Homemade Vodka Sauce

  • This Homemade Vodka Sauce is full of flavor and easy to make. It’s creamy, delicious, and restaurant quality. And it can be made in less than 30 minutes!

    Overhead view of pasta with sauce in a white bowl. Garnished with fresh basil and parmesan cheese.

    This vodka sauce will become one of your family favorites for sure! It’s extra easy to make and uses easy to find ingredients. But it tastes so decadent you won’t believe it!

    You might be asking why vodka? Does it really add flavor to the sauce?? The vodka itself doesn’t add any flavor since the alcohol cooks off as the sauce simmers but instead it enhances the flavor of the tomatoes.

    Ingredients to make vodka sauce.

    Ingredients

    ONIONS AND GARLIC
    BACON: I know, I know it is typically made vegetarian or with pancetta but I don’t buy pancetta so I use bacon. You do you and choose what fits your needs.

    VODKA
    CRUSHED TOMATOES: If you can try to buy the San Marzano kind. They have less acidity and more sweetness. But if you can’t add a couple of pinches of sugar to the sauce.
    RED PEPPER FLAKES: Add just a hint of spice. Add as little or as much as you like.

    HEAVY CREAM: I don’t recommend substituting for lower fat dairy.
    PARMESAN CHEESE
    FRESH BASIL: While not totally necessary it does add a nice bright flavor!

    Four pictures showing the steps to make the sauce.

    How to Make Homemade Vodka Sauce

    PASTA: You will want to cook your pasta while cooking the sauce so they are ready at the same time.

    SAUTEE: Cook the bacon or prosciutto if using and the onion. Cook until the bacon is crispy and the onions are soft. Stir in the garlic.

    SAUCE: Stir in the vodka and tomatoes and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Stir in the cream and cheese and heat through.

    SERVE: Serve sauce over cooked pasta with the fresh basil and extra parmesan cheese if desired.

    Overhead close up of the sauce with fresh basil and parmesan cheese.

    FAQs

    CAN THIS BE MADE AHEAD?

    Yes, the sauce can be made up to 5 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator. Reheat on the stove, stirring occasionally.

    CAN YOU FREEZE VODKA SAUCE?

    Yes. Once cooled spoon into a freezer safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw completely then reheat on the stove, stirring occasionally.

    CAN I MAKE THIS SAUCE WITHOUT VODKA?

    Yes, but then it wouldn’t be a vodka sauce. Just replace the vodka with pasta water. The sauce will taste differently.

    WHAT IS THE BEST PASTA TO USE?

    Penne, ziti, fusilli or other short pastas. Also try over ravioli or tortellini for something different!

    WHAT TO SERVE WITH HOMEMADE VODKA SAUCE?

    A simple side salad
    Crusty bread
    Any steamed vegetable

    Close side angle of homemade vodka sauce and pasta in a white bowl. Garnished with basil and parmesan cheese.

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    5 from 2 votes
    Close side angle of the sauce and pasta in a white bowl. Garnished with basil and parmesan cheese.
    Homemade Vodka Sauce
    Prep Time
    5 mins
    Cook Time
    15 mins
    Total Time
    20 mins
     

    This Homemade Vodka Sauce is full of flavor and easy to make. It's creamy, delicious, and restaurant quality. And it can be made in less than 30 minutes!

    Course: Main
    Cuisine: American
    Keyword: 30 minutes or less, quick pasta dish
    Servings: 6
    Calories: 363 kcal
    Author: Malinda Linnebur
    Ingredients
    • 5 strips bacon, diced
    • 1 small onion, diced
    • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
    • ½ cup (120ml) vodka
    • 1 (28oz) (793g) can crushed tomatoes
    • ¾ cup (175ml) heavy cream
    • ½ cup (60g) grated parmesan cheese
    • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
    • 1 pound cooked pasta for serving
    • fresh basil, thinly sliced for serving
    Instructions
    1. Cook bacon and onion over medium heat in a large pot until bacon is crispy and onions are soft. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute.

    2. Add the vodka and tomatoes and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Stir in the cream and parmesan cheese. Heat through. Serve over cooked pasta and garnish with fresh basil.

    Recipe Notes
    1. MAKE AHEAD: The sauce can be made up to 5 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator. Reheat on the stove, stirring occasionally.
    2. FREEZER FRIENDLY: Once cooled spoon into a freezer safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw completely then reheat on the stove, stirring occasionally.
    3. SERVING SUGGESTION:                                                                                                    A simple side salad
      Crusty bread
      Any steamed vegetable
    Nutrition Facts
    Homemade Vodka Sauce
    Amount Per Serving
    Calories 363 Calories from Fat 153
    % Daily Value*
    Fat 17g26%
    Saturated Fat 10g63%
    Cholesterol 58mg19%
    Sodium 333mg14%
    Potassium 113mg3%
    Carbohydrates 27g9%
    Fiber 2g8%
    Sugar 1g1%
    Protein 13g26%
    Vitamin A 630IU13%
    Vitamin C 2mg2%
    Calcium 250mg25%
    Iron 1mg6%
    * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the information shown is just an estimate.

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