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Spicy Vodka Beans

These spicy vodka beans are a delicious one-pot dinner that can be served in several different ways. With just the right level of spice and a creamy, velvety sauce, this recipe is ready in less than 15 minutes and can be made vegetarian or vegan.

This recipe is basically the viral Gigi Hadid spicy pasta recipe but with beans instead! It’s no secret that I’m a bean fiend, so it was only natural to make this pairing. Other super popular bean recipes on the blog include these creamy butter beans, my homemade version of baked beans, creamy pesto beans, and these easy Mexican pinto beans.

an overhead shot of spicy vodka beans in a pan topped with a swirl of cream and fresh basil leaves

Ingredient Notes

The exact quantities of the ingredients you need for this recipe are included in the recipe card at the bottom of this post. Here, I’ve added a few notes on the ingredients you need, plus a few potential substitutions you could make if you can’t eat/find a certain ingredient.

  • Cannellini beans: I love the size and texture of cannellini beans, giving this dish the perfect creamy texture. However, you could also use butter beans (lima beans), or haricot beans (a smaller type of white bean).
  • Garlic: The base of this dish starts with lots of minced garlic. Use fresh garlic (instead of jarred) if possible for the best flavor.
  • Shallots: If you don’t have shallots to hand, white onion or red onion will also work. Dice finely for the best texture.
  • Tomato paste: The tomato paste is essential for that deep tomato flavor in this dish. We add it to the pan and cook it down before adding the vodka and cream.
  • Vodka: It wouldn’t be spicy vodka beans without the vodka! Use whatever brand you have available – the alcohol cooks off in this dish so the flavor shouldn’t be affected by what type of vodka you use.
  • Heavy cream: Called double cream here in the UK, heavy cream is a must for that thick and creamy sauce. I would not advise substituting this ingredient for single cream or milk, as the sauce won’t thicken appropriately.
  • Chili flakes: We use chili flakes or red pepper flakes to give these beans that oh-so-good touch of heat! If you would prefer a milder version, like this vodka gnocchi recipe, simply omit the chili flakes.
  • Basil: A sprinkle of fresh, chopped basil is the perfect finishing touch to this dish.
  • Seasoning: The only seasoning used in this dish, aside from the chili flakes, is salt and black pepper! It really doesn’t need anything more.
  • Hard cheese: For this recipe, I used Pecorino cheese. Pecorino is very similar to Parmesan cheese but is more often suitable for vegetarians. Parmesan is not vegetarian-friendly, but feel free to use it if that doesn’t apply to your diet.

Substitutions & Variations

Making these spicy vodka beans alcohol-free: This spicy vodka beans recipe is suitable for anyone, as the alcohol cooks off during the cooking process. However, if you would prefer to omit the vodka, feel free to. The sauce may taste slightly different but it will still be delicious!

If you only have dried beans feel free to use them. You’ll need to soak and cook your beans before adding them to the vodka sauce, so factor this into your cooking time.

How To Make This Spicy Vodka Beans Recipe

Again, the exact step-by-step instructions and ingredient quantities will be in the recipe card at the bottom of this page. Below is an overview of making this recipe, plus some process shots to help you visualize how this recipe should turn out.

Step 1) Saute Garlic & Shallots

Saute your diced shallots in a large pan in either butter or oil. I like to use olive oil, although you can’t go wrong with a knob of good butter! After about 2 minutes, add your minced garlic and cook for another minute.

Step 2) Add Tomato Paste

Add your tomato paste to the shallots and garlic, and cook for another 2 minutes or so. The paste will darken in color and almost begin to caramelize the ingredients.

Step 3) Add the Vodka

Tip in the vodka and allow it to cook down until it’s almost evaporated. This will leave a delicious flavor without the alcohol remaining in the dish!

Step 4) Add Cream & Beans

Stir your heavy cream into the tomato base. Then, add the chili flakes and season with your salt and pepper, continuing to stir the sauce until it’s thick, creamy, and velvety.

Tip in your (drained) tinned cannellini beans and stir to coat them. 

Step 5) Add Cheese and Serve

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in about ¾’s of your hard cheese. Top with the remaining cheese and basil leaves, plus a scatter more chili flakes for extra heat, and enjoy!

Expert Tips!

Allow your sauce to simmer gently until it’s at your desired thickness. Make sure to drain the cannellini beans to avoid making the sauce too watery!

You could also wilt some chopped spinach into this dish at the same time as stirring in the cannellini beans for added greens.

Drizzle the top of your vodka beans with a swirl of cream for aesthetics. You could also drizzle over some chili oil for more heat.

a close up shot of the spicy vodka beans in a white pan, topped with Pecorino cheese, fresh basil, more chili flakes, and black pepper

What To Serve Spicy Vodka Beans With

This recipe is delicious when served with lots of crusty bread to dip and mop everything up. You could also serve them on top of a baked potato, or even with gnocchi mixed in like my baked vodka gnocchi recipe!

Storing Your Leftover Spicy Vodka Beans

If you have leftovers, store them in the refrigerator for 3-5 days in an airtight container.

This recipe can also be frozen. Freeze your vodka beans in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Defrost fully in the refrigerator before using and use within 24 hours once defrosted.


Can I use a different type of bean?

Yes, any white bean will work for this recipe: butter beans, haricot beans, or cannellini beans as listed.

Can I use dried beans?

Yes, you can use dried beans. You’ll need to soak and cook them before using your dried beans in this recipe, so factor that into your cooking time.

How can I make this recipe vegan?

Use a plant-based cream for this recipe. Two brands I regularly use are the Coconut Collaborative vegan double cream and the Elmlea plant-based cream. Both are fantastic vegan creams that are great for cooking with.

If you can’t find vegan cream, you could use coconut milk. Be aware that this will likely change the taste of the recipe slightly.

Then, you could substitute the Pecorino either with a vegan Parmesan option or with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast into the sauce for that cheesy, nutty flavor.

Can I make these vodka beans without the spice?

Absolutely – just omit the chili flakes for a vodka sauce that will taste just as delicious but without the heat!

an overhead shot of spicy vodka beans in a pan topped with a swirl of cream and fresh basil leaves

Spicy Vodka Beans

Yield: 2 Servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

A delicious one-pot recipe that’s ready in under 15 minutes! You’ll love the taste of these velvety, creamy and spicy vodka beans.


  • 1 (400g | 14 oz) tin of cannellini beans, drained
  • 2 shallots, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 knob of butter or 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp vodka
  • ½ cup (120ml) heavy cream
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • ¼ cup (25g) Pecorino cheese
  • 6-7 fresh basil leaves


  1. Heat your butter or oil in a pan on low-medium heat and add the diced shallots. Saute for 3 minutes until softened and fragrant, then add your minced garlic and cook for a further minute.
  2. Add the tomato paste and stir, cooking for 3-4 minutes on low heat until the tomato paste has darkened and almost begun to caramelize.
  3. Add the vodka and stir it into the shallots and tomato paste mixture. Cook for 1-2 minutes until most of the vodka has evaporated.
  4. Pour in your heavy cream, stirring as you do. Add your chili flakes and season with salt and pepper according to your preferences.
  5. Once the sauce has fully combined and is thick and creamy (1-2 minutes on low heat), pour in your drained cannellini beans and stir to coat them in the sauce.
  6. Remove your pan from the heat and stir about ¾’s of the cheese into the mixture. Serve with the remaining cheese and basil.


These spicy vodka beans are delicious served with crusty bread, on top of a baked potato, or even with mashed potato! You could also add gnocchi or pasta for a more well-rounded dish.

For added greenery, stir some chopped spinach into the pan when you add the beans and stir to let them wilt down.

If you don't want your beans too spicy, simply reduce or omit the chili flakes.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 352Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 27mgSodium: 1259mgCarbohydrates: 37gFiber: 9gSugar: 7gProtein: 12g

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