Creamy vodka sauce is an easy recipe to make with a combination of flavors that come together perfectly. It is creamy, delicious and quick to put together!
This is a sauce that the whole household asks for frequently. Ok all but the dogs, but they get a few plain noodles thrown their way so they don't complain when we make it.
Penne pasta is usually the pasta we serve it over, but there is no right or wrong here. Use your favorite!
I love my sauce pot to make this in, but any sauce pot will work. It is expensive one I use, but a good quality company. I have discovered over the years that you do get what you pay for with cookware!
What is vodka sauce made of?
It is easy to make with a few simple ingredients, and yes there is vodka in the sauce!
Olive oil - We recommend olive oil for the flavor it adds to sauces, but you can use a different oil. This is a taste preference.
Onion - Yellow onions are best here as they help to balance out the acid in the tomatoes, but you can also use a sweet onion. We do not recommend red onions in tomato sauces.
Garlic - Fresh chopped cloves are always best, but you can use garlic powder in it's place. It will not affect the taste much, only slightly. You would add 1 teaspoon of garlic powder with the basil and salt, not before adding the vodka.
Vodka - There is not a lot vodka and most of the alcohol will boil out so you will not get drunk off of this sauce. You can make this sauce without it, but the vodka helps to bring out the other flavors in the sauce. It is an important ingredient so if you can, be sure to add it.
Diced tomatoes and tomato sauce - We recommend both for a better texture and flavor. The diced tomatoes help to thin out the sauce while adding small chunks of tomatoes before the cheese and whipping cream thicken it slightly. For tomato sauce you can substitute with puree. You can substitute the diced tomatoes with crushed tomatoes if needed.
Salt - You can add less, but I do recommend adding some. You can adjust to taste.
Basil - Basil adds a sweetness but yet a unique taste. There are no recommended substitutions for it and we do not recommend leaving it out.
Whipping cream - It is best to use whipping cream here for a thicker but creamy vodka sauce, but you could use half and half. It will be slightly thinner but not a big difference.
Parmesan cheese - This is best with freshly shredded (or grated) parmesan cheese. We always have a block in the fridge for cooking. Do not use jarred grated cheese here in this sauce. It does not melt the same and the taste is off.
Frequently asked questions
We like Svedka here, but this is a personal preference. Use your favorite vodka if you have one. You can always ask your liquor store for recommendations too. Don't get the cheapest, but you do not need to buy the most expensive either.
I highly recommend it. We buy it in a block and keep it in the fridge. It will not turn out the same at all with bottled cheese. You can buy the fresh grated cheese often found in the dairy or deli sections if you don't want the block.
If you place it in the refrigerator promptly, it should last about 3-4 days.
Yes you can freeze it as long as you store it in a freezer safe container. Be sure to let it cool all the way and do not fill the container all the way as it will expand slightly in the freezer. I like to put it in the fridge to cool without the lid on (or not on all the way) to cool first and place in the freezer after an hour or 2. If properly handled, it should last 6 months in the freezer.
No you do not have to add sausage or any meat, this is a personal preference. I do think it is the best choice of meats for the sauce if you plan on adding meat. Chicken and beef just do not complement the flavor of the sauce like sausage does.
Homemade Creamy Vodka Sauce
- 1 lb sausage links or ground (optional)
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 yellow onion chopped
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 100 ml vodka about ½ cup
- 14.5 oz diced tomatoes no salt added, see notes
- 15 oz tomato sauce
- 1 tsp salt see notes
- 1 tsp basil dried, or 2 tsp fresh basil
- ⅓ cup heavy cream can use half and half
- ½ cup parmesan cheese loosely packed - see notes
- If you are adding sausage, cook the sausage and set aside.
- Heat your sauce pan over medium heat (see notes.) Add olive oil and onions to your sauce pan. Cook for 3 minutes stirring occasionally.
- Add in the minced garlic and cook about 2 minutes stirring frequently.
- Carefully pour in the vodka and stir. Cook for 2 minutes over medium heat.
- Add in the diced tomatoes, sauce, basil, salt and cooked sausage. Stir well and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
- Pour in the cream and cook for about 2 minutes before adding the parmesan cheese. After adding the cheese, cook for 1 minute before removing from heat to serve.