Homemade balsamic reduction is so simple to make, and requires just 2 ingredients! Sticky, tangy and slightly sweet, it's perfect to use up on your salads or as a condiment.
It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of vinaigrettes and other various condiments. Balsamic reduction is one of my all-time favorites because of that intense flavor: tangy and slightly sweet, it adds so much incredible flavor to everything from caprese salad to grilled chicken!
It might surprise you to know how simple it is to make balsamic reduction at home: you need just two simple ingredients, and you can control exactly what goes into it. Plus- it tastes absolutely amazing!
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Reasons you'll ♡ this recipe
- it requires only two ingredients
- it tastes better than store-bought
- is so versatile and goes great on chicken, fish, veggies and salad
See exactly how to make your own homemade balsamic reduction by watching the video below! You can find more of my recipe videos on my YouTube channel.
There are a ton of balsamic vinegar options out there, to the point of it being a bit confusing. Price tags can also vary greatly; expensive bottles of balsamic vinegar have usually been aged for longer (1), yielding a more syrupy texture and sweeter flavor (2).
The good news? You can skip the pricey vinegar and still get an absolutely delicious balsamic reduction. I've used balsamic vinegar of Modena in the photos above, which simply means it comes from the Modena region of Italy....and it cost $5 for a whole bottle.
To balance the tanginess of the reduced vinegar, you'll want to add a sweetener. I've used maple syrup in this recipe, but you can swap for an equal volume of honey or brown sugar.
You can also play around with how much sweetener you add to the reduction; I've reduced it slightly from commercial balsamic glazes, but you can play around with how much you add.
Step by step directions
1. Combine- To a 4 quart pot, add 2 cups of balsamic vinegar, and ½ a cup of maple syrup. Bring to a gentle boil.
2. Simmer- Reduce the heat and allow it to simmer. Stir occasionally with a spatula, and continue simmering for 20-30 minutes. When the liquid has reduced by ⅓ to ½, check to see if it coats a spoon.
3. Cool- When the mixture coats a spoon (as shown above), it's ready to come off of the heat. Allow it to cool, then store.
Use your range hood fan
Balsamic vinegar has a very potent smell, and as it reduces, it becomes even more intense. Make sure you have your pot simmering under a range hood fan and have it going on high, or at the very least, near an open window.
Thickens as it cools
If your reduction coats your spoon as in the photos above, but still seems thin, fear not. As it cools, it becomes thick and syrupy.
Adjusting the cook time
Depending on how much balsamic vinegar you start with, you may need to adjust the cook time. Half batches will reduce quicker, and doubling the recipe will require a longer cook time. It is also possible that your vinegar could have a different consistency, so keep an eye on it, adjusting the cook time as needed.
Since the base of this recipe is highly acidic vinegar, this balsamic vinegar reduction will keep for a long time! We've kept ours in the fridge for a month with no issues.
Brown sugar? Yes and yes! Simply swap the maple syrup for an equal amount of either sweetener.
This recipe is slightly sweet, but definitely not as sweet as store-bought. You can increase the maple syrup to 1 cup or even 1 ½ cup if you want it to be sweeter!
How to use it
- caprese salad
- bruschetta chicken
- roasted salmon
- roasted brussels sprouts
- grilled zucchini
- grilled chicken
- strawberry balsamic bites
- grilled caprese zucchini roll ups
- Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing
- Balsamic Vinaigrette
- Homemade Red Wine Vinaigrette
- Green Goddess Dressing
- 2 cups balsamic vinegar note 1
- ½ cup maple syrup note 2
- Combine- To a 4 quart pot, add 2 cups of balsamic vinegar, and ½ a cup of maple syrup. Bring to a gentle boil.
- Simmer- Reduce the heat and allow it to simmer. Stir occasionally with a spatula, and continue simmering for 20-30 minutes. When the liquid has reduced by ⅓ to ½, check to see if it coats a spoon.
- Cool- When the mixture coats a spoon (as shown above), it's ready to come off of the heat. Allow it to cool, then store in a jar.
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