This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more information.
Don’t have heavy cream or realized you’re all out just as you’re about to make some vodka sauce? Here are the best ways to substitute for heavy cream in any vodka sauce recipe!
Vodka sauce is used in pasta dishes for a rich, creamy, Italian inspired cuisine. It is made from tomato sauce, vodka, heavy cream, and herbs.
If you want to make your favorite vodka pasta (like the famous Gigi Hadid vodka pasta!) but don’t want the fat from heavy cream or don’t have any cream on hand, here are some options to substitute for heavy cream in vodka sauce without compromising on taste.
Who knew you could actually make a delicious vodka pasta without cream?
Most of these alternatives can be used in the same amount as heavy cream for an easy conversion and will add some really amazing creaminess to this sauce.
So, what are the best heavy cream alternatives for vodka sauce?
The best substitutes for heavy cream in vodka sauce are whole milk and butter, evaporated milk + a pinch of baking soda, almond milk, full fat coconut milk, half-and-half, crème fraiche and Greek yogurt.
It is important to note that no other alternative is an exact match for heavy cream, but, these are quite close to the flavor and consistency of heavy cream and will work in the sauce, so they’re worth using.
Let’s discuss each in more detail below where we share why they work as great alternatives in vodka sauce and the conversion ratios for each.
Heavy cream substitute in vodka sauce
Whole milk and Butter
Did you know that its possible to make a vodka sauce with milk and butter? Milk and butter are two of the most common ingredients in your fridge, so these are an easy substitute for heavy cream in vodka sauce. Melt 1/3 of a cup of butter and mix it with ¾ of a cup of milk.
One cup of this mixture can be used to replace one cup of heavy cream, at a conversion rate of 1:1 to make a tasty vodka sauce with milk instead of cream.
Evaporated milk + a pinch of baking soda
Another easy substitute for heavy cream in vodka sauce is evaporated milk .
If, by chance, you have no whole milk, but you have evaporated milk, use 1/2 cup of this ingredient for every 12 ounces of pasta in the dish to add richness to this sauce.
Evaporated milk is a great low fat and low calorie replacement for heavy cream in vodka sauce.
Also note that a pinch of baking soda is a necessity to neutralize the acidity of the sauce and prevent the milk from curdling. With this combination you can easily make a super easy and delicious vodka sauce with evaporated milk.
For a dairy free vodka sauce, you can also choose to use just almond milk. Most recipes that use almond milk opt for unsweetened almond milk and use 1 ⅓ cups for every pound of penne.
Full fat coconut milk
Looking for a vegan heavy cream alternative for vodka sauce? Then full fat coconut milk or coconut cream is your best bet.
This ingredient provides a lighter way for you to enjoy vodka sauce or penne alla vodka without all the extra fat and calories.
Most recipes use 1/2 cup to 1 cup of full fat coconut milk for every 1 pound of pasta.
Half- and -half can also be used to make this sauce if heavy cream is not available. Half-and-half is usually used as a replacement for heavy cream when you want a lighter recipe.
Most recipes that use half-and-half to make penne alla vodka use anywhere from 1/2 cup to 1 cup of half-and-half for every 1 pound of penne pasta.
While less popular, crème fraiche can also be used as an ideal substitute for heavy cream in vodka sauce.
Crème fraiche is a lighter version of cream which means it has fewer calories. It also has somewhat of a similar level of creaminess, taste and consistency which means it’s one of the best substitutes if you can find it.
Crème fraiche can be used in the same amount as heavy cream, at a conversion rate of 1:1.
If you want to make healthier pasta, Greek yogurt is the best way to replace heavy cream in this sauce as it is lower in calories and higher in protein.
Greek yogurt is thicker than heavy cream but mixing it with milk in equal parts creates a consistency that matches heavy cream.
Most people use greek yogurt in their vodka sauce when they’re looking for a ‘Skinny Penne a la Vodka’ option.
Most recipes use a ¼ cup of plain greek yogurt mixed with a ¼ cup of milk for every 1 pound of penne pasta and you have yourself a really good heavy cream substitute for vodka sauce.
FAQs about heavy cream substitutes for vodka sauce
Can you make vodka sauce with milk?
Yes you can. In fact, it is quite simple to make vodka sauce with a combination of milk and butter. When milk and melted butter are mixed together, they create a thick homemade heavy cream substitute.
Can you make vodka sauce with half and half?
Yes you can. Half and half makes a lighter penne alla vodka without heavy cream.
How to make vodka sauce creamier?
Besides the use of more cream, you can make vodka sauce creamier by adding more cheese or some milk.
These are the easiest ways to substitute for heavy cream when making vodka sauce. These ingredients listed above are also easily available and many of them, you actually have in your fridge right now! So, there is no need to ran to the store before making your dish or fretting about how to make vodka sauce without heavy cream! You have all what you need right here! Happy cooking!
And lastly, if you’re looking for heavy cream substitutes for everyday recipe, check out the best heavy cream replacements in mac and cheese, the best substitutes for heavy cream in mashed potatoes, heavy cream substitutes for soups, and the best substitutes for heavy cream in vodka sauce here.