Balsamic Vinegar Substitute – 6 Homemade Alternatives

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 comrade for many Italian dishes. 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. Just simply delicious it is 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 Balsamic Vinegar Substitutes

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

I’d vouch that 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 in your home.


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


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

Use this substitute instead of one tablespoon of balsamic vinegar.

Increase the ingredients measure if your recipe calls for more.

2. Red Wine Vinegar Plus Maple Syrup

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

The vinegar produced from red wine is aged for a shorter period, needing just a year or two to ferment. On the other hand, a standard quality balsamic is aged for 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 simple balsamic vinegar replacement

In salad dressing or general cooking, use 4 parts of red wine vinegar and 1 part of honey which equals the same amount of balsamic vinegar used.

To make a replacement for intense and aged balsamic vinegar, use 2 parts red wine vinegar and one part 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, and 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, this cozy juice doesn’t have the sweetness of the balsamic.

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

Simply mix equal parts of these three ingredients. If you wish, it’s possible to increase the acidity by adding more juice from the lemon. 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 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 vinaigrette includes a mix of olive oil and vinegar. 3 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 option for salad dressing or bread dip.

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 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 black vinegar isn’t available, even a black vinegar substitute can carefully be used.

One and a half tablespoons of this mixture equal to 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar.

6. White vinegar plus 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 of dark sugar. Cook this over low heat and stir until sugar is completely dissolved in vinegar. If you aren’t a fan of regular white ones, 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 white type is mostly done in the region of Emilia-Romagna, Italy. The white version 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, it isn’t caramelized.

Wondering what to use in place of white balsamic?

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 the white version are red or white wine vinegar, and sherry or champagne vinegar. If none of these are available, you can still manage your recipe with rice wine, cider, sherry, or black vinegar in place 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 both for cooking and cleaning purposes. The regular white type is more acidic and stronger in nature but other varieties of vinegar are less acidic and more flavorful. In an emergency, use the white type as a replacement for balsamic vinegar but others do better.

Can I use apple cider vinegar instead of balsamic?

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 extract alone can’t be good enough to replace it. However, a combination of equal parts of juice extract from lemon, soy sauce, and syrup can be a good alternative for they together replicate the taste of balsamic. 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) you can use instead of the balsamic but it must be blended with other ingredients like lemon extracts and molasses. Some love to use a mixture of grape jelly and sauce from soy. The ratio of the ingredients can be adjusted according to your taste preferences.

The Bottom Line

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 any other varieties of vinegar with other ingredients.

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