This vodka sauce recipe is a creamy red sauce that comes together in less than 30 minutes. It has a tomato base and is made with heavy cream, parmesan cheese, garlic, and a splash of vodka!
Easy Vodka Pasta Sauce
If you’re a red sauce kind of person, you’re going to love this homemade vodka sauce! It’s light, tangy, and made with a good ol’ splash of vodka.
Don’t worry, you can’t get “drunk” off of this pasta sauce because the alcohol actually cooks off during the simmering process, but you do get an extra zing from that splash of vodka.
We love serving vodka pasta sauce on top of cooked noodles, tortellini, or ravioli with a mound of shredded parmesan cheese on top!
What is vodka sauce?
Vodka sauce is a creamy, tomato-based sauce made with heavy cream, onion, garlic, parmesan cheese, and a splash of vodka for good measure.
- Onion and garlic: onion and garlic are truly the base of this sauce. They’re cooked down in olive oil and salt to make this pasta sauce savory and delicious.
- Tomato paste: tomato paste is what gives this sauce it’s red color. There’s no jarred marinara sauce involved!
- Vodka: vodka is used to add a zing/tang to this sauce. Feel free to use any kind.
- Heavy cream: heavy cream lightens up this sauce. We don’t recommend swapping for anything else.
- Butter: butter adds a smoothness.
- Parmesan cheese: parmesan cheese adds a bit of saltiness and flavor!
How to Make it Spicy
Wanting to add some heat? In the recipe card, you’ll notice we suggest red rushed pepper flakes. Feel free to add as much or as little as you wish.
How to Make Vodka Sauce
Cook Garlic & Onion
Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add garlic and onion and cook until the onion is translucent.
Add Tomato Paste & Vodka
Add the tomato paste and cook for a few minutes. Then, add vodka and cook down for 4-5 minutes.
Whisk in Heavy Cream & Butter
Lower the heat and add the heavy cream and butter.
Whisk in Parmesan
Remove the sauce from the heat and whisk in the parmesan cheese.
Unfortunately, you can not get drunk off of vodka sauce. The alcohol in the vodka actually cooks off as the sauce simmers.
While vodka sauce is a pink sauce, it is not made with alfredo or marinara sauce. It’s made with tomato paste, garlic, onion, vodka, and heavy cream.
Vodka sauce is commonly served with any kind of cooked noodle, such as penne. It’s also delicious served next to steamed shrimp, scallops, or any kind of seafood.
While vodka sauce is commonly served on top of pasta, it’s actually really versatile! Here are a few other ways to serve it!
Simmered shrimp: cook up a pound of raw shrimp by simmering it in this delicious sauce.
With gnocchi: love gnocchi like us? After boiling to cook it, toss it in this sauce.
Store leftover vodka sauce in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ small yellow onion minced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper optional
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- ¼ cup vodka
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- ⅓ cup grated parmesan
- 8 oz. cooked noodles
- Heat a large skillet over medium/high heat. Add the olive oil. When the oil is fragrant, add the yellow onion and garlic to the pan and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of salt. Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Next, whisk in the tomato paste and crushed red pepper. Allow to cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the vodka and allow to cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Stirring occasionally.
- Reduce the heat and whisk in the heavy cream and butter.
- Turn the heat off and whisk in the parmesan.
- Serve the vodka sauce with your favorite pasta.
Tips & Notes
- Serve this vodka sauce with 8-oz. of any pasta.