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Chinese Five-Spice Peanuts: The Irresistible Snack

chinese 5 spice peanuts

Ever since Robin and I developed our Five-Spice Roast Pork dish for The Lazy Gourmet (p.126) I’ve been a little bit obsessed with Chinese five-spice powder.

It’s an intriguing and hard-to-describe spice blend made of (most commonly) cinnamon, cloves, star anise, fennel, and Szechuan peppercorns.

While it’s usually used in savory meat, seafood, or vegetable dishes, five-spice powder’s rich, warm flavor is strangely irresistible on the sweeter side, too.

A quick Googling of “five-spice desserts” might surprise you with results like Chinese Five-Spiced Chocolate Cupcakes and Five-Spice Sweet Potato Pie.

chinese five spice peantus in cast iron skillet

Reader Mandy, who commented on my Ten Favorite Homemade Holiday Food Gifts (That Aren’t Cookies) post, mentioned some five-spice nuts that she’d made as a holiday gift and I thought that sounded pretty great.

While Mandy used pistachios, I decided that a huge batch of sweet and salty five-spice peanuts would be a perfect, inexpensive finger food for the housewarming party I was in the midst of planning.

And, by the way, when I say huge I mean huge. If I believed in astrology I would blame my Cancerian nature for always cooking way more than necessary.

Luckily, the six pounds of spiced nuts and seven pounds of pickled carrots that are still sitting in my fridge are freaking delicious and will stay good for weeks to come.)

p.s. I’ve been eating these crunchy sweet treats by the handful, as a snack, but I bet they’d be great tossed into an Asian-style salad or mixed into rice.

Yield: Makes 1 1/2 cups

Chinese Five-Spice Peanuts

chinese 5 spice peanuts

Chinese Five-Spice is a blend made of (most commonly) cinnamon, cloves, star anise, fennel, and Szechuan peppercorns. These peanuts make a great party snack, plus they'll keep well in a tightly-sealed container on your countertop for a few days, or more. Store them the fridge for even longer preservation.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1½ cups raw, shelled, unsalted peanuts

Instructions

  1. Set a large baking sheet or dish out on the counter before you begin.
  2. In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. When butter begins to bubble (but before it burns) add five-spice powder, sugar, and salt. Stir until sugar and salt are dissolved.
  3. Add the peanuts, stirring frequently until they begin to turn a light brown (4 to 5 minutes).
  4. Spread the peanuts out in a single layer in the baking dish. Let cool to room temperature. If they've stuck together, just give them a stir to break them apart.

Nutrition Information

Yield

12

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 94Total Fat 8gSaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 5gCholesterol 5mgSodium 105mgCarbohydrates 4gFiber 1gSugar 2gProtein 3g

7 thoughts on “Chinese Five-Spice Peanuts: The Irresistible Snack”

  1. these sound yummy but am wondering why you would store them in the refrigerator?–it seems like that would make them damp and gooey and difficult to use as gifts which sounds like a great idea

    Reply
  2. Keeping them on the countertop is fine for a while, even a long while, but if you over-enthusiastically make 6 pounds of them like I did, you might want to keep them in the fridge for even longer preservation. They don’t get damp and gooey at all, at least not in my experience. If I were to make them as gifts I would bag them up soon after cooking and cooling (giving a good stir to break up the clumps) and not bother with the fridge at all.

    Reply
  3. I haven’t made them yet but Juliana served them to me and they are just as good as she says! I had to move the plate to the other side of the room so I wouldn’t eat them all!

    Reply
  4. The bubblytsugar mixture became carmalized when I added the peanuts and didn’t stick to the peanuts what did I do wrong and it is quite greasy. Please help.
    Thank you,
    Chizuko.

    Reply
    • I’m afraid I just don’t know! I haven’t had that problem. Next time I make them I’ll pay attention to that step, and see if I can figure it out.

      Reply

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