Five Spice Chicken


As a couple, we always sought bargains at the local grocery when we bought our first home more than 16  years ago. The Chicken leg quarters for $0.39 a pound sounded like a decent deal. When we were in college, we often made this oven-baked five-spice chicken since it was simple, inexpensive, and, most importantly, delicious.

The simplest of the simple

There are only nine ingredients needed to make this five-spice chicken dish. Marinade the chicken the night before so that all you have to do at supper is to put the chicken on a sheet pan and cook it. You can put a filling meal on the table in less than an hour with some rice and a veggie.

However, don’t be fooled by the recipe’s seeming simplicity. It’s delicious! When the chicken is cooked, its juices drip onto a baking sheet, combining with the rice to make a delicious sauce.

It was a hit with our kids when they were younger, and Sarah tells me that she still makes it for dinner on hectic weeknights!

What’s the crux of the matter? Powdered five-spice flavoring in the Chinese style.

What Are the Five Spices in Chinese POWDER?

There are five spices in a five spice powder: star anise (ground), clove (ground), Chinese cinnamon (ground), and fennel seeds (ground). The recipe could also contain ginger, nutmeg, cardamom, dried tangerine peel, or galangal.

Even if you don’t have access to a Chinese market, you can easily make this dish with five spice powder, which can now be available in most grocery stores. It’s also known to buy on the internet.

Shaoxing wine is the only other possibly difficult-to-find item, but you can use plain dry cooking sherry instead!


  • 1 tbsp. of soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. of salt
  • 1 tsp. of five spice powder
  • 1 tbsp. of red onion (minced)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 1 tsp. of oil
  • 1 tbsp. of shaoxing wine
  • 1 tsp. of sesame oil
  • 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs


  1. Set the sauce components in a mixing bowl and keep them there until you’re ready to use them. It is important to marinate the chicken thoroughly, so pat it dry before adding it. A minimum of 20 minutes of marination is required.
  2. Prepare an oven-safe baking sheet by lining it with nonstick foil or parchment paper and placing it in the oven to preheat to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees C). Roast the chicken for 35-40 minutes on the pan.
  3. During this time, if the chicken hasn’t crisped up, turn on the broiler for a few minutes, but be careful not to walk away, or they’ll burn!
  4. The chicken is done when the juices run clear when you pierce the thigh with a fork. It’s a complete meal when served with steamed rice and vegetables!
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