Bacon-Wrapped Dates

updated Nov 2, 2023
thanksgiving

An irresistible combination of salty, crispy bacon with sugar-sweet dates and creamy cheese.

Makes20 to 24 bites

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Bacon-wrapped dates might not win a beauty pageant, but trust me, they will disappear from the buffet spread before you can say, “Come on in.” The combination of salty, crispy bacon with sugar-sweet dates and creamy cheese in the middle is absolutely irresistible. Here’s how to make them.

Ingredients in Bacon-Wrapped Dates

The Bacon

Bacon of any thickness will work in this recipe, but I like using regular bacon — not super thin, and not too thick. I find that this gives the best amount of bacon-y goodness to the bite without either feeling flimsy or over the top.

This said, you can’t really go wrong with this appetizer. Use the bacon you have in your fridge or that you love the best. This is ultimate potluck fare at its best, so no need to get too fussy.

The Dates

Look for large, thumb-sized Medjool dates in the produce section at the grocery store, not the baking aisle. As best as you can assess through the packaging, try to pick ones that look soft and plump, not shriveled and dry.

Slice these dates open, remove the pit (if the dates are unpitted), and you’ve got yourself the perfect pocket to fill with a spoonful of cheese.

Note: If you’re not in the mood for dates, figs make a fun alternative.

The Cheese

You can make a legitimate claim for using just about any kind of cheese in this appetizer, but I’m rather partial to goat cheese. I love its creaminess once baked, as well as the slight tartness it gives the whole ensemble. Blue cheese is another favorite, but you can also go really off-script with a nub of Asiago, smoked cheddar, or Gouda.

Provided none of your guests has nut allergies, I also recommend stuffing an almond or two inside the date along with the cheese. Smoked almonds are particularly fantastic here.

Credit: Photo: Vicky Wasik ; Food Stylist: Brett Regot

How To Make Bacon-Wrapped Dates

Assembling bacon-wrapped dates is like the grown-up version of playing with your food, so set up your assembly line and go to town. Stuff a date, wrap it in bacon, stick a toothpick in it, and you’re done. Repeat as needed until the baking sheet is filled and you’ve run out of ingredients. You can assemble everything the day before you plan to bake them and keep them covered in the refrigerator until needed.

To make sure the bacon gets nicely crispy, lay each date on its side, then flip to the other side midway through baking. Drain them on a baking sheet for a few minutes so they’re not too greasy, then transfer to a serving plate.

The recipe here makes enough for a small party, but you can scale everything up (or down) to the size of your gathering. Make extra because, trust me, they’ll be gone in a flash.

Bacon-Wrapped Dates

An irresistible combination of salty, crispy bacon with sugar-sweet dates and creamy cheese.

Makes 20 to 24 bites

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 20 to 24

    dried Medjool dates (12 to 16 ounces)

  • 4 ounces

    goat cheese or blue cheese

  • 12 to 16 ounces

    bacon, preferably of medium thickness

  • 20 to 24

    toasted almonds, optional

  • Toothpicks soaked in water

Equipment

  • Baking sheet

  • Parchment or nonstick baking liner

  • Paring knife

  • Soup spoon

  • Paper towels

Instructions

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  1. Heat the oven to 400°F. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone baking mat and set aside.

  2. Cut open the dates. Use a paring knife to cut a slit in the side of 20 to 24 dates. Use your thumbs to open the date slightly. Remove the pits if your dates still have them inside.

  3. Stuff with goat cheese. Use a spoon to stuff a little goat cheese or blue cheese into each date. Use the back of the spoon to press the cheese into the date. If you're adding almonds, press an almond or two into the cheese. Press the date closed.

  4. Wrap the dates with bacon. Cut 12 to 16 ounces of bacon in half crosswise. Wrap each date with a half-strip of bacon. Secure the end of the bacon with a toothpick.

  5. Arrange the dates on the baking sheet. Place the stuffed date on its side on the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dates, spacing them evenly apart.

  6. Bake for 15 minutes. Bake the dates for 15 minutes.

  7. Flip and bake for 15 to 20 minutes more. Flip the dates. Keep an eye on the dates and remove from the oven as soon as the bacon is as crispy as you like it, 15 to 20 minutes more.

  8. Transfer the dates to a plate with a paper towel to drain. If the dates seem greasy, blot the sides as well as the bottoms with paper towels. Serve warm or room temperature.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The dates can be prepped and refrigerated for up to a day before baking. Keep covered.