Bacon Wrapped Dates
These Bacon Wrapped Dates are one of my go-to appetizers for gatherings, as they’re always wildly popular and disappear in a flash. Made with only 3 ingredients, they have a ton of flavor and richness.
It’s funny when I merely mention the words “Bacon Wrapped Dates” to someone who has had them, because what usually follows is various forms of gushing about how good they are. They have a reputation for greatness. People who’ve had them know.
Much like the Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts I’ve shared before, these dates were one of the appetizers that my mom prepared in my childhood. She was a master of simple and delicious combinations that seemed too inelaborate to be THAT good.
But we’ve all learned by now that sometimes you get a few perfectly harmonious ingredients together and you get something magical.
These are the things that become classics, like tomato + basil + mozzarella, or maple + pecans.
Though this is hardly a recipe due to its simplicity, let’s talk about how to make the best rendition, solidified after years of tweaking and testing variations over the years.
What kind of dates should be used?
I recommend premium Medjool dates here. They are one of the largest varieties, which makes them the best for stuffing. They’re sweet, plump, and pleasantly chewy. Plus, they are widely available. Trader Joe’s sells good ones (look in the refrigerated produce section) as does Whole Foods.
How to Make Bacon Wrapped Dates:
The process is simple, and involves prepping the dates, stuffing them, and wrapping them.
Prep the Dates:
Using a paring knife, slice through the top half of the date, until you hit the pit inside. Make sure you don’t slice all the way around or through.
Pull open on both sides of the cut to expose the pit inside:
Remove the pit and discard. Repeat with the remaining dates.
Important Note: As you are opening and pitting the dates, check each one for signs of bugs or black mold (it will be obvious, so no need to get out the magnifying glass). It’s gross, but every once in a while you’ll find a bad date that you’ll need to throw out.
Stuff the Dates:
Once the dates are split, start cutting chunks of goat cheese for stuffing.
I use a soft goat cheese log and do almost a tablespoon per date.
Make sure to really get the goat cheese squished in there:
You can see that the dates are a bit overstuffed, but I personally want them as full as possible. Also, I never end up using the whole log anyway so I try to get it all used up.
Wrap the Dates with Bacon:
Cut some standard bacon slices in half, then wrap each bacon slice half around the date, securing it by pushing a toothpick through the entire piece:
The toothpicks also make it easy for people to pick up and eat the dates when they’re ready.
Side note: These are the toothpicks I bought from Amazon (affiliate), which are a major step up from some of the cheap splintery toothpicks you often find at the grocery.
Bake the Bacon Wrapped Dates in the oven:
Bake the dates in the oven for about 30 minutes, flipping them over halfway through.
Yes, flipping is slightly annoying, but it’s necessary for evenly cooking the bacon. I’ve tried not doing it and it doesn’t go well.
By the end of cooking, the sheet pan will be a bit of a mess, which is why I line the bottom of the sheet pan with foil or parchment paper:
Excess goat cheese can ooze out a bit, and the sugars in the bacon and dates drip and caramelize.
Don’t fret though, because when you plate them on a tray or plate, they won’t look messy at all:
They are wonderful warm, while the bacon is still soft and creamy.
See all of my appetizers for more ideas. Enjoy!
More Finger Food for Gatherings:
Bacon Wrapped Dates Tips and FAQ:
Make-ahead Instructions: You can assemble these a day ahead of time. Keep them in the refrigerator until ready to bake. You may need to add another 5 minutes to the oven time.
Leftovers: These keep pretty well in the fridge, for up to 4 days. Store in an airtight container.
Reheating: I reheat these in the microwave, about 15 seconds for 3 pieces, 30 seconds for 6 pieces, or a minute for 12. Heat until the goat cheese looks soft and creamy.
Freezing: These ingredients all freeze well in theory on their own, though I haven’t actually tried this.
Bacon Wrapped Dates
- 1 lb medjool dates (I had 28 pieces)
- 11 ounce log* soft goat cheese
- 12 ounces** bacon (14 slices)
- Preheat the oven to 375F. Line a half sheet pan with foil or parchment paper.
- Using a paring knife, slice through the top half of each medjool date, then pull the two sides apart to expose the pit. Do not slice all the way through. Discard the pit, and also check the inside to make sure there are no signs of bugs or black mold (very rare, but important to check).
- Stuff each date with about a tablespoon of goat cheese. I find this easiest to do by using a butter knife to carve out a hunk of cold goat cheese and pressing it in, using the knife.
- Cut the bacon slices in half, then wrap each date with a bacon half, securing with a toothpick by pushing it through the entire piece.
- Place all the bacon wrapped dates on the tray and bake for 30 minutes, flipping the dates halfway through. This is essential for even cooking of the bacon.
- Let the dates cool enough to handle, then transfer to a platter to serve. Enjoy!
Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.