6 Best Jarred Vodka Sauces for Italian Cooking

If pasta is your staple meal, find a way of making it taste delicious every day. One of the most effective methods of changing your pasta-eating experience is dressing it with the best jarred Vodka sauce (Penne Alla Vodka).

Which is the best store-bought vodka sauce? Is it Rao’s vodka sauce, Bertolli vodka sauce, or other brands? Let us explore what is vodka sauce and the best vodka sauce brands to buy.

Sauces Assortment

What is Vodka Sauce?

If you were thinking about dropping pasta off your menu, start dressing it up with vodka sauce. The move will make you change your mind and find pasta more delicious than in the past.

You might not have heard about vodka sauce in the past. So, you are wondering what kind of an ingredient is in the sauce. Vodka sauce contains vodka, tangy tomatoes, Italian herbs, and heavy cream. Sometimes, you can add flour to make the cream thick.

Admittedly, vodka is a strong spirit. However, it brings out the sweetness and sharpness of tomatoes when added to a creamy sauce. It also adds a grainy, spicy flavor to the sauce.

You can get vodka sauce that goes well with almost any meal. So, it is a versatile sauce that does not limit its application. Also, you can get vodka sauce that matches your allergen inclination. You can get gluten-free, dairy-free, or other vodka sauces that align with your dietary needs.

Are you wondering how vodka sauce tastes? The answer is richness and cream. Tomatoes are acidic, and they add acidity to a meal. The vodka in the sauce caramelizes tomatoes during the simmering process. Also, it combines with the tomatoes during the process. Also, vodka allows the cream to mix with the tomatoes to create a cohesive texture.

Notably, aromatic compounds dissolve well in alcohol. Also, the alcohol evaporates quickly because of its volatility. So, when vodka particles rise in the air, they take along the aroma of your food. 

When you are chewing your Rigatoni Alla Vodka or Penne Alla vodka, the rising vodka particles drifts the aroma of the food back to your mouth. The result is a high enjoyment of food.

Vodka sauce has a rich taste with a dash of crushed red pepper and vodka. It makes comfort food in winter and springtime treats in summer. Notably, a typical vodka sauce is not spicy. Instead, it has a mildly-heated warming flavor. So, adding crushed peppers, especially homemade vodka sauce, gives the sauce an intense spicy flavor.

Does taking vodka sauce similar to taking alcohol? No. During the cooking process, the alcohol content in the vodka does evaporate. So, the resultant meal does not have any alcoholic taste. Also, the alcohol content in vodka does not affect the flavor of your meal.

One of the other notable aspects of vodka sauce is that vodka acts as an emulsifier that binds cream and prevents its separation. So, it has a balancing ability that reduces the acidity of tomatoes in the sauce.

The History of Vodka Sauce

Vodka sauce has a long history. Its 80s and 90s fame had a basis on how this sauce was an affordable and quick means of impressing women. Over time, it became an Italian staple. Even though its name raises confusion, it stands as a delicious pasta additive.

Regarding the history of this sauce, it depends on your source. If you ask an Italian, they will tell you that vodka sauce originated in the 1970s from one of the Italian restaurants.

The Italians have two theories about the origin of the vodka sauce. To begin with, the Pasquale Bruno Junior’s cookbook, The Ultimate Pasta Cookbook, narrates that a chef in Dante Restaurant in Bologna was the first to make vodka sauce.

The second cookbook, Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Italian, claims that a Roman chef from a vodka factory creates vodka sauce to make the spirit famous in the country.

On the other hand, an American will tell you that Chef Luigi Franzese, an Italian-American, created the vodka sauce from the Orsini Restaurant in New York. Still, in New York, some Americans claim that a Columbia University graduate, James Doty, created vodka sauce in the 1980s.

Regardless of the source of the history, vodka sauce has traditional Italian cuisine roots. The Food for Friends author, Barbara Kafka, seconds this thought. Barbara says that vodka sauce has an Italian origin.

The availability of vodka sauce ingredients is one of the factors that made the sauce famous. You can get the ingredients easily and quickly.

Pouring vodka

Popular Dishes to Eat With Vodka Sauce

Penne with Chicken

One of the dishes you can eat with vodka sauce is penne with chicken. It is one of the most varied dishes on the Italian restaurant menu. This dish consists of chicken bites, tender penne pasta, and a vodka sauce. Sometimes, you can throw in vegetables in this dish.

Lobster Alla Vodka

If you are looking for a dish that combines two of the most delicious ingredients, try lobster with vodka sauce. You can try Fusilli, one-pound lobster, and vodka sauce in some restaurants. It can be a good starting point for savoring meals with vodka sauce.

Spicy Alla Vodka

If you have never tried spicy Alla vodka, ask for table-side pasta with parmesan cheese and spicy vodka sauce. Any cheese lover can make this meal their favorite dish.

Our Top Jarred Vodka Sauce Pick

Rao’s Homemade Vodka Sauce: Best for Pasta or Any Other Meals

We select Rao’s Homemade Vodka Sauce as our best pick because of its high versatility, dietary considerations, slow-cooked properties, and it is keto-friendly. For these reasons, Rao’s vodka sauce stands out from the other highlighted jarred vodka sauces.

The Best Jarred Vodka Sauces at a Glance

  1. Rao’s Homemade Vodka Sauce (Best for pasta or any other meal)
  2. Prego Pasta Sauce (Best for pasta meals)
  3. Trader Giottos Organic Vodka Sauce (Best for pasta, chicken and other meats, breadsticks, and other meals)
  4. Lidia’s Vodka Sauce (Best for pasta meals)
  5. Compagnia Sanremo Sauce Italian Fresh Tomato & Vodka Pasta Sauce (Best for spaghetti and baked dishes, including lasagna)
  6. DeLallo Pomodoro Fresco Creamy Vodka Sauce (Best for pasta dishes, meatloaves, fried appetizers, classic Parmesan-style entrees, stews, pizza, Calzones, and soups)

Reviewing the Best Vodka Sauce in Jars

Rao’s Homemade Vodka Sauce: Best for Pasta or Any Other Meal

Rao’s homemade vodka sauce is an all-natural premium product. It is a classic, slow-cooked Italian pasta sauce. Each jar provides you with homemade and classic, warm Italian cheeses flavors. Did you know that slow-cooked ingredients retain much of their potency and flavor? Now you know.

The Rao’s vodka sauce ingredients are Italian whole peeled tomatoes, parmesan cheese, olive oil, whey, Romano cheese, onions, salt, basil, black pepper, garlic, vodka, and oregano. The black pepper and other spices in Rao’s vodka sauce make the sauce spicy.

Rao’s vodka sauce contains 100% Italian tomatoes and no sugar. The Pecorino Romano and Parmigiana Reggiano cheese in this sauce makes it have a high level of dietary fats. So, this sauce is keto-friendly. Also, it is a highly-versatile vodka sauce you can use on pasta and any other delicious recipes.

  • Pros: This product has natural ingredients, no additives, is slow-cooked to preserve flavor and potency, has low carbohydrates, no added sugar, and is keto-friendly. 
  • Cons: Not vegan-friendly, unfit for lactose-intolerant people
  • Diet Type: Gluten-free
  • Flavor: Vodka
  • Brand: Rao’s Homemade
  • Package information: Bottle, jar
  • Weight: 2.1 pounds (0.95 kilograms)
  • Allergen Information: Dairy

Prego Pasta Sauce: Best for Pasta Meals

Prego Pasta Sauce is a ready-to-eat vodka sauce. It contains five servings. Each half-cup serving equals 40% of your daily vegetable intake. If you add it to your pasta, it will add a twist to the traditional taste of pasta.

This vodka pasta sauce contains tomato puree, heavy cream, sugar, ricotta cheese, vodka, garlic, canola oil, up to 1% salt, Romano cheese, citric acid, parmesan cheese, spices, and flavoring. Also, it does not have gluten and trans fats that raise cholesterol levels.

Prego Pasta sauce has low RODMAP (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols). These elements are types of carbohydrates unfit for people with sensitive digestive systems.

This sauce comes from sweet vine-ripened tomatoes. So, pour it over your pasta to add a mildly-heated warming flavor.

  • Pros: Gluten-free, no trans fats, low FODMAP, and low salt levels
  • Cons: Unfit for dairy-intolerant people, low versatility
  • Diet Type: Gluten-free
  • Flavor: Creamy vodka
  • Brand: Prego
  • Package information: Jar
  • Weight: 24 ounces (680.4 grams)
  • Allergen Information: Milk

Trader Giottos Organic Vodka Sauce: Best for Pasta, Chicken and Other Meats, Bread Sticks, and Other Meals

Trader Giottos vodka sauce is a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Quality Assurance International (QAI)-certified product. It contains a blend of tomatoes, cheeses, olive oil, vodka, and herbs.

This vodka sauce is highly versatile. You can take it with pasta, chicken and other meats, breadsticks, and other meals.

  • Pros: Highly versatile, gluten-free, and USDA- and QAI-certified 
  • Cons: Unfit for dairy-intolerant people
  • Diet Type: Gluten-free, certified organic
  • Flavor: Vodka
  • Brand: Trader Joe’s
  • Package information: Jar
  • Weight: 5.02 pounds (2.28 kilograms)
  • Allergen Information: Dairy

Lidia’s Vodka Sauce: Best for Pasta Meals

Lidia’s Vodka Sauce is the best jarred vodka sauce for people allergic to additives and preservatives. It is an all-natural sauce with garlic, tomatoes, and extra virgin olive oil balance. This gluten-free sauce is also yeast-free.

Each Lidia’s vodka sauce jar has six servings. Each serving has 0.16 ounces (4 grams) of total fat, 0.28 ounces (7 grams) of total carbohydrates, and 0.08 ounces (2 grams) of protein. This product also has cholesterol, sodium, vitamins, and other nutrients.

This vodka sauce consists of the following ingredients: Italian tomatoes, heavy cream, extra virgin olive oil, fresh carrots, parmesan cheese, fresh garlic, fresh basil, crushed red pepper, sea salt, and vodka.

When using this vodka sauce, you heat and serve only. However, heat is uncapped when using a microwave. Also, refrigerate after opening the sauce jar.

  • Pros: All-natural ingredients, gluten-free, yeast-free
  • Cons: Unfit for dairy-intolerant people
  • Diet Type: Gluten-free, yeast-free
  • Flavor: Vodka
  • Brand: Lidia’s
  • Package information: Jar
  • Weight: 244 ounces (6,917.4 grams)
  • Allergen Information: Milk

Compagnia Sanremo Sauce Italian Fresh Tomato & Vodka Pasta Sauce: Best for Spaghetti and Baked Dishes, Including Lasagna

If you are looking for an alternative to Bertolli sauce vodka, Gia Russa pasta sauce, and Victoria tomato sauce, the Compagnia Sanremo Sauce Italian vodka sauce is your match. Use Compagnia Sanremo Sauce as a dressing on your spaghetti and baked dishes, including lasagna.

This vodka sauce contains fresh ingredients, including vine-ripened tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, vodka, and aromatic herbs. It does not contain any preservatives. Also, it is Italian-made. So, it is from the makers of authentic traditional Italian food. 

  • Pros: Fresh ingredients, gluten-free, imported from Italy, no preservatives, 
  • Cons: Unfit for dairy- and tree nuts-intolerant people
  • Diet Type: GMO-free, gluten-free
  • Flavor: Vodka, marinara basil sauce
  • Brand: Compagnia Sanremo Sauce
  • Package information: Bottle, jar
  • Weight: 17.6 ounces (499 grams)
  • Allergen Information: Milk and tree-nut traces

DeLallo Pomodoro Fresco Creamy Vodka Sauce: Best for Pasta Dishes, Meatloaves, Fried Appetizers, Classic Parmesan-Style Entrees, Stews, Pizza, Calzones, and Soups

DeLallo Pomodoro Fresco Creamy Vodka Sauce is a handcrafted product. The process seeks to employ an authentic Italian cuisine-making style. So, its makers simmer this sauce in small batches.

This pink sauce combines rich and nutty Italian cheeses with a touch of vodka and Italian-farmed plum tomatoes. Its other ingredients are heavy cream, onions, crushed tomatoes, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, organic sugar, white pepper, salt, basil, citric acid, and oregano. Also, it is a ready-to-eat sauce that features a flavorful heat.

DeLallo Pomodoro Fresco vodka sauce goes down well with several dishes, including pasta, meatloaves, fried appetizers, classic parmesan-style entrees, stews, pizza, calzones, and soups.

  • Pros: Handcrafted, highly versatile, ready-to-eat, and spicy
  • Cons: Unfit for dairy products-, organic sugar-, and tree nuts-intolerant people, no dietary considerations
  • Flavor: Vodka
  • Brand: DeLallo
  • Package information: Jar
  • Weight: 4.31 pounds (1.94 kilograms)
  • Allergen Information: Dairy

FAQs on Jarred Vodka Sauce

Q: What Italian recipes can I make with vodka sauce?

A: After buying the best vodka sauce, use it as a pasta topping. You can also apply vodka sauce on lasagna, ratatouille, and meatballs, among other meals.

Q: Can I make my vodka sauce?

A: Yes. You can make vodka sauce that tastes like the best jar of pasta sauce with vodka. The move results in vodka sauce with an authentic, homemade flavor. All you need are the following:


  • 28 ounces (793.52 grams) Fresh or canned tomatoes, tomato puree, or tomato paste: 
  • 1 Onion (chopped)
  • 3 Minced garlic cloves
  • 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ Cup basil (fresh and chopped)
  • 2 Tablespoons grated dairy, dairy-free cream, or vegan cheese
  • ½ to ¾ Cup half-and-half cream
  • ¼ Tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 2.25 to 2.4 fluid ounces (75 to 80 milliliters) Vodka


  • One frying pan
  • Stirring spoon
  • Processor or blender
  • A cooker


  1. Use a pan to heat the oil.
  2. Pan-fry the garlic until soft.
  3. Add red pepper flakes and fry for around one minute.
  4. Add tomatoes and vodka, and stir for five minutes.
  5. Add puree, salt, and vinegar.
  6. Use a processor or blender to blend the mixture while adding the basil.
  7. Pour back into the pan.
  8. Heat up and add cheese or cream to your liking.

Q: Is Vodka sauce suitable for children?

A: Parents have a reason to worry about giving vodka sauce to their children. However, the sauce is safe for children after cooking it correctly. Notably, vodka sauce contains a low content of alcohol. An appropriate cooking method leaves an insignificant or no alcohol content. So, no intoxication takes place after consumption of vodka sauce.

If you simmer and keep stirring vodka sauce for around five minutes, the alcohol content in the sauce will evaporate significantly. However, refrain from feeding your children with vodka sauce regularly or in large quantities of the sauce. Better still, consult your children’s physician to get more advice on the correct amount of vodka sauce to give to your children.

Vodka sauce

Our Final Say on Store-Bought Lasagne

The days when you ate store-bought lasagne to fill your stomach are gone. We understand that lasagne and pasta are your staples. However, vodka sauces, such as the Rao’s Homemade Vodka Sauce, can make your meal more delicious every day.

Now that you have identified the best vodka sauces, some of which can go with almost every meal, it is time to shop and stock vodka sauces in your kitchen.

Before we go, do you know that you can improve the taste of store-bought vodka sauces? You can add more seasoning to your vodka sauce after warming it. Add a pinch of salt, fresh garlic, or red pepper flakes to liven the vodka sauce up. Alternatively, you can add dried herbs, including oregano, thyme, basil, tarragon, and parsley.

Can you make your vodka sauce creamier? Yes. Add half a cup of cream or milk to your vodka sauce before serving it. Alternatively, add cream or Ricotta cheese to our vodka sauce. Doing so makes the sauce rich and creamy.

How about sprucing up your store-bought vodka sauce? Add olive oil generously to infuse the flavor of the sauce. You can also add meat or a glass of wine, besides the addition of fresh or dry herbs.

What can you do to reduce the flavor in your vodka sauce? Add heavy cream. Alternatively, add lemon juice or balsamic vinegar to balance the flavors. However, do not reduce the flavor if you want your vodka sauce to taste sweet.

You might be wondering how you can identify a healthy vodka sauce. Admittedly, making vodka sauce from raw ingredients is a daunting task. For this reason, buying ready-made vodka sauce is a viable option.

However, all vodka sauces do not have a standard ratio of ingredients. Some may have a high quality of sodium. Others can have saturated fats that can increase your cholesterol levels. So, you have to check the label of the sauce before buying it to ascertain its ingredients.

Also, checking the allergens information enables you to make a healthy choice regarding the vodka sauces. The label on the jar of the sauce indicates whether the sauce is gluten-free, GMO-free, dairy products-free, and free of other ingredients that are not compatible with your health.

Now you are better positioned to make an informed choice on the best vodka sauce to buy. So, step out and purchase vodka sauce to transform your pasta-eating experience.