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The Best Pernod Substitutes

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If you are in the mood for a French-style dinner but the recipe you want to recreate calls for Pernod that you don’t have, don’t change your plans. There are multiple Pernod substitutes you can choose from.

What are the best Pernod substitutes? The best Pernod substitutes include pastis, absinthe, ouzo, white wine, sambuca, anisette, whiskey, and vodka. The best non-alcoholic alternative to Pernod is lemon or lime juice which helps eliminate the fishy odor of seafood. 

This article is about Pernod, its uses, and the best substitute for this French anise-flavored liquor. You will also learn how to choose a Pernod substitute depending on the function the drink is performing in the dish. 

What Is Pernod and How Is It Used?

If you aren’t much into alcoholic drinks, the word Pernod may not mean anything to you. However, Pernod is a famous French liqueur variety with distinctive anise and licorice flavor. 

If you have ever eaten a seafood dish in a French restaurant, it was most likely made with Pernod. And the latter is one of the ingredients that makes French seafood dishes taste so good.

The secret is that this anise-flavored liqueur is good at getting rid of the off-putting fishy smell of our favorite marine creatures. 

But the uses of Pernod are not limited to French seafood dishes. Here’s how you can use Pernod in cooking:

  • Add Pernod to the liquid for cooking mussels.
  • Make chicken fricassee with Pernod.
  • Use Pernod to make cream sauces.
  • Bake with Pernod using it as you would use rum in cakes.

As Pernod is a flavorful alcoholic beverage with 40% ABV, it goes without saying that you can also use it to make a range of cocktails. 

Note: When you use Pernod with seafood or meat, make sure to treat Pernod delicately to get the most out of it. Don’t boil it like you boil wine.

Unlike wine, the flavor of which is more concentrated and richer when you boil it down, Pernod doesn’t work the same way. 

Boiling down Pernod makes it less flavorful and aromatic. Thus, you should add it to the dish toward the end of the cooking process to get all the benefits of this flavorful drink. 

Can You Substitute Pernod?

While Pernod is a unique anise-flavored drink with notes of licorice, you can surely find an alternative to it.

If you are making a dish that calls for Pernod and you don’t have any at home, we highly recommend substituting it with another ingredient instead of skipping Pernod altogether.

Leaving out Pernod and not using another ingredient that performs the same function in the dish as a French liqueur may leave your dish flavorless. 

Additionally, as we have mentioned earlier in this article, Pernod is used in seafood dishes to get rid of the fishy aroma. Thus, not using Pernod or another ingredient to eliminate the off-putting smell may result in a dish you won’t be very proud of. 

So, you not only can but you should substitute Pernod with another ingredient if the recipe calls for it and you don’t have it on hand at the moment. 

9 Best Pernod Substitutes 

If you have decided to cook something French for dinner, such as a classic saffron bouillabaisse, or the famous New Orleans Oyster Rockefeller, you may be wondering what you can use instead of Pernod as this French liqueur is not something everyone has at home at all times. 

Whatever it is that you are making with Pernod, you have multiple options when it comes to its substitutes. From things we always have at hand to other not-so-common beverages, there is a lot to choose from.

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

SubstituteBest forRecommended
PastisFish, chicken, pork, rabbitFrench Antesite Licorice Anis
AbsintheSeafoodLiquor Quik - Absinthe
OuzoShellfishOuzo 12
White wineSeafood and meat14 Hands Chardonnay
Lemon/lime juiceSeafoodReaLemon Lemon Juice
SambucaSeafoodLa Sambuca d'Italia
WhiskeySeafood and red meats Jameson Original Irish Whiskey
VodkaShrimp and fishTito's Handmade Vodka
AnisettePrawnsLiquor Quik - Anisette


What can be a better Pernod substitute than another French liqueur that is also flavored with anise? Pastis belongs to the same family as Pernod.

The alcohol content of both beverages is similar. The ABV of pastis should be at least 40%. However, it can range between 40 and 45%. 

The flavor profile of both beverages is similar. Pastis presents a burst of flavors and aromas that come not only from anise and licorice but also sage and melissa.

Other Mediterranean herbs can also be used to infuse pastis with flavor. 

Pastis makes a great Pernod substitute thanks to its high alcohol content too. You can boil down the alcohol in pastis and make it a perfect fit for your dish. 

This French liquor is also quite versatile when it comes to cooking. You can use pastis when cooking chicken, fish, pork, rabbit, etc. The anise kick in pastis makes it perfect for not only savory dishes but sweet treats too


Another anise-flavored spirit that makes a great Pernod substitute. Absinthe is considered to be the cousin of Pernod and pastis as it has a similar flavor profile

Absinthe is derived from a range of different plants, including anise, fennel, nutmeg, and a number of other medical and culinary herbs. Coming from so many plants, it is not surprising that most absinthe you will come across has a bright green color. 

Depending on how the drink has been bottled, absinthe may also be clear. So, don’t be surprised if the liquid inside the bottle you purchase is not green. 

Some manufacturers choose to add artificial coloring to the drink to achieve a distinctive green color. 

What makes absinthe slightly different from Pernod and not as widely available in many countries is its high ABV. While it can be as low as 45%, it can also get as high as 74%.

Such high levels of alcohol in absinthe allow you to use it in various cooking recipes where you boil the liquid to evaporate the alcohol content. 

Absinthe is best used in the making of seafood dishes. 


Ouzo is an anise-flavored liqueur. This one, however, comes not from France but from Greece. It is also widely consumed in Cyprus. 

Ouzo is made by fermenting grape must. However, as anise is added to this liqueur, it is a great alternative to Pernod. Sometimes ouzo is flavored with fennel, cardamom, coriander, cinnamon, cloves, etc. 

The ABV of ouzo should be at least 37.5%. But it can also go as high as 50% depending on the brand. 

If you are unfamiliar with ouzo but love cooking with spirits, then you should certainly pick up a bottle of ouzo as it has many uses in cooking.

You can use ouzo to cook shrimp and crawfish. A few tablespoons of ouzo can be used to marinate shellfish and meat as well as make vinaigrettes.

Using ouzo in seafood dishes helps to get rid of the unpleasant fishy aroma. Sauteeing vegetables with ouzo is also a great use for this drink. 

White Wine

White wine is probably one of the most widely available Pernod substitutes as this is the go-to drink of many people.

Just like Pernod, white wine is a popular ingredient in French cuisine. It is used in the making of risotto, pasta, seafood dishes, as well as desserts. 

The variety of the white wine you should use instead of Pernod isn’t of central importance. You can choose from dry, smooth, and sweet wine varieties.

However, keep in mind that the stronger the wine the more acidity it will add to the dish. 

It is the acidity of white wine that helps you get rid of the unpleasant fishy smell in seafood dishes. White wine is a great substitute for Pernod in meat dishes too.

While white wine tastes a lot different from Pernod, as it comes from green and yellow grapes, it pairs nicely with the ingredients Pernod is usually paired with. 

When cooking seafood with white wine, use at least two tablespoons in order to eliminate the fishy odor. 

Lemon Juice  

After so many alcoholic substitutes for Pernod, you may be wondering what non-alcoholic alternative there is for Pernod.

When it comes to non-alcoholic Pernod substitutes, citrus fruits are your best bet. Lemon and lime, in particular, are the citrus fruits you can use as an alternative to Pernod in seafood dishes.

The downside of using lemon or lime juice instead of Pernod is that citrus juices don’t offer the anise and licorice flavor notes that Pernod does.

However, the good thing is that lemon and lime are widely available and you most likely have lemon juice in your fridge at all times. 

Additionally, with these ingredients, you can easily avoid using alcoholic beverages or buying a bottle of liqueur you won’t be using for months. 

A squeeze of lemon or lime will help you get rid of the off-putting fishy odor in seafood dishes. To compensate for the flavors that you are missing, i.e. anise and licorice, we recommend making use of your spice drawer and herbs you have at home. 


Sambuca is an anise-flavored liqueur from Italy. It is derived from green anise and star anise. There are a few different varieties of sambuca.

Clear Sambuca is often referred to as white sambuca. You May also come across red Sambuca and black sambuca. 

Sambuca has an ABV level close to that of Pernod – 38%. However, it also has a high sugar content which you should take into account when cooking with Sambuca.

Sambuca is a great Pernod substitute for dishes that need the rich kick of anise flavor. Using Sambuca in seafood dishes will help you get rid of the nasty fishy odor and enrich the food with an anise aroma at the same time. 

You can also use Sambuca to make delicious cocktails. Thus, buying a bottle of this Italian liquor is certainly justified. 


Whiskey might be a surprising Pernod substitute. However, this distilled alcoholic beverage made by fermented grain mash makes a great Pernod substitute for some dishes. 

While whiskey is popularly used for slow-cooked red meats, it can also be a perfect addition to seafood dishes as a substitute for Pernod. 

As you can guess, whiskey is not the best substitute for Pernod if the anise flavor is what you are looking for. However, the ABV of whiskey ranges from 40% to 50% which makes it a great Pernod substitute as far as the alcohol content is concerned. 

When using whiskey to cook seafood or red meat, you either need to cook the drink first to evaporate the alcohol in it or mix it with some water before you add it to the dish.


An even more surprising alternative to Pernod than whiskey – vodka. Just like whisky, vodka lacks the anise flavor Pernod has.

Vodka is usually derived from fermented grains and potatoes. It is mainly water and ethanol and has an ABV of 40%.

Vodka works perfectly in shrimp and fish dishes. It can also help you get rid of the funky smell of red meat. 

As vodka, unlike anise-flavored spirits, doesn’t add a distinctive flavor to the dish, we recommend you add spices and herbs to achieve a better, more elaborate flavor

While vodka is widely used in Russia, Poland, and Sweden, you can find it nearly anywhere in the world. 


As you can probably guess by the name, Anisette is an anise-flavored beverage widely used in the countries of the Mediterranean, including Spain, Greece, and Italy. 

Anisette is a colorless drink with a 25% ABV which is lower than the ABV of Pernod. But as Anisette has the same anise flavor notes as Pernod, it makes a good Pernod substitute. 

One thing to keep in mind when using Anisette is that this alcoholic beverage is much sweeter than Pernod. Thanks to its high sugar content, the consistency of Anisette is quite syrupy.

If you decide to use Anisette instead of Pernod, make sure the sweetness won’t throw the flavors of the dish off balance. Start by adding a very small amount of anisette and adjust the flavor little by little. 

How to Choose a Pernod Substitute?

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

There are two main reasons Pernod is used in cooking. First, it gives the dish its characteristic anise flavor.

The anise aroma of the liqueur pairs nicely with fish and meat and it is not surprising that you find the pairing of anise and fish or meat in various cuisines of the world. 

Second, Pernod may be used in the dish because of its alcohol content. Alcohol, as you may know, helps bring out various flavors in the dish. It helps bond fat and water molecules.

All in all, alcohol in dishes is used to make them taste and smell better. 

So, When Choosing a Pernod Substitute:

  • Use Pastis, Anisette, Ouzo, or other anise-flavored drink if you need the closest substitute for Pernod flavor-wise. 
  • Use wine, vodka, or whiskey if you need to add some kind of alcoholic beverage to the dish and the flavor notes don’t really matter.
  • Go with lemon or another citrus fruit juice if you need a non-alcoholic Pernod substitute.

Whatever substitute you choose, start slow and keep tasting your dish in order not to overdo it. 

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