This homemade balsamic glaze recipe is a simple combination of balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, and a touch of salt, but this sweet reduction tastes so complex.
You can use this sauce in so many ways. Drizzle it on top of salads (especially a Caprese salad) instead of balsamic vinaigrette or over meats like pork chops or chicken breasts. You can also toss it with veggies like Brussels sprouts or asparagus.
We love to serve this at our house alongside aged cheeses (or a soft one like fresh goat cheese). It’s also a surprising addition to morning egg dishes and a flavorful topping for vanilla ice cream.
Once you make this simple balsamic glaze recipe, you’ll be going back to the kitchen to make a large batch!
What is Balsamic Glaze?
Balsamic glaze (which is also known as balsamic reduction) is a sauce with a syrupy consistency that’s made from balsamic vinegar that has been cooked down. It has a thick and glossy consistency and a complex flavor that is sweet, tangy, and slightly acidic.
This syrupy glaze is simmered on the stove until it has thickened and reduced. The natural sugars in the vinegar caramelize, resulting in a rich and flavorful sauce. Brown sugar is added to balance out the acidity of the vinegar.
This glaze’s flavor profile complements so many ingredients, making it a perfect addition to any dish. Balsamic glaze can also be used as a garnish to elevate any dish.
Why You’ll Love Balsamic Glaze
If you love the unique flavor of balsamic vinegar, you’ll fall head over heels for this glaze.
- Versatile – Use this glaze in tons of dishes to add depth as well as complexity to the flavor profile. It can be used as a topping for meats, vegetables, and even desserts.
- Easy – With only a few simple ingredients, and a little bit of time, this sauce comes together easily and quickly.
- Customizable – Use this glaze for anything from a dressing for salad, a marinade, or a dipping sauce.
- Convenient – All of the ingredients are either easily accessible at the grocery store or possibly already in your pantry.
Three simple ingredients are all you need to stir together this flavorful sauce.
- Balsamic vinegar: This key ingredient adds a distinctive tangy and sweet flavor to the glaze.
- Brown sugar: With its molasses-style flavor, a little brown sugar helps to offset the acidity of the vinegar. It also provides a subtle sweetness, giving the glaze the perfect balance.
- Fine sea salt: Salt enhances the other flavors in the glaze and provides a slight savory note, helping to bring out the sweetness of the brown sugar and the tangy flavor of the balsamic vinegar.
How to Make Balsamic Glaze
With only two simple steps and 15 minutes, you’ll have this glaze ready in no time!
- Combine ingredients. Stir both ingredients together in a small sauce pan. Allow to simmer on low and reduce by half.
- Allow to thicken. Mixture will thicken when cooling, should coat the back of a spoon. It will not appear thick while still hot, allow it to cool to get the right consistency.
- Add salt. Stir in dash of fine sea salt.
What To Serve With Balsamic Glaze
Balsamic glaze is commonly used in Italian cuisine as a dressing for salads, a topping for grilled meats (think: steak, turkey, or pork), or a dipping sauce for bread. You can drizzle it over veggies or even fresh fruit, like grilled watermelon or peaches or a bowl of fresh strawberries.
There’s no shortage of ways to make this delicious glaze even saucier.
- Sweetness: Add honey or maple syrup to the balsamic vinegar and brown sugar mixture to give the glaze a slight sweetness. Or, simply add extra sugar.
- Garlic: Crush a few cloves of garlic and add them to the pot while the vinegar is reduced to infuse the glaze with a savory and garlicky flavor.
- Thyme: Add a sprig or two of fresh thyme to the pot during the reduction to give the glaze an earthy and herbal flavor.
- Black pepper: Grind fresh black pepper into the glaze for a subtle kick of heat that will balance out the sweetness of the balsamic vinegar.
- Citrus: Add a dash of lemon zest or orange zest to the glaze for a bright and citrusy flavor that will complement the sweetness of the balsamic vinegar.
- Soy sauce: Add soy sauce to the mixture for a touch of umami and saltiness.
Storage, Make Ahead and Freezing
This glaze will last for a while in the fridge or freezer.
Make Ahead: Balsamic glaze can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator or freezer until needed.
Refrigerator: After it has cooled to room temperature, store balsamic vinegar glaze in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container. A clean glass jar with a tight lid (like a mason jar) works perfectly.
Freezer: Balsamic glaze can be stored in a freezer-safe container for up to 6 months.
Common Questions About Balsamic Glaze
Balsamic glaze is a thick, syrupy sauce made from balsamic vinegar and brown sugar. It’s often used as a finishing sauce, drizzled over roasted vegetables, grilled meats, or ice cream.
Balsamic vinegar is a good source of antioxidants and has been shown to have a number of health benefits. These include reducing the risk of heart disease and lowering blood pressure. It can also help boost your immune system.
All you need to do to make this simple sauce is reduce the balsamic vinegar until it thickens. You can add sugar or honey to the glaze to make it sweeter, and you can also add herbs or spices to give it more flavor.
Other Savory Sauces
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- Dash of fine sea salt
- Stir both ingredients together in a small sauce pan. Allow to simmer on low and reduce by half, approximately 15 minutes. Mixture will thicken when cooling, should coat the back of a spoon. It will not appear thick while still hot, allow it to cool to get the right consistency.
- Stir in dash of fine sea salt.
- If you’ve tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments and ratings!