Quick and Easy Vodka Pasta Sauce

from 15 votes

Skip the store-bought sauces and whip up this recipe for Quick and Easy Vodka Pasta Sauce tossed with your choice of noodles.

A white plate with vodka pasta on it and a salad in the background

There’s just something about rigatoni noodles that leave me weak in the knees. I could eat a whole pound of the al dente noodles tossed in every pasta sauce imaginable (hello, basil pesto!), but you show me a bowl of rigatoni tossed in vodka sauce, and I will show you the fastest fork-to-mouth in the land. #CleanPlateClub

A close-up shot of vodka pasta with rigatoni noodles on a white plate

Sure, this Quick and Easy Vodka Pasta Sauce would be equally as tasty tossed with penne, macaroni or cavatappi, but rigatoni … good ol’ rigatoni. You win this pasta lovers heart palate.

Just look at those cavernous tubes and deep ridges, all the more capable of soaking up and hanging onto every last ounce of sauce.

Bacon pieces cooking in a nonstick pan

Speaking of the sauce, let’s get to it: It starts with good ol’ bacon. For all those with a penchant for pancetta, go for it, and swap in your pork product of choice. But no matter which one you choose, cook it down until it’s nice and crispy to ensure a solid flavor base for your sauce.

Tomato sauce in a pan with heavy cream being poured in

After that, you’re only three ingredients away from vodka pasta perfection. And here is where you can keep this sauce as homemade or as store-bought as your heart desires. Opt for my favorite 10-Minute Homemade Marinara Sauce, or go with any jarred variety. Then to take the sauce from rich red to the classic vodka pink, whisk in some heavy cream and let this bad boy simmer.

Vodka pasta sauce in a nonstick pan

A quick 10 minutes later, you’re left with the big decision: How do you use said vodka sauce?

Do you keep it classic by letting it shine on a big plate of pasta? Do you grab the garlic bread and start dunking? Do you slather it onto pizza dough then pile on the mozzarella? The great news is, there is no wrong answer! So drink your cocktail and eat it too with this fast, fresh and family-friendly (don’t worry, all of the alcohol cooks off!) recipe for any size crowd.

Vodka pasta on a white plate with Parmesan cheese

Craving more? Subscribe to Just a Taste to get new recipes, meal plans and a newsletter delivered straight to your inbox! And stay in touch on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram for all of the latest updates.

Main Course

Quick and Easy Vodka Pasta Sauce

Whip up a fast and four-ingredient favorite with this top-rated recipe for Quick and Easy Vodka Pasta. 
Author: Kelly Senyei
5 from 15 votes
A white plate with vodka pasta on it and a salad in the background
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 3 cups


  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon, diced
  • 1/3 cup vodka
  • 2 cups homemade or store-bought marinara sauce (See Kelly's Note)
  • 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 12 oz. uncooked pasta, such as rigatoni or penne


  • Place a large nonstick sauté pan over medium heat. Add the diced bacon and cook, stirring as needed, until all of the fat has rendered off the bacon. Drain out the grease, leaving about 1 tablespoon remaining in the pan with the bacon.
  • Add the vodka to the pan and cook it until it reduces by roughly half. 
  • Stir in the marinara sauce then whisk in the heavy cream and reduce the heat to low. Simmer the sauce for 10 minutes. While the sauce is simmering, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente.
  • Drain the pasta, toss it with the sauce and serve immediately. 

Kelly's Note:


Calories: 405kcal, Carbohydrates: 10g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 31g, Saturated Fat: 16g, Cholesterol: 91mg, Sodium: 1070mg, Potassium: 638mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 1485IU, Vitamin C: 11.7mg, Calcium: 56mg, Iron: 1.8mg


Did you try this recipe?

Share it with the world! Mention @justataste or tag #justatasterecipes!

This post may contain affiliate links.

Recipe by Kelly Senyei of Just a Taste. Please do not reprint this recipe without my permission. If you'd like to feature this recipe on your site, please rewrite the method of preparation and link to this post as the original source.

Feeling social?

Share this recipe!


Related Recipes

Check out more crave-worthy favorites

Kelly Senyei holding a copy of The Secret Ingredient Cookbook

love the recipes on just a taste?

Check out my cookbook!

Order your copy of The Secret Ingredient Cookbook featuring 125 brand-new family-friendly recipes with surprisingly tasty twists!

This post may contain affiliate links.

Join the Conversation

Rate and Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


  1. So, I am making this for dinner tonight to go over chicken parm, and my husband is a trained chef. He walks in while I am trying to reduce the vodka in bacon grease on medium to low and it is popping very loudly. He asked if I was trying to start a fire. LOL He says I should wait to reduce once the cream is in there. Did anyone else have this problem? FYI This is why I make him do all the cooking.
    PS I am still excited about this recipe based on the wonderful comments below.

    1. Hi Trisha! There should only be 1 tablespoon of bacon grease in the pan so it really shouldn’t be causing any splattering.

  2. 5 stars
    We made this last night, did NOT use bacon, and it was delicious. We used a different brand of premade, store bought marinara sauce.
    Everyone in the family loved it… even our pickier ones! :)

    Love it and look forward to trying more of your recipes!

    1. I substituted pancetta for bacon and it tasted fantastic!

      Very good and quick recipe for vodka sauce!

  3. 5 stars
    Easy and delicious! I sautéed some onion and Italian sausage instead of the bacon just because I had the sausage on hand. It was outstanding and so easy!

  4. 5 stars
    This is delish, I make my own Vodka sauce from scratch, but I need something quick to use my already made marina. I’ll probably just be using this one from now on, it’s so easy.

    I thought I was the only one that had an undying love for rigatoni

  5. 5 stars
    This was super easy and delicious! I added some sweet peppers and onions to the bacon grease and then threw the vodka in and it simmer. It was delicious!!!! I had accidentally purchased “Old Bay” vodka so i finally got to put it to use lol Thank you!

  6. 5 stars
    I have used this recipe so many times but what I tried tonight is my new favorite variation! I had leftover meat sauce that I made with ground beef and Italian sausage. I reduced the vodka and then followed the recipe substituting the marinara for the meat sauce. So so good! It felt like I made an entirely new meal out of leftovers!

    1. Hi Joanne – Feel free to make this vegetarian by replacing the bacon grease with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. :)

    1. Hi Jerrye – I’ve never tried freezing this recipe as my concern is that the cream would separate. However, it should last for a few days when stored in the fridge.

  7. 5 stars
    So fantastically easy! Wish I had this recipe when I was a working Mom. Really good. So good in fact that my family put the remaining sauce over chunk zucchini that I had made to go along with the pasta and sauce. I used Tortellini because I had it in the freezer. It really went well.

  8. 5 stars
    Being a Bacon Lover myself, I made this sauce and WOW!!! I found this recipe to be quite delicious!! My Husband and Girl’s Poker group devoured the Rigatoni & Vodka Sauce!!
    I’m making it again this weekend…..{and adding a couple more slices of bacon since I’m feeding 12 people}

  9. 5 stars
    My sons favorite!! I have made a lot of your recipes, but this by far one of my favorites. If there any leftovers, my kids fight over them. Thank you, you are amazing

  10. 5 stars
    Made this for my brothers birthday dinner! Lost power that night and it was still a hit in the dark! Thanks for such an easy delicious recipe!

  11. 5 stars
    , Made the vodka sauce with rigatoni for dinner last night. It was a hit with my husband! Making this for in Christmas Eve