When it comes to elevating the flavours in your homemade meals, few things match the complexity and depth offered by balsamic vinegar and balsamic glaze. These two condiments are often found side by side in kitchens and on dining tables, but what is the difference between them?

Balsamic vinegar offers a blend of sweetness, acidity, and woody undertones in a liquid form, ideal for dressings, marinades, and salads. In contrast, balsamic glaze is thicker and syrupy, with sweetness from added sugars and a rapid reduction process. Both start with a grape ‘must’, balsamic vinegar undergoes traditional ageing, whilst balsamic glaze takes a shortcut by infusing flavours.

Read on to learn more about the origins of each and how to use them.


What is Balsamic Vinegar?

Let’s start at the roots, or should I say, the vineyards! Traditional balsamic vinegar is a product of the Trebbiano grape, mainly grown in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. The grape juice is boiled down to a concentrated syrup called “must.” This must is then aged in wooden barrels, often made of oak, cherry, juniper, or chestnut. 

The ageing process imparts a rich, complex flavour to the vinegar, as it slowly matures over a minimum of 12 years, sometimes even decades. The result? A velvety liquid with the perfect blend of sweet, tangy, and a touch of woodsy notes.

Balsamic vinegar is so versatile. We use it:

  • As a drizzle on top of strawberries
  • In an Asian-style dressing
  • As a simple meat marinade
  • To dip bread (with olive oil, of course!)
  • As a simple salad dressing

What is Balsamic Glaze?

Balsamic glaze, on the other hand, is a more condensed and intensified version of balsamic vinegar. It undergoes a similar initial process, with grape must being reduced to a thick syrup. 

However, here’s where the paths diverge – balsamic glaze is then infused with additional flavours, like sugar, spices, or even fruit extracts. This concoction is further reduced until it reaches a syrupy consistency, resulting in a glossy, sweet, and tangy glaze.

We use balsamic glaze on:

  • Salads
  • Soups
  • Pizzas
  • Pasta
  • Roasted vegetables
  • Chicken
  • Salmon

Are Balsamic Vinegar and Balsamic Glaze the Same?

No, not quite. Below, we explore the taste, mouth feel, and the uses for each, and most importantly – how they differ! 

Taste & Texture

Balsamic vinegar boasts a complex and nuanced flavour profile, with a perfect balance of sweetness, acidity, and a hint of woody undertones. Its texture is liquid, similar to traditional vinegars.

In contrast, balsamic glaze is thicker and more viscous, thanks to the added sugars and reduction process. The sweetness is more pronounced, creating a luscious, syrupy texture that clings enticingly to your palate.


While both start with grape ‘must’, the key difference lies in the production process. Balsamic vinegar relies on the traditional ageing method, allowing time and nature to weave their magic. Balsamic glaze, however, takes a shortcut by infusing additional flavours and rapidly reducing the liquid to create a more concentrated product.


Balsamic vinegar shines in dressings, marinades, and drizzled over fresh summer salads. Its versatility extends to enhancing the natural sweetness of fruits, making it a delightful addition to desserts.

On the other hand, balsamic glaze is perfect as a finishing touch. Its thick consistency makes it perfect for glazing roasted vegetables, grilled meats, or even as a garnish to salads and soups.

If you’re looking for delicious recipes that use balsamic vinegar and glaze, try our Winter Salad Ideas, or our warming Butternut Squash Soup.


Our Favourite Balsamic Foodie Bits

We’re a little bit obsessed with balsamic in the Savery Grazing household, and we regularly have the following foodie bits stocked in our cupboards:

Raspberry Balsamic Vinegar

Not too far from our home is this fabulous condiment company called Brock & Morten. We first discovered them in my parent’s kitchen (thanks mum!), and recently stocked up on a recent visit to Chatsworth Farm Shop. Their Raspberry Balsamic Vinegar is incredible on summer salads. You can also add a splash to a glass of fizz for a fun and fruity twist!

Baby Balsamic Pickled Onions

The Crooked Pickle Co. is the best place to buy anything pickled and these Baby Balsamic Pickled Onions are no exception. They suggest using the balsamic onions squished inside a goat’s cheese sandwich, a roast beef bun, or enjoyed alongside a creamy brie. If you’re thinking of placing an order, we also recommend you try their Pickled Red Grapes and Korean Pickled Garlic.

Black Garlic Balsamic Vinegar & Balsamic Pearls

Available in two sizes, this Black Garlic Infused Balsamic Vinegar from Burren Balsamics is to die for! We use this vinegar when making Asian-inspired dishes like stir fry, Thai-style cabbage salad, or as a gyoza dipping sauce. Their Balsamic Pearls are also such an usual (yet tasty!) addition to any cheese board – simply add one or two on your favourite cracker and cheese stack and enjoy in one bite.

Premade Balsamic Dressing

If you’re looking for a simple, premixed balsamic salad dressing, this dressing from The Bay Tree is the perfect choice. The dressing offers a delicate but rich dressing to pour over all types of salads. We also love to use this before roasting winter vegetables to add a slight sweetness and tang. 

All Things Food With Savery Grazing

Now that we’ve explored the fascinating world of balsamic vinegar and balsamic glaze, why not discover more foodie inspiration on our food blog? Alternatively, keep up to date with us on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest!

If you’re keen to buy some delicious and locally sourced foodie bits, explore our curated online shop for our handpicked grazing essentials (coming soon!)…


Related Questions

Can I Substitute Balsamic Vinegar For Balsamic Glaze?

Absolutely, but with a tweak in mind. Whilst substituting is possible, remember that balsamic vinegar won’t provide the same thickness and sweetness as balsamic glaze. If you need to thin your glaze, simply mix it with a drop of water and adjust until it has reached your desired consistency.

Can I Have Balsamic Glaze Whilst Pregnant?

Generally, yes, balsamic is safe to consume whilst pregnant. In fact, it contains lots of antioxidants that can benefit a mother during pregnancy! However, it’s advisable to check the label for any specific ingredients or additives that might be a concern during pregnancy. Always consult with your healthcare provider for personalised advice.

Is Balsamic Vinegar Good For You?

In moderation, yes. Balsamic vinegar contains antioxidants and beneficial compounds that may offer health perks. However, like any indulgence, moderation is key.

Is Balsamic Vinegar Gluten-Free?

Yes, authentic balsamic vinegar is gluten-free. However, always scrutinise labels, especially if opting for commercial varieties, as some may have added ingredients.

Is Balsamic Vinegar Vegan?

Indeed, balsamic vinegar is a vegan-friendly condiment. Its production doesn’t involve any animal products, making it a versatile choice for plant-based diets.

Is Balsamic Vinegar Halal?

In its pure form, balsamic vinegar is halal. However, we’d recommend doing your research into the production and ingredients of your balsamic of choice, as certain additives or ageing methods may vary.

Is Balsamic Vinegar Suitable For Keto?

Yes, balsamic vinegar can be part of a keto-friendly diet, given its low calorie and carbohydrate content. However, be mindful of portion sizes, as its sweetness may tempt you to overindulge.

Jasmine Savery
Founder & Director

Hi! I'm Jasmine, and I launched Savery Grazing in 2022. I’ve always had a passion for food, with a particular love for how social it can be. Follow along as I share my favourite tips, tricks, and delicious recipes with you.

Hi! I'm Jasmine, and I launched Savery Grazing in 2022. I’ve always had a passion for food, with a particular love for how social it can be. Follow along as I share my favourite tips, tricks, and delicious recipes with you.