Vodka Sauce Recipe

Monday, September 14, 2020
If you are a fan of Penne alla Vodka, this Vodka sauce is one of the easiest recipes you will ever make!

The Italian American sauce is a smooth tomato sauce, vodka, typical Italian herbs, and heavy cream (which gives the sauce its creamy orange color).

The shocking part of this dish for me was that there was no taste of vodka at all but it tastes fantastic and really unique in flavor.

It clings perfectly to any pasta of choice your family prefers and looks like you took all day to prepare this when it takes a matter of minutes!

This sauce is perfect for entertaining the family or having a special dinner.

Our favorite pasta with this sauce is Homemade Gnocchi.

The options below will give you ideas on additions to the sauce to change it up every time adding a few types of meat.

If you love this pasta sauce do try our Traditional Sunday Italian Sauce or Marinara Sauce, both are fantastic on pasta!

Scroll down to the bottom of to print off this simple recipe.

this is homemade gnocchi with sausage and vodka sauce

this is a vodka sauce in a large saucepan

Easy Recipe

Although Penne Alla Vodka is the most popular pasta used, we really love ours with Homemade Gnocchi.

Any kind of pasta can be used.

We also love fettuccine, rigatoni and homemade cavatelli.

This dish is restaurant quality good, rich, and creamy with fantastic depth of flavor and a spicy little kick that gives it character.

We have been making this vodka sauce for years and I can't tell how many times someone asks for this recipe.

If you’re a Sunday sauce kind of a girl, this is going to be a great addition to your recipe collection.

Add a glass of Moscato and serve it with Grandma's Tuscan Garlic Bread, I promise you're going to love this meal!

this is vodka sauce with sausage in it


  • Use ribbed style pasta it clings perfectly
  • Never rinse the pasta you use
  • We use a good grade potato vodka
  • Either use peeled whole plum tomatoes canned or fresh plum tomatoes for best results
  • If using chicken or loose sausage like sausage meats, always cook and season them first before adding
  • Only use fresh basil
  • Freshly grated cheeses are recommended
  • If you prefer no alcohol in your sauce add lemon juice to water to substitute

these are peeled fresh plum tomoatoes

Ingredients You Will Need

Scroll Down to the Printable Recipe Card for Exact Measurements

  • butter 
  • red pepper flakes
  • fresh basil leaves
  • dried oregano
  •  vodka (we use potato made vodka)
  • cloves garlic ( see notes in instructions)
  • Italian whole plum tomatoes
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Romano cheese and more for garnish
  • heavy cream
  • Optional: loose ground Italian sweet sausage sauteed in olive oil and drained or cubed cooked boneless seasoned chicken breast or 4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into strips
  • fresh basil for garnish
  • Pasta of choice: we love this sauce on Homemade Gnocchi or Rigatoni boiled in saltwater then drained

this is chicken sauteed

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Other Sauces and Pasta Recipes We Love 

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Chicken Riggies

Pasta Aioli with Broccoli

Vodka Sauce Recipe

Vodka Sauce Recipe

Yield: 8
Author: Claudia Lamascolo
Prep time: 10 MinCook time: 15 MinTotal time: 25 Min
This is a fabulous tasting homemade vodka sauce that super fast to make and totally transforms ordinary pasta into a gourmet meal in minutes!


  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick) 
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2  fresh basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 cup vodka (we use potato made vodka)
  • 4 cloves garlic ( see notes in instructions)
  • 2- 28 ounces can Italian whole plum tomatoes or use 2 pounds plum tomatoes put through a food processor
  • 2/3 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup Romano cheese and more for garnish
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Optional: 1 pound loose ground Italian sweet sausage sauteed in olive oil and drained or cubed cooked boneless seasoned chicken breast or 4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into strips
  • fresh basil for garnish
  • Pasta of choice: we love this sauce on Homemade Gnocchi or Rigatoni boiled in saltwater then drained


  1. Directions:
  2. Melt butter over high heat until bubbly; add garlic and red pepper flakes, keep stirring and do not scorch or burn the garlic.
  3. Remove the garlic cloves and smash them down put this into the step with tomatoes.
  4. Rapidly add vodka and for 2 minutes.
  5. Simmer tomatoes with both kinds of cheese for 2 minutes, then add cream; simmer for 1 minute.
  6. Pour the vodka sauce over the favorite pasta cooked to package instructions,  drained and not rinsed.
  7. Garnish with basil and more grated cheese.
  8. Notes: If using chicken or sausage saute this first in olive oil and garlic until all the pink is gone then simmer with just the tomatoes for 20 minutes then add in the cheese and continue with the recipe.
penne alla vodka sauce, homemade vodka sauce, vodka sauce with sausage, vodka sauce with chicken
pasta recipe, homemade tomato sauce, sauce recipes, vodka recipes
American , Italian
Created using The Recipes Generator

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Disclosure: This recipe was originally shared in 2009. It was edited and re-published in 2020


  1. Pasta in a vodka sauce is one of my favorties. Great job with this recipe.


  2. Rachel Ray won me over on vodka sauce with a recipe a long time ago, and I think I o.d-ed on it for a bit. Your recipe makes me want to bring it back again, finally!

  3. How strange as it may sound, I never tried pasta with vodka sauce, and yes heavy it's ok once in a while! Looks like a very flavorful comforting meal!

  4. yum, so luxurious!

  5. I have yet to make a vodka sauce. you have inspired me!

  6. Only you can arouse cravings of Vodka Sauce Penne at 8:15 am in the morning. Delicious!

  7. Que Rico! I knew there must be some reason that vodka sauce is always so good at trattorias. Now I know-rich & delicious!

  8. Vodka sauce is one of my favorites but you're right about it being only an occasional splurge. I would love to try your version!

  9. love this sauce but have not make it in a while, will certainly try your version, sounds wonderful...are you back yet???

  10. I love a rich and decadent sauce like this! Insanely delicious!

  11. I love the pasta with vodka sauce. This looks so yummy to me!

  12. Every time I'm in San Fransisco I go to this little Italian place by the Marina district and order their penne Romanov. Which is a great vodka sauce and it always makes me smile. So did this recipe.

  13. Love this sauce - how about in a Huntress Pie? =)

  14. I just love vodka sauce and I definitely need to make it more often. Perfect comfort food!

  15. Looks like a great dish Claudia!

  16. I love making this dish for company or for parties. It's always a huge hit for everyone!

  17. I've purchased vodka sauce and loved it. I'd much rather make my own. You've inspired me to give it a try!

  18. Very decadent indeed. I think this will be my next pasta dish!

  19. Great recipe, always wanted to try a vodka sauce! Wonderful:)

  20. One of my favorite sauces! I really should make it at home, but then I might end up indulging too often!


Remember to use the search option for a recipe you're looking for and thanks for all your kind words and support. We love our readers all the best Claudia