Balsamic Glaze (Balsamic Reduction)
Learn how to make Balsamic Glaze from just one ingredient. Sweet, tangy and syrupy, you’ll want to drizzle this balsamic reduction over just about everything!
If you’ve never made balsamic glaze, you are going to be pleasantly surprised with how easy it is to prepare. It’s ready in just 15 minutes, and the only ingredient you need is balsamic vinegar. If you prefer a sweeter glaze, you can add a bit of honey or brown sugar as well. Forget buying a bottle of balsamic glaze at the grocery store, this homemade balsamic glaze recipe is so much better.
This luscious glaze elevates the flavor of both sweet and savory dishes. Drizzle it over a bowl of fresh strawberries and vanilla ice cream or a pan of Roasted Brussels Sprouts, serve it with grilled meats or veggies, or enjoy it with a Caprese salad. The possibilities are just about endless!
What is Balsamic Glaze?
Balsamic glaze, also called balsamic reduction, is made by simmering balsamic vinegar on the stove until it reduces down into a thick syrupy glaze. As it boils, the sharp vinegar flavor mellows, and you’re left with a sweet and tangy glaze that is irresistible served with everything from salads and fruit to chicken, fish and even pizza.
Choosing a Balsamic Vinegar
Since the vinegar flavor concentrates as it reduces down, I recommend using a good quality balsamic vinegar. There are different grades of balsamic vinegar, and I usually look for one labeled balsamic vinegar of Modena. This indicates that the grapes that make the vinegar are processed in Modena, Italy. More expensive balsamic vinegars will typically have a more complex flavor than cheaper options.
How to Make Balsamic Glaze
Making balsamic glaze is as simple as simmering balsamic vinegar on the stove until it reduces down by about half. Here’s a closer look at the details:
- Pour the balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan. Add a tablespoon of honey or brown sugar, if you want the glaze to have extra sweetness.
- Bring the pot to a simmer over medium heat. Then, reduce the heat to a low simmer. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the glaze is reduced by half and lightly coats the back of a spoon.
- Let it cool. The balsamic reduction will thicken up more as it cools.
- For an even sweeter glaze add 1 tablespoon of honey or brown sugar before simmering the vinegar. The sugar will balance the acidity of the balsamic and will also help the glaze to thicken faster.
- Don’t forget to check in on the pot and stir it occasionally as it simmers. You don’t want to burn the glaze.
- The longer you simmer the reduction, the thicker it will be. It will continue to thicken more as it cools.
- If you’d like to double the recipe, know that it will take a little longer to reduce when you have more volume in the pot. Using a larger pan can help to speed up the process.
Ways to Use Balsamic Glaze
Balsamic glaze is incredibly versatile. Here are just a few ideas for how you can use it:
- Drizzle it over a salad, such as a Caprese Salad, Cucumber Tomato Salad or Watermelon Salad.
- Drizzle over Grilled Vegetables, Roasted Vegetables, Grilled Asparagus or Roasted Carrots.
- Serve with Grilled Chicken, Baked Salmon or Grilled Pork Tenderloin.
- It’s perfect over bruschetta or pizza, such as this Pear Feta Pizza.
- Drizzle over vanilla ice cream or a bowl of fresh peaches or berries for a simple dessert.
Let the reduction cool and then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will last for at least 2 weeks, probably longer. But the more likely scenario is that you’ll use it all up by then!
More Balsamic Recipes
Love balsamic? You might also enjoy these recipes:
Balsamic Reduction (Balsamic Glaze)
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey or brown sugar, optional, for a sweeter glaze
- Pour the balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan. Add the honey or brown sugar, if using.
- Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat to keep it at a low simmer. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the glaze is reduced by half and lightly coats the back of a spoon.
- Let cool. The balsamic reduction will thicken up more as it cools. Serve as desired. You can drizzle it over a Caprese salad, grilled or roasted vegetables, chicken, salmon, pork tenderloin, fresh fruit etc.
- Use a good quality balsamic vinegar for best results.
- Glaze can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2 weeks.