Spicy Vodka Sauce with Tomato Cream


You’ll often find spicy vodka sauce offered at many Italian restaurants worldwide.

The sauce offers an exciting take on the classic tomato sauce, bringing in more flavor profiles, such as cream and red pepper, to your favorite pasta. Frequently, you’ll see this sauce offered with penne, as the dish is typically called penne alla vodka, but you can also create a spicy fusilli recipe, spicy campanelle, or spicy rigatoni. Choose your favorite pasta.

While you can visit a restaurant selling spicy vodka noodles, it simply cannot beat a homemade spicy vodka sauce. Luckily, it’s an easy sauce recipe to make at home with simple ingredients you can find at your local grocery store. Let’s look at the ingredients you need and how to make delicious, creamy, spicy vodka pasta in your kitchen.

What Is Spicy Vodka Sauce?

Spicy vodka sauce is essentially a creamy tomato-based sauce with a hint of spicy heat from some red pepper flakes. Typical recipes call for small amounts of vodka, so you cannot taste the alcohol in the sauce. The alcohol cooks off anyway, so this is a family-friendly meal that everyone will love.

Spicy Vodka Sauce

The point of the vodka isn’t necessarily for flavor anyway, as the alcohol acts like a binder to mix the cream and acidic tomatoes. However, it can also help enhance the taste of these ingredients, creating a very flavorful sauce with minimal ingredients.

Spicy Vodka Sauce

Spicy Vodka Sauce with Tomato Cream

Spicy vodka sauce is essentially a creamy tomato-based sauce with a hint of spicy heat from some red pepper flakes. Typical recipes call for small amounts of vodka, so you cannot taste the alcohol in the sauce. The alcohol cooks off anyway, so this is a family-friendly meal that everyone will love.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8
Calories 449 kcal


  • 1 pound Your favorite pasta (penne, fusilli, and rigatoni are excellent choices for this)
  • 4 Minced garlic cloves
  • ¼ cups Olive oil
  • cups Heavy cream
  • 1 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp Vodka
  • ¾ Tbsp Salt
  • ½ Tbsp Crushed red pepper flakes (you can add more if you want it spicier)
  • Chopped parsley (optional)
  • Fresh basil (optional)
  • Grated parmesan cheese (optional)
  • Sausage, chicken or shrimp (optional protein)


  • Grab a large pot and fill it with water and a little bit of salt. This is your seasoned pasta water.
  • Bring the water to a rolling boil and dump your pound of pasta into the pot, allowing it to cook for about ten minutes. Cooking times will vary by the type of pasta.
  • When your pasta finishes cooking to your liking, strain the water out and put the pasta to the side for now.
  • Grab a large skillet pan and put it over some medium heat. As the pan is heating up, add your olive oil and minced garlic.
  • Stir and cook the garlic until it starts becoming a pretty golden brown. Add in your red pepper flakes.
  • Add your can of crushed tomatoes and salt to the pan. Reduce the heat slightly and allow this mixture to simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Throw in your heavy cream and vodka. Allow the sauce to come to a boil, then bring your burner down to low heat.
  • Cook the protein of your choosing in a separate pan.
  • Grab your pasta and protein and toss it in your sauce until everything is evenly coated.
  • Garnish the pasta with parsley, fresh basil, and/ or grated parmesan cheese.
  • Serve immediately and enjoy!
Keyword healthy pasta, spicy vodka pasta, spicy vodka sauce

Tips & Tricks for Spicy Vodka Sauce with Tomato Cream

Spicy Vodka Sauce

Here are some general tips and tricks to use when making your homemade spicy vodka sauce.

  • To make a lighter or slightly healthy vodka sauce, you can swap out the heavy cream for half and half. Just keep in mind that it might not be as creamy due to less fat. Heavy cream has 36.1 grams of fat per serving, while half and half has 11.5 grams.
  • Another option for healthy vodka sauce is replacing the heavy cream with nut or plant-based creams. However, keep in mind that the sauce may take on the taste of what cream you use. 
  • If you’re wondering what protein goes with vodka sauce, chicken, shrimp, or sausage are tasty options to bulk up your meal. 
  • Use tube-shaped pasta if you like a lot of sauce, as they will catch the sauce like little pockets.
  • To make mincing your garlic easy, try using a garlic press.

Can You Make Vodka Sauce Without Vodka?

If you’re not fond of including alcohol in your sauce, you may be wondering how to make vodka sauce without vodka, which is possible. Penne alla vodka with no vodka simply omits the alcohol. There’s nothing more to it, and the taste will be similar to the original recipe, so you don’t have to worry about a lack of flavor.

Nutrition Information of Spicy Vodka Sauce with Tomato Cream

Here is some general nutrition information on a serving of pasta alla vodka.

  • 449 calories
  • 55 grams of carbohydrates
  • 13.3 grams of fat
  • 16.6 grams of protein
  • 784 milligrams of sodium
  • 36 milligrams of cholesterol
  • 3.2 grams of fiber
  • 22% of your daily vitamin A intake, 20% of your daily vitamin C intake, 8% of your daily calcium intake, and 35% of your daily iron intake

Spicy Vodka Sauce

The nutrition facts above are for just the sauce and pasta. If you decide to incorporate meat, fish, or even tofu, the serving will have a higher percentage of protein. Some examples of the extra protein you could get include the following:

  • One chicken breast will add an additional 54 grams of protein
  • A three-ounce serving of shrimp would provide 11.6 grams of protein
  • Two ounces of sausage would provide 15 grams of protein
  • A half cup of tofu can provide 21.8 grams of protein


While the origins of the spicy vodka sauce recipe are rather vague, there’s no question about its deliciousness when combined with pasta, shrimp, chicken, and much more.

So practice and enhance your home culinary skills by trying out this easy spicy vodka sauce when you’re craving a homemade pasta dish packed with flavor.

Join the Conversation

  1. We really enjoyed this recipe.

  2. Kjxoxo1 K. says:

    This is very good.

  3. Mother of Twins says:

    OMG I need more stars, This was Fantastic!

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