The 9 Best Balsamic Vinegars of 2019

Drizzle it on salads, grilled fruit, and more

Close-Up Of Vinegar Bottles With Salt And Pepper Shaker On Table
Fabian Krause / EyeEm / Getty Images
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Our Top Picks

Best Overall: VSOP 25-Year Barrel-Aged Balsamic Vinegar at Williams Sonoma

"Made in Italy and aged in oak barrels, this vinegar is the perfect blend of richness and acidity."

Best Aged: Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale Extra Vecchio at Amazon

"This vinegar has been aged for 25 years and has been produced and judged in the traditional way to ensure quality."

Best for Salad: Napa Valley Naturals Grand Reserve Balsamic Vinegar at Walmart

"This vinegar has all of the syrupy, complex qualities you want, but still melds well with other flavors in a salad dressing."

Best White Balsamic: O California White Balsamic Vinegar at Amazon

"Fresher and fruitier than dark balsamic vinegar, this pick is especially delicious added to a salad dressing."

Best Fig Balsamic: Robert's Black Mission Fig Infused Balsamic Vinegar at Amazon

"The fruity flavoring provides a brightness that's especially delicious drizzled over strawberries and whipped cream."

Best Organic: Thrive Market Organic Balsamic Vinegar at Thrive Market

"Certified organic and non-GMO, this vinegar gets its start in Italy where it’s made from pesticide-free grapes."

Best Glaze: Antica Italia Thick Balsamic Vinegar Glaze at Amazon

"This ready-made glaze is extra-syrupy and really clings to food, so it makes for a great marinade or pre-grilling seasoning."

Best Value: Pompeian Balsamic Vinegar Aged in Oak at Walmart

"This budget-friendly vinegar is an excellent ingredient in marinades, glazes, and salad dressings."

Best Gift Set: Wild Groves Olive Oil and Vinegar Duo at Williams Sonoma

"Tuck this pick into a basket with some wine and cheese as a hostess gift or use it yourself as a delicious dip for crusty bread,"

  • 01 of 09

    Best Overall: VSOP 25-Year Barrel-Aged Balsamic Vinegar

    balsamic vinegar

    Williams-Sonoma 

    A blended balsamic vinegar that mixes pure wine must with mature balsamic vinegar to speed the vinegar-making process, this pick gives great flavor at a lower cost. Made in Italy and aged in oak barrels, its richness is highlighted in a traditional Caprese salad or another recipe that lets the balance of sweetness and acidity really shine. It has a thicker consistency that's closer to syrup than other kinds of vinegar, so it can be light drizzled over vegetables and meats without first mixing it with oil.

  • 02 of 09

    Best Aged: Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale Extra Vecchio Balsamic Vinegar

    Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena must come from specific regions of Italy, be produced in the traditional way, and be judged by tasters before it can be bottled in a specific style of bottle, with a numbered seal affixed. All of these steps add to the cost of the vinegar, but also ensure a better product overall.

    This vinegar can be lightly drizzled on top of vanilla ice cream or fresh strawberries, sipped as a digestif, or used to dress fresh, ripe tomatoes. The tiny bottle has a high price tag, but it's worth the splurge if you're looking for something truly special. If this is a little too pricey, a 12-year aged vinegar is also available from the same company.

    Looking for a dipping oil to pair with your balsamic? Check out our picks for the best olive oils.

  • 03 of 09

    Best for Salad: Napa Valley Naturals Grand Reserve Balsamic Vinegar

    Balsamic Vinegar

    Napa Valley Naturals

    When you’re making salad dressing using balsamic vinegar, you don’t need to go for a prestige pick, but you still want one that will provide good flavor. This balsamic is made in the traditional region in Italy and aged in barrels made from cherry wood to add to its complex flavor. Users praise its thick, almost syrupy consistency, sweetness, and deep color. Use it alone over roasted vegetables, in a salad, or with dipping oil and bread, wherever the flavor could really shine.

    Dressings cling best to dry salad leaves! Make sure your salad is clean and dry before you toss it with these top-rated salad spinners.

  • 04 of 09

    Best White Balsamic Vinegar: O OLIVE OIL & VINEGAR California White Balsamic Vinegar

    This light-colored vinegar is barrel-aged like traditional balsamic vinegar, but its flavor is fresher and fruitier than what you're probably used to tasting. Cooked more quickly than dark balsamic, white balsamic doesn't caramelize the same way, so you won't get quite as much complexity out of this ingredient. It's still flavorful and rich, however, and it's a delicious addition to salad dressings or paired with other fruity flavors.

    Get the proportions of your salad dressing just right with one of these top-rated salad dressing containers.

    Continue to 5 of 9 below.
  • 05 of 09

    Best Fig Balsamic: Robert's Black Mission Fig Infused Balsamic Vinegar

    Flavored balsamic vinegar is pretty common, and fig vinegar is one of the most popular varieties, thanks to the sweetness and body it adds. While figs are certainly delicious, they don’t add a hard hit of flavor that might conflict with your food, so you can use this vinegar anywhere you’d use a plain balsamic. It's great for salads or brushed onto chicken or ribs before you throw them on the grill. Because of the sweetness the figs add, this is also lovely drizzled over strawberries or grilled peaches.

  • 06 of 09

    Best Organic: Thrive Market Organic Balsamic Vinegar

    Organic Balsamic Vinegar

     Thrive Market

    Certified organic and non-GMO, this vinegar gets its start in Italy where it’s made from pesticide-free grapes. This vinegar is great for marinades, salad dressings, and anywhere you love the tartness that vinegar adds to your food. It’s also affordable enough that you can simmer it until it reduces to make your own thick balsamic glaze that will cling to food on the grill, in the oven, or drizzled over fruits and veggies.

  • 07 of 09

    Best Glaze: Antica Italia Thick Balsamic Vinegar of Modena Italian Glaze

    You could boil balsamic vinegar to make a thick glaze, or you could buy this ready-made glaze that will cling to your food rather than running off. It’s great when you're grilling chicken or pork and want to marinade your food beforehand. It also makes a great glaze on ribs while they’re on the grill, or tossed with vegetables before they go into the oven.

  • 08 of 09

    Best Value: Pompeian Balsamic Vinegar Aged in Oak

    Balsamic Vinegar

    Pompeian

    If you find yourself cooking with balsamic on a regular basis, you'll appreciate this affordable pick. It's thinner than some of the more expensive options out there, but the flavor is rich and just sweet enough. You can use it as an ingredient in everything from salad dressings to barbecue sauce, or reduce it down for your own balsamic glaze, if you have the time.

    Continue to 9 of 9 below.
  • 09 of 09

    Best Gift Set: Wild Groves Olive Oil and Vinegar Duo

    Balsamic vinegar

    Wild Groves

    Great as a "thank you" for your hostess or tucked into a basket with some wine and cheese, this is a fun gift for your favorite foodie. This set gives you one 8.5-ounce bottle each of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar in a box that’s easy to wrap. You could also buy the set for yourself so you’re ready to make salad dressing or plate a dipping oil for some crusty bread. The olive oil is made in California by fourth-generation olive growers, and the vinegar comes from Modena, Italy.

    Looking for a great hostess gift? Pick from one of our best gifts for foodies.

Our Process

Our writers spent 4 hours researching the most popular balsamic vinegars on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 22 different balsamic vinegars overall, screened options from 10 different brands and manufacturers, read over 8 user reviews (both positive and negative), and tested 5 of the balsamic vinegars themselves. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.