Balsamic Vinegar Substitute – 6 Homemade Alternatives To Use

balsamic vinegar substitute

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.

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.

The 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 vinegars 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 own 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 of 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.

3. Lemon Juice + Molasses + Soy Sauce

Citrus juices contain citric acid whereas wine vinegars contain acetic acid. Thus both of them are completely different in the 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.

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

4. Balsamic vinaigrette

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

Please note, 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.

Use it in a 1:1 ratio in place of balsamic vinegar.

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 vinegars. 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.

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

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 balsamic vinegar substitute 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.