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What Meat Goes with Vodka Sauce? (9 Meats)

When you have a craving for vodka sauce, you’re probably not feeling too picky about what kind of meat you want to pair it with.

But if you’re anything like me, you also like to make sure that every element of your dinner plays on the same team, so to speak.

The meat should complement the sauce, and vice versa.

What Meat Goes with Vodka Sauce

So if you love vodka sauce as much as I do and want to know the best meats to pair it with, look no further than this handy guide!

What Meat Goes with Vodka Sauce?

Vodka sauce is a classic pairing with steak. However, there are many other meats that also pair well with this classic dish. From pork chops to pork ribs, these cuts are sure to satisfy your appetite.

1. Bacon


Bacon and vodka sauce are a great pairing because, like bacon, vodka sauce is smoky and rich.

The acidity of the tomatoes in the vodka sauce will cut through the bacon fat and provide a nice balance to the dish.

One way to pair them together is to use bacon as a garnish for pasta with vodka sauce.

Bacon is a great garnish for many dishes because it provides both flavor and texture—the fatty meat creates a softness that’s countered by its crispiness.

You can also use bacon in place of pancetta in a carbonara-style dish, which will add some smokiness to the pasta.

2. Chicken

grilled chicken

Sure, you can go the traditional route with a salad or garlic bread.

But why not try something new?

We think chicken is a meat that complements vodka sauce so well that it’s almost a shame not to pair them together!

The rich tomato, cream, and cheese flavors in the vodka sauce are a perfect contrast to the lightness of grilled or baked chicken.

And the spices in your vodka sauce (like black pepper and parsley) really stand out against the plainness of chicken.

If you’re looking for something new this week, give this pairing a try: chicken with pasta in vodka sauce.

It may just become your new go-to!

3. Shrimp


Shrimp goes well with vodka sauce because of the way its texture and flavor play off of the flavors in the sauce.

Shrimp has a mild, sweet flavor that pairs well with many other ingredients, but it’s also low-sodium and slightly bitter, which means it can be paired with richer, saltier flavors without overpowering them.

Vodka sauce is a tomato-based cream sauce with garlic, onion, pepper flakes, and herbs.

It gets its signature flavor from vodka and Parmesan cheese.

The creamy texture of the sauce combines with the lightness of shrimp to form a perfectly balanced bite.

You can pair shrimp and vodka sauce by adding cooked shrimp to pasta that’s been coated in vodka sauce—just make sure to cook your shrimp first!

You could also add vodka sauce to a grilled shrimp dish by pouring it over the shrimp after grilling or using it as a marinade.

4. Crab


If you want to try something new and exciting, we think you should branch out from poultry and try crab!

Here’s why crab pairs so well with vodka sauce:

  • The texture of crab meat contrasts with the texture of the sauce, making for a more interesting experience
  • The sweetness of the crab complements the acidity of the tomato in the sauce
  • The creaminess of the vodka sauce helps balance out the richness of crab meat

So how do you pair them together?

  1. We recommend using fresh crab meat and using it to top al dente rigatoni (which is similar in size to penne).
  2. Sprinkle on some chives and parmesan cheese, and voila!

You have a totally unique pasta dish that will impress your guests.

5. Beef (Ground or Finely Chopped)

ground beef

These two foods have so much in common that they’re a match made in heaven—or, at least, made in Italy.

What makes these two so compatible?

For one thing, the taste of vodka sauce goes great with any kind of ground or finely chopped beef.

If you’re going to use this combination as part of a recipe, try looking for something with a decent amount of fat to juice up the flavor even more!

Just make sure you’re using alcohol-free vodka sauce if you want your dish to be kid-friendly (and halal).

Vodka sauce can be made with just about any kind of tomato sauce you like best—we recommend trying out different kinds until you find your favorite!

The right type will bring out all the complex flavors in your meat.

When it comes time to pair these two together into a meal, there are lots of options!

You can make spaghetti or penne pasta with the topping (a hearty enough dish on its own).

You could even add some cheese on top to make it extra creamy—just don’t forget the red pepper flakes for warmth!

6. Lobster


This combination brings together two delicious flavors that complement each other perfectly.

Lobster is a special food that has a bold, unmistakable taste that can hold its own against even the most flavorful of sauces.

Vodka sauce, for its part, has a richness that complements the delicate flavor of lobster very well.

If you want to try this pairing at home, cook your lobster (boiling is an easy way to do it), then toss it into your favorite pasta with some vodka sauce!

7. Turkey

Ground turkey

Both turkey and vodka have a lot of the same notes in their flavors: they’re both sweet, savory, and salty.

The different parts of your tongue activate when eating them, which means that combining the two creates a symphony of taste that you just can’t get with other foods.

The secret to getting that mouthwatering combo of tomato-based sauce and mild white meat is simple: prepare your turkey how you normally would (we recommend a quick pan sear until deep brown on both sides) and then top off your plate of pasta with slices of turkey.

Then pour on the vodka sauce—the more the better!

8. Lamb


You might be thinking: there’s no way. But it turns out that lamb and vodka sauce are perfect for each other!


Well, it all has to do with the flavor complexities of each dish.

Lamb is known for its bitterness and smokiness, which can be tamed by the sweetness and creaminess of the vodka sauce.

And since the vodka sauce is so rich, it can stand up to the boldness of the lamb’s flavor.

When pairing these two together, you want to think about how to balance them out on your plate.

A good way to do this is by adding some starch and some green veggies on the side: maybe some rice or roasted potatoes with a salad or sauteed spinach!

9. Duck

Duck Breast

Duck and vodka sauce are two things that go really well together.

Like, really, really well. If you don’t believe us, just try it!

The meat’s seasoned with herbs and spices and then cooked until it’s tender but still has a little bit of bite to it.

It’s not too heavy or greasy and pairs well with the sauce—a spicy sauce made of tomatoes, onions, garlic, and other ingredients.

Gather around the table with your friends or family and enjoy the duck with a glass of vodka on the side.

And don’t forget to tell us what you thought about it in the comments below!

Ground beef

9 Kinds of Meat That Go with Vodka Sauce

Why serve meat with vodka sauce?
For starters, rich and creamy sauces are typically paired with robust proteins to keep the dish pleasant and balanced.
For instance, you wouldn't ever see a spicy red pepper cream sauce served with flounder; instead, the heat in the sauce would be balanced by a richer fish like salmon.
In this way, serving meat with vodka sauce helps to offset the richness of the sauce and keep the dish from being overwhelming—it helps to balance out all that cream!
But there's more to it than that! Meat also adds texture and substance to a dish—and if you pair your chicken or sausage correctly, it can add some creativity, too.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people
Calories 250 kcal


  • Bacon
  • Chicken
  • Shrimp
  • Crab
  • Beef
  • Lobster
  • Turkey
  • Lamb
  • Duck


  • Pick your favorite piece of meat from this list to serve with your sauce.
  • Prepare the rest of your meal.
  • Be ready to serve in no time!
Keyword Meat That Goes with Vodka Sauce, Vodka Sauce meat, what meat goes with vodka sauce