The 9 Best Galliano Substitutes

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Galliano is a sweet Italian herbal liqueur, with vanilla-anise flavor and subtle citrus and woodsy herbal undernotes.

If you are in the mood for an Italian-style dinner but do not have any Galliano in your drinks cabinet, don’t panic!  There are many different Galliano substitutes you can choose from.

What are the best Galliano substitutes? The best Galliano substitutes include Pernod, Anisette, Sambuca, Ouzo, Raki, and white wine. The best non-alcoholic alternatives to Galliano include orange juice, anise-flavored herbs, and spices, or licorice and vanilla extracts. 

We’ve got everything you need to know about Galliano – how it is used, and the best substitutes for this sweet vanilla & anise-flavored liquor. You will also learn how to choose the best Galliano replacement to suit your recipe requirements.

What Is Galliano and How Is It Used?

If you are not a fan of cocktails, the word Galliano may not mean much to you. However, Galliano is a famous Italian vanilla and anise-flavored liqueur with subtle undertones of Mediterranean herbs and spices.

The exact recipe for Galliano is kept a secret, but it is known that the blend includes anise, cinnamon, juniper, lavender, musk yarrow, peppermint, star anise, and vanilla.

The yellow liqueur is 42.3% ABV and comes in a distinctive tall, slender bottle.

As Galliano is a delicious beverage with a high alcohol content, it goes without saying that you can use it to make a range of amazing cocktails.

In Italy, it is most commonly enjoyed as a ‘digestivo’ – an after-dinner drink consumed to aid digestion.

But the uses of Galliano are not limited to cocktails and alcoholic drinks. As this pleasant liqueur originates from Italy, many recipes with include Galliano have a Mediterranean flavor. Some classic recipes which use Galliano include:

  • Chicken Galliano
  • Chocolate, Mascarpone, and Espresso Fudge Cake
  • Harvey Wallbanger Cake
  • Tiramisu

As with all liqueurs, when cooking with Galliano avoid boiling it too much as this will reduce the flavor and aroma.

Can You Substitute Galliano?

The flavor of Galliano is unique, with a delicately sweet blend of vanilla-anise flavor and subtle citrus and woodsy herbal undernotes. This flavor comes from a blend of over 30 herbs and spices.

While nothing will completely mimic the flavor of Galliano, it is possible to find alternatives to use instead.

If your recipe calls for Galliano and you do not have any, it may be tempting to just skip this ingredient. However, there are plenty of alternative ways to introduce flavors similar to Galiano into your dish.

Leaving out Galliano without finding a substitute may leave your dish tasteless and unpleasant.

The 9 Best Galliano Substitutes

If you are baking a gorgeous chocolate fudge cake, cooking a flavorsome chicken casserole, or making a steak sauce, you may find that the recipe asks for Galliano.

However, this Italian liqueur is not something most of us have in our drinks cabinet!

Whatever it is that you are making with Galliano, there are many different substitutions available. From things we always have at hand to other less common spirits and beverages, there are a lot of options to choose from.

Here are the 9 best Galliano substitutes, including vanilla and anise-flavored spirits, other beverages with similar alcohol content, and alcohol-free substitutions.

SubstituteFlavor/DescriptionBest For
1. PernodStrong, anise, drySauces, casseroles
2. Anisette (anis)Sweet, aniseCakes, desserts
3. SambucaStrong, anise, sweetDesserts
4. OuzoStrong, anise, drySauces, casseroles
5. Fresh orange juiceCitrus, sweetCakes, desserts
6. RakiStrong, anise, drySauces, casseroles
7. White wineFloral, citrusSauces, casseroles
8. Star anise, fennel, or anise seedAniseSauces, casseroles
9. Licorice & vanilla extractsAnise, vanillaDesserts, cakes, marinades

1. Pernod

Originating from France, Pernod is an anise-flavored liqueur. Traditionally Pernod is used in seafood recipes, as the licorice flavor works well in dishes such as bouillabaisse and mussels.

Pernod is approximately the same strength as Galliano and will bring the same anise flavors to your dish.

It can be used as a great substitute for Galliano in savory and sweet dishes, but remember that, apart from the anise, the flavor profile of Pernod does differ from Galliano.

Pernod is far less sweet than Galliano, so you may want to add some extra sweetness into your recipe to compensate for this. Sugar or honey would work well here.

Another difference is that Pernod lacks the vanilla flavor of Galliano, so if this is a key part of your recipe you may wish to add in some vanilla extract as well. This is particularly important if you are making a cake or dessert.

2. Anisette (Anis)

Anisette, also known as anis, is a colorless liqueur popular in many Mediterranean countries.

With strong flavors of anise and a sweet syrupy consistency, Anisette makes a great alternative to Galliano in cake and dessert recipes.

One advantage of Anisette is that it is not as strong as Galliano, with a 25% ABV. It does however have a stronger taste of anise than Galliano, and less herbal undertones.

3. Sambuca

Sambuca, like Galliano, comes from Italy, and it is an anise-flavored liqueur with undertones of herbs and berries. Sambuca comes in three different varieties – clear, red, and black.

Almost as strong as Galliano, Sambuca has a high alcohol content and strong flavor. It works well as a substitute for Galliano as it has a similar anise and herb flavor profile, and is slightly sweet.

However, the berry flavors of Sambuca may not work well with some dishes, particularly delicate flavors such as fish and light sauces.

You may wish to add some vanilla when using Sambuca in desserts to mimic the flavor of Galliano.

4. Ouzo

Anyone who has ever traveled to Greece or Cyprus will be familiar with Ouzo! This strong, dry liqueur is normally consumed as an aperitif. With a strong licorice flavor, if tried once you will never forget it!

The licorice flavor of Ouzo makes this a good substitute for Galliano, but as the flavor is so strong we would suggest reducing the quantity by half.

As with Pernod, you may wish to sweeten your Ouzo with sugar or honey and add some vanilla extract to more closely mimic the flavor of Galliano.

5. Fresh Orange Juice

Not everyone enjoys the flavor of alcohol in food, and you may be wondering what non-alcoholic alternatives there are for Galliano.

Citrus juices make a great alternative for liqueurs, as they bring a strong flavor and work well with both sweet and savory recipes.

Fresh orange juice is the best citrus fruit substitute for Galliano, as it is sweeter than other citrus fruits such as lemon or lime.

The downside is that orange juice doesn’t offer the anise and vanilla flavors of Galliano, but you can substitute these in other ways.

The good thing is that most of us have either fresh oranges in the fruit bowl or a carton of fresh orange juice in the fridge, so you don’t need to go out and buy a bottle of alcohol for just one recipe!

6. Raki

Raki originates from Turkey and, like Galliano, has a strong anise taste. The flavor of Raki is similar to Ouzo but with a much higher alcohol content – up to 90%

If you decide to use Raki as a substitute for Galliano then take care, it is very powerful! We would suggest that you reduce the amount by at least half to start with.

7. White Wine

White wine is possibly one of the most popular alcohols used in cooking – the delicate flavor adds depth and intensity to casseroles and sauces.

Obviously, the flavor of white wine is very different from Galliano, so it does not make a good substitute in dishes where the anise and vanilla flavors are essential.

However, it can be a good substitute if you want a more subtle flavor than Galliano.

You can also use white wine and add in anise and vanilla flavors if you want to mimic the flavor profile of Galliano, but with a lower alcohol content.

8. Star Anise, Fennel, Or Anise Seed

Do you want to get the flavor of Galliano without the alcohol? You might not have to look any further than your spice drawer!

Star anise, fennel, and anise seed are all commonly found in grocery stores, and they make great substitutes for the anise flavor of Galliano.

To get the best flavor, use whole spices if you have them. The seeds can be toasted and ground to a powder before use, but star anise should be used whole. Just don’t forget to take them out before you serve the meal!

9. Licorice & Vanilla Extracts

If you’re looking for a different alcohol-free option for Galliano, then a dash of licorice and/or vanilla extract can be a quick and easy substitute.

Remember that extracts are very concentrated, so just a few drops of each will be all that is needed to flavor baked goods, desserts, and even marinades.

How to Choose a Galliano Substitute

When choosing a substitute for Galliano, you need to first decide why Galliano is used in that particular recipe.

Galliano is used in cooking for two reasons. Firstly, it is all about the flavor – this sweet, anise and vanilla-flavored liqueur brings a unique and subtle taste and aroma to many dishes.

Secondly, the alcohol content of Galliano helps to bring out various flavors in the dish.

So, when choosing a Galliano substitute:

Use Pernod, Anisette, Sambuca, or other anise-flavored drink if you need the closest substitute for Galliano flavor-wise. Remember you may need to add some sugar or honey if your substitute is not as sweet as Galliano.

Go with white wine if you need to add an alcoholic beverage to the dish and the flavor notes don’t really matter.

Use fresh orange juice, anise-flavored spices, or licorice and vanilla extract (or a combination of these) if you need a non-alcoholic Galliano substitute.

Whatever substitute you choose, add it to your recipe slowly and keep tasting your dish in order not to overdo it.

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