Vodka sauce pizza is inspired by the beloved pasta alla vodka and can be found in many New York pizzerias. This recipe uses a grandma-style crust, sliced mozzarella, vodka sauce, Pecorino Romano cheese, and is topped with fresh hand-torn basil. This is a favorite in our home and we know you’ll love it too!
Pasta alla vodka is one of the most well-known and frequently ordered pastas in the NY metro area. It’s the dish that inspired this vodka sauce pizza.
This pizza is similar to our standard grandma pizza recipe except it swaps the tomato for vodka sauce.
Pizza alla vodka is really perfect for when you’re looking to change up your pizza game a bit.
How to make vodka sauce pizza
First make the pizza dough
- Begin by weighing your dry ingredients to ensure you have exact measurements. In a large bowl mix together 406 grams (or 3 1/4 cups) of bread flour, 2 grams (or half teaspoon) of instant yeast, 8 grams (or 1 1/2 teaspoons) of fine sea salt, and 4 grams (or teaspoon) of sugar.
- Place 260 grams (or 9 ounces) of cold water in a bowl large enough to hold both the water and the dry ingredients with room to spare. Add the dry ingredients to the water a little at a time and mix thoroughly to form a dry, rough mass. Pour 14 grams (or 1 tablespoon) of olive oil over the dough and mix again to scrape off any dough residue stuck to the side of the bowl and move the rough shaggy dough to a work surface.
- Knead the dough for 5-7 minutes. If the dough becomes too sticky, place an inverted clean bowl over the dough and wait 30 minutes before resuming. Return to kneading (just make sure to knead for at least a total of 5-7 minutes). Place the bowl over the dough once more and let it sit for 30-40 minutes to warm up before forming the dough ball.
- After 40 minutes, pull the dough toward its end repeatedly to form a smooth ball. Pinch the seam side and place the dough ball seam side down into an oiled bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 12, but ideally 24 hours before using.
Next, make the vodka sauce
- Drain a 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes and set it aside. Dice one small onion and mince 2 cloves of garlic. In a large pan saute the onion for 3 minutes over medium-low heat. Once soft add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes more until lightly golden.
- Add 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds then add 2 ounces of vodka and 2 ounces of dry white wine to the pan and turn the heat to medium-high. Let the alcohol cook out for about 2 minutes.
- Add the drained crushed tomatoes and bring to simmer, then turn the heat to medium-low.
- Add 1 cup of heavy cream and stir to combine. Let the sauce cook for 5 minutes then give it a taste test. Add a touch of salt if required, but keep in mind that the pizza will be topped with salty Pecorino Romano cheese. Turn off the heat and set the vodka sauce aside.
Finally, assemble and bake the vodka pizza
Each number corresponds to the numbered written steps below.
- Remove the dough from the fridge 2 hours prior to using. Do not uncover the bowl. Oil the bottom of a 12 by 16 Grandma pizza sheet pan (or standard half-sheet pan) with a 1/4 cup or more of olive oil. Remove the dough from the bowl and place it into the pan. Using your fingertips, begin pressing the dough into the corners of the pan. You won’t be able to accomplish this all in one attempt.
- Place plastic wrap over the pan and allow the dough to warm up a bit.
- After about 45 minutes remove the plastic and try to stretch the dough again to the size of the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and repeat the process once more until the dough is able to stretch and completely fill the pan. Cover the dough one more time and set it aside while you preheat your oven to 450f setting one rack to the lowest level of the oven and one to the highest.
- Mince 3 cloves of garlic and add to a bowl with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and set aside. Remove the plastic from the pan and if required, press the dough into the edges. Starting in one corner, press the dough down slightly to lock the dough into the corner and begin to layer 12-16 ounces of sliced mozzarella in an overlapping shingle pattern, leaving the outside 1/4 to 1/2 inch uncovered. Make sure the dough is entirely layered with the mozzarella slices.
- Begin to add the vodka sauce to the pizza. You can use 45-degree lines or spoon the sauce all over but be sure to leave a few open areas. The sauce shouldn’t cover the entire pizza.
- Drizzle the garlic oil and garlic pieces all over the pizza.
- Place the pizza onto the lowest rack and cook for 12 minutes rotating the pan 180 degrees after 6 minutes. After 12 minutes, remove the pizza from the oven and check the bottom for browning. If the pizza is well-browned, bake on the top rack for 6 more minutes. otherwise, leave the pizza on the bottom rack for 6 more minutes.
- After 18 minutes of baking, remove the pizza and sprinkle with 3 tablespoons of grated Pecorino Romano cheese. Bake for 2 more minutes on the top rack. If the vodka sauce pizza isn’t crisp enough on top, you can broil it for 30-60 seconds but watch carefully to prevent burning. The total cooking time will be about 20-22 minutes. Let the pizza sit for 5 minutes then sprinkle with 1/4 cup of hand-torn fresh basil. Cut into squares and serve. Enjoy!
Top tips for standout vodka sauce pizza
- The dough. We’re using our grandma pizza dough recipe here but you can use storebought dough if desired. To read more about this type of pizza, we encourage you to read our Grandma recipe post. We strongly recommend using a scale to measure the dry ingredients in grams since they’re more precise. We often encourage you to take liberties with ingredients, but when it comes to baking/bread and pizza making, we suggest you strictly follow the recipe. While the dough will be good after 12 hours in the fridge, we suggest allowing it 24 hours for the best possible flavor. You can even leave the dough in the fridge for multiple days (up to 4) to get an even more flavorful cold fermented pizza dough!
- The sauce. The vodka sauce pizza sauce differs slightly from the sauce used in our rigatoni alla vodka recipe. It’s important that you strain the crushed tomatoes for this recipe since it’s a pizza sauce. Water is a bit of an enemy when it comes to pizza so it’s important to remove the excess water in the tomatoes. We suggest making the sauce at the same time you make your dough. That way the sauce can sit for 12-24 hours in the fridge allowing the flavor to intensify even more. We recommend placing the sauce in a diagonal pattern and not oversaucing the pizza.
- The cheese. For the vodka sauce pizza and any grandma-style pizza, we recommend using slicing mozzarella. That’s the mozzarella you’d get at the deli counter or even presliced packaged in the grocery store. We don’t suggest buying a block of mozzarella and slicing it yourself. You’ll want to make sure that you use the overlapping shingle pattern for the cheese since the sauce will be sitting on top of it and the idea is to not allow the sauce to touch the dough.
- The oil. It may seem like we’re using a lot of oil in this recipe. That’s because we are! Grandma pizza needs a lot of oil to achieve its quintessential crispy bottom so please don’t skimp on the oil here.
- Cooking time. Cooking time will be different depending on the make, model, year, etc. of your stove. That being said, keep an eye on your pizza to make sure it doesn’t burn, is browning well enough, etc. Depending on that you may need to move the pizza from the bottom to the top rack of the oven a bit early or leave it on the bottom the whole time.
More great pizza recipes
If you’re a fan of pizza alla vodka, we think you’ll love these other great pizza recipes!
- New York Pizza – the classic round pizza and how to achieve that authentic New York taste.
- Sicilian Pizza New York Style – how to make the thick square pie you’ll find in every NY pizzeria.
- White Pizza – garlicky white pizza with ricotta and mozzarella.
If you’ve enjoyed this vodka sauce pizza or any recipe on this site, give it a 5-star rating and leave a review.
Vodka Sauce Pizza
For the dough
- 406 grams bread flour or 3 1/4 cups
- 2 grams instant yeast or half teaspoon
- 8 grams fine sea salt or 1 1/2 teaspoons
- 4 grams sugar or 1 teaspoon
- 260 grams cold water 9 ounces
- 14 grams olive oil or 1 tablespoon
For the vodka sauce
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 28-ounce can crushed plum tomatoes drained
- 2 ounces vodka
- 2 ounces dry white wine
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 cup heavy cream
- salt to taste
For the vodka sauce pizza
- 2-3 cups vodka sauce from recipe above
- 1 ~24 ounce dough ball from recipe above
- 12-16 ounces sliced mozzarella cheese weight will vary, but use enough to cover the pizza completely
- 3 tablespoons Pecorino Romano grated
- 1/2 cup olive oil divided
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 cup basil hand torn
For the dough
- Place water in a bowl large enough to hold both the water and all the dry ingredients and still have room to spare. Mix together dry ingredients in another bowl.
- Add dry ingredients to water a bit at a time and mix thoroughly to form a dry rough mass.
- Pour the oil over the dough, mix again to scrape off any dough residue stuck to side of the bowl, and place the rough shaggy dough onto a work surface.
- Knead the dough for 5-7 minutes. If the dough is too sticky, place a clean bowl inverted over the dough and wait 30 minutes before resuming. Return to kneading (just make sure to knead for at least a total of 5 minutes).
- Place the bowl over the dough once more and let sit for 30-40 minutes to warm up before forming the dough ball.
- After 40 minutes pull the dough towards its end repeatedly to form a smooth ball. Pinch the seam side and place the dough ball seam side down into an oiled bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 12 but ideally 24 hours before using.
For the vodka sauce
- Drain the crushed plum tomatoes. Save the juice for another use.
- In a large pan saute the onions in olive oil for 3 minutes over medium-low heat. Once soft add in the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes more until lightly golden. Add the red pepper flakes to the pan and cook for 30 seconds more.
- Add the white wine and vodka to the pan and turn the heat to medium-high. Let the alcohol cook out for 2 minutes or so then add in the tomatoes. Bring to a simmer then turn heat to medium-low.
- Add in the cream and stir to combine. Let cook for 5 minutes then taste test. Add a bit of kosher salt if required, but not too much because the pizza gets topped with salty Pecorino Romano cheese. Turn off the heat and set the vodka sauce aside.
For the vodka pizza
- Take the dough out of the fridge 2 hours prior to using. Do not uncover the bowl. Oil the bottom of a 12 by 16 Grandma pizza sheet pan (or standard half sheet pan) with 3/8's cup of olive oil. You need to use a lot of oil!
- Remove the dough from the bowl and place it into the pan. With your fingertips begin pressing the dough into the corners of the pan. You will not be able to do this in one attempt. Place plastic over the pan and let the dough warm up.
- After 45 minutes remove the plastic and try to stretch it again to the size of the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and repeat process one more time until the dough has completely filled the pan. Cover the dough one more time and set aside. Preheat oven to 450f and set one rack to the lowest level of the oven and one to the highest.
- Mince the garlic and add to a bowl with 3 tablespoons of olive oil to create the garlic oil.
- Remove the plastic from the pan and if required press the dough into the edges. Starting at a corner, press the dough down slightly to lock the dough into the corner and begin to layer the mozzarella cheese in an overlapping shingle pattern, leaving the outside 1/4 to 1/2 inch uncovered. Make sure the dough is layered completely with the mozzarella slices.
- Next, add the vodka sauce to the pizza. You can use 45-degree lines or spoon the sauce all over. Leave some open areas. Don’t coat it all. Drizzle the garlic oil and garlic pieces all over the pizza.
- Place the pizza onto the lowest rack and cook for 12 minutes rotating the pan 180 degrees after 6 minutes.
- After 12 minutes remove the pizza from oven and check the bottom for browning. If the pizza is well-browned, bake on the top rack for 6 more minutes. Otherwise, leave the pizza on the bottom rack for 6 more minutes.
- After 18 minutes of baking remove the pizza and sprinkle with the Pecorino Romano cheese. Bake for 2 minutes more on the top oven rack.
- If the vodka sauce pizza is not crisp enough on top, you can broil for 30-60 seconds. Watch very carefully though!
- The total cooking time will be approximately 20-22 minutes. Let the pizza sit for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the hand-torn basil the cut and serve. Enjoy!
- Use our Grandma pizza dough recipe or storebought dough.
- Cooking time will vary depending on the exact oven temp. After 12 minutes of cooking on the lowest rack the pizza should be very brown and crisp. If it's completely blond the pizza should be cooked for the remaining 8-10 minutes on the lowest rack.
- The vodka sauce pizza needs a lot of oil. More than you think! The oil helps develop the amazing crispy bottom, so please use enough of it.
- Leftovers can be saved for up to 3 days and the pizza can be reheated at 350f on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet until hot. About 10 minutes.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.