If you’re learning Chinese, podcasts are an excellent resource to learn from.
The good news is, there are so many great options available (in addition to plenty of excellent online Chinese courses).
Mandarin Chinese is one of the most important languages in the world for business and global trade. In addition to business and career advancement, Mandarin Chinese is becoming more and more popular as tourism to China increases (it’s a gorgeous country with a rich history that people are eager to explore).
Podcasts not only give you a great resource to learn from, but are a wonderful way to learn more about Chinese culture.
Today I’m going to share with you the best podcasts to learn Chinese with (I know them all very well).
I’ll give you my thoughts as a Mandarin speaker.
Table Of Contents
- Rocket Chinese
- Conversations (Chinese)
- Talk Chineasy
- Mandarin Monkey
- I Love Learning Chinese
- Popup Chinese
- Melnyks Chinese
- Dimsum Mandarin
- Mandarin Blueprint
- Takeaway Chinese
- Learn Mandarin Now
- Slow Chinese
- Learning Chinese Through Stories
- Yep! Chinese
- Coffee Break Chinese
- Chinese Learn Online
- CSL Pod
- Mandarin Bean
DISCLAIMER: The comments below are personal opinions.
ChineseClass101 is without doubt the most popular online podcast for learning Mandarin Chinese.
Less of a structured course, and more of a mishmash of topic-based podcast lessons, this is a great option for anyone heading to China.
The Rocket Chinese courses are made up of podcasts that teach Mandarin in a fun, clear and easy-to-follow way. There also natural dialogues and other content delivery styles within the different course levels.
While not strictly a “podcast”, this is the format of its main delivery style.
Rocket Chinese’s three course levels are the most comprehensive available.
Read Rocket Chinese review.
Conversations (Chinese) by I Will Teach You A Language
Conversations isn’t technically a podcast, but it’s an exceptional audio resource for high-level Chinese learners so it belongs on this list.
It’s a 20 chapter story-based approach, where you listen to a native Chinese speaker with accompanying transcripts, lessons and exercises.
This one’s also not a podcast admittedly but it’s the most famous audio-only course for Mandarin in existence, so I have to include it.
Pimsleur’s lessons focus on practical vocabulary and expressions one might need in various scenarios. This includes greetings, common phrases, and vocabulary you might need when visiting China.
Definitely a favorite.
See Pimsleur review.
Hosted by a popular Taiwanese entrepreneur named ShaoLan, Talk Chineasy is one of the best podcasts available for learning Mandarin Chinese.
There are lots of lessons which are short, and straight to the point. Highly recommend.
In contrast to Talk Chineasy, Mandarin Monkey podcast lessons are very long (over an hour each) but there’s a lot and they’re very good.
Lessons take the form of a conversation rather than a formal lesson.
These podcast lessons are short too, and the host Ashley, keeps the lessons concise and easy to digest. Topical vocab and dialogues are introduced and then talked about.
There are 6 levels of these podcasts, ranging from absolute beginner to high beginner/low intermediate.
This one’s not free to download unfortunately (quite expensive for a premium subscription) and no longer appears to be actively updated.
But it’s still an excellent resource for some really unique Mandarin Chinese podcast lessons (lots of unique dialogues/conversation).
This podcast is actually hosted by a non-native Chinese speaker but it’s still excellent, and suitable for higher levels.
Each podcast lesson is around 20 minutes, which in my opinion is a little too long.
The best part about this one is the high repetition of key vocab and dialogues.
Dimsum hasn’t been updated in ages but it’s still an excellent podcast for learning Chinese.
There are free and premium options (the premium option goes into greater detail of the dialogue content). Overall, it’s a really good Chinese language podcast despite its lack of updates.
These guys are incredible and have produced literally thousands of podcast audio and video lessons for Mandarin Chinese. One of the best in the business and fun to listen to.
They cover pretty much everything at every level. Highly recommend.
This podcast is basically a giant advert for the Mandarin Blueprint course.
I haven’t tried the course yet personally, but the podcast is quite good. It’s run by a non-native Chinese speaker from Britain who has excellent pronunciation and grasp of the language.
This Chinese learning podcast is excellent (though a little too long for each episode).
It’s frequently updated with new, topic-based lessons that explain key concepts in great detail. One of the best podcasts for learning Chinese I’ve seen.
Learn Mandarin Now hasn’t been updated since 2017, but they have literally hundreds of high quality podcast episodes worth listening to.
Lots of careful, detailed dissection of Chinese dialogues which I love.
This one’s definitely aimed at higher-level Chinese learners, as it’s entirely in Mandarin.
The good about it (as the name suggests), it’s spoken slowly making it a perfect listening tool.
Probably the best series here for Intermediate - Advanced learners, and their lessons are all in Mandarin Chinese.
Tons of bitesize content and updated frequently.
Another quality podcast for Intermediate - Advanced learners of Chinese.
This one focuses on stories. You’ll listen to a Chinese story and then the host will walk you through it, explaining it in detail.
There are some real gems in this Chinese language podcast series but it seems to be quite random in its topic choice.
I’m not sure how active it still is but my guess is that they’re making new episodes anymore.
Coffee Break podcast lessons are ideal for the casual learner who prefers a well-structured course. They make their audio lessons free through a podcast format but they also have a premium product.
For those who feel overwhelmed at the idea of learning a second language, Coffee Break Chinese is a good choice. The lessons are relaxed and provide the feeling of learning with a friend. The program begins by teaching words and sentences and then progresses to putting them all together.
This podcast is part of the popular Chinese Learn Online course, and has (currently) 420 podcast lessons in total.
A quality resource that can be used either as part of the paid course, or for free via the podcast (minus the extra material).
CSL Pod is a subscription service that teaches Chinese using podcasts.
It’s excessively expensive however and now appears defunct or close to it (antiquated website).
I saved one of my personal favorites till last.
Mandarin Bean is excellent, and leveled according to HSK. There are loads of different topics that it covers.
The beauty of Mandarin Bean is that there’s no chitchat (no host) - just dialogues and repetition. If you’re an autodidact of Chinese, this is for you definitely.
Summary: Best podcasts to learn Chinese
This list covers pretty much every Chinese podcast option currently available (comment below if I’ve missed something).
No matter which Chinese podcast you use, you need daily Mandarin practice with native speakers – ideally in person if you can (even more ideal if you can study in China).
But if finding native speakers near you isn’t feasible, then italki is an incredible platform to find really affordable practice partners and tutors.
I hope these Chinese podcasts are helpful!
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Have you listened to a Chinese podcast that I didn’t mention?
Share it below in the comment section.