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Bertolli Vodka SauceI had been meaning to post about this jar of Bertolli Vodka Pasta Sauce awhile back but somehow never got around to it. Well, I finally downloaded the pics so here you go.

I usually don’t make a habit of buying ANY pasta sauce in jars if I can get away with it. The reason is not only does it tend to be quite a bit more expensive than opening a can of crushed tomatoes and making your own sauce, but I tend to think that many of the tomato based pasta sauces in jars are overly sweet. There are a couple exceptions (one is Barilla Pasta Sauce which is super tangy).

I’d never even bought Bertolli Sauce before, though I’d gotten their Extra Virgin Olive Oil on sale before and it was quite reasonable and pretty good for the price. But because this sauce was on clearance for under two bucks (I can’t remember the exact price) and because it was a bit different than the usual straight-up tomato based sauces, I decided to give it a whirl.

I wish I still had the Bertolli bottle so I could rattle off all of the questionable ingredients in it. The thing is, it’s actually made with “fresh cream”, their own Bertolli Olive Oil, tomatoes, and actual vodka. Yeah, I made damn sure that was listed on the label before buying it!

The usual route most people go is dump the pasta sauce in a pot, heat it up, and then pour it over spaghetti, but I decided to instead use it as an ingredient rather than just a sauce. Using about half the jar, I mixed mixed up a quick sauce similar to the usual one I make for Quick Bacon Pasta. The results, which actually look nice for once, are below:

Bertolli Vodka Sauce

I used Mostaciolli, bacon and a bit of parmesan cheese, as well as cubed zucchini and parsley to make this feel a bit more healthy. Kind of like a Carbonara of sorts.

So, the big question is: Can you actually taste the vodka in the sauce? The answer, surprisingly, was yes. It was there but it wasn’t overpowering or “raw” tasting. A lot of the alcohol tends to cook out of these sauces anyhow when you make them from scratch, so I wasn’t expecting to get tipsy. But there was a hint of it there, which was nice.

The actual flavor of the sauce rated as interesting to good, though not superb, and certainly nothing like a completely homemade pasta sauce. It wasn’t very sour at all and had a nice earthy taste to it due to the blended cream and tomatoes mixture. A bit on the salty side, but then I like my food less salty than most folks.

The texture was very smooth, they definitely ran this through some sort of blender. The color is that peach-pink color that ain’t gonna win a beauty contest; sort of looks like ketchup mixed with mayo…. but on the pasta it looks pretty normal.

I was actually pretty surprised as I’ve had pasta sauce like this a couple times before from jars or cans and it usually fails miserably to impress. I think it definitely helped to fix it up by adding the “extras” to the sauce. It’d probably go well with your usual additions like mushrooms, meats, and other veggies.

At this type of price, it was pretty decent. I also didn’t need to use the entire jar at once, especially since I don’t like to drown my pasta. So I got more than 1 meal out of it. Not too shabby!

Price: under $2 for a jar
Bought at: Albertson’s
Cheap Eats Score: 7/10

16 Responses to “Bertolli Vodka Pasta Sauce”

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  1. Marvo Says:

    I bought the Safeway brand vodka pasta sauce about six months ago and I have to say that it was mildly addictive, but that may have been the vodka part that made me say that. It had an unusual taste, but it’s definitely a lot different than the usual Prego and Ragu stuff I’ve tried.

  2. Jude Says:

    My first experience with vodka sauce, which has now developed into an addiction, was with Trader Joes vodka sauce. Very yummy!

  3. Cheap Eats Editor Says:

    marvo – hey, how much was that safeway brand, like under $2? i may try and see if they have albertson’s brand next time i go.

    jude – i think i may have seen the TJ’s sauce before. I never tried any of these cream based jar sauces before in general because I thought there’s no way they could be any good. Looks like I have to change my assessment though…

  4. cybele Says:

    I’ve tried the TJ’s one and we ate that one for a while.

    Lately I’ve been buying the Barilla garlic tomato sauce and doing a half/half mix with stewed tomatoes for things like stuffed shells and lasagna. It’s worked out pretty well, I prefer the fresh taste of the tomatoes to the “paste” taste of sauces.

    My grandmother used to make her own tomato sauce with romas from her own garden … now that was sauce!

  5. Marvo Says:

    I think I picked it up for $2.50.

  6. Cheap Eats Editor Says:

    cybele – yeah, I also get the Barilla garlic/tomato one and also the mushroom one in a jar. For some reason, many of the other ones like Ragu have more of a “kiddie” taste… cloyingly sweet. I do the same, add stuff to it… usually onions that have been cooked a long time and some extra garlic. Sometimes stewed tomatoes as well… I like to use the “petite diced” ones as it give a good chunky but even texture.

    marvo – cool, I will check that out if it goes on sale…

  7. nicole Says:

    I’m not a big fan of pasta to begin with, but when I make spaghetti, I get the canned sauce. Ragu and Prego are awful. Want some good cheap jarred sauce? Got an Aldi’s in the neighborhood? Their pasta sauce is $1 a jar every day and it’s the best I’ve had.

  8. Cheap Eats Editor Says:

    nicole – I agree, Ragu and Prego are usually my last choices. What is Aldi’s, is that a chain… and do they have it on the west coast if so?

  9. nicole Says:

    They are international, but I’m not sure what states they are in other than Illinois. I’m thinking at least a few. Their site is

  10. Caitlin Says:

    I’m not a fan of jarred sauces either but we absolutely love Rao’s Marinara and their Vodka Sauce … but the problem is they are really pricey. Worth it for the occasional treat though. We loved their vodka sauce so much we tried the trader joe’s version but it didn’t compare in our opinion (sadly). Love the site, glad I found it tonight!

  11. kurt schrader Says:

    for the freshest, most natural pasta sauce try a little known jarred sauce available in the wegman’s chain and a number of smaller chains and independent stores in upstate new york. consilvio’s is made by a third generation italian-american woman whose family has had successful restaurants in italy, new york and north carolina. more expensive than aldi’s and cheaper than rao’s it is better than both because all the ingredients are fresh and every jar is filled by hand. it’s the closest thing to having your italian grandmother ladle her sauce on to your pasta.

  12. Prudence Says:

    Bought the Bertolli vodka sauce on a whim, steamed some asparagus, added red peppers, red onion, garlic and seeded small tomatoes to marinated chicken. Marinated the chicken in Ken’s Zesty Italian dressing.
    Put the asparagus in last with Fettuccine in a large Calphalon 13 inch skillet with lid. tossed it all together on a random weeknight and my husband said, ‘Wow, open a bottle of the good wine!”. I recommend it.

  13. Jodi Says:

    I am assuming that the Bertolli Vodka Sauce would not be a sauce for kids then since there is vodka in it

  14. Lee Says:

    I tried this and it is the most disgusting pasta sauce i have ever tasted! I need to wash it down with beer! and the smell is horrible!

  15. Kitty Says:

    I’ve never had the Bertolli Vodka Sauce but I did have the Classico brand….added with some sundried tomato tapenade cooked with chicken and pasta was a great dinner and I’ve never had a better Penne a la Vodka.

  16. Karen Lund Says:

    Just used the Bertilli Vodka Sauce with an angel hair pasta / fishrecipe. ( I used swai – very mild, but you could also use shrimp or salmon). It enhanced the taste of the swai and was a nice change from traditional pasta sauce. I have had vodka sauce in restaurants before, and Bertilli Vodka Sauce was very similiar. I would use it again with fish for sure.



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