Vodka Sauce

Perfectly pink vodka sauce served over rigatoni.

With today being Valentine’s Day, I thought it would be a good time to share my 2nd favorite pasta sauce. Honestly, calling it my 2nd favorite is not doing it justice – it’s really like 1A and 1B with our Bolognese Sauce. Today, I am sharing with you – as seen in our latest Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube video – my vodka sauce recipe. This flavorful, creamy, and cheesy sauce is always a hit and will certainly impress your valentine.

Organize the ingredients

Unlike most pasta sauces that I make, this one does not need to be cooked all day and can be made relatively quickly. That’s why it’s important to have the ingredients organized and ready to go. You’ll need the following:

  • Butter
  • Olive oil
  • Shallots
  • Garlic
  • Red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Vodka
  • San Marzano tomatoes
  • Salt
  • Heavy Cream
  • Basil
  • Pecorino Romano cheese

The best part about this is that you only need to cut up shallots and garlics. Cutting up vegetables is typically the most tedious part of cooking, so it’s a plus that this recipe does not require that much cutting.

Cooking the sauce

The first thing that you’re going to want to do is heat a large pot over medium heat. Melt the butter with the olive oil and then add the shallots. Sauté them until they have softened and then add the garlic and red pepper flakes (if using). Once the garlic is fragrant, lower the heat to low and add the vodka. Flambé the vodka if you would like, otherwise, add the tomatoes and salt. Simmer for around 10 minutes.

Sauce simmering after the vodka, salt, and tomatoes were added
Allow the sauce to simmer once the vodka and tomatoes have been added

Next, add the heavy cream and basil. Simmer for just a few minutes. The sauce will turn more pink in color due to the heavy cream and the basil will infuse it with delicious flavor.

Heavy cream and basil have been added and are infusing the pink sauce with flavor
Heavy cream and basil are infusing the sauce with flavor

The next part is up to you. If you prefer a chunkier sauce, leave the sauce as is and stir in the Pecorino Romano. If you prefer a sauce without chunks, using an immersion blender or a regular blender, blend the sauce before putting the cheese in. This will prevent the cheese from sticking to the immersion blender while smoothing out the sauce. Once blended up, stir the cheese into the sauce until it has melted.

Adding the shredded cheese to the sauce to get it a delicious flavor
Always add the cheese after blending the sauce


At this point you could serve the sauce immediately or allow it to simmer on low for as long as you’d like. This sauce can be used in so many different ways:

And any other creative ways that you can think of. This sauce is easy, quick, delicious, and versatile. There’s a reason it is one of my favorite sauces. Go ahead and make this for your valentine. They’re going to love you for it.

Perfectly pink vodka sauce served over rigatoni.

Vodka Sauce

Vodka sauce is one of the easiest, yet most delicious sauces that you'll ever make. As seen in our latest Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube video, this sauce is the perfect date night dish or pasta sauce to enjoy with the family. As a sauce that does not require to simmer all day, the flavor that is developed in such a short amount of time will fool anyone. Tasty and versatile, this sauce will be a staple in your household!
Servings 4 Servings


  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • 2-3 Shallots minced
  • 5-6 Garlic cloves minced
  • Red pepper flakes to taste; optional
  • 1/2 cup Vodka
  • 28 oz San Marzano tomatoes can
  • Salt to taste
  • 2/3 cup Heavy cream
  • Handful of basil
  • 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano to taste but I typically add around 1/2 cup; grated


  • Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook until softened.
  • Add the garlic and red pepper flakes (if using) and cook until fragrant.
  • Lower the heat to low and add the vodka (see note). Add the San Marzano tomatoes and salt to taste. Simmer for about 10 minutes.
  • Add the heavy cream and basil. Allow to simmer for a few minutes.
  • If you are blending the sauce, go ahead and blend the sauce with an immersion blender or a regular blender. Stir in the grated cheese after blending. If you are not blending the sauce, add the grated cheese at any point after adding the heavy cream and basil. It is up to your taste, but I typically add about 1/2 cup of cheese.
  • Simmer and stir until the cheese has melted. Taste and adjust with more cheese or salt, if necessary. Serve immediately or allow to simmer until you are ready to eat. Enjoy!


If you are flambéing the vodka, add the San Marzano tomatoes after the flame has died down.  If you are not flambéing the vodka, add the San Marzano tomatoes at the same time and allow the vodka to cook off while simmering.   
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