Ranking The Best Store-Bought Vodka Sauce

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In the seemingly limitless world of pasta sauces, vodka sauce holds a special place with its creamy texture and subtle tanginess. It's a delightful twist on a traditional tomato-based sauce that uses vodka to balance acidity and enhance the flavors of tomatoes and cream. With numerous options available on supermarket shelves, choosing the best store-bought vodka sauce can often feel a little confusing, if not overwhelming. Which jar offers the most authentic flavors? Which brand is serving up the best value for the money? And, ultimately, which one tastes like it was simmered right on your own stovetop? 

To narrow down the options, we've reviewed a selection of widely available store-bought vodka sauces to help you find the perfect complement for your favorite pasta dishes. Some of them earn rave reviews, while others fall just short of expectations. Read on to find out what we recommend to make your next pasta night nothing shy of perfection.


To set our ranking for these popular store-bought vodka sauces, we started by selecting a variety of popular brands based on market presence and consumer reviews. Each sauce was then assessed on several key criteria: flavor, texture, consistency, balance of ingredients, price point, and overall appeal. 

Flavor focuses on the harmony of cream, tomato, and vodka, while texture and consistency concentrate on the sauce's smoothness and thickness. The balance of ingredients considers the proportion of creaminess to acidity and the presence of herbs and spices. Finally, the price point takes the accessibility of the sauce into consideration, and overall appeal reflects the sauce's ability to enhance a pasta dish.

10. Prego Creamy Vodka Sauce

At around $3 for a 24-ounce jar, Prego Creamy Vodka Sauce is a popular choice for those seeking a convenient and tasty option for their pasta dishes. Known for its rich and velvety texture, this sauce combines the robust flavors of tomatoes, Italian cheeses, and a touch of vodka to create a well-balanced and creamy delight.

The sauce has a satisfying burst of tomato flavor, complemented by smooth, creamy undertones from a blend of Parmesan and ricotta cheeses. The addition of vodka enhances the sauce's depth, bringing out the natural sweetness of the tomatoes while balancing the richness of the cream, but this one tastes more cream-forward after the second or third bite and has a saltier flavor than some others. Prego Creamy Vodka Sauce is also noted for its versatility. It pairs wonderfully with a variety of pasta shapes, from penne to fettuccine, and can be used as a base for other dishes, such as baked casseroles or chicken Parmesan. The convenience of a super affordable option means that you can enjoy a gourmet meal with minimal preparation time well under budget. 

Overall, Prego Creamy Vodka Sauce offers a delightful blend of flavors and textures, making it a reliable choice for home cooks looking to elevate their pasta dishes with ease and taste. That said, it does contain some artificial flavors and fillers, and it is high in sodium compared to many other vodka sauce options. 

9. Trader Joe's Vodka Sauce

Trader Joe's has earned a reputation for being a standout choice among store-bought pasta sauces, blending quality ingredients and robust flavors. The chain's vodka sauce features a mix of tomatoes, cream, and a dash of vodka, just as most vodka sauces do, for a familiar recipe that doesn't overcomplicate. 

One of the notable aspects of Trader Joe's Vodka Sauce is its use of simple, high-quality ingredients without artificial preservatives or additives, appealing to those seeking a more wholesome option. The sauce's consistency is thick and hearty, making it ideal for coating various pasta shapes, from penne to rigatoni, and providing a satisfying dining experience. The flavor of this sauce isn't overly acidic (a plus!), but it's also not quite as creamy as some other, higher-priced vodka sauces. At $3.49, this is another budget-friendly option, but it lacks the balance that some others achieve. On top of that, Trader Joe's isn't everywhere, so getting your hands on this one can be difficult for those far from a Trader Joe's store. 

For those looking for a convenient addition to their meals, this sauce offers good flavor, texture, and versatility, though more discerning palates might prefer something with a better balance. As a devoted Trader Joe's shopper myself, this is one I've picked up numerous times, but I often doctor it up with a bit more tomato paste and a lot more Parmesan by the time I'm putting dinner together. 

8. Bertolli Vodka Sauce

Bertolli Vodka Sauce is a well-known option for those seeking a rich and flavorful addition to their pasta dishes. Popular for its authentic Italian taste and low cost, this sauce combines the same classic elements of tomatoes, cream, and vodka for a velvety smooth texture. 

This is probably one of my favorite grab-and-go store-bought sauces. The $2.62 price point is awfully attractive, and Bertolli is readily available at nearly every grocery store. Easy to find, shelf-stable, and versatile for various pasta dishes is the busy family trifecta. A well-balanced sauce that is neither overly acidic nor too rich, it doesn't require any home enhancements to be delicious and ready to serve. 

Bertolli's commitment to quality is evident in its use of fine ingredients, ensuring that each jar captures the essence of traditional Italian cuisine. The sauce's thick consistency makes it perfect for clinging to pasta, but it can also be used as a base for creamy soups or a topping for baked penne. Quality can vary slightly, though, from one batch to another, and it might be too thin or lack depth in flavor compared to some of the more artisanal options.

7. Classico Vodka Sauce

Another affordable, readily available sauce that offers a decent basic flavor, Classico Vodka Sauce is just $2.98 and is right alongside Bertolli as a widely accessible store-bought option. Classico prides itself on "authentic Italian flavor" to make this sauce special. 

Very popular among home cooks, it consistently boasts higher than 4 out of 5-star ratings across many retailers, with one reviewer writing, "The taste of vodka is there and to me, this is just a delicious creamy pasta sauce. Try it on angel hair and you will love this sauce."

On a personal note (and if it's not clear, I really love vodka sauce and use it often), I love the addition of fresh garlic, but I generally find Classico's sauces to be just a bit too sweet. Sugar is low on the ingredients list, which means there isn't much added, but that may be a flavor factor for fellow pasta lovers who prefer no added sugar at all. 

6. Rao's Homemade Vodka Sauce

Rao's Homemade Vodka Sauce stands out in the world of store-bought sauces for its exceptional quality and authentic flavor. What makes Rao's unique is its commitment to using only the finest ingredients and traditional cooking methods. The sauce is simmered slowly in small batches to ensure that each jar captures the essence of homemade Italian cooking. This slow-cooking process allows the flavors to develop fully, resulting in a sauce that is vibrant and nuanced.

One of the key advantages of Rao's Homemade Vodka Sauce is its rich and robust flavor profile. The combination of ripe tomatoes, creamy cheese, and vodka creates a complex and well-balanced sauce that is both savory and satisfying. Additionally, the sauce has a luxuriously smooth texture that coats pasta beautifully, enhancing every bite. And, while the sauce contains cheese, it contains no artificial preservatives or additives. 

However, at $6.88, Rao's Homemade Vodka Sauce comes with a higher price point compared to other store-bought options, which may deter some budget-conscious consumers. It can also be a bit greasy for some diners, while others find the flavor profile less complex compared to pricier options. However, it remains a top contender for those seeking an authentic taste of Italy in a convenient jar.

5. Carbone Spicy Vodka Sauce

Another pricey but solid option is Carbone Spicy Vodka Sauce, a bold and flavorful addition to our list, distinguished by its spicy kick. Developed by the renowned Carbone restaurant in New York City, this sauce combines high-quality ingredients with a unique twist, setting it apart from traditional vodka sauces. The incorporation of spicy red pepper adds a delightful heat to the classic vodka sauce base of tomatoes, cream, and vodka. This combination creates a vibrant flavor that appeals to those who prefer a bit of spice in their meals. 

At $7.97, though, this sauce is definitely on the high side of the scale and may not suit all budgets. As a specialty product, it also might not be as widely available as other mainstream vodka sauces with limited real estate on supermarket shelves. Carbone Spicy Vodka Sauce is an excellent choice for spice lovers seeking a high-quality, restaurant-style sauce with a zing, while those looking for a softer, more traditional take on vodka sauce might not love this one — even if you're using a store-bought vodka sauce for your homemade base.

4. Primal Kitchen Vodka Sauce

When you think "budget-friendly," chances are good that Costco comes to mind (though, to be fair, I've also seen this jar at Whole Foods and Target). And as far as store-bought vodka sauces go, this one is cheaper than some other premium quality picks at around $7. With a good balance of affordability and quality, Primal Kitchen Vodka Sauce earns positive marks for taste and texture. Known for its commitment to natural ingredients, this sauce stands out by providing a wholesome and delicious product accessible to a wide range of consumers. Primal Kitchen's emphasis on natural ingredients also makes it a healthier choice compared to many other options on the market. Additionally, this sauce is made with no dairy, making it a great option for those with allergy concerns. 

However, this one might not be as flavorful or complex as some other brands on this list with a milder taste compared to premium brands, which might not satisfy those looking for a stronger flavor. Additionally, apart from Target, finding the sauce might be difficult — Whole Foods stores can be scarce in many places, while those who can get to a Costco might not have a membership. Overall, Primal Kitchen Vodka Sauce provides a reliable and economical choice for those seeking a quality pasta sauce without compromising on natural ingredients, even though it might be tough to buy in certain areas. 

3. Victoria Vodka Sauce

Often up to $10 in many specialty grocery stores, Victoria Vodka Sauce can be found online for as low as $7, so while it's still on the high side in terms of affordability, the simplicity of the recipe lends itself to an authentic taste that's hard to find in other store-bought options. Tangy and creamy, with chunks of tomato, this one may be a little acidic for some, but the texture is (in my humble opinion) the perfect balance of thick and smooth. 

Crafted with high-quality ingredients and traditional cooking methods, this sauce uses nothing more than tomatoes, onions, imported Italian olive oil, Parmesan and Romano cheese, a splash of vodka, whey, salt, garlic, and basil. That's it! This sauce is bursting with flavor and authenticity, making it a great choice for home cooks who want to come as close as they can to the best homemade vodka sauce experience without the work and time commitment of making it from scratch.

2. DeLallo Pomodoro Fresco Creamy Vodka Sauce

DeLallo Pomodoro Fresco Creamy Vodka Sauce stands out in the realm of vodka sauces for its fresh and vibrant flavor, along with the brand's commitment to quality ingredients and Italian culinary tradition. Crafted with ripe Italian plum tomatoes, fresh cream, and a splash of vodka, this sauce offers a deliciously authentic taste that transports you to the heart of Italy with every bite. At $5.29, it's a little more expensive than some other value options, and availability might be restricted to specialty grocery stores or online retailers. 

What makes DeLallo Pomodoro Fresco Creamy Vodka Sauce unique, though, is its emphasis on freshness and simplicity. Made with handcrafted ingredients and simmered in small batches, DeLallo offers a delectable take on a classic Italian recipe. From a company that boasts an over 60-year reputation for producing gourmet foods, the passion for helping home cooks achieve high-quality dishes is clear. 

1. Cento Vodka Sauce

If Cento looks familiar, you've more than likely seen it on cans of genuine Italian tomatoes! Particularly known for San Marzano tomatoes, the brand sticks out for its commitment to authentic ingredients. At around $7, it's far from the most affordable pick, but we happen to think that the quality is worth the cost. In addition to the price being on the high side, this is another sauce that can be tricky to track down in stores but is readily available to purchase online.

With a flavor that's rich and satisfying, Cento Vodka Sauce relies on simple ingredients: real vodka and real San Marzano tomatoes, which are handpicked at peak ripeness to ensure a vibrant and fresh taste that's unrivaled by other sauces. Overall, Cento Vodka Sauce offers a delicious and authentic taste of Italy, making it a top choice for pasta lovers seeking a gourmet experience at home.