9 Best Pernod Substitutes for Cooking

Need a last-minute Pernod cooking substitute? These nine best alternatives will get you out of trouble.

best pernod substitutes

What is Pernod?

Pernod is a French liqueur that has been used and drunk for about 200 years. The most remarkable thing about Pernod is its aniseed flavor. The characteristic licorice taste is dominant and, as such, should be prevalent in whatever else you use as a substitute. It also has an alcoholic element to it. The flavors in this liqueur pair well with seafood. 

The reason for looking for a substitute is that Pernod is not always easy to find. You can either incorporate it in dishes or drink it as it is. When drunk, it’s often served with ice, and one part Pernod to 2 parts water.  

glass of Pastis on a wooden table

Pastis

One of the best alternatives is pastis, which is a spirit, also from France. It makes a good substitute because it is both alcoholic and has a licorice taste thanks to the anise flavor. It has 40 % alcohol, but you can reduce this amount of alcohol as you cook. To use it in a dish instead of Pernod, you can use a few drops. The flavor of anise that is in Pernod will not be lost when you use pastis. 

For an accurate substitute, use ¾ pastis to 1 Pernod quantity. If the flavors aren’t yet matched, you can then increase from there. 

Pouring white wine into the glass against wooden table

White Wine

White wine is one of the most readily available ingredients. It is made from the flesh of grapes without color. There are many different varieties of white wine, such as chardonnay and sauvignon blanc. Just like Pernod, white wine is often used in French cooking. It is often used in dishes such as pasta and seafood dishes. 

White wine has a level of acidity that helps tone down some of the unpleasant seafood tastes. For seafood recipes that call for Pernod, use two teaspoons of white wine. And if you are making pasta dishes, use one teaspoon of white wine. 

Glass of Scotch whiskey and ice sits on top of a rustic whiskey barrel

Whiskey

Whiskey is made from fermenting grain such as rye or wheat, amongst others. It is a distilled spirit made by different manufacturers and comes in different types. 

Not to worry, you can use just about any kind of whiskey as a substitute for Pernod. It can work well as a Pernod substitute, giving a smoky flavor. However, it does not have an aniseed flavor, so if that’s what you’re after then, this may not be the one for you. However, whiskey gives seafood a great flavor. Use equal amounts for the substitution.

Pros

  • It can impart a unique flavor.

Cons

  • It doesn’t have the aniseed taste.

Anisette

This alcohol is made by distilling aniseed, and as such, it has a strong aniseed flavor, just like Pernod. So this makes it a good substitute. It’s colorless and will therefore not alter the color of the dish in any way. This aniseed liqueur is sweeter than Pernod, so think about this when you include it in recipes, you may need to tone down the sweetness. The best ratio to use when substituting it for Pernod comes by adding by taste so that you don’t end up with a much sweeter dish than intended. 

Lemon Juice

The juice extracted from a lemon can also be used in place of Pernod. While it may not be alcoholic or have an aniseed and licorice-like flavor, it is still a good substitute. The great thing about using lemon juice is that you don’t have to worry about looking for a non-alcoholic replacement. You can use equal amounts of lemon juice to Pernod, but you may need to bump up the flavor with other spices. 

Pros

  • It’s a non-alcoholic substitute.

Cons

  • You don’t get the anise flavor.
vodka with mint and ice Two glasses with a cocktail of mint and ice alcohol with lemons on the black surface

Vodka

This is another distilled spirit that can easily substitute Pernod in a recipe. Its composition is mainly water and ethanol. It is distilled from fermented grains or potatoes. One of the reasons it makes such a great substitute is that it can easily be found wherever you are. 

It pairs well with fish dishes and, as such, makes a great substitute. However, you will not get the same licorice-like flavor that you get when you use Pernod. You can use one teaspoon of vodka in seafood dishes, and this will take the place of the Pernod you would have used ordinarily. 

Ouzo

The first thing you will notice about this alcoholic beverage is that it has a robust licorice-like taste. This liquor is made from grapes and is known for its strong aniseed flavor. The alcohol is made and then later flavored with aniseed and cardamom, mint, and coriander, amongst other ingredients. 

The ingredients will differ depending on the manufacturing house. However, the characteristic aniseed flavor comes through. It has the same flavor and, as such, can be used in equal parts when using it instead of Pernod. 

absinthe in glass with lime slices on wooden background

Absinthe

This distilled spirit is made from mixing different plants such as the flowers and leaves with wormwood and a host of other ingredients such as fennel, anise, and angelica root. It can be used as a substitute for Pernod. The color varies, and it can range from clear to bright green. This will depend on how it has been bottled. It is considered a dangerous spirit because of high alcohol volumes and, as such, was banned in several countries.

It makes a good substitute for Pernod because it has an aniseed flavor and high alcohol content. This means that the flavor will closely match that of Pernod. The alcohol will evaporate if you use it for cooking. It works well in seafood dishes. Taste the dish as you prepare it to make sure that you are getting the right taste.

Sambuca

Sambuca is an Italian flavored alcoholic drink that is taken from green anise and star anise. While it has a similar ABV content level to Pernod, it’s sweeter. As such, you will need to taste your dish as you make it with sambuca instead of Pernod. It makes a great substitute because of the similar taste with Pernod. Also, it pairs well with fish dishes and overpowers the odor seafood often comes with.