How to Make Balsamic Glaze (without sugar)

Sweet and tangy balsamic glaze is actually really easy to make! It is so good drizzled over chicken, pork chops, salads, veggies, bruschetta, pizza, even ice cream, or my favorite - a caprese salad. Only 20 minutes to make, plus you can make this without any added sugar!
A spoon drizzling balsamic glaze into a small bowl.

Sweet and tangy balsamic glaze is really easy to make! It is so good drizzled over chicken, pork chops, salads, veggies, bruschetta, pizza, even ice cream, or my favorite – a caprese salad. Only 20 minutes to make, plus you can make this without any added sugar!

A spoon drizzling balsamic glaze into a small bowl.

Of course you can buy a bottle of balsamic glaze at the grocery store, but you already know it’s better when you make it from scratch! Read on to see how to make this homemade balsamic glaze recipe.

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • Very simple recipe to make, and takes less than 20 minutes
  • A little bit packs a big flavor to elevate an otherwise boring dish. 
  • Lasts up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator, so it can be used for multiple meals.

What is balsamic glaze?

Balsamic glaze, also known as a balsamic vinegar reduction, is balsamic vinegar that has been reduced. The balsamic vinegar is simmered, allowing some of the water content to evaporate, leaving a thick sauce with a syrupy consistency.

The final product is sweeter and has a stronger tangy flavor than standard balsamic vinegar. It goes great with proteins like chicken and pork, and is also popular on veggies like brussels sprouts. 

When to use balsamic glaze?

Use balsamic glaze when you want to amplify the sweetness of other ingredients, like with tomatoes, strawberries, or ice cream. 

You can also use balsamic glaze to balance out the bitterness in ingredients, like with brussels sprouts, kale, arugula, and spinach. 

See it in action in this Caprese Risotto and Burrata Caprese Salad.

Ingredients

A cutting board with a bottle of balsamic vinegar and honey next to tomatoes and basil.

There is only ONE ingredient needed for this balsamic reduction recipe, and that’s balsamic vinegar. Start with a good balsamic vinegar since the liquid will be concentrated in the finished product, and the flavors will be intensified. 

Balsamic vinegar is naturally sweet, so you can absolutely make this balsamic vinegar recipe without sugar.  If you would like to add extra sweetness, you can add white sugar, brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, or agave. I usually add a little bit of honey to mine. You can also add artificial sweetener if you would like. 

PRO TIP: Start with a good quality balsamic vinegar. The flavors of the vinegar will be more pronounced when the liquid is reduced, so starting with a bad tasting balsamic vinegar will make it worse.

See the recipe card below for full list of ingredients and measurements.

Step by step instructions

This balsamic vinegar glaze is really an easy recipe. 

Whisk together 1 cup of balsamic vinegar (and honey if using) in a small saucepan or pot over low heat. Allow the liquid to simmer for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Don’t let the vinegar come to a rolling boil or it may burn.  

A hand pouring balsamic vinegar into a pot.
Add balsamic vinegar to a pot.
A hand adding honey to balsamic vinegar in a pot.
Add in honey or sweetener if using.

Allow the liquid to simmer until vinegar has reduced to about ⅓-¼ of the original volume. The final consistency should be syrupy and thick enough to drizzle. It should coat the back of a spoon easily. Also keep in mind it will continue to thicken as it cools. 

Whisking balsamic vinegar in a pot.
Whisk together until incorporated.
A spoon coated with balsamic glaze over a pot.
Glaze should easily coat the back of a spoon.

You can make a large batch of this if needed by doubling the recipe to yield 8-10 servings. 

PRO TIP: When you first add the balsamic vinegar and honey to the pot, stick a wooden spatula straight up into the liquid to measure. Use this line as a measuring guide to determine when the glaze has reduced from its original volume. 

A wooden spatula with arrows showing the original volume of balsamic glaze.
Arrow showing original volume.
A wooden spatula with arrows showing the original and reduced volume of balsamic glaze.
Showing the original and final volume.

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Troubleshooting

Balsamic glaze is too thin – If the glaze is too thin to drizzle properly or doesn’t coat the back of a spoon, allow it to simmer longer until it does.

Balsamic glaze is over reduced – If you have reduced the glaze too much and it is too thick, you can whisk some water back into the glaze to loosen it up. 

Balsamic glaze tastes burnt – Unfortunately there is no fix for this. If the balsamic vinegar boils too rapidly it can burn, leaving the final product with a burnt taste. You will have to start again, but keep the heat lower next time. 

Serving suggestions

Now that you have made this homemade glaze, it’s time to use it!

Storage & Reheating

After cooling, store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. 

If you want to store it for longer, keep it in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. If you keep it in the refrigerator, allow it to sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes before serving or it will be too thick to drizzle.

A plate of caprese salad with balsamic glaze, basil, and salt.

Flavor pairings

Here are some ideas for foods that pair well with balsamic glaze. 

Fruit – Fresh fruit may not be the first thing you think of when you think of how to use a balsamic glaze, but the sweetness helps intensify the sweetness of fruits. Pair it with berries like fresh strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, or blueberries. 

Vegetables – The classic combo is brussels sprouts and balsamic glaze. The sweetness of the glaze balances out the bitterness of the brussels sprouts. It is also good on salads of spinach, kale, or arugula. It is especially good on roasted vegetables. It pairs very well with tomatoes also, and brings out the sweetness of a garden fresh tomato. This is why caprese salads are so good!

Protein – Balsamic glaze is great with white meats like chicken breasts and pork, white fish. Pair it with chicken breasts, pork chops, or pork loin. It also pairs well with salmon

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have to refrigerate balsamic reduction?

No, you don’t have to refrigerate it. You can keep it at room temperature for about 2 weeks in an airtight container. 

What kind of balsamic vinegar to use?

You can use a white or dark balsamic vinegar for this recipe. Use a good quality balsamic vinegar. 

What flavors pair well with balsamic vinegar? 

Balsamic vinegar (and balsamic glaze) can bring out the sweetness of sweet foods. This is why it pairs well with strawberries and tomatoes. The sweetness of balsamic vinegar can also balance out the bitterness in foods like brussels sprouts and greens. 

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A spoon drizzling balsamic glaze into a small bowl.

How to Make Balsamic Glaze (without sugar)

Sweet and tangy balsamic glaze is actually really easy to make! It is so good drizzled over chicken, pork chops, salads, veggies, bruschetta, pizza, even ice cream, or my favorite – a caprese salad. Only 20 minutes to make, plus you can make this without any added sugar!
5 from 2 votes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course condiment
Cuisine American
Servings 4 servings
Calories 72 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey optional, can also use white sugar, brown sugar, agave, or maple syrup.

Instructions
 

  • Whisk together balsamic vinegar (and honey if using) in a small pot over low heat.
  • Allow to simmer for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vinegar has reduced to about ⅓-¼ of the original volume. It will continue to thicken as it cools.
  • Final consistency should be syrupy and thick enough to drizzle.

Notes

  • Pro tip: When you first add the balsamic vinegar and honey to the pot, stick a wooden spatula straight up into the liquid to measure. Use this line as a measuring guide to determine when the glaze has reduced to ¼ of the volume.
  • You can easily double this recipe to yield more final product. Cooking time will be a little longer.
  • Storage: After cooling, store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. If you want to store it for longer, keep it in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. If kept in the refrigerator, allow to sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes before serving or it will be too thick to drizzle.

Equipment

  • Whisk
  • Small sauce pan or small pot
  • Storage container, like a small mason jar

Nutrition

Calories: 72kcalCarbohydrates: 15gProtein: 1gSodium: 15mgPotassium: 74mgFiber: 1gSugar: 14gVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 18mgIron: 1mg
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About me

Hey good lookin’, what ya got cookin’? I’m Lauren and I love to teach you how to make the good stuff, from scratch! I use fresh quality ingredients to create impressive but approachable restaurant worthy recipes.

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