Balsamic Vinegar Substitute – 6 Homemade Alternatives To Use

Are you looking for a balsamic vinegar substitute? Eureka! We’ve got a few good alternatives for you.

Balsamic, made from grapes, has a sweet fruity taste with hints of tartness. This vinegar’s wonderful flavor makes it an excellent comrade for many Italian dishes. Also, balsamic vinegar never goes bad and stays good for several years.

Its uses are many. Drizzling it over your favorite salad or topping it over the Caprese salad brings instant taste enhancement. Just simply delicious it is to dip your bread in balsamic vinaigrette.

Adding a little amount of balsamic vinegar as a condiment with seasoned or cooked meat, grilled fish, drizzle over fresh berries, fruits, and even custard desserts and ice cream makes them amazingly delicious. Some love to sip balsamic vinegar in tiny shot glasses at the end of a meal for its health benefits.

Best Balsamic Vinegar Substitutes

It’s simple and easy to make alternatives to balsamic vinegar with a few ingredients in your pantry itself.

I’d vouch that the first and best substitute for this vinegar is making it yourself with easily available and affordable ingredients. You may also try other vinegar blended with a few other common ingredients.

Here are some of the super delicious balsamic vinegar substitutes.

1. DIY Balsamic Vinegar

Instead of searching for a replacement for balsamic vinegar think of creating it in your home.


  • Apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar: 1 tablespoon
  • Brown sugar or granulated sugar: ½ a teaspoon


Blend well the vinegar and sugar/honey. In my opinion, using brown sugar is more effective in recreating the molasses flavor of balsamic vinegar. Similarly, apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar can recreate the fruitiness flavor, and tanginess of balsamic vinegar.

Use this substitute in place of one tablespoon of balsamic vinegar.

Increase the ingredients measure if your recipe calls for more.

2. Red Wine Vinegar + Maple Syrup

Balsamic vinegar is nothing but a richer and sweeter version of red wine vinegar. The sugar content in this vinegar can range from about 15% to 40%.

Red wine vinegar is aged for a shorter period, needing just a year or two to ferment. On the other hand, a standard quality balsamic vinegar is aged for 12 to 25 years or longer in wood barrels. Red wine vinegar is less sweet than balsamic vinegar.

Use the best quality red wine vinegar and maple syrup to make a nicer substitute for balsamic vinegar.

In salad dressing or general cooking, use 4 parts of red wine vinegar and 1 part of honey instead of regular balsamic vinegar.

To make a replacement for intense and aged balsamic vinegar, use 2 parts of red wine vinegar and one part of maple syrup/honey. This works best for drizzling over dishes like Caprese salad and grilled meat/fish. Instead of red wine vinegar, its alternatives can also do the work.

3. Lemon Juice + Molasses + Soy Sauce

Citrus juices contain citric acid whereas wine vinegar contains acetic acid. Thus both of them are completely different in their flavor profile.

In addition, lemon juice doesn’t have the sweetness of the balsamic.

The combination of lemon juice, molasses, and soy sauce seems to be very odd. Isn’t it? Not at all. This combination can produce a flavor and consistency similar to balsamic.

Simply mix equal parts of soy sauce, lemon juice, and molasses. If you wish, it’s possible to increase the acidity by adding more lemon juice. Same way, you can also make the mixture sweeter and thicker by adding more molasses. In place of lemon juice, similar ingredients like lime juice or lime zest can also be used.

While substituting, use 1 tablespoon of this mixture in place of a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar.

4. Balsamic vinaigrette

balsamic vinaigrette

Using balsamic vinaigrette in place of balsamic vinegar is an excellent option when it comes to salad dressing.

Please note that vinaigrette includes a mix of olive oil and vinegar. 3 parts oil and 1 part vinegar are present in balsamic vinaigrette. Thus it may not be suitable for recipes that don’t include oil. Otherwise, balsamic vinaigrette is a fantastic option for salad dressing or bread dip.

Swap balsamic vinaigrette for balsamic vinegar in an equal amount that your recipe calls for.

5. Chinese black vinegar + brown sugar

A combination of Chinese black vinegar and brown sugar is a good choice instead of balsamic vinegar.

Combine five parts of vinegar and one part of the sugar in a pan. You need to cook the mixture over low heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves completely.

Chinese black vinegar matches the color and flavor of balsamic vinegar. Sugar brings in the needed sweetness otherwise missing in it. If the black vinegar isn’t available, even a black vinegar substitute can carefully be used.

Use it in a 1:1 ratio as a balsamic vinegar substitute.

6. White vinegar + brown sugar

Every household usually has white vinegar in the store. For it is popularly used not only for cooking but also for cleaning hacks.

White vinegar is less preferred in cooking compared to other vinegar. However, it is a good ingredient for making balsamic vinegar substitutes.

For this mixture, use 5 parts of white vinegar to 1 part brown sugar. Cook this over low heat and stir until sugar is completely dissolved in vinegar. If you aren’t a fan of white vinegar, one of the suitable substitutes for white vinegar is usable.

Swap it for balsamic vinegar in an equal quantity that your recipe requires.

White Balsamic Vinegar Substitutes

White balsamic vinegar is a milder and slightly less sweet version of classic balsamic vinegar (dark chocolate colored).  The production of this vinegar is mostly done in the region of Emilia-Romagna, Italy. White Balsamic vinegar is made by cooking white Trebbiano grapes but at a lower temperature and higher pressure, to retain its pale and golden hue. As a result of cooking at high pressure, this vinegar isn’t caramelized.

Of course, the best substitute for white balsamic vinegar is the classic balsamic vinegar which has a dark color and very rich flavor. Other possible grape-based alternatives to white balsamic vinegar are white wine vinegar, red wine vinegar, sherry vinegar, or champagne vinegar. If none of this vinegar is available, you can still manage your recipe with rice wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, sherry vinegar, or Chinese black vinegar in place of white balsamic vinegar.

White Balsamic Vinegar


Can you use regular vinegar instead of balsamic vinegar?

Regular white vinegar is a household ingredient both for cooking and cleaning purposes. White vinegar is more acidic and stronger in nature but other types of vinegar are less acidic and more flavorful. In an emergency, use white vinegar as a replacement for balsamic vinegar but others do better.

Can I use apple cider vinegar instead of balsamic?

Apple cider vinegar possesses a good bit of fruitiness and tanginess that you’ll find in Balsamic vinegar. It’s possible to use them interchangeably in recipes that call for either of them. For salad dressing, add a teaspoon of sugar to apple cider vinegar.

Can I use lemon juice instead of balsamic vinegar?

Lemon juice alone would not be good enough to replace balsamic vinegar. However, a combination of one tablespoon of lemon juice and one tablespoon of soy sauce, and a tablespoon of syrup can be a good alternative to two tablespoons of balsamic vinegar. Adjust the sweetness of this blend by reducing or increasing the amount of syrup used in the mixture.

Can I use soy sauce instead of balsamic vinegar?

Soy sauce can be used in place of balsamic vinegar but it must be blended with other ingredients like lemon juice and molasses. Some love to use a mixture of grape jelly and soy sauce. The ratio of the ingredients can be adjusted according to your taste preferences.

Does red wine vinegar taste like balsamic?

Red wine vinegar is more acidic than balsamic vinegar and they can’t be used interchangeably without a significant flavor swing. However, you may use red wine vinegar in place of balsamic vinegar if you are okay with a more acidic and tangy flavor for your recipe.

The Bottom Line

Balsamic vinegar is known for its uniquely complex flavor; a mixture of fruity, sweet, and tangy flavors. The acidic content of this vinegar is milder than most other vinegar and has several health benefits.

If you are in a pinch, you can make the best substitute for balsamic vinegar at home by combining any type of vinegar with other ingredients. Usually, adding molasses, brown sugar, or honey to a vinegar helps to duplicate balsamic vinegar.

For further reading, have a look at the must-know facts on vinegar, different types of vinegar for cooking, and the complete list of substitutes for different types of vinegar in other articles here.