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How to Make the Perfect Balsamic Reduction (plus 20 ways to use it)

If you can boil water, you can make a balsamic reduction. All you need is balsamic vinegar, a small pot, heat and a tiny bit of time.

I’ll preach to anyone who will listen about the magic of a balsamic reduction. But before we get to that, let me answer some common questions for you.

What is balsamic reduction?

A balsamic reduction is just balsamic vinegar in a pan, then simmered until some of it evaporates. It “reduces” itself, therefore it’s called a “reduction”.

Vinegar. Pan. Heat. And a tiny little bit of time.

The magic comes from what happens to the vinegar as a result of its reduction. It takes on a syrupy consistency, thick enough to coat and glaze almost anything you can think of. The flavor intensifies and sweetens, as well, becoming something that tastes like balsamic vinegar but is close-your-eyes-and-sigh exquisite.


Are balsamic reduction and balsamic glaze the same thing?

There are several terms used to describe a balsamic reduction, and they essentially all mean the same thing: balsamic cream, balsamic glaze, balsamic reduction sauce. A sauce could include more ingredients, but it’s also used to describe a simple reduction as well.

Should balsamic reduction be refrigerated? How long does it last?

If you’re going to use your balsamic reduction within a week, you can store it at room temperature. If you store it in the refrigerator it will keep for up to a month.

You don’t need a high-quality balsamic vinegar to make a balsamic glaze. In fact, please don’t go purchasing some 80-year balsamic for this.

Not that I don’t love and appreciate a great balsamic, it’s just that it’s not necessary for reduction purposes. Reducing an average balsamic will take it to a whole new level anyway (I often just use the Trader Joe’s brand) so there’s no need to go out and buy an expensive bottle.

I’ve shared the balsamic glaze recipe at the end of this article, although it’s really more of a technique than a “recipe”. As long as you have the vinegar on hand, simply master the easy technique and you’ll be all set.

Keep a nice bottle handy for storing your reduction if you have one, or a bowl or mason jar will do just fine. If you need ideas for ways to use it, I’ve got you covered! My personal favorite is to add my balsamic vinegar sauce to a cheese board; it really elevates the sophistication factor!

how to make a balsamic reduction

20 Ways to use Balsamic Reductions (Balsamic Glaze)

  1. Grill a wedge of romaine, top with blue cheese and drizzle with BR.

  2. Slice some juicy sweet strawberries, sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper and give it a drizzle of balsamic glaze.

  3. Add some to grilled or roasted vegetables – you’ll never look at veggies the same way!

  4. Add a small dish to a cheese platter or charcuterie board.

  5. Make a pizza with sliced tomatoes and goat cheese, pull out of the oven and drizzle with your balsamic glaze.

  6. Spread crostini with blue or goat cheese and add a drizzle over the top. Try adding fresh raspberries or chopped fresh cherries, too!

  7. It’s amazing with fresh peaches!

  8. Add to any salad with a bit of olive oil for a fantastic and easy dressing.

  9. Try some over vanilla ice cream for an elegant, upscale and easy dessert. Fresh raspberries are wonderful on top.

  10. Spoon some over an avocado for a tasty snack.

  11. Use it to deglaze your pan after cooking chicken or steak.

  12. Roast some fresh spring asparagus then drizzle your balsamic glaze over the top.

  13. Mix some with raspberry jam for a fantastic sauce on grilled chicken.

  14. Spread a little on wild salmon before and/or after grilling or roasting.

  15. Slice fresh summer tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and add some fresh basil for a Caprese salad, then season well and drizzle over a high-quality extra-virgin olive oil and your balsamic reduction.

  16. Cook some pork chops and shallots in a skillet. Remove pork when cooked through, leaving shallots in pan. Add the balsamic reduction and coat shallots, then spoon over pork and serve.

  17. Make a grilled cheese with gruyere, then dip it in your balsamic reduction sauce.

  18. Toss with hot caramelized onions and serve on just about anything (burger, steak, pizza!)

  19. Stuff endive with goat cheese and sliced cherry tomatoes, then drizzle with your balsamic glaze.

  20. Make portobello mushroom ”pizzas” using shredded mozzarella and sliced tomatoes. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar reduction and garnish with fresh basil ribbons.

If you liked this post, you might also enjoy 25 things to do with Roasted Garlic and 25 ways to use Basil Pesto.

Delicious recipes using balsamic reduction

a bottle of balsamic glaze next to a bottle of olive oil on a brown table

How to Make a Balsamic Reduction

Yield: 1/2 cup
Prep Time: 1 minute
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 11 minutes

Making a balsamic reduction is very easy to do! The only tricky part is learning when to pull it from the heat. One thing to look for is when bubbles appear across the entire pan, it is time to remove it.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar

Instructions

  1. Place vinegar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and keep it at a strong simmer until reduced by approximately one-third and mixture coats a spoon.
  2. Remove from heat and allow to cool (it will thicken as it cools). If it's too thick, add a bit more vinegar, place back over heat and stir until incorporated. If not thick enough, put back on burner until it thickens a bit more.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 28Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 7mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 0gSugar: 5gProtein: 0g

This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix.

Kristy Bernardo
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