Best Balsamic Vinegar Substitute – 6 Homemade Options

Have you run out of balsamic vinegar? Eureka! We’ve got the best replacements.

Balsamic has a sweet, fruity taste with hints of tartness. Its wonderful flavor makes it an excellent companion for many Italian dishes, and it’s made from fermented grape juice or grape must.

By the way, balsamic vinegar never goes bad and stays good for several years.

Using a little amount of aged balsamic vinegar in recipes or as a condiment with seasoned or cooked meat, marinade, or grilled fish instantly elevates their taste,

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

You can drizzle it over fresh berries, fruits, and even custard desserts and ice cream to make them taste like chocolate. Some love to sip it in tiny shot glasses at the end of a meal for its health benefits. 

Best Substitutes For Balsamic Vinegar

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

The first and best balsamic vinegar alternative is making the real stuff 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 at home.


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


Blend the cider vinegar and sugar well. In my opinion, using brown sugar is more effective at recreating the molasses flavor of balsamic. Similarly, red wine or cider vinegar can recreate balsamic vinegar’s fruity and tangy taste.

Use this substitute instead of one tablespoon of balsamic vinegar.

Increase the ingredient measure if your recipe calls for more.

2. Red wine vinegar plus maple syrup

Balsamic vinegar is a richer and sweeter version of red wine vinegar. Its sugar content can range from about 15% to 40%.

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

Use the best-quality red wine vinegar and maple syrup to make a nicer and simpler balsamic vinegar replacement.

In salad dressing or general cooking, use four parts red wine vinegar and 1 part honey, which equals the same amount of balsamic vinegar used.

To replace intense and aged balsamic vinegar, use two parts red wine vinegar and one part maple syrup or 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, and soy sauce

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

In addition, this cozy juice doesn’t have the balsamic sweetness.

A mixture of molasses and soy sauce’s flavor is fantastic; it produces a taste and consistency similar to balsamic.

Mix equal parts of these three ingredients. It’s possible to increase the acidity by adding more juice from the lemon. In the same way, you can also make the mixture sweeter and thicker by adding more molasses. Similar ingredients like lime juice or lime zest can also be used in place of lemon juice.

While substituting, use one tablespoon of this mixture instead of a tablespoon that equals the same amount of balsamic.

4. Balsamic vinaigrette

Balsamic vinaigrette is a good substitute to use in place of balsamic vinegar, an excellent option when it comes to dressing.

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

Swap balsamic vinaigrette, in syrupy consistency, for the vinegar in an equal amount that your recipe calls for.

5. Chinese black vinegar plus brown sugar

A combination of black vinegar and brown sugar is a simple balsamic vinegar swap.

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

Chinese black vinegar matches the color and flavor of balsamic vinegar, and sugar brings in the otherwise missing sweetness. Even a black vinegar substitute can be carefully used.

One and a half tablespoons of this mixture equal one tablespoon of balsamic vinegar.

6. White vinegar plus brown sugar

Every household usually has white vinegar in the store, which is popularly used for cooking and 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 five parts white vinegar to 1 part dark sugar. Cook this over low heat and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved in the vinegar. If you aren’t a fan of regular white vinegar, one of the suitable substitutes for white vinegar is usable.

Swap it for balsamic vinegar in the same 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 white type is mostly done in the region of Emilia-Romagna, Italy. The white version is made by cooking white Trebbiano grapes at a lower temperature and higher pressure to retain their pale and golden hue. As a result of cooking at high pressure, it isn’t caramelized.

I am wondering what to use in place of white balsamic.

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

White Balsamic Vinegar

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can you use regular vinegar in place of balsamic vinegar?

Regular white vinegar is a household ingredient used for cooking and cleaning. The regular white type is more acidic and stronger, but other varieties of vinegar are less acidic and more flavorful. In an emergency, use the white type to replace balsamic vinegar, but others do better.

Can I use apple cider vinegar instead of balsamic?

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

Can I use lemon juice instead of balsamic vinegar?

Lemon extract alone can’t be good enough to replace it. However, combining equal parts of juice extract from lemon, soy sauce, and syrup can be a good alternative, for they replicate the balsamic taste together. Adjust the sweetness of this blend by reducing or increasing the amount of syrup used in the mixture.

Can I use soy sauce as a balsamic substitute?

Soy sauce (or Worcestershire sauce) can be used instead of balsamic, but it must be blended with other ingredients like lemon extract 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.

Final Thought 

The syrupy balsamic is known for its uniquely complex flavor, a mixture of fruity, sweet, and tangy flavors. Its acidic content 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 other vinegar with other ingredients.

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