Balsamic reduction is easily one of my top 5 sauces, and it’s so easy to make at home! Keep this tangy sweet balsamic glaze on hand for drizzling over grilled meats, fresh vegetables, salads, and more!
If someone forced me to pick just one vinegar to keep in my pantry at all times, I would choose balsamic vinegar.
I pray no one actually makes me choose, because I’m a vinegar hoarder who loves all her
babies vinegars equally.
Still, I have to admit balsamic vinegar is the MVP.
It makes a killer balsamic salad dressing and is downright divine mixed with olive oil and herbs for bread dipping.
But I believe balsamic vinegar’s finest achievement is balsamic reduction.
What is balsamic reduction?
Never heard of balsamic reduction? Your world is about to get a little tastier. Balsamic reduction is just what it sounds like!
We take a good thing (balsamic vinegar) and make it even BETTER by cooking it, reducing it into a thick, tangy, subtly sweet glaze. This syrupy balsamic adds incredible nuance to everything from fresh berries and ice cream (yes, really!) to sandwiches and grilled vegetables.
Though most grocery stores carry balsamic reduction in some form (it’s often called balsamic glaze), it’s so easy to make at home! I’m so excited to share this simple recipe that’s a game changer for your summer grilling and so much more!
How to Make Balsamic Reduction
Do you have a bottle of balsamic vinegar in your pantry? You’ve got everything you need!
- To make the reduction, add 1 cup of balsamic vinegar to a sauce pot and cook over medium high heat until boiling, stirring occasionally.
- Reduce the heat to where the vinegar is just maintaining a gentle simmer. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the vinegar is reduced by half. It should be darkened in color and coat the back of a spoon. This can take anywhere from 10-15 minutes, depending on the heat and type of vinegar you started with.
The spoon on the left shows balsamic vinegar, and the spoon on the right shows the balsamic reduction. As you can see, the reduction is significantly darker in color and thicker too!
Troubleshooting and Tips
- Any kind of balsamic vinegar can be reduced into a syrupy glaze. That said, the higher quality the vinegar, the better the flavor of the glaze will be.
- Want your balsamic reduction to be sweeter? Feel free to add a few teaspoons of honey or sugar. I’ve found this is sometimes necessary when I use a cheaper balsamic vinegar.
- While making balsamic glaze isn’t difficult, it does require some patience. If it doesn’t seem to be thickening, just wait a few more minutes. Make sure it’s maintaining a a good simmer, but resist the urge to bring it to a full boil. And remember, the glaze will thicken more as it cools.
- This may seem silly, but beware of taking deep breaths close to the pot! A whiff of vinegar vapor is not very pleasant.
- Feel free to double the recipe if you’d like to make a bigger batch!
How to Use Balsamic Glaze
Now that you know how make an incredible balsamic reduction, let’s discuss all the ways we’ll put this beautiful stuff to use!
- Anytime mozzarella cheese and tomatoes are present, you’ll want to think about breaking out the balsamic reduction.
- Whether it’s a classic Caprese Salad, Caprese Pizza, Roasted Tomatoes and Burrata, or Cheesy Chicken Bruschetta, balsamic reduction lends itself very well to any tomato and cheese combo.
- Balsamic glaze is also BFFs with berries. Try drizzling it over fresh berries and yogurt or combining macerated strawberries with balsamic and ice cream.
- Try adding it to sandwiches or burgers, like the Ultimate Strawberry Goat Cheese Grilled Cheese or this Springtime Avocado Toast.
- Finally, consider pairing balsamic reduction with grilled meats and vegetables. These Balsamic Grilled Vegetables are one of our all time favorite side dishes. The glaze also pairs well with steak or Italian Dressing Chicken!
How long does balsamic reduction last?
Homemade balsamic glaze should be stored in the fridge in an airtight container. When stored properly, it will last for several months.
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- Place the balsamic vinegar in a sauce pot and heat over medium high until boiling.
- Lower the heat so the vinegar maintains a steady simmer. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vinegar is reduced by half. It should be thick, dark in color, and coat the back of the spoon.
- Use immediately or cool and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 months.
If you like your reduction to be a little sweeter, feel free to add 1-2 teaspoons of sugar to the vinegar before boiling. You can also stir in honey at the end.
This recipe can be doubled if you'd like to have a larger amount on hand.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 28Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 7mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 0gSugar: 5gProtein: 0g
Please note nutritional information for my recipes is calculated by a third party service and provided as a courtesy to my readers. For the most accurate calculation, I always recommend running the numbers yourself with the specific products you use.