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Vodka Pasta Sauce

If you are a fan of tomato-based sauces but want something a little different, then this vodka pasta sauce will be perfect. It is packed with flavor using tomatoes, garlic, and just a little coconut milk for creaminess.

Jar of vodka sauce with the pan in the background

I’m always wanting to change up what sauce or oil mixture I put on our cooked pasta, but I’m somewhat limited because Christopher is lactose intolerant. So, unfortunately traditional cream based sauces are out.

With this vodka sauce recipe, I use coconut milk and it is perfect. The ingredients meld together so well, you would never know there was vodka or coconut milk in it. Wait until you see for yourself how delicious it is.

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Interested in learning more about vodka? Read my comprehensive guide here.

Helpful tips

  • For this recipe, you can use any vodka you enjoy. It’s not necessary to use a premium vodka like Grey Goose, although I couldn’t help myself. Substitute budget friendly vodkas like Tito’s or Absolut and you’ll never know the difference.
  • I use either coconut milk or cream, but if you prefer, use your milk or cream of choice.
  • You can store this tomato sauce in the refrigerator for a week. I usually put it in glass jars.
  • If you want to make it ahead of time, this sauce reheats like a dream. Transfer to a pan and heat on medium until it just starts to bubble. Lower to a simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Want spicy vodka pasta sauce? Add some red pepper flakes, in my opinion, the more the better.
  • Pasta shapes that I love with this sauce on: anything with ridges, cavatappi, fusilli, rigatoni, ziti, and penne pasta.

Ingredients and substitutions

  • Olive oil – extra virgin.
  • Onion – 1/2 of a large onion, diced. I prefer Vidalia onion but you can use shallots (3) or one yellow onion.
  • Garlic – I use 4 big cloves, diced, because I’m of the mind that you can’t have too much garlic in a dish, but use however many cloves you like.
  • Vodka – Your favorite brand or any budget friendly brand. (You’ll need 8 ounces or 1 cup.)
  • Crushed tomatoes – I don’t use herbs in this recipe; it doesn’t need them. I recommend plain crushed tomatoes but in this instance I couldn’t find them, so what you see pictured is crushed tomato with basil.
  • Chicken broth – If you want to keep the recipe vegetarian or vegan, use vegetable broth.
  • Salt – I use fine sea salt.
  • Coconut milk – or coconut cream. But if you aren’t lactose intolerant, you can use milk or cream.

How to make vodka pasta sauce

Pre-step

Get a deep sauté pan or medium sized Dutch oven.

Step one

Gather the ingredients – crushed tomatoes, onion, garlic, coconut milk, chicken broth, salt, and vodka. (A)

Step two

Mince both the onion and garlic cloves. (B)

Left -crushed tomatoes, onion, garlic, coconut milk, and vodka. Right - diced onion and garlic

Step three

Heat the pan on medium heat and once the pan heats up, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Once the oil heats up (it will look shimmery), add the onion and sauté for 7 minutes. (C)

Step four

Add garlic and salt (D) and sauté for an additional 3 minutes.

Left - sautéed onion. Right - garlic added to onion

Step five

Time for my favorite part: the alcohol!

Measure out 8 ounces (1 cup).

Two measuring glasses filled with vodka with the bottle in the back

Step six

Pour vodka into the onion mixture (E) and bring to a boil for 5 minutes. It will reduce. (F)

Left - added vodka to onion and garlic. Right - the vodka reduced

Step seven

Add the can of crushed tomatoes, (G) chicken broth (H) and stir until combined.

Left - crushed tomatoes added to onions. Right - chicken broth added to tomatoes

Step eight

Bring to a boil again and simmer for 10 minutes.

Step nine

Add the coconut milk (or cream) and if you’re not lactose intolerant, you can use half and half or heavy cream. (I)

Step ten

Stir the milk in with the tomatoes and let the sauce simmer for 5 minutes. (J)

Left - coconut milk added to tomatoes. Right - sauce done and steaming

Look at all those chunks of garlic. Yum.

Pan of sauce with a wooden spatula on the rim

All that’s left for you to do is ladle it over pasta.

I transferred some to a jar for storage.

Vertical view of the pasta sauce in a jar with a pan in the background

I hope you enjoy this vodka pasta sauce recipe as much as Christopher and I do. Try it on penne or any pasta you enjoy. It’s also scrumptious on gnocchi.

Other sauce recipes

And as always, may all your dishes be delish!

If you’ve tried this recipe, I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments below. I love hearing from you! You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOKTWITTERINSTAGRAM, and PINTEREST to see more of my delicious food and delightful cocktails!

Pasta sauce in a jar with a pan of it in the back

Vodka Pasta Sauce

Chockful of flavor, this vodka pasta sauce is so delicious that you are going to love ladling it on all your pasta dishes.
5 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: sauces
Cuisine: Sauce
Keyword: vodka pasta sauce, vodka sauce
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4 cups
Calories: 305kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion (diced – or half of a large onion)
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 cup vodka
  • 28 ounces crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk ( or coconut cream, dairy milk, half and half or heavy cream)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

Instructions

  • Dice onion and mince the garlic.
    1 small onion, 4 cloves garlic
  • Heat a deep sauté pan or small Dutch oven on medium heat.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of oil and once that heats up, add the onion and sauté for 7 minutes.
    2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 small onion
  • Add garlic and salt and sauté for 3 minutes.
    4 cloves garlic, 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • Add 1 cup of vodka and bring to boil. Cook for 5 minutes. It will reduce somewhat.
    1 cup vodka
  • Add crushed tomatoes and chicken broth and bring it back to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
    28 ounces crushed tomatoes, 1 cup chicken broth
  • Add coconut milk and stir. Let it simmer for 5 minutes.
    1/2 cup coconut milk
  • Take off heat and ladle on pasta.
  • Eat
  • Smile
  • Enjoy

Equipment

See all my favorite tools and gift ideas at my Amazon Store page!Check out Elaine’s Amazon Store!

Notes

Helpful tips
  • For this recipe, you can use any vodka you enjoy. It’s not necessary to use a premium vodka like Grey Goose but I couldn’t help myself. You can use these budget friendly vodkas like Tito’s or Absolut and you’ll never know the difference.
  • I use either coconut milk or cream, but if you prefer, use your milk or cream of choice.
  • You can store this vodka sauce in the refrigerator for a week. I usually put it in glass jars with lids.
  • Want to make it ahead of time, this sauce reheats like a dream. Transfer to a pan and heat on medium until it just starts to bubble. Lower to a simmer for 10 minutes.

Nutrition

Calories: 305kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Sodium: 919mg | Potassium: 729mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 428IU | Vitamin C: 25mg | Calcium: 86mg | Iron: 4mg
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From lighting up stages with her BA in theater to food journalist, Elaine Benoit's journey is a testament to passion's transformative power. As the CEO of Dishes Delish, she offers a blend of healthy, comforting recipes and exquisitely crafted cocktails. Beyond the kitchen, Elaine voiced her culinary adventures on her podcast, "Dishing," and co-owns Food Blogger Help, extending her expertise to guide budding food bloggers to success. Whether it's for a heartwarming dish or insights into food blogging, Elaine's diverse experiences make her a beacon in the culinary digital landscape.

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14 Comments

  1. This looks really fantastic! I have never made a vodka sauce and have wondered how the finished version would taste! I might just give it a whirl! I am so sorry to hear that Chris has a lactose intolerance – certainly makes things a challenge. Love your site – gonna stop back by often! Thanks for the RT and nice comments over on Twitter!!!

  2. I love this recipe- going to make it this weekend with the coconut milk, some seasoned ground beef and serve over zoodles!

  3. This sauce is beautiful and has so much flavor. I love that I can make it ahead of time for quickly and easy meal prep.

  4. My family loves vodka sauce on pasta and I’m always looking for different ways of making great sauces. Your vodka sauce sounds so good, I can’t wait to make it!

  5. I love vodka sauce but have never tried making it at home until now! This is so delicious and way easier than I thought!

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