8 Ways Balsamic Vinegar Will Add Zip and Zest to Your Cooking

Think this condiment is solely for salads? We've got some delicious news for you.

Colorful tomatoes salad with mozarella and balsamic vinegar on blue wooden backgroundPhoto: Shutterstock / Lisovskaya Natalia
Photo: Shutterstock / Lisovskaya Natalia

Oh, balsamic vinegar—this king of vinegars can transform a dish from mundane to memorable. And here’s some fantastic news for anyone who loves this delicious Italian condiment. Sure, you can use it to whip up a tasty vinaigrette. But there are so many even more interesting ways to add it to your favorite dishes for an extra pop of flavor.

1. Make a marinade 

Balsamic is perfect for creating a tangy-sweet soak. If you’re entertaining a group of friends, this easy balsamic-glazed chicken wing recipe is a surefire crowd-pleaser.

2. Soup up your soups

Choose recipes that have only a few key ingredients, like this tasty basil and tortellini soup. This allows the wonderfully complex flavors of the balsamic shine through.

3. Craft a daring dessert

Sounds unusual, but it’s totally delicious—especially when fresh fruits are involved. Balsamic-drizzled strawberry desserts, for example, are increasingly popular at restaurants. Personally, we can’t get enough of these grilled honey and balsamic-glazed peaches!

4. Mix up a drink

Custom cocktails (and mocktails) are all the rage. Add a few drops of balsamic to this strawberry basil cocktail to take it to the next level.

5. Sweeten (and sour up) your sides

Meat and potatoes are all well and good, but sometimes you want a side that stands out. Balsamic vinegar, as used in this awesome asparagus recipe, will get the job done.

6. Season your dinners

Add a few splashes of balsamic vinegar to the saute pan for a delectable alternative to lemon juice. It works with virtually everything: meat, poultry, fish, fruits, vegetables and grains.

7. Veg out

Balsamic is almost too good with tomatoes, which is one of the reasons this gorgeous balsamic roasted vegetable primavera sings. Really, there are few vegetables that aren’t even more delish with a dash or two of this vivacious vinegar.

8. Brunch with balsamic

Make a breakfast pizza or dash some balsamic vinegar over your eggs. For a savory twist on a classic morning favorite, try these tasty portobello waffles with balsamic syrup.

See what we mean? The options are endless when it comes to getting creative with balsamic vinegar. Whether you’re a committed carnivore, a devoted vegetarian or simply love the marriage of tangy and sweet, stock a bottle of balsamic vinegar in your pantry pronto.

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Camille Berry
Part of the third generation in a family of restaurateurs, Camille was born with a passion for cooking and food. She embarked on a career in hospitality where she excelled as a sommelier and wine director. This hospitality experience has given her a wealth of first-hand knowledge about how to pair all manner of drinks with food—plus some serious kitchen skills. These days, she's hung up her wine key in favor of a pen and covers all aspects of food and drink.