Substitute for balsamic vinegar

Substitute for balsamic vinegar
Substitute for balsamic vinegar

This is an Italian possession that has its royalty since the 1000 AD, and it’s made from the Trebbiano white grapes, which are squeezed in whole together with their seeds, skin, stems, and their juice. When making it, it requires a lot of labor, but the end product is worth the work. Unfortunately, this balsamic vinegar is very expensive, and very few people can afford it, and a good example is the bottle of Aceto Balsamico Traditional, which goes for $ 400.

This original balsamic vinegar is very expensive, and its taste is very distinct, and so for those who cannot afford, there are some substitutes that can sort you out. It is mostly used in recipes because of its richness in acidity and its sweet taste. It is used in salad dressings, sauces, marinades, and it makes steak, grilled fish, dips, eggs, and reductions. In addition, it is used in vegetables, pasta, poached fruits, meat dishes risottos, and grilled meat, among others. One of its health benefits is that it helps indigestion.

1. Red wine vinegar and sugar

This is one of the best substitutes where one just replaces the balsamic vinegar with one tablespoon of red wine vinegar together with half a teaspoon of sugar. Since balsamic vinegar has a unique taste, this substitute won’t duplicate the taste, but it will bring a quite similar taste. When making the substitute ensure you first dissolve your sugar till all its particles dissolve, and if it is taking long, one can heat, but remember to cool it down before using it as your substitute. The red wine vinegar has some health benefits which one may consider .These are; it helps reduce weight loss whereby it reduces the release of one’s hunger hormones, it also contains antioxidants which aid in the prevention of chronic related diseases, and it also contains acetic acid which is helpful in the prevention of blood pressure, inflammation, blood clots and lastly lowers cholesterol.


This is the number one substitute that one should look for in the market because of its ability to supplement balsamic vinegar in terms of taste and flavor, and lastly, because of all the health benefits one gets as a result of its use.

2. Balsamic vinaigrette

This is one of the easiest substitutes to make, similar to balsamic vinegar; the only difference is that it contains a ratio of 3 parts oil to just 1 part of vinegar. So the olive oil makes all the difference, and for that, it is mostly used for salads because it adds some sweetness. However, one requires salt, freshly ground pepper, ¼ cup of balsamic vinegar, and ¾ cup of olive oil to make this substitute. Its health benefits are similar to the other balsamic vinegar substitutes, and just to mention, they include reduction of blood sugar, reducing cholesterol, losing weight, reducing congestion, and helping in healthy digestion.


It contains antioxidants, which are the ones responsible for helping lower cholesterol, the acetic acid, which aids in healthy digestion. It is fat-free and therefore contributes to weight loss. Different from the original balsamic vinegar, which ages for long that is between 25 years to 40 years, the vinaigrette ages for lesser time and for that it has a sweet and sour flavor and its color is lighter too hence making it’s the best substitute.

3. Malt vinegar

This type of vinegar is made from ale, which is fermented to form later the malt vinegar, which is mild, sweet, and with a complex flavor. It is also a vinegar that is got from stout grains of barley. It is normally used for salad dressing when it is mixed with olive oil and some fresh herbs and also used as a spice to add to chips and fish. In addition, it is also used for pickling, especially to vegetables that may have a variety of flavors. It has several health benefits which some include; it’s used as a medicine for those individuals in pain and inflammation of arthritis, it helps to lose weight because of its acidic nature, and it also acts a food cleanser where it is added to fresh vegetables and fruits, and it removes any toxic pesticide which was used during growth of the veg’s.


Just like malt vinegar replaces balsamic vinegar, the vice versa is also fine since both can be used in preparation for fish and chips and also acts as a dipping sauce when both are mixed with olive oil and some spices.

4. Apple cider vinegar

This vinegar starts just like an apple juice, which is then added yeast which breaks down the sugar to form alcohol and through the fermentation process the alcohol is also converted to acetic acid which is now vinegar, and for that, the taste of the final product is sour with a very strong scent. It has a yellowish-orange color and also has a mild, fruity flavor. It has several health benefits such as improving digestion, preventing cancer and eye problems, and also helps to reduce or lower calories, among others. It is used for salad dressings, sauce, marinades, and flavored kinds of ketchup.


For it to be a very good substitute, you have to combine it with sugar just like the red wine vinegar, the ratio of the two has to be a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and half a teaspoon of sugar.

5. Lemon/ lime juice

This is not the first choice for your substitution, but if it’s available and you don’t have the balsamic vinegar, you can use it, considering that the lemon juice is not as strong as any vinegar and its taste is sour. Like balsamic vinegar, though, it can be used in foods like; fish, meat, fried recipes, steamed vegetables, salads, and sauces. The flavor and taste will be different but close to the original one. It has health benefits like the rest, and these are; improvement of digestion, weight management, cancer prevention, and also provides vitamin C.


Lemmon juice is a good substitute because of its acidity closeness with that of balsamic, which means their effects in foods is quite similar, but the flavors differ.

Summary Table

Item Calories (per 100g) Total Fats (g) Carbohydrates (g) Proteins (g) Source Works Best In
Red Wine Vinegar and Sugar 67 0 14 0 Red wine vinegar and sweetener Salad dressings, marinades
Balsamic Vinaigrette 88 0.6 17.03 0.49 Balsamic vinegar, oil, seasonings Salads, vegetables
Malt Vinegar 18 0 3.67 0.06 Malt vinegar Fish and chips, dressings
Apple Cider Vinegar 22 0 0.93 0 Apple cider vinegar Dressings, sauces, beverages
Lemon/Lime Juice 22 0.1 6.9 0.4 Freshly squeezed citrus juice Salads, marinades, beverages


Can you make balsamic vinegar?

Balsamic vinegar is a traditional Italian product made through a specific aging process involving grape must. While you can make a version of balsamic-style vinegar at home using grape juice and vinegar, it won’t replicate the complexity and depth of flavor in true-aged balsamic vinegar.

What’s the difference between vinegar and balsamic vinegar?

Balsamic vinegar is made from grape must (freshly crushed grape juice with seeds, stems, and skins). It undergoes a lengthy aging process, resulting in a sweet, tangy flavor with complex notes. Regular vinegar is made from various sources like wine, grains, or fruits and is typically sharper and less complex in flavor.

Can I replace balsamic vinegar with vinegar?

You can replace balsamic vinegar with regular vinegar, but remember that the flavor will differ. Balsamic vinegar has a unique sweet and tangy taste with a rich aroma that regular vinegar won’t fully replicate.

Can I use apple cider vinegar instead of balsamic?

You can use apple cider vinegar as a substitute for balsamic vinegar, especially in recipes where the flavor difference won’t significantly impact the dish. However, the flavor profile of apple cider vinegar is not identical to balsamic vinegar, so there will be a noticeable difference in taste.

Yuki Tanaka

Written by Yuki Tanaka

I'm from Utashinai and I love tasty food and nice words. I also write blogs, take pictures of food, and create recipes. Cooking and baking are my favorite things to do!

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