Pressure Cooker Chinese Five-spice Boiled Peanuts

Pressure Cooker Chinese Five-spice Boiled PeanutsAre you looking for some healthy, yet macho-man-worthy snacks for a bunch of raving football fans. Give these Chinese Five-spice Boiled Peanuts a try! Unlike most of the other popular tailgate snacks that are high in sugar or salt, these boiled peanuts are much healthier. They are also highly addictive with no adverse physiological effects. If you live in South Carolina or nearby states, you probably know that boiled peanuts are called the “caviar of the South”.

Folks from the southern states aren’t the only ones who love boiled peanuts. It’s also a popular snack in China. Nuts or seeds in shells were the most popular snacks when I grew up.   When the weather gets cooler, the sound of shells cracking gets louder. While Americans are filling their cheeks with popcorn at the movies, the Chinese are busy cracking open shells like squirrels.

Pressure Cooker Chinese Five-spice Boiled Peanuts

I was never a big fan of roasted peanuts. Many times, my mom would ask me why. Although I couldn’t find the words at the time, I figure it must have been I just preferred softer texture and bold spicy flavors of the boiled peanuts. I still remember hanging out with my friends on those chilly days. In the background to all our chatting and laughing was that shell cracking sound from those hearty Chinese five-spice boiled peanuts. So much fun!

Pressure Cooker Chinese Five-spice Boiled Peanuts

As boiling is one of the most common cooking methods in Chinese cuisine, it’s easy to understand why boiled peanuts are popular in almost every Chinese household. (Not many Chinese families had an oven, and roasted peanuts were only commercially available). Simply fill a pot with water and either freshly harvested peanuts, aka green peanuts, or raw dried peanuts (raw dried peanuts need to be soaked overnight). Add some salt and a few popular Chinese spices. After boiling them on a stove for hours, you’ll get those soft and spiced boiled peanuts.

You have many choices as far as spices are concerned. My favorite is this Chinese five-spice combination:

Cinnamon stick

Star anise

Fennel seeds


Tsaoko fruit (aka Black cardamom)

Pressure Cooker Chinese Five-spice Boiled Peanuts

To reduce the cooking time, I used my pressure cooker. All the flavors from the spices and salt are slowly infused into the peanuts by boiling and steeping. If you’d like to add a hot spicy kick, throw in a few chili peppers before you close the pressure cooker lid.

Be sure to make a large batch because your tailgate friends will be grabbing handfuls.

Pressure Cooker Chinese Five-spice Boiled Peanuts

5 from 1 vote
Pressure Cooker Chinese Five-spice Boiled Peanuts
Prep Time
18 hrs
Cook Time
35 mins
Total Time
18 hrs 35 mins
Tools: A large mixing bowl, strainer, measuring spoons and cups, 8-quart pressure cooker.

The softer texture and bold spicy flavors make these Chinese five-spice boiled peanuts a fantastic snack for tailgate parties. 

Course: Snacks (gluten-free, vegan)
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: Gluten-free, Gluten-free Asian, pressure cooker, vegan, Vegan Asian
Author: Joyce
  • 1 lb dried peanuts raw and in shell
  • 5 cups water
  • tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 cinnamon stick approximately 3” long
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 2 cloves
  • 1/2 piece Tsaoko fruit
  1. Soak dried peanuts in a large mixing bowl overnight, which will also remove the dirt on the shell. Rinse and drain.
  2. Add soaked peanuts, water, and the remaining ingredients in a pressure cooker. Follow the instructions of the pressure cooker and cook 23 minutes with a low heat. Let pressure drop on its own accord.
Recipe Notes

1. These boiled peanuts can be stored in a refrigerator for up to 6 days or a freezer for a month.
2. Preparation time includes the soaking time. If you use fresh “green peanuts”, skip the soaking step.

Pressure Cooker Chinese Five-spice Boiled Peanuts


    • Joyce says:

      Totally! I saw there are some recipes that are using slow cooker to cook the boiled peanuts. But I do love my pressure cooker, it gets things done so fast (and taste good too!).

  1. Patrick says:

    This recipe looks great and I look forward to trying it. I will omit the cinnamon though as I tend to associate that flavor with dessert. When I was working in Zhengzhou, my favorite restaurant served shelless boiled peanuts with diced cucumbers and carrots. They also added fresh cilantro. They may have added some type of vinegar to it but I’m not sure. It was an incredibly addictive appetizer. I’ve been trying to replicate that dish, but it hasn’t quite worked out.

    • Joyce says:

      Thanks for reminding me that delicious appetizer, Patrick! I almost forgot that my mom used to make/buy it when I was young. I think I’ll definitely create that recipe and post it on the blog.

      I hope you’ll enjoy these boiled peanuts. 🙂

  2. Keiko says:

    Hi Joyce! So excited to find this recipe! I have the instant pot, and your recipe says low heat… does that mean low pressure for the instant pot? Thank you!

    • Joyce says:

      Hi Keiko, I should say low heat with a slow, steady flow of steam escaping from the pressure regulator. I hope this helps. 🙂

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