Homemade Vodka Sauce

How to Make Vodka Sauce

5 from 3 reviews

This Vodka Sauce recipe is a homemade version of a classic Italian-American sauce. It’s rich, creamy, and perfect served over your favorite gluten free pasta. It’s quick to make, flavor packed, and the most wonderful comfort foo


  • 1 tablespoon butter (see notes for dairy-free)
  • 4 garlic gloves, minced
  • 2  medium shallots or 1 large onion, diced
  • Optional: 1 lb. prosciutto, pancetta, or even bacon, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, omit if you don’t like spice
  • 1/4 cup vodka, gluten-free if needed
  • 1 14.5 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (see notes for dairy-free)
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt, more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper, more to taste

  • Optional: 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1 16 ounces box of pasta of choice
  • 1 cup reserved pasta water, as needed
  • Optional: 2 tablespoons basil leaves, chiffonade for garnish


  1. Stir in red pepper flakes until fragrant, about 30 seconds minute.

  2. Pour in the vodka, scraping browned bits from the bottom of your skillet, then stir in the crushed tomatoes. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer until the tomato sauce has thickened, about 10 minutes.

  3. Stir in heavy cream and parmesan cheese and mix until smooth. If adding frozen peas, do so here.

  4. In a pot, boil water and cook pasta based on package directions. Set aside 1 cup of the pasta water.

  5. Add in pasta to your sauce, adding reserved pasta water as needed, until desired consistency is reached.

  6. Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste.

  7. Serve hot and garnish with parmesan, basil, and additional red pepper flakes if desired.


  • Use another meat. Instead of prosciutto, pancetta, or bacon, try adding in another meat such as ground beef, ground pork, Italian sausage, or shredded chicken. OR leave it meatless!
  • Try it in another recipe. This homemade vodka sauce is a great way to switch up any recipe that uses marinara sauce. Try it in lasagna, baked ziti, sweet potato gnocchi, or chicken parmesan!
  • Add veggies. Kick the nutrition up a notch by adding those peas mushrooms, spinach, zucchini, or kale.
  • Gluten-free. Use a gluten-free pasta variety and use gluten-free vodka!
  • Make it dairy-free. Swap the butter out for oil and swap the heavy cream out for coconut cream or cashew cream. If using cashew cream, you may need more reserved pasta water. Omit the parmesan or sub it for a vegan parmesan cheese.


Keywords: how to make vodka sauce, vodka pasta sauce recipe, homemade vodka sauce, pasta alla vodka, rigatoni alla vodka


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