Balsamic Reduction (Balsamic Glaze)
It’s so easy to make a balsamic reduction (balsamic glaze) at home. It only takes 15 minutes and it’s much healthier than buying it from the store (which usually has unnecessary stabilizers, emulsifiers and chemical colorings).
I’m pretty much obsessed with balsamic vinegar. I drizzle it on salads with a little olive oil (it’s my “go to” daily dressing). I use it to amp up the flavor of chicken in my Roasted Balsamic Chicken recipe. I use it when making Balsamic Roasted Beets. And I use it when making my Balsamic Bacon Brussels Sprouts. Essentially, I use balsamic vinegar any chance I get.
But when it comes to a balsamic reduction, with that thick, sweet drizzle, the first thing that always comes to mind is caprese, right? Now, for some crazy reason I don’t yet have a traditional caprese recipe on this site (I’ll have to rectify that soon), but I do have a recipe for Persimmon Caprese. And oh boy, if you haven’t yet made this, you need to. It’s the perfect fall and winter salad.
Watch this quick video of my Balsamic Reduction recipe
While it’s easy to make balsamic reduction, it always helps to watch a quick video tutorial. Especially to see how the sauce thickens up.
Use it on Sweet and Savory Items
A balsamic reduction or glaze is quite versatile. It can be used with both sweet and savory items and the pungency of vinegar removed. When you reduce balsamic vinegar, you’re actually evaporating the water and concentrating the sugars. So it’s naturally sweetened. That makes it perfect to drizzle on veggies, brush on meat, serve as a dip with aged cheeses (or fruit) or dollop on ice cream.
Then again, if you’re like me, you’ll just want to add a straw and slurp it straight up.
How to Make Balsamic Reduction
The great thing about making balsamic reduction at home is that it only takes one ingredient – balsamic vinegar. And about 15 minutes of your time.
Which balsamic vinegar should you use? Good news, you also don’t need to buy an expensive balsamic vinegar when making it at home. A moderately priced organic or Aceto Balsamico di Modena (balsamic vinegar from the Modena region) is what I usually use.
When you buy balsamic reduction or glaze from the store you’ll find several unnecessary ingredients like caramel colorings, glucose syrup, sugar, corn starch, dextrose and xantham gum. And the shop brand likely used a very low-quality balsamic vinegar to start with. So it’s kind of junky stuff.
But here’s how easy it is to make balsamic reduction:
- Just add one cup of balsamic vinegar to a small pot.
- Bring that to a boil, then reduce the temperature and simmer for about 10-15 minutes.
- You can reduce it by 1/3 or 1/2, depending on how thick you like it. Just remember that it will continue to thicken as it cools. That’s it!
How to Make Balsamic Glaze
In all honesty, I don’t usually add any extra sugar to my balsamic reduction. I find that when it’s reduced it becomes abundantly sweet on its own. But if you’d like to make a sweeter balsamic glaze, you can definitely add 1-2 tablespoons of honey or maple syrup to the pot with the balsamic vinegar. Then reduce it as mentioned above.
It’s up to you if you’d like to add a sweetener. Though I’d recommend trying it without the sweetener at least on your first try. Enjoy!
Balsamic Reduction (Balsamic Glaze)
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- Optional 1-2 tbsp honey or maple syrup
- Add the balsamic vinegar and any sweetener to a small pot.
- Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the sauce coats the back of a spoon.
- Use immediately or store in a sealed container in the fridge.
- Remember that the sauce will continue to thicken as it cools. If you accidentally over cook it and it starts to harden, you can just reheat with a little bit of water to thin it back down.
- The balsamic reduction or glaze will store for several weeks in the refrigerator in a sealed container.