How to Make Spicy Vodka Sauce - A Beginner's Guide

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Christina Flores

· 2 min read

Spicy Vodka Sauce Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Additional Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

Servings: 4-6


  • 1 pound (454g) penne pasta
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5ml) red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) vodka
  • 1 (28-ounce or 794g) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup (240ml) heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) dried oregano
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Chopped fresh basil, for garnish (optional)

Steps to Cook:

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the penne according to package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.

  2. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes.

  3. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes to the skillet and cook for 1 minute, until fragrant.

  4. Carefully pour in the vodka and let it simmer for 2-3 minutes, allowing the alcohol to cook off.

  5. Add the crushed tomatoes to the skillet and bring the mixture to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let the sauce simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened.

  6. Stir in the heavy cream and Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.

  7. Add the cooked penne to the sauce and toss to coat. Cook for an additional 5 minutes, or until the pasta is heated through and the sauce has thickened further.

  8. Serve the spicy vodka sauce immediately, garnished with chopped fresh basil and additional Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Cook’s Note:

  • For a spicier sauce, add more red pepper flakes or a pinch of cayenne pepper.
  • You can use any short, tubular pasta, such as rigatoni or ziti, instead of penne.
  • If the sauce is too thick, add a splash of the reserved pasta cooking water to thin it out.
  • This recipe can be easily doubled or tripled to serve a larger crowd.
  • Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

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About Christina Flores

Hi, I am Christina Flores, author of I'm passionate about creating delicious and nutritious recipes to help people lead healthier lives. Join me on this culinary journey as we explore the world of healthy eating together!