Chinese Five Spice Beef Soup with Bok Choy

4.84 from 25 votes
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Chinese five spice beef soup with bok choy is a flavor-packed and hearty soup. Carrots, sweet potato, bok choy, and red cabbage make this soup healthy and filling!

Chinese Five Spice Beef Soup with Bok Choy

When you’ve got a cold, nothing sounds better than some hot and savory soup! But not the old standby chicken noodle version, I need the big guns to get through this cold. I’m loading up on a beefy and more spice-tastic (I think I made up a new word) recipe from the Far East.

This Chinese five spice beef soup packs everything you need to recover while not lacking in the flavor department. If your nose is plugged up, you’re going to need more spices to taste how awesome this dish is. Tender cuts of boneless beef short rib are seared and then braised in a Chinese five spice broth.

Beef soup in chinese decorated bowl

That’s where the magic is. The blend of warm cinnamon, star anise, fennel, pungent ginger, cloves, white pepper, licorice root makes a world of difference. Turning that a boring soup from a zero to a hero.

A generous amount of vegetables is packed into each bowl to get the healthy phytonutrients and nutrition you need to fight off those bugs or just eat healthy. Tender pieces of sweet potato, carrots, crispy bok choy (Chinese broccoli), thinly sliced red cabbage and green onions are like a rainbow in your bowl!

close up of pieces of meat in a bowl of soup

This is completely optional, but the more I make this soup I find that I like to add noodles to add a little more filling. A girls got to eat! Maifun rice noodles or egg ramen are perfect and easy additions to this recipe! Just prepare and add to each bowl, top with broth, beef, and vegetables and you’ve got a hearty meal. Slurp!

Looking for more Chinese inspired recipes

What is the benefit of braising the Beef?

Braises utilize a combination of cooking methods. By first searing the meat in a small amount of oil, this adds a richer flavor caused by browning the meat, and more attractive color of the finished dish. Water can never achieve temperatures hot enough to brown the sugars in the meat, so combining dry heat and moist heat methods provides flavor and infuses the flavors into the soup.

Chinese Five Spice Beef Soup with Bok Choy

Chinese five spice beef soup with bok choy is a flavor packed and hearty soup. Carrots, sweet potato, bok choy and red cabbage make this soup healthy and filling!
4.84 from 25 votes
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time35 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Course Soup
Cuisine Chinese


  • 4 cloves garlic, large pieces, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, minced fresh
  • 1 ½ pounds beef rib-eye steak, or boneless short rib
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons five spice powder
  • 3 cups beef stock, or broth
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 12 ounces sweet potato, large size, orange flesh
  • 1 pound baby bok choy
  • 2 carrots, peeled, ¼-inch sliced on a bias
  • 1 cup red cabbage, thinly sliced, about ¼-inch thick slices
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced on a bias


  • Trim fat from the beef and cut across the grain into ¼-inch thick slices, about 2-inches long, and 1-inch wide, discarding excess fat. Sprinkle meat with half of the minced garlic and ginger, salt and pepper, stir to combine.
  • Heat oil in a large pot over high heat. Brown half the beef lightly, occasionally stirring, 3 to 4 minutes until just cooked. It's okay if the meat is still a little pink. With a slotted spoon, transfer meat to a bowl. Repeat with remaining beef. Cover cooked meat with plastic wrap and set aside.
  • Reduce heat to medium. Add remaining minced garlic and ginger to the pot and cook until softened, about 30 seconds. Stir in five spice powder, beef stock, and soy sauce.
  • Peel sweet potato, halve lengthwise, and then cut into ⅓-inch thick slices and add to the pot. Add peeled and chopped carrots to the pot. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat, and then reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, trim ¾-inch off the ends of the bok choy, separate leaves, and cut the larger outside leaves down the center to make two smaller pieces. Rinse and wash well.
  • Stir bok choy and sliced red cabbage into the stew and simmer just until bok choy is wilted, about 2 minutes. Stir in beef and cook until hot, 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with sliced green onions.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 4 servings
Calories 334kcal (17%)Carbohydrates 27g (9%)Protein 17g (34%)Fat 18g (28%)Saturated Fat 6g (30%)Polyunsaturated Fat 2gMonounsaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 1gCholesterol 40mg (13%)Sodium 692mg (29%)Potassium 456mg (13%)Fiber 6g (24%)Sugar 7g (8%)Vitamin A 20700IU (414%)Vitamin C 89.1mg (108%)Calcium 160mg (16%)Iron 2.9mg (16%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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5 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Carrie says

    I had a chicken carcass to make broth from, and wanted to use up some ginger, onions, star anise, and other spices (homemade Chinese five spice) to make something extra tasty. This soup was spectacular on this rainy day, and I will make it again.

  2. amy says

    It’s simmering on my stove right now… Looking forward to it. After a little taste I decided to add a can of diced tomatoes to brighten it up. Happy New Year.