Balsamic Reduction

Balsamic reduction is a tangy sweet glaze that’s easy to make: just heat balsamic vinegar until it thickens. Here’s how to make it at home.

Balsamic reduction

Ready for one of the simplest, gourmet tricks in the book? It’s a homemade balsamic reduction, and it’s calling your name! This sticky, tangy sweet glaze amps up all sorts of recipes. Got a caprese salad? Drizzle it with balsamic reduction to make it pop. A crostini with peaches and goat cheese? A strawberry spinach salad? All infinitely better with a drizzle of balsamic reduction. Turns out, it’s very easy to make at home and requires only one ingredient: balsamic vinegar! Here’s everything you need to know about making it at home.

How to make balsamic reduction

How to make balsamic reduction

Balsamic reduction is just that: balsamic vinegar that has been heated until it thickens into a syrup-y glaze. You can purchaseit bottled in stores, but it can sometimes be hard to find. It’s a bit of a specialty ingredient. So, Alex and I much prefer to make our balsamic reduction at home. It’s simple and you can make it on demand, so you don’t have a big bottle that you’re trying to use up.

Here’s the basic steps for how to make balsamic reduction (scroll down for full recipe):

  • Place the balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan. Bring it to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
  • Simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes until the quantity has reduced in half and it coats the back of a spoon.
  • Remove from the heat, then transfer to a separate container to cool.

How long does balsamic reduction last?

While you can store store bought versions in the pantry, we recommend storing homemade balsamic reduction in the refrigerator. It keeps for at least 3 months refrigerated. It can solidify in the fridge, so make sure to bring it to room temperature before serving: set it out on the counter for several minutes until it comes back to room temp.

What type of vinegar should I buy?

For a balsamic reduction, it’s nice to use a good quality balsamic vinegar: because when you concentrate the flavor, you’ll want the best flavor possible. That said, you don’t need to get intense about finding the best balsamic you can find: because you’ll be using a lot of it up at one time. One cup of balsamic was almost the entire bottle for us! We recommend finding a moderately priced balsamic to make this reduction — this way you’ll know it’s high quality, but you won’t be too sad to use the whole bottle in one pop.

PS here’s a little more info on how to buy vinegar.

Balsamic vinegar reduction

Ways to use balsamic reduction?

The question should really be, what doesn’t go with balsamic reduction? Any food that benefits from a hit of tangy sweetness is on the table. Here are a few of our ideas:

  • Drizzle it on a tomato, mozzarella, and basil salad with olive oil (see the photo).
  • Make a crostini and drizzle it on top.
  • Drizzle on peaches — grilled or just sliced ripe peaches on a plate.
  • Mix into sliced strawberries and serve over ice cream.
  • Use as a makeshift “salad dressing” along with olive oil, like on a strawberry spinach salad.
  • Throw it on pesto pizza.
  • Use on broiled salmon.
  • Slice up some avocados and red onions and add a drizzle.

And that’s it! You’re ready to make balsamic reduction. Scroll down to the recipe below — and let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Balsamic reduction

Looking for more sauce recipes?

Because we love making all thing homemade, we’ve got lots of sauce recipes: teriyaki sauce, BBQ sauce, and more! Here are some of our favorites:

This balsamic reduction recipe is…

Vegetarian, gluten-free, plant-based, vegan, and dairy-free.

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Balsamic reduction

Balsamic Reduction


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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 0 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 1/2 cup 1x

Description

Balsamic reduction is a tangy sweet glaze that’s easy to make: just heat balsamic vinegar until it thickens. Here’s how to make it at home.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 cup good quality balsamic vinegar (or less, as desired)

Instructions

  1. Place the balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer. Allow the vinegar to simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes until the volume reduces in about half and the vinegar coats the back of a spoon. It won’t be thick yet at this point. Do not let it overheat or boil as it can burn. 
  2. Remove from the heat. Transfer the balsamic reduction to a sealable jar to allow it to cool: this is where it will thicken up nicely. You can use immediately or transfer to the refrigerator to store. It will keep at least 2 to 3 months refrigerated, or more. Bring to room temperature before serving (it may harden in the fridge.)

  • Category: Sauce
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: Balsamic reduction, balsamic vinegar reduction, how to make balsamic reduction

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

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