Recipe | Sweet & Sour dessert: Balsamic Strawberries with Vanilla Ice Cream


When I first heard about balsamic strawberries with ice cream, I was really curious about this combination and I thought it’s so weird that it’s got to be good. Surprisingly, once you put that syrupy balsamic vinegar into the vanilla ice cream it almost tastes like chocolate sauce. It’s like an elevated sundae!

Because I’m not rolling in money, I don’t have a pricey aged bottle of balsamic vinegar sitting in my pantry and I have to make one MacGyver style. Good quality balsamic vinegar is already thick and syrupy on its own but you can achieve this consistency by reducing the inexpensive ones you get from the grocery store. It’s easy to do and you will feel super cool when you say you’ve made a balsamic reduction.

Balsamic reduction sauce
Take a cheap bottle of balsamic vinegar and pour desired amount into a wide saucepan or skillet on medium high heat. Once the liquid has been reduced by about half, let vinegar cool. You should see that the vinegar has thickened a bit, similar to the consistency of maple syrup. One trick is to check if it coats a spoon or a bottle like this:


Voila! You now have your balsamic vinegar reduction and you even saved some money. I put mine back in its original container and it can be stored at room temperature. Note: I have seen some recipes that suggest adding sugar to the reduction but I’m already adding sugar to the strawberries and don’t want to overdo it. If you do add sugar, store it in the fridge. The vinegar will thicken even more but will loosen up once it’s back to room temp.

Now you’re ready to put everything together. The recipe below shouldn’t be followed too strictly since really it’s based on your personal preference. You can add more sugar, maybe less strawberries if you want, or go crazy and drench your ice cream in balsamic vinegar for extra tartness.

Balsamic Strawberries with Vanilla Ice Cream
1 cup strawberries
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons reduced balsamic vinegar
2 big scoops of vanilla ice cream

1. Wash and slice strawberries.
2. Pour sugar and vinegar into a bowl with the strawberries.
3. Chill in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes to let the flavors blend or if you’re impatient you can skip this step.
4. Scoop up some vanilla ice cream and pile strawberries on top with a drizzle of the balsamic vinegar to your taste.

Printable Recipe

5 thoughts on “Recipe | Sweet & Sour dessert: Balsamic Strawberries with Vanilla Ice Cream

  1. One of my favorite flavor combos… I look for any excuse I can to make balsamic strawberries! Love the reduction tip, too – thanks! I’ve let the strawberries macerate for several hours before and the flavor gets even more incredible. Also, a little black pepper can be amazing on it too, especially when paired with vanilla ice cream :)

  2. As I’m typing I’m eating this recipe and let me say…wow. This really threw me for a loop. I didn’t expect the flavors this would produce. It’s *orgasmic*.

    The balsamic vinegar (heated over pan like instructed – cooled) plus kiwi soaked in balamic and sugar (didn’t have strawberries, will do it next time) made this a much more satisfying desert than buying chocolate syrup with all that extra sugar, fat, preservatives, and other harmful ingredients.

    I had my mother try it and it blew her away. It’s a totally unexpecting taste I never had before eating ice cream and it’s a very welcome surprise.

    By the way, I saw aged balsamic vinegar for 3x as much as buying it new and reducing it yourself. Thanks to your advice I not only had a cool desert I saved 3x as much money trying it.

    Rock on.

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