Pasta with Vodka Sauce

5 from 4 votes

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I will not lie, this Pasta with Vodka Sauce recipe is the absolute easiest pasta sauce to make with the biggest bang of flavor. No need for hours of simmering! All you need is tomato paste, heavy cream and a quick sauté with a few ingredients and MAGIC happens in minutes!

close up of glossy Rigatoni with Vodka Sauce

Pasta with Vodka Sauce

Sautéed onion, tomato paste and cream make for one easy and tasty sauce. Adding the key ingredient of vodka adds a sharp peppery, herbal note that helps balance the sweetness of the cream and tomatoes. All you need is 2 ounces or one of those mini bar, airline bottles.

This Pasta with Vodka Sauce will be your new family favorite!

What kind of pasta can I use?

While this dish’s signature pasta choice is penne, rigatoni makes for a fantastic change and it’s ridges are perfect to catch and allow the vodka sauce to cling perfectly to the pasta.

ingredients for Rigatoni with Vodka Sauce

How to make Vodka Sauce?

Olive oil sautés diced onion and garlic, red pepper flakes, and an entire 4.5 ounce tube of tomato paste goes in the pan and cooks. Deglaze the pan with vodka, add the heavy cream, some pasta water and the easiest, creamiest, signature orange sauce happens.

Why is this vodka sauce better?

Using tomato paste allows you that intense tomato flavor that you would get from slowly simmering crushed tomatoes, but in less time.

Does this taste like vodka?

No, actually it doesn’t. What the vodka does is enhance the flavor of the tomato and adds a sharp peppery, herbal note that helps balance the sweetness of the cream and tomatoes.

cooked vodka sauce with wooden spoon

This Pasta with Vodka Sauce is a great meal to feed a crowd.

All you need to do is add some fresh basil, freshly grated parmesan cheese and you are good to serve. Enjoy!

This is fantastic with garlic bread, but you can also look at these ideas for a dinner tonight!

  • Zesty Homemade Focaccia Bread
    I show you step by step how easy it is to make Homemade Focaccia Bread. Thick, airy, flat Italian bread brushed with a tomato sauce that’s your new garlic bread or roll substitute.
  • Flat Wedge Salad
    The bacon gets taken up a notch in the flavor department with a slightly spicy, sweet basting of cayenne and maple syrup while it cooks! Lots of bleu cheese dressing and other toppings make this complete!
  • Blood Orange Salad
    A classic salad from Sicily, this Blood Orange Salad is a refreshing salad made with chilled blood orange slices, red onion, salt, black pepper and a little drizzle of olive oil.
  • Shortbread Lemon Bars
    Super easy to make and will be gone in no time. With a buttery shortbread crust and puckery, sweet lemon curd, these are a great way to use up some of Summer’s citrus.

overhead photo of Rigatoni with Vodka Sauce on skillet

A close up of Rigatoni and vodka Sauce

Pasta with Vodka Sauce

5 from 4 votes
Vodka Sauce for Pasta! No need for hours of simmering, all you need is tomato paste, heavy cream and a quick sauté with onions and garlic then MAGIC happens in minutes!
Servings: 4
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 20 minutes



  • Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Cook pasta for 11 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water, set aside and start the sauce.
  • Heat the oil over medium high heat in a skillet and sauté the onion for for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, kosher salt and red pepper flakes. Stir and cook another 2 minutes.
  • Add tomato paste and stir, scraping up browned bits. Cook this for 5 more minutes. Deglaze the pan with the vodka, stirring constantly and then add the heavy cream. Stir until smooth and creamy. The sauce with be a bright orange. Season to taste.
  • Drain pasta, but do not rinse it. Put it back into the large pot with the reserved cup of pasta water and pour vodka sauce on top. Stir to coat and simmer for a few minutes, or until sauce thickens and is shiny and emulsified.
  • Serve immediately with basil leaves to garnish and top with freshly grated parmesan cheese.


  1. Look for the double concentrated tomato paste in a tube as opposed to the single version in the small cans.


Calories: 763kcal | Carbohydrates: 96g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 82mg | Sodium: 287mg | Potassium: 673mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 1435IU | Vitamin C: 10.3mg | Calcium: 86mg | Iron: 2.5mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Course: Dinner, Main, Pasta
Cuisine: American, Italian
Have You Made This Recipe? Let Me Know on InstagramTag @keviniscooking or tag me #keviniscooking!


Whether in the kitchen or on the grill, you’ll find me cooking American favorites with a love for BBQ, Mexican and Tex Mex. I’m passionate about making tasty food because life’s too short to be bland!

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    1. So sorry for the late reply as I have been away on a much needed vacation outside the USA. Needless to say, about your comment…Thanks so much Lacey. Appreciate you coming back top let me know!

    1. Yahoo! So glad you enjoyed this one. Appreciate you taking the time to come back and let me know, too Kellie! 🙂