pernod substitutes

Top 10 Pernod Substitutes for Cooking

Pernod has been making French cuisine and most of its seafood dishes inexplicably delicious. There is certain uniqueness of flavor that this French liqueur adds to the food. 

Pernod liqueur is known for its strong anise-flavor and aroma, which masks the undesirable smell of seafood in most recipes. When used in cooking, the spirit evaporated, leaving behind its aroma and flavor.

Despite its wide-ranging use in French cuisine, Pernod is a controversial liqueur, and it is not easily available everywhere. If you ever get stuck in a situation where you have no Pernod available at home, yet you want to cook a flavorsome French meal, then you can always go for other anise-flavored substitutes for Pernod. Pernod actually belongs to a whole family of anise spirits, which means that we have a lot of alternate options to replace Pernod and still get the same flavors and aroma. Here we will learn all about those substitutes and how they can replace Pernod in a recipe.


What is Pernod Liqueur? 

Pernod is a French liqueur that has anise mixed licorice-y flavor. That peculiar taste you enjoy while having French bouillabaisse or oysters Rockefeller is all because of the use of Pernod liqueur.

pernod substitutes

Pernod belongs to the family of spirits, and all the liqueur present in this family has this chemical compound known as “anethole”, which give these spirits the distinctive anise flavor. 

Anethole is not only present in anise, but it is also found in star anise and fennel, and that is the reason that they all have this aroma and a sweetish licorice-y taste. 

Pernod is a spirit that contains 40 percent of alcohol, the other liqueur in the anise spirits family contain alcohol in a different proportion. Similarly, the sugar content also varies in this group. Pernod contains about 1.8 tablespoons of sugar per cup of liqueur, so it is mildly sweet in taste. 

The use of Pernod in the different recipes is carried out according to this sugar content or sweetness and the percentage of alcohol present in it.

Pernod’s Flavor

The good thing about Pernod is that it is more versatile than other anise spirits. Its balanced flavor and aroma make it a suitable liqueur to season meat, fish, and vegetable dishes without adding extra sweetness. Its mellow flavor allows the cooks to use all sorts of recipes from seafood to drinks and desserts. 

Cooking with Pernod Liqueur

Remember, Pernod is a volatile liquid. Anethole, which gives this liqueur its flavor and aroma, is as volatile as the alcohol present in it. So, the more you cook the Pernod in a recipe, the more anethole it will lose in evaporation and in the end, you won’t get any of its taste in the food. 

The other cooking technique that people apply to the food containing spirits is to ignite its fume while putting in a flambé show. But this technique is not suitable to cook food with Pernod because, in this case, again, the anethole would evaporate, leaving behind no flavor. 

The best way to use Pernod in cooking is to add it during the final stage of cooking and cook on low heat so that the anethole is completely absorbed by other ingredients. 

Pernod Ricard

Before going any further, let me clear out one big confusion that most of us have in our mind – is Pernod and Ricard the same? The Pernod vs Ricard question always pops up whenever there is a Pernod’s discussion in town. 

Well, Pernod Ricard is a French company that produces and sells Pernod liqueur along with several other anise-flavored liqueurs. It is the second-largest spirits seller in the world, and due to this popularity of the brand, the Pernod liqueur is also known by the name of Ricard or Pernod Ricard. 

How to choose a Pernod substitute?

So, what have we learned about Pernod so far? Well, it has this anethole compound which gives it an anise-like flavor, it is a spirit that contains 40 percent alcohol, and it is great to add to meat, seafood, vegetables and poultry for seasoning. Pernod can be substituted with other ingredients only if they share these basic qualities with it or at least have similar characteristics.


Top 10 Substitutes for Pernod Liqueur in Recipes

What can replace Pernod in a recipe? Well, there are several options to count on! Here the top 10 choices to substitute Pernod in cooking

Alcoholic Pernod Substitutes

Since Pernod is a 40 percent alcoholic liqueur, finding an alcoholic substitute to replace Pernod has to be our first preference. Fortunately, we don’t have to look far to find its replacement; there are many liqueurs from the anise-flavored family of Pernod that can serve the purpose.

1. Pastis

Pastis is a good Pernod liqueur alternative. Why? You may ask! Well, it’s French, it’s anise-flavored, and most of all, it has 40-45 percent alcoholic content by volume, and that makes the pastis the closest match to the Pernod. 

pernod substitutes - Pastis

In France, pastis is typically known as an aperitif which means an alcoholic drink that is served before the meal. 

Pastis has that same anise and licorice-like flavor with 100 grams per liter sugar content, so it is also mildly sweet in taste.  

Substituting Pernod with Pastis

Due to the alcohol and sugar content of pastis, it is the closest match to the Pernod. So, you can add used pastis instead of Pernod in an equal amount. 2-3 drops of pastis are enough to replace 2-3 drops of Pernod in a recipe.

What is the difference between pastis and Pernod?

Despite their close similarities, pastis and Pernod are still two different types of liqueurs. Pernod is prepared using the distillation process, whereas the pastis is produced by macerating anise, licorice and some herbs in a spirit base.


2. Absinthe

This green-colored spirit that is often used in Halloween drinks and to make other party beverage is known as Absinthe. This liqueur is yet another anise-flavored spirit that takes its essences from the grand wormwood plant, sweet fennel and green anise seeds. 

pernod substitutes - Absinthe

Though this spirit has been used for medicinal purpose forever, its culinary uses became widespread in the 18th century in Europe. 

Absinthe appears different in color from the Pernod. It has 45-74 percent of alcoholic content, and for this reason, it is also remaining controversial over the years. Pernod Ricard company even remained banned for some years due to the sale of Absinthe, and even today, absinthe consumption is not legal everywhere, so make sure to confirm if it is legally allowed to use Absinthe in cooking in your area.

Pernod Vs Absinthe

Absinthe is a great replacement for Pernod in different meals. It has the same flavor base as that of Pernod, which is good to season oysters Rockefeller, or make sorbets, souffles, ice creams etc. However, you should use Absinthe in a very small amount. For example, to make the sauce for 2 dozen oysters, you can use about ¼ cup of Absinthe; most of the alcoholic content is evaporated during cooking.


3. White Wine

The use of white wine or any other wine in cooking is not new for most of the use. Adding wine to food makes it exquisite. In most European cuisines, white wine is added to desserts, seafood dishes, and pasta etc. 

pernod substitutes - White wine

White wine is prepared through the alcoholic fermentation of the colorless pulp of grapes. The use of white wine in medicines and food dates back to 4000 years. It is available in crazy varieties, and you can use them all to replace Pernod in a recipe.

White wine changes its flavors with ageing; it gets acidic with age. This aged white wine is great to marinate and cure meat, poultry and seafood. 

Can white wine substitute Pernod?

White wine, especially the sweet one, has that mildly sweet taste that matches Pernod and therefore, it can replace it in a different recipe. Since white wine takes deeper and stronger flavors with ageing, use it according to its taste to replace Pernod in a recipe.

4. Ouzo

Ouzo is another aperitif on the list. Like Pernod, it is also an anise-flavored spirit, but it is more popular in Greece and Cyprus than in France. Ouzo is produced through distillation, and it appears clear like water. However, when it is mixed with ice or water, it turns milk-white. It has 38 percent of alcohol by volume. 

pernod substitutes - Ouzo

Ouzo has strong anise with a black licorice flavor, which is perfect to season cookies and seafood marinades. Use an equal amount of ouzo to replace Pernod in a recipe. 

5. Sambuca

I often hear people asking- Is Pernod similar to sambuca? Well, they do share the same anise flavor and belong to the same family of spirits. 

pernod substitutes - Sambuca

Sambuca is basically an Italian liqueur that appears colorless. There is black and red sambuca as well, but they are not as good of a replacement for Pernod as colorless sambuca.

Sambuca is 38 percent alcohol by volume, and it has extracts of star anise, green anise, licorice, elderflower and some sugar. Use an equal amount of sambuca to substitute Pernod in any recipe.


6. Whiskey

If you have whiskey lying around in your refrigerator, then you are just in luck! Because now you can use it as a good alternative for Pernod in a recipe. 

Unlike, other spirits and liqueur on this list, whiskey belongs to a completely different family of distilled alcoholic spirit. Its different varieties are prepared from the malted grains of wheat, rye, corn or barley.

pernod substitutes - Whiskey

Its actual taste develops with age, and the type of grain used to make a whiskey determines its flavor. Normally whiskey has a sweet and malty flavor. Since whiskey does not contain anethol, unlike Pernod, you can add to a recipe after getting started with the cooking. A longer cooking time will allow the flavors to penetrate the food. 

7. Vodka

Vodka is a Polish, Russian and Swedish liqueur that contains almost 40 percent of alcohol by volume. In ancient time the drink was prepared by fermenting the cereal grain, but in recent time potatoes are used to prepare it. 

pernod substitutes - Vodka

To replace Pernod in cooking, go for unflavored vodkas because the flavored ones can infuse their respective fruity, vanilla or peppery flavors into the food. 

Vodka makes the right fit for several seafood recipes like saucy fishes, shrimp and scallops. It has this extremely mild sweet flavor which is great to season sauces, marinades and some varieties of paste meal. 


8. Anisette

Anisette is a popular Mediterranean anise flavor liqueur that is sweeter than other anise-flavoured spirits due to its high sugar content. The anisette is produced through the distillation of aniseed. 

pernod substitutes - Anisette

Keep the sweet taste of anisette in mind when you use it as a substitute to Pernod, and start by adding only a small amount. 

Nonalcoholic Pernod Liqueur Substitutes

For one reason or another, if you don’t like the idea of using alcoholic substitutes for Pernod, then you can also go for some nonalcoholic options as well, such as:


9. Lemon or Lime Juice

Well, lemon or lime juice is no match to the taste of Pernod in a recipe. But this juice can fight the smell of seafood in most recipes. In this regard, you can definitely use lemon and lime juice to substitute Pernod. Simply drizzle lemon or lime juice over fish, shrimp, or any other seafood before marination, and that will fight off the smell.

pernod substitutes - Lemon or Lime Juice

10. Citrus Juice

Other citrus juices include orange, navel, clementine or mandarin juices and they not only fight the smell of the seafood but also add a mildly sweet and sour flavor to the food, which makes them a close nonalcoholic substitute of Pernod.

pernod substitutes - Citrus Juice


11. Anise Seeds and Powder 

If it is just the anise flavor that you want in your recipes, then you can use anise seeds or powder in your food instead of Pernod. Make sure to use the seeds and powder in moderation to avoid over-seasoning. 

pernod substitutes - Anise Seeds and Powder


Table: Alcoholic Substitutes for Pernod

                                                             Alcoholic Substitutes for Pernod
Pastis Absinthe White Wine  Ouzo Sambuca Whiskey Vodka Anisette
Alcohol by Volume 40-45 % 45-74 % 10 % 38% 38% 40-50 % 40 % 25%


Anise and licorice roots Wormwood, 

Green anise

Sweet fennel

Pulp of grapes star anise, and fennel seeds Cereal grain or potatoes Water, yeast and grains Grains Anise seeds and simple syrup


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What type of alcohol is Pernod?
Pernod is a distilled spirit that contains only 40 percent alcohol and has anise infused flavor.
Are Pernod and Absinthe the same?
The Pernod absinthe used to be the brand name of the original Absinthe. In this regard, they are the same. But Pernod the spirit is slightly different from Absinthe because of its alcoholic content and flavors. Unlike Pernod, Absinthe has wormwood, green anise and sweet fennel flavors mixed together in it, and it has higher alcoholic content as well.
How do you use Pernod in a recipe?
Pernod can be used in marinades to remove the smell of seafood and meats. You can add few drops to stuffings, sauces, glazes, soups and stews to give them that peculiar anise flavor.
Can you substitute ouzo for Pernod?
Yes, ouzo is an anise flavored spirit, so it is a good substitute for Pernod.




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