Can You Eat Penne Alla Vodka When Pregnant [Doctor Verified]

Verified by Patricia Shelton MD
Verified by Patricia Shelton MD

Patricia Shelton holds a Doctor of Medicine degree and a Bachelors degree in neuroscience, both from the University of Washington.

For a good reason, pregnant women are extremely cautious of what they put into their bodies. Everything a pregnant woman eats or drinks has the potential to affect the baby.

So when it comes to alcohol, most women (and doctors) err on the side of caution and abstain from drinking entirely during pregnancy. But what about recipes with a small amount of alcohol as ingredients? Would these be included in the list?

Specifically, let’s talk about a particular dish that has been a long-standing Italian tradition – Penne alla vodka.

Can you eat penne alla vodka when pregnant?

No, pregnant women should not eat penne alla vodka while pregnant. It is primarily because no level of alcohol consumption has been proven safe for pregnant women and their babies, so it’s advised to abstain from alcohol during pregnancy.

Is there alcohol in penne alla vodka?

Penne Alla Vodka is actually a sauce made with vodka, cream, tomatoes, and onions.

While the dish itself may not have a high alcohol content, there’s no way to know how much alcohol is absorbed by the pasta, and some preparations may even use alcohol as one of the main ingredients.

It is, of course, considering that half a drink of vodka is already a fair amount or too much for pregnant women.

Hence, even though penne alla vodka may seem like a harmless dish, it is best to avoid Penne alla vodka and any other dish with alcohol as an ingredient altogether during pregnancy. Better to be safe than sorry!

If you’re craving something similar, there are plenty of other delicious and alcohol-free recipes that you can enjoy. You can also do the Penne recipe without the vodka!

Either way, your baby will thank you for it.

Does the alcohol cook off in vodka sauce?

It’s a common misconception that the alcohol in vodka sauce cooks off, leaving only the flavor behind. However, this is not the case.

A food science specialist at Colorado State University found that in a typical recipe with eight oz. of vodka sauce per six servings, 0.84 oz. of vodka remains per finished serving. It means that there is still a significant amount of alcohol in the sauce, and consuming it could still pose a risk to pregnant women and their babies.

Can you eat pink vodka sauce when pregnant?

Unfortunately, the answer is still no. While the alcohol content in pink vodka sauce is lower than in traditional vodka sauce, 85% of alcohol content remains. Therefore, pregnant women should also avoid any recipe with pink vodka sauce.


In conclusion, pregnant women should not eat penne alla vodka or any other dish made with alcohol as an ingredient. There is no safe level of alcohol consumption during pregnancy, so it’s best to abstain from alcohol completely.

Instead, there are plenty of delicious and alcohol-free recipes out there that you can enjoy. Don’t forget to check with your doctor before making any dietary changes during pregnancy.