Are you feeling fancy tonight? You can’t go wrong with French cuisine for dinner. It’s the epitome of fancy, and some of the ingredients sound as luxurious as the dish!
One of the ingredients you may encounter is Pernod, which offers many French seafood dishes a unique flavor.
If you have no Pernod wine on hand, don’t panic! We have a Pernod substitute list to help you out, so read on!
What is Pernod? An Anise-Flavored Drink
For those who aren’t liqueur connoisseurs, you might not know about Pernod yet or have only heard it in passing. That’s alright; we didn’t know much about it either until we started cooking more French cuisine and expanding our wine profiles!
Pernod is a popular French liqueur variety known for its anise and licorice flavor notes.
It’s found primarily on French seafood dishes, as Pernod is usually a significant ingredient. In fact, Pernod is the reason why those dishes taste so darn good, thanks to the anise flavors that remove any fishy smell.
The Best Pernod Substitutes in Cooking
Can you substitute Pernod? While it does have unique flavors, possible alternatives come close to its taste and consistency.
It’s better to substitute Pernod with another similar ingredient rather than skip it altogether, or this heavily alters the flavors of your dish. And you wouldn’t want your fancy French dish to end up tasting bland or like something’s missing.
That said, try any of these Pernod substitutes. You can find these in the grocery or already have them with you in the kitchen!
1. White Wine
This is one of the best Pernod substitutes because it’s easy to find. White wine is one of the popular ingredients used in French cuisine, with chefs using it to make pasta, risotto, seafood dishes, and desserts.
There are also many varieties of white wine to choose from, whether you want smooth, sweet, or dry wine. But take note that the stronger the white wine is, the more acidity it brings to a dish.
White wine’s acidity helps remove the fishy smell in seafood dishes, making it a good Pernod substitute. You can also use white wine when cooking meat dishes too.
However, white wine tastes different than Pernod since it’s made from yellow and green grapes. However, it pairs well with ingredients matched with Pernod.
If you use white wine for cooking seafood, use two tablespoons or so, eliminating the fishiness.
Pastis is the best Pernod substitute, as the drink belongs to the same family as Pernod does. They also have a similar alcohol content, which is at least 40%.
Besides the alcohol content, both beverages have a similar flavor profile, with PastisParesenting a variety of flavors and aromas from anise, licorice, Melissa, and sage. If you want to bring out more flavor from the Pastis, we recommend adding Mediterranean herbs.
This is a versatile French liquor you can use when cooking pork, fish, chicken, rabbit, and other meats. You can also use it when making sweet dishes because of the anise flavor.
Absinthe is also an anise-flavored liqueur, making it a fantastic Pernod substitute. Think of it as Pernod’s cousin and PastisPaas it features similar flavor profiles.
Absinthe comes from various plants, such as fennel, nutmeg, anise, among other culinary and medical herbs. Since it’s made from multiple plants, it’s normal to find bright green absinthe. Or, it can also be green, depending on the way it’s been bottled.
However, absinthe might not be readily available, like Pernod, because of its high alcohol content. While absinthe’s ABV is usually 45%, it can go as much as 74%!
Because of this, you can use absinthe in recipes where you need to boil the liquid, which evaporates the alcohol content. We recommend using absinthe in seafood dishes.
This is made from fermented grape must. Since people add anise to Ouzo, this makes it an ideal Pernod substitute. Sometimes, it is also flavored with other herbs and spices like coriander, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, fennel, and the like.
Its alcohol content is around 37.5%, but it can also go up to 50%, based on the brand you get it from. If you like cooking with spirits, you’ll definitely want to have Ouzo in your kitchen as it has a lot of uses when cooking, and not just as a substitute for Pernod.
You can use it to cook crawfish and shrimp, marinate meat and shellfish, and even create your own vinaigrettes and sauté vegetables. When you use this in seafood dishes, you help remove the fishy aroma.
5. Lemon or Lime Juice (Non-Alcohol)
If you’re looking for non-alcoholic substitutes for Pernod, citrus fruits are the best bet. Lime and lemon are the most suitable ones to use for seafood dishes.
However, using lemon or lime juice won’t give the anise and licorice flavor Pernod would. But the benefit of this alternative is that you can find lemon and lime juice in local grocery stores or have it in the fridge.
You can use this Pernod alternative when you want to remove the fishy odor in seafood dishes. Just a squeeze of lime or lemon will do the trick.
Since you’ll be missing a few flavors, we suggest using the herbs and spices you have at home to achieve the desired taste.
This Pernod substitute is from Italy, an anise-flavored liqueur from star anise and green anise. You can find a lot of sambuca varieties available, such as white, black, or red Sambuca. (*)
It has a similar alcohol level as Pernod, which is 38%. But Sambuca has a higher sugar content, so take this into account when using this substitute.
We like using Sambuca as a Pernod substitute as it gives dishes that kick of anise flavoring. Plus, it eliminates the fish odor in many seafood dishes, so it’s a win-win!
Not only can you use Sambuca in seafood dishes, but you can replace it with Pernod when making cocktails.
Whiskey is made of fermented grain mash, a distilled alcoholic beverage that you can substitute for Pernod.
This drink is mainly used when preparing slow-cooked red meats, but you can also use this in seafood dishes that call for Pernod. It also has a high alcohol content of 40-50%, like Pernod. When you use whiskey for cooking red meat or seafood, evaporate the alcohol by cooking the drink first or mixing it with water.
However, this won’t be one of the best substitutes for Pernod when you want to achieve anise flavoring. It’s best to add appropriate herbs and spices to get the flavor you want.
We were just as surprised (as you are now) when we found out vodka makes a great Pernod substitute! But like whiskey, vodka doesn’t have the anise flavor we admire in Pernod.
This alcoholic drink is made of fermented potatoes and grains, also containing ethanol and water. Its alcohol content is about 40% and would work with fish and shrimp dishes, even removing red meat’s funky smell.
Since vodka has no anise flavor, we suggest adding herbs and spices for the enhanced taste
Frequently Asked Questions
We’ve got more in store for you! Check out these frequently asked questions about Pernod and how you can use it for cooking unique dishes.
1. What can you use Pernod for?
There’s more to Pernod than just French seafood dishes. You can use Pernod to cook the following:
- Cream sauces
- Bake with Pernod like one would use rum in baked goods
- Chicken fricassee
- As a liquid when cooking mussels
- In cocktails (it’s a flavorful beverage with 40% alcohol content)
2. How do I use Pernod?
When using Pernod with meat or seafood, treat it delicately and do not boil it like you would with wine. Wine has a rich and concentrated flavor than Pernod.
If you boil Pernod down, it becomes less aromatic and flavorful. It’s best to add Pernod to the dish at the end of the cooking process.
3. What’s the best alternative to Pernod?
When choosing the best substitute for Pernod, it all depends on the dish you’re making and the flavors you want to achieve.
- Ouzo, Pastis, Absinthe, and other French anise-flavored liquor are the best substitutes for Pernod in terms of alcohol levels and flavor. (*)
- We recommend using vodka, white wine, or whiskey when your dish requires alcoholic beverages to eliminate the smell and when the flavor isn’t prioritized.
- Use citrus fruits like lemon or lime if you need non-alcoholic alternatives.
Wrapping It Up
We hope we have helped you find the best alternative to Pernod for your recipes! Check out any of these liquors and drinks to see what works best for your dish. Happy cooking!