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You can make balsamic reduction in minutes at home with 1 simple ingredient! This tangy sweet drizzle takes recipes from good to gourmet.

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 caprese salad? Drizzle it with balsamic reduction to make it pop. Crostini with peaches and goat cheese? Strawberry salad? They’re 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.

Want a quicker balsamic sauce? Try Balsamic Glaze!

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 purchase it 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 (or jump to the recipe):

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

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. 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:

  • Caprese salad: Drizzle it on a tomato, mozzarella, and basil salad with olive oil (see the photo).
  • Crostini: Make a crostini and drizzle it on top.
  • Peaches: Drizzle on peaches — grilled or just sliced ripe peaches on a plate.
  • Berries & ice cream: Mix into sliced strawberries and serve over ice cream.
  • Salad dressing: Use as a makeshift “salad dressing” along with olive oil, like on a strawberry spinach salad.
  • Pizza: Throw it on pesto pizza or flatbread pizza.
  • Salmon: Use on baked salmon, broiled salmon or grilled salmon.
  • Avocado salad: 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

This balsamic reduction recipe is…

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

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Balsamic reduction

Balsamic Reduction

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 0 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: ½ cup 1x


You can make balsamic reduction in minutes at home with 1 simple ingredient! This tangy sweet drizzle takes recipes from good to gourmet. 


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


  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

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:

Last updated: May 2020

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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1 Comment

  1. My favorite use for balsamic reduction is Black and Blue Chips. Put kettle cooked chips on a platter. Sprinkle crumbled blue cheese on top and drizzle with reduction. The crunchy, sweet, salty, umami and tangy flavors make an explosion in your mouth. One of my favorite party foods.