Balsamic vinegar is a staple of any good kitchen. It’s delicious, versatile and works with everything from salads to meats to vegetables. But what do you do when you run out?
Fortunately, there are plenty of equally delicious substitutes for balsamic vinegar that will save your dinner plans from being ruined. From wine to ketchup to soy sauce, these substitutes will make sure that your food tastes just as good without having the same ingredient.
Keep reading to learn more about each substitute so that you can get back on track in the kitchen!
What is Balsamic Vinegar?
Balsamic vinegar is one of the most popular vinegars in the world. It’s made from white grapes, and it has a rich, sweet flavor that’s been described as both mellow and intense.
Balsamic vinegar is produced in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, where it has been made for centuries. There are two types: traditional balsamic vinegar and commercial balsamic vinegar.
Traditional balsamic vinegar is made from grape juice that has been reduced to syrup by boiling it down until almost all of the water has evaporated. The syrup is then aged in wooden barrels for at least 12 years.
Commercial balsamic vinegar is made from white grapes. It is a thick, sweet, and syrupy liquid with a very long shelf life. In fact, it can last for several years when stored properly. It aged for less than 12 years or not aged at all.
The 8 Best Substitutes For Balsamic Vinegar
When you need to replace balsamic vinegar in a recipe, there are a few options. You can use other types of vinegar or substitute it with a different type of sweetener. However, both of these options will change the flavor of your dish.
Here are some options:
1. Sherry vinegar
It has a rich, deep flavor that works well in many recipes. If you’re using it as a substitute for balsamic vinegar in salad dressings, use half as much as the recipe calls for of the real thing.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar can be used as a substitute for balsamic vinegar in many recipes. It has a similar taste, but it’s less expensive than balsamic vinegar and has more health benefits than regular vinegar because it has been fermented.
3. Red Wine Vinegar
Red wine vinegar has a more robust flavor than white wine vinegar — which is why it works so well with bolder ingredients such as garlic or horseradish — so if you’re using balsamic vinegar as an ingredient in a dish that calls for red wine vinegar, feel free to swap them out without changing the flavor of your recipe too much.
4. Aged vinegar
It has a richer, more complex flavor than regular vinegar. They are also less acidic, which means they are less likely to cause a burning sensation in your mouth if you use them as a dressing or marinade ingredient.
5. White wine vinegar
It is another option for replacing balsamic. It has more bite than red wine vinegar but less than balsamic so it can be used in dishes where you want a milder acidity without completely overpowering the dish such as salad dressing or marinades.
6. Lemon or Lime Juice
This is the easiest substitution of all. A little lemon or lime juice added to your dish will give it an acidic bite that’s similar to balsamic vinegar. While this works well for dishes like salads and pasta sauces, it might not be as good in recipes where you want the sweetness of balsamic vinegar (such as salad dressings).
7. Soy Sauce Mixture
If you don’t have balsamic on hand, but still want a sweet and tangy flavor, try using soy sauce with some brown sugar and water. This mixture works well in marinades and sauces. It’s also good to use as a dipping sauce or even as a salad dressing.
8. Maple syrup
Maple syrup has a milder taste than balsamic vinegar, but it will still add sweetness and depth of flavor to your dishes. Try adding maple syrup at about half the amount called for in your recipe for marinade or salad dressing; this will give it just enough sweetness without overpowering the other flavors in your dish.
1. What Does Balsamic Vinegar Taste Like?
It’s hard to describe what balsamic vinegar tastes like because it’s so unique. Many people compare it to port wine or sherry, but it’s not quite either of those things. It definitely has some sweetness, but also some bitterness and acidity as well.
2. What is the difference between balsamic vinegar and red wine vinegar?
Balsamic vinegar is made from grapes and aged in wooden barrels for at least 12 years before being sold commercially, while red wine vinegar is made from red wine and does not need to be aged as long as balsamic vinegar does. Balsamic vinegar also has a rich, sweet flavor that can be enjoyed by itself or mixed with other ingredients such as olive oil, salt, and pepper for a tasty salad dressing or marinade for meat.
3. Is balsamic vinegar gluten-free?
Yes, balsamic vinegar is gluten-free.
4. What benefits does balsamic vinegar have?
Balsamic vinegar contains antioxidants like polyphenols and resveratrol that have been shown to fight cancer and heart disease. It also helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
5. Can I use regular vinegar as a substitute for balsamic vinegar?
No, because regular vinegar does not have the same sweet and sour taste like balsamic vinegar.
6. How do I substitute balsamic vinaigrette for olive oil?
Olive oil can be substituted in equal amounts for the balsamic vinaigrette in salad dressings and marinades. If you’re using olive oil as a substitute for the balsamic vinaigrette in salad dressing, add some lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to round out the flavor profile. For marinades, use an equal amount of olive oil along with some fresh herbs like rosemary or thyme for extra flavor.
Through trial and error, I found 8 substitutes for balsamic vinegar that works very well. The first is good old-fashioned red wine vinegar. However, there are many different kinds of flavored vinegar, as well as pricey balsamic vinegar that could substitute for the original.