How to Make Vodka Sauce

Master the art of making vodka sauce, ideal for a variety of pasta dishes.
Bowl of vodka penne in red sauce, influencer edition.
Vodka Penne with Red Sauce Bowl, Influencer Edition: A Delectable Pasta Creation.

Vodka sauce is a rich and creamy tomato-based sauce that’s often served with pasta. The addition of vodka gives the sauce a unique flavor and helps to emulsify the ingredients, resulting in a smooth and velvety texture.

But how do you make vodka sauce? This guide aims to answer that question, providing a simple recipe for vodka sauce and tips for achieving the best flavor.

Vodka Sauce Recipe

Here’s a basic recipe for vodka sauce:


  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup vodka
  • 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Red pepper flakes to taste (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Fresh basil leaves for garnish (optional)
  • Grated Parmesan cheese for serving (optional)


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until the onion is translucent and the garlic is fragrant, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the vodka to the pan and let it simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the alcohol has mostly evaporated.
  3. Add the crushed tomatoes to the pan and stir to combine. Let the mixture simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the tomatoes have broken down and the sauce has thickened.
  4. Stir in the heavy cream and let the sauce simmer for another 5 minutes, or until it’s heated through. Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes (if using).
  5. Serve the sauce over your favorite pasta, garnished with fresh basil leaves and grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.
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Tips for Making Vodka Sauce

  • Choose a good-quality vodka: The vodka doesn’t need to be top-shelf, but it should be something you’d enjoy drinking. The flavor of the vodka can come through in the sauce, so it’s worth choosing a decent brand.
  • Don’t rush the simmering process: Letting the vodka and tomatoes simmer for the recommended time helps to develop the flavors in the sauce and achieve the right consistency.
  • Adjust the seasoning to taste: The amount of salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes can be adjusted to suit your personal taste. Start with a little and add more as needed.

Key Takeaways

Vodka sauce is a creamy tomato-based sauce that’s made with vodka, onions, garlic, crushed tomatoes, and heavy cream. The sauce is simmered until it’s thick and flavorful, then served over pasta. By choosing a good-quality vodka and taking the time to properly simmer the sauce, you can achieve a delicious and velvety vodka sauce at home.

About the Author

This guide was written by Eric, a multi-talented food blogger with over 12 years of experience in the field. Eric is passionate about helping people make amazing food at home, and he hopes this guide has helped you learn how to make vodka sauce.

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