Pernod Substitutes

8 Pernod Substitutes for Enhancing Any Recipe

Pernod is a popular French liquor with a distinct anise flavor. It is widely used as an ingredient in seafood dishes and sauces to provide a unique licorice taste. However, Pernod may not always be readily available in stores near you. In such cases, it becomes essential to find good substitutes to replicate its flavor and aroma in your recipes. Through my research and cooking experiments, I have discovered several excellent Pernod substitutes that can enhance the taste of your dishes wonderfully.

In this article, I will share a list of the best Pernod substitutes for cooking that you can easily use at home. I will provide details on how each substitute compares to Pernod in terms of flavor, alcohol content, origin, and suitable uses in recipes. Understanding these substitutes will allow you to cook delicious French-inspired cuisine even without Pernod. So let’s get started!

List of 8 Best Pernod Substitutes


Pastis makes an excellent substitute for Pernod as both are French anise-flavored liquors. Pastis contains many of the same ingredients as Pernod, including anise seeds, licorice root, hyssop, and aromatic herbs. When diluted with water, it turns cloudy white, similar to how Pernod looks when mixed. Pastis has a slightly lower alcohol content of 40-45% compared to Pernod’s 45-72%.

Pastis is produced by the Pernod Ricard company, which also manufactures Pernod. So you can expect a very comparable flavor profile. When cooking with Pastis, the alcohol percentage reduces significantly. This allows the anise aroma to be released into sauces, stews, and seafood delicacies.

Overall, Pastis makes an excellent Pernod substitute in recipes, providing the same licorice notes with a mildly lower alcohol content. I would recommend using about 1-2 tsp of Pastis in place of Pernod for most dishes.


Sambuca is an Italian anise-flavored liquor that can stand in for Pernod quite well. It contains essential oils from star anise, licorice, and other herbs for its signature flavor. The most common type is a clear and colorless spirit called white Sambuca. It has an alcohol content of 38-42%.

A splash of Sambuca enhances seafood dishes, bringing out subtle licorice notes similar to Pernod. It pairs well with shellfish like shrimp, lobster, and scallops. For cooking, replace 1 tsp Pernod with 1⁄2 to 1 tsp Sambuca based on your preference. Sambuca also complements fruit-based desserts for an anise twist.


Whiskey’s sweet and smoky profile makes it a unique Pernod substitute in recipes. Varieties like rye, bourbon, and Scotch can be used for cooking depending on the flavors you enjoy. Whiskey contains about 40–50% alcohol so it evaporates when heated, leaving bold tastes behind.

In Europe, whiskey is often used in recipes for red meat stews and pot roasts as it tenderizes while adding flavor. It also complements hearty seafood like salmon and halibut wonderfully. For seafood, use 1⁄2 to 1 tsp whiskey in place of 1 tsp Pernod. Let it simmer to blend the flavors.

White Wine

White wine is a versatile ingredient that works well as a substitute for Pernod in cooking. Dry white wines like Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, and Chardonnay have acidic and fruity notes that complement seafood beautifully. Compared to red wine, white wine brings out the fresh aroma of fish, shrimp, and scallops.

When simmered, white wine reduces down leaving behind its fermented flavors. This makes an excellent addition to pasta sauces, risottos, and mussels or clams preparation. For seafood, use about 2 tsp of white wine in place of 1 tsp Pernod. For risotto or pasta, 1 tsp of white wine substitutes for Pernod nicely.

Additionally, white wine helps eliminate any pungent fishy odors that can arise while cooking seafood. Its pleasant fruity aroma enhances the dish’s overall taste. So don’t hesitate to pour some white wine when you run out of Pernod!


Ouzo is a Greek liquor with a distinct aniseed flavor similar to Pernod, making it a fine substitute. This dry and transparent drink is made by distilling grape must along with anise seeds, mint, cardamom, cloves, coriander, and fennel. The distinct aroma comes from the anise seeds. Ouzo has an alcohol content comparable to Pernod, around 40-50%.

A few dashes of Ouzo can be added to seafood recipes in place of Pernod for a heightened flavor. It brings out the salty and briny notes of dishes like bouillabaisse stew or mussels sautéed in white wine. Ouzo’s intense aroma helps mask any strong fishy smells too. For most recipes, use about 1 tsp of Ouzo for 1 tsp Pernod specified.


Absinthe is a popular European spirit flavored with anise, fennel, and other herbs. With its high alcohol content of 45–74%, absinthe makes a very close substitute for Pernod in terms of flavor. It provides a distinct licorice spice to dishes. The main flavoring ingredients are green anise, sweet fennel, and Artemisia absinthium aka wormwood.

When cooking with absinthe, most of the alcohol evaporates away leaving behind the aromatic flavors. You only need small amounts like 1⁄2 tsp substituted for 1 tsp Pernod. Too much can make the food taste bitter. Absinthe works very well in seafood pasta, risottos, soups, and stews.


Vodka is an easy Pernod substitute to use in cooking as it is readily available and affordable. While vodka itself is neutral in taste, it enhances the existing flavors of a dish beautifully. The alcohol percentage of vodka ranges from 35% to 50% depending on the brand.

When making seafood pasta or risottos, try adding 1 tsp vodka along with fresh herbs, garlic, lemon, and spices. As the vodka simmers, it will intensify the aromas of the herbs and seasoning. Vodka brings out the natural sweetness of seafood too. Overall, it makes a convenient substitute for Pernod in your recipes.

Lemon Juice

For an alcohol-free Pernod substitute, fresh lemon juice works wonderfully. The bright, citrusy aroma of lemon complements seafood dishes well. Lemon juice also provides plenty of vitamin C and antioxidants for extra health benefits.

When cooking mussels, fish, shrimp, or scallops, try squeezing some lemon over it. Allow the lemon juice to simmer for a few minutes to infuse the aroma into the dish. Add about 1 tsp lemon juice for each teaspoon of Pernod that the recipe requires. Taste and adjust acidity as needed.

Lemon juice is an inexpensive and readily available Pernod substitute for those looking to avoid alcohol in their cooking. It provides a comparable fragrance and flavor to Pernod that enhances seafood dishes.


Finding good Pernod substitutes allows you to explore French cuisine and try new recipes even when Pernod isn’t easily available. There are many suitable options like Pastis, Ouzo, Absinthe, Sambuca, wine, whiskey, vodka, and lemon juice that can stand in for Pernod well. Each provides unique flavors and aromas that will elevate your cooking.

When using substitutes, remember to adjust the quantities based on the intensity of flavors you want. Start with smaller amounts and add more if needed. Also, taste the dish as it cooks and modify seasoning if required. With the right substitute, you can whip up restaurant-worthy seafood risottos, stews, and more!

So be adventurous with French recipes and enjoy the delicious results. With a well-stocked pantry, you can recreate the magic of Pernod’s aromas using handy substitutes. Your family and friends will love the new dishes you create.

8 Pernod Substitutes for Enhancing Any Recipe


  • Pastis

  • Sambuca

  • Whiskey

  • White Wine

  • Ouzo

  • Absinthe

  • Vodka

  • Lemon Juice


  • Choose your preferred alternative from the aforementioned options.
  • Adhere to the cooking instructions for your chosen substitute, ensuring the correct proportion of ingredients.

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