ABSTRACT This study determined antioxidant and sensory characteristics of cinnamon, cloves, fennel, pepper, and star anise (Chinese 5-spice ingredients) in cooked ground beef. Total aerobic plate counts were also measured. Mean thiobarbituric acid (TBA) values were high (3.4 ppm) for control cooked ground beef samples. With 1% use level, all spice treatments had lower pooled mean TBA values than controls. At the lowest use level of 0.1% of meat weight, all spices except pepper had lower TBA values than controls. Treatments with 0.1% cloves had lower (P < 0.05) TBA values than 0.1% levels of other individual spices. Star anise, fennel, pepper, and cinnamon samples at 0.5% use level had lower mean TBA values than controls, but not different from 1.0% levels, respectively. Thus, the lowest effective spice level for cloves was 0.1% and 0.5% for the other spices. There was a high correlation (P < 0.01) between TBA values and panel scores for rancid odor and flavor (0.83 and 0.78, respectively). Spice flavor was inversely correlated (P < 0.01) with rancid odor and flavor (-0.57 and -0.61, respectively). The 5-spice blends did not affect microbial load of cooked samples compared with controls. In conclusion, all spices and blends had a dual effect, reducing rancid odor/flavor and imparting a distinctive flavor to cooked ground beef.