use a new spice or ingredient powder in my baking each week for a year. Some successes were the cardamom sugar cookies, vivid turmeric cake, and beetroot chocolate cupcakes. Failures included the bitter neem brownies and overwhelmingly hot ghost pepper snickerdoodles. Through this experience I've discovered amazing additions to spice up desserts while learning how to balance strong flavors. Follow my journey as I push the boundaries of baking with unique powders!

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