A Comprehensive Guide to Canning Vodka Sauce: Step-by-Step Process

How to Can Vodka Sauce – A Step-by-Step Guide

Vodka sauce is a popular and delicious addition to Italian dishes, and if you find yourself with an excess of this creamy sauce, canning it is a great way to preserve its flavor and consistency. Canning vodka sauce may seem intimidating at first, but with the right process and equipment, it can be an easy and rewarding task. In this article, we will provide you with a step-by-step guide to effectively canning vodka sauce.

A guide to vodka sauce

Vodka sauce is a versatile and flavorful sauce that can take your pasta dishes to new heights. While you can purchase ready-made vodka sauce, making your own allows you to customize the flavors and tailor it to your own preferences. The key ingredient in vodka sauce is, as the name suggests, vodka. This alcoholic beverage not only enhances the flavors of the other ingredients, but also contributes to the creamy and cohesive texture of the sauce.

How to make vodka sauce

To make vodka sauce, you need a few key ingredients, including butter or olive oil, onions, vodka, crushed tomatoes and tomato paste, heavy cream or half and half, salt, basil, garlic, balsamic vinegar (optional), and red pepper flakes (optional). To make vodka sauce, sauté onions and minced garlic in butter or olive oil, add tomatoes and vodka, simmer with tomato paste and spices, blend to a smooth consistency, and finally add cream to make a creamy sauce.

Canning Vodka Sauce: Pros and Cons

There are several advantages to canning vodka sauce. First, it allows you to make the sauce ahead of time and save time when preparing meals. By canning a large batch of vodka sauce, you can have it readily available for future use, eliminating the need to make it from scratch each time. In addition, canning preserves the flavor and consistency of the sauce, ensuring that it remains delicious even after extended storage. Canned vodka sauce can also serve as a thoughtful gift or part of a gift basket, along with a recipe and pasta.
However, there are a few drawbacks to canning vodka sauce. First, water bath canning is not suitable for vodka sauce due to its dairy content. Instead, it must be pressure canned, which requires the use of a pressure canner. Purchasing a pressure canner can be an additional expense, but if you plan to cann on a regular basis, it can be a worthwhile investment. Another challenge in canning vodka sauce is the need to add citric acid or lemon juice to the sauce to maintain its acidity, which helps prevent bacterial growth. While this step is recommended, it does not significantly affect the flavor or texture of the sauce.

The process of canning vodka sauce

Canning vodka sauce involves several simple steps. Here is a concise, step-by-step guide to help you through the process:

  1. Make the sauce: Start the canning process immediately after making the vodka sauce.
  2. Acidify the sauce: Add either 1 teaspoon of citric acid or 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to the sauce to increase acidity and improve shelf life.
  3. Prepare the jars: Slightly warm or heat your jars to ensure they are clean and ready to fill.
  4. Fill the glasses: Fill the jars with the vodka sauce, leaving about ½ inch of space at the top. Remove any air bubbles by adjusting the top space if necessary.
  5. Seal the jars: Clean the rims of the jars, place the lids on top, and secure them tightly.
  6. Process jars: Place the filled and sealed jars in the pressure canner and process for at least 40 minutes, adjusting the processing time if you are at a high altitude.
  7. Chill and store: At the end of the processing time, carefully remove the jars from the canner and allow them to cool. When cooled, check the seals to make sure they are tight and store the jars in a cool, dark place.


Canning vodka sauce is an easy and effective way to preserve this delicious sauce for future use. By following the step-by-step instructions in this article, you can confidently can your own vodka sauce and enjoy its flavors and creamy texture whenever you want. Remember to use a pressure canner, add citric acid or lemon juice for acidity, and ensure proper sealing and storage. With these precautions, you can enjoy the taste of homemade vodka sauce long after it was first made. Happy canning!


Can I use water bath canning for vodka sauce?

No, water bath canning is not suitable for vodka sauce due to its dairy content. It must be pressure canned for safe preservation.

Do I need special equipment to can vodka sauce?

Yes, you will need a pressure canner to safely preserve vodka sauce. This equipment allows for proper sealing and preservation of the sauce.

Why do I need to add citric acid or lemon juice to the sauce?

Adding citric acid or lemon juice increases the acidity of the sauce, which is critical for preventing bacterial growth and ensuring safe preservation.

How long should I process the jars in the pressure cooker?

Jars should be pressure canned for at least 40 minutes. However, if you are at high altitude, you may need to adjust the processing time accordingly.

How should I store the canned vodka sauce?

Store the canned vodka sauce in a cool, dark place, such as a pantry or basement. Make sure the jars are tightly sealed and check the seals periodically for signs of damage.

How long can I keep canned vodka sauce?

When properly canned and stored, Vodka Sauce can be safely kept for up to one year. However, for the best quality and flavor, it is recommended to consume it within 6-8 months.