Sure, making your own spaghetti sauce from scratch takes more time than just grabbing a jar, but this vodka sauce is worth the extra effort. This simple penne alla vodka recipe is ready in about 30 minutes and is a terrific source of flavour and comfort food.

We have finally perfected the best-ever vodka sauce after many attempts at perfecting the creamy, vibrant sauce that coats each and every noodle. It’s the best we’ve ever had, so you can count on us saying that it’s money well spent.

How To Make Vodka Sauce


Cooked Pasta.

The photo clearly demonstrates that penne is unnecessary. For this reason, we gravitate towards the wider rigatoni tubes. You know, “rigatoni alla vodka” just doesn’t seem as good. Pasta is optional, but if you do use it, choose a type that can hold a lot of sauce.

Tips for Making the Most Delicious Vodka Sauce Ever:

What’s the deal with Delish’s legendary vodka sauce? Lots and lots of tomato paste. Tomato paste, in comparison to canned tomatoes, yields a more concentrated flavour and a silkier, almost velvety sauce.

We advise increasing the sauce by 50% for those who enjoy a saucy pasta (and who wouldn’t with this one?). The vodka is optional, but the sauce just wouldn’t taste the same without it (thus the name). You can eliminate it if you wish, but know that doing so will dull the creamy sauce’s otherwise bright and crisp flavours.


  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 c. tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp. vodka
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 lb. tubed pasta, such as penne or rigatoni
  • 1/2 c. heavy cream
  • 1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
  • Basil, for serving


  1. Butter should be melted in a large skillet over medium heat. Stirring constantly, sauté the shallot and garlic for 4 to 5 minutes, or until softened.
  2. For the next 5 minutes, while stirring constantly, add tomato paste and red pepper flakes. Cook until the paste has darkened and coated the shallots and garlic.
  3. Vodka should be added to the pot and stirred in while scraping the browned bits from the bottom. The heat should be turned off.
  4. Pasta should be cooked in plenty of salted water until it reaches a “al dente” texture. The 2 cups of water from cooking the pasta should be saved.
  5. Bring the sauce back to a simmer over medium heat and mix in the reserved pasta water and the heavy cream. Incorporate half of the grated Parmesan and mix until smooth. Remove from heat and mix in the pasta. Mix in the remaining Parmesan, and if the sauce seems dry, add a tablespoon or two of pasta water at a time. Add salt if you think it needs it. Add extra Parmesan and torn basil leaves before serving.


The sauce can be kept in the refrigerator for up to five days; after that, it can be reheated and served over freshly boiled pasta.