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Chinese Boiled Peanuts (水煮五香花生)

These boiled peanuts are an amazingly addicting snack that takes less than 5 minutes to prepare. The peanuts are perfectly salted, spiced, and are soft and tender after cooking. 

Chinese boiled peanuts are a common appetizer and street food. Chinese boiled peanuts are prepared in a similar way to southern-style boiled peanuts. However, these Chinese peanuts use extra spices such as star anise, cloves, and cinnamon to add extra flavor to the dish. Most people add whole spices to the water to make this dish. I like to use five spice powder for extra ease and simplicity. However, I have also included the amounts for whole spices if you would like to use them instead. 

This recipe is also for instant pot boiled peanuts, which turns these five spice peanuts into a quick and easy recipe. Simply add all of the ingredients to the Instant Pot, and let them cook for one hour!

If you do not have an Instant Pot, I’ve also included instructions for making Chinese boiled peanuts on the stovetop, as well as some methods you can use to reduce the cooking time.

How to Make Chinese Boiled Peanuts

First, wash the peanuts thoroughly to remove any dirt and excess debris. 

Pressure Cooker Method

Add the peanuts, salt, and five spice powder (or whole spices) to the pressure cooker. Then, add enough water until the peanuts are fully submerged. Place a trivet or another pressure cooker safe object on top of the peanuts to ensure that they are all covered with water. 

Close and seal the lid. Set the pressure cooker to high pressure for 60 minutes and release it after cooking.

Chinese Boiled Peanuts 2

Stovetop Method

If you have time, soak the peanuts for a few hours before cooking. This will help to reduce the cooking time. Add the peanuts, salt, and five spice powder (or whole spices) to a large pot, and add enough water to submerge the peanuts. Bring the water to a boil and cook the peanuts for 3 hours. Cook the peanuts for 2 hours if pre-soaked. 

To further reduce the cooking time, you can also slightly crack the peanuts open on one end. Then, you would only need to boil the peanuts for about 1 to 1.5 hours. 

Storing the Peanuts

  • Let the Chinese boiled peanuts cool before storing in a container with the salty/spiced water. The peanuts taste best after soaking in the brine overnight, as they will absorb more flavor. Store the peanuts in the brine for up to one week in the refrigerator.
  • If you do not want to have wet peanuts, you can also let the peanuts dry completely before storing in an air-tight container. However, the peanuts will be less flavorful.

Note:

  1. The peanuts that you want for this recipe are raw, unshelled peanuts. You can also use raw, shelled peanuts, but you will need to half the salt, half the five-spice, and decrease the cooking time accordingly. 
  2. If you buy green peanuts for this recipe, make sure that you store them in an air-tight container in the refrigerator before cooking. Otherwise, the green peanuts can spoil quickly. (Green peanuts are freshly dug from the soil, so they have a much higher moisture content than dried raw peanuts. The greater amount of moisture causes them to spoil quicker.)
Chinese Boiled Peanuts Cropped
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Chinese Boiled Peanuts

These boiled peanuts are an amazingly addicting snack that takes less than 5 minutes to prepare. The peanuts are perfectly salted, spiced, and are soft and tender after cooking.
Prep Time2 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 2 mins
Course: Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: Chinese boiled peanuts, chinese peanuts, five spice peanuts, instant pot boiled peanuts
Servings: 10 servings
Calories: 80kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 lb raw, unshelled peanuts 453 grams
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 2 tbsp five spice

If Using Whole Spices

  • 3 pieces star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 tbsp fennel

Instructions

  • Wash the peanuts thoroughly to remove any dirt and excess debris.

Pressure Cooker

  • Add the peanuts, salt, and five spice powder (or whole spices) to the pressure cooker. Add enough water until the peanuts are fully submerged. Place a trivet or other pressure cooker safe object on top of peanuts to ensure that all of the peanuts are underneath the water. Note 1
  • Close the pressure cooker and set it to high pressure for 60 minutes. Release once finished.

Stovetop

  • Optional: soak the peanuts for a few hours before cooking to reduce the cooking time. Add the peanuts, salt, and five spice to a large pot, and add enough water to submerge the peanuts. Note 1
  • Bring the water to a boil and boil the peanuts for 3 hours, or 2 hours if pre-soaked.
  • To further reduce the cooking time, you can also slightly crack the peanuts open on one end. Then, you would only need to boil the peanuts for about 1 to 1.5 hours.

Storing

  • Let the peanuts cool before storing in a container with the salty/spiced water. The peanuts taste best after soaking in the brine overnight, as they will absorb more flavor.
  • Store the peanuts in the brine for up to one week in the refrigerator.

Notes

  1. Make sure that all of the peanut are cover with water so that they cook evenly.

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