Our Test Kitchen's Quick and Easy Balsamic Vinegar Substitute
Sweet and tangy, balsamic vinegar is a pantry staple for topping salads, steaks, and even fruit. It's made from unfermented grape juice and barrel-aged for many years (as few as 3 years and some at least 25 years!) with a distinctive brown color, syrupy body, and slight sweetness. There are three grades of balsamic vinegar: traditional, commercial, and condiment. Most traditional bottles found at the store will say "Balsamic vinegar of Modena," and the grape juice (referred to as "grape must") should be listed as the first ingredient to be considered legit. This specialty vinegar is best used in dishes that call for it specifically. But if you happen to run out mid-recipe and are wondering what to use instead of balsamic vinegar, we've got you covered.
Balsamic Vinegar Substitute
Here's what you'll need for quick balsamic vinegar replacement:
- For every 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar, substitute 1 Tbsp. cider vinegar or red wine vinegar plus ½ tsp. sugar.
- For a DIY balsamic vinegar glaze: In a small saucepan ($17, Target), simmer 2 cups balsamic vinegar with ½ cup of brown sugar over medium heat. Stir constantly until sugar is dissolved and the sauce is reduced by half. The glaze will be a thick, syrupy consistency. (Read more detailed instructions on our sister site, Allrecipes).
For some delicious ways to showcase the sweet and tangy flavor of balsamic vinegar, try our balsamic vinegar-ruby port jelly. You can also sweeten savory dishes like these pulled-pork sliders or these roasted root veggies. Curious about other kinds of vinegar? Get our full guide on the best vinegar substitutions for every type of recipe.