The Best Balsamic Vinegar Substitute

Many recipes require balsamic vinegar, so what happens when you run out? This may lead you to ask, what is the best balsamic vinegar substitute?

The best balsamic vinegar substitute is black fig vinegar. It’s the closest type of vinegar to balsamic because it has many of the same properties contained in it. The flavor and texture of black fig vinegar are similar enough to balsamic vinegar that it can be used in the same recipe.

While black fig vinegar is the best substitute for balsamic, this blog post will inform you of five more alternatives. I’ll dive into each one and explain how similar it may be and the differences.

7 Best Substitutes For Balsamic Vinegar

When discussing the best substitute for balsamic vinegar ((Aceto Balsamico: Balsamic Vinegar FAQ)), these selections are different types of vinegar. Therefore, they’ll have different types of flavors.

The main reason why I decided to draw up this list is somebody asked me what the best substitute for balsamic vinegar was. As a Certified Health Coach many people ask me questions like this. They showed me information they found, and it was hard to navigate and not easily understandable. Therefore, I decided to share with you my research and experiences.

It’s time to jump straight into the topic of this article. The following are the 7 best substitutes for balsamic vinegar.

Disclaimer: Some of links in this article are affiliate links which means I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

1. Black Fig Vinegar

Black fig vinegar is most probably the closest type of vinegar to balsamic. However, many people prefer using it because it has slightly different flavors. In addition, they feel like black fig vinegar is a little more natural than balsamic vinegar.

While most kinds of vinegar are made by fermenting the juice extract a certain fruit, grains or vegetables, fig vinegar is slightly different. Typically, the entire fig is used in the process of making the vinegar, and it will be fermented until it dissolves. Once it has dissolved the rest of the vinegar making process will start.

Black fig vinegar has many of the same properties that have contributed to the popularity of balsamic vinegar. It’s not as strong as white or white distilled vinegar and it offers a subtle sweet and sour taste to it.

The flavors and texture of black fig vinegar, while slightly different, are similar enough to balsamic vinegar. This won’t mess up your recipes if it requires balsamic vinegar. Many times, black fig vinegar is a better base to use when making a vinaigrette.

A good quality vinegar can get expensive which is why I often purchase mine on Amazon. Check out their prices on black fig and others by clicking here, black fig and other vinegars.

balsamic vinegar in barrels.
Balsamic vinegar production

2. Balsamic Vinaigrette

While balsamic vinaigrette is different from balsamic vinegar, they are similar ((EWG: Good & Gather Organic Balsamic Vinaigrette, Balsamic)). Balsamic vinaigrette is balsamic vinegar that has added ingredients.

I wrote a whole blog post on the differences between the two. Check it out by clicking right here, Balsamic Vinegar Vs Balsamic Vinaigrette: A Comparison.

If you need a quick substitute for balsamic vinegar, you can’t go wrong by using balsamic vinaigrette. In fact, it could actually bring different flavors to the table. In addition, balsamic vinaigrette will enhance the current flavors of the dish you are trying to use the vinegar in.

3. Wine Vinegar

Wine vinegar is becoming more and more popular in households. Specifically amongst millennials, who are looking for different ways of cooking and preparing their favorite foods.

You get two different types of wine vinegar, white and red vinegar1. The closest to balsamic vinegar is obviously red wine vinegar. Although both can be used in similar ways to each other.

Wine vinegar is not entirely similar to balsamic vinegar. Although they are similar enough so they only need very little preparation. Simply add one teaspoon of sugar to every two tablespoons of Wine vinegar. Once you do this, they can act as a substitute in certain recipes when you need it. 

While I’m not a big fan of adding sugar to food, give it a try without it first. You also have wine vinaigrette which is very similar to balsamic vinaigrette. We will discuss vinaigrette next.

4. White or Red Wine Vinaigrette

This is something else that you might have in your kitchen. The same principle applies here as it does with balsamic vinaigrette ((Wikipedia: Vinaigrette)). Basically, white or red wine vinaigrette is white or red wine vinegar with added ingredients. Both of them make for a great balsamic vinegar substitute.

5. Rice Vinegar

Rice vinegar is very popular in Asia. It’s made from fermenting rice until it turns into vinegar2. The reason why rice vinegar is a great substitute for balsamic vinegar is because of its sweetness. 

Rice vinegar has similar acidic properties to balsamic vinegar. However, it’s less harsh and prominent than balsamic vinegar. In addition, rice vinegar is much sweeter than any other vinegar on this list and its characteristic is true to Asian cuisine.

Pouring olive oil with balsamic vinegar for dipping.
Pouring olive oil with balsamic vinegar for dipping

6. Malt Vinegar

Malt vinegar is unpopular in the US right now but if you go over to England you’ll find many places selling it. In addition, it’s used in fast food establishments.

Malt vinegar is made in a similar way to whiskey. It’s made from wheat, barley and other types of grains. However, malt vinegar does not contain alcohol3.

Malt vinegar tastes the most different out of all of the vinegar types on this list. You might get a roasted or toasted flavor from malt vinegar. It’s what makes it so perfect for fish and chips with fries. Malt vinegar made it on the list because it brings a variety of flavors much like balsamic vinegar.

7. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar has been around for quite some time but only recently has its popularity increased.

Apple cider vinegar is made from a variety of different apples, and it depends on which apples are in season at the moment. The juice is extracted from the apple by crushing it. Once the juice has been extracted, the fermenting process will start and that’s how apple cider vinegar is made4.

Apple cider vinegar is not entirely similar to balsamic vinegar. Therefore, adding a teaspoon of sugar to every 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar will give it a sweet enough flavor. This way you can use it in the same recipes as you would the balsamic vinegar.

If you have any questions to ask me about this article don’t hesitate to comment below or email us. You can find an email on our contact page.

Read Next – More Food Alternatives

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10 Best Alternatives for Avocado in Sushi

5 Best Alternatives for Pomegranate in Salad

  1. ResearchGate: Vinegar production Technology – An Overview []
  2. Wikipedia: Rice Vinegar []
  3. Wikipedia: Vinegar []
  4. Wiley Online Library: Functional Properties of Vinegar []

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