My favorite bacon-wrapped dates recipe is made with (actually!) crispy bacon, tender Medjool dates, and stuffed with your choice of cheese. Easy to make and always a party favorite!
Bacon-wrapped dates. ♡
I’ve made this 3-ingredient easy appetizer more times than I can count for happy hours, dinner parties, holiday gatherings…you name it. It’s one of those recipes that magically works for just about any occasion and is always guaranteed to be a crowd favorite. And I personally just find that sweet-savory-smoky flavor combo to be perfection. That said, I’ve developed a few opinions over the years about what takes a bacon-wrapped dates recipe from good to GREAT. So today I thought I would pop back in and give my decade-old recipe here a few modern updates!
First off, we’ve all officially gotta commit from now on to taking an extra 10 minutes to pre-cook the bacon before wrapping it around the dates. Otherwise, the bacon never has time to fully cook and crisp up while baking wrapped around the dates (or you end up having to bake the dates so long that the cheese burns or oozes out), which is a tragedy that can easily be avoided. Simply pre-cook the bacon in the oven, or you can cheat and buy that pre-cooked soft bacon that’s available in most stores nowadays.
Second, continuing on with the crispy bacon soapbox, the stuffed dates must be flipped halfway through baking so that each side can get evenly cooked. I’ve experimented with a number of flipping methods over the years and have found it’s simply easiest to poke the toothpick all the way through the date, which makes it easy to grab and quickly turn over.
Third, use a good-quality cheese. You only need a small amount for this recipe, but a richly-flavored cheese makes such a difference in balancing out the flavor of the smoky bacon and sweet dates. I’m partial to a punchy gorgonzola or a tangy goat cheese, but a good feta, Manchego, or even an aged cheddar are also great options here.
Finally, don’t forget to season the dates! I always add a few generous twists of freshly-ground black pepper, and also love sprinkling each date with a tiny a pinch of flaky sea salt for crunch. The perfect finish.
Sound good? Let’s stuff some dates!
Bacon Wrapped Dates Ingredients
Before we get to the full bacon-wrapped dates recipe below, here are a few notes about the ingredients you will need:
Bacon: I recommend basic bacon for this recipe — not thick-cut, not turkey bacon, just nice thin slices of bacon. We will pre-bake the bacon in the oven to the point that it is mostly cooked yet still flexible, then wrap it around the dates and bake until crispy.
Medjool dates: It’s important to use specifically Medjool dates for this recipe, whose large size, soft texture, and delicious caramel-y flavor work perfectly in this recipe. When slicing the dates to remove the pits, just be sure to only cut through the top half of the date so that the filling will not run out the bottom.
Cheese: It’s important to use a cheese that won’t immediately melt and ooze out of the stuffed dates! I prefer a bacon-wrapped dates with goat cheese, a crumbly blue cheese or feta cheese, but feel free to use whatever cheese you love best. (Manchego, Parmesan, or a good aged cheddar are also great options!)
Flaky sea salt and black pepper: Finally, I highly recommend adding a few generous twists of freshly-ground black pepper to the dates, as well as a tiny sprinkle of flaky sea salt if you’d like.
How To Make Bacon Wrapped Dates
Full instructions for how to make bacon-wrapped dates are included in the recipe below, but here are a few additional tips to keep in mind:
Don’t overstuff the dates. Always tempting, I know. :) But I find it’s best to just add a small amount of stuffing in order to maintain a nice bacon-to-date-to-cheese ratio, and also to keep the stuffed dates small enough that the bacon can easily wrap around them.
Pre-cook the bacon. Again, I really find that it’s worth the extra step of pre-baking the bacon so that it can be nice and crispy once wrapped around and baked with the dates.
Serve immediately. These stuffed dates can definitely be enjoyed lukewarm after they have sat out awhile. But when served warm fresh out of the oven, the combination of sizzling bacon, melty cheese and soft date is downright irresistible.
Here are a few more fun ideas that you’re welcome to try with this bacon wrapped stuffed dates recipe:
Add nuts: Add your favorite nuts (marcona almonds, walnuts or pistachios are my favorites here) to the center of the date along with the cheese.
Add fruit: Add a small fruit (such as pomegranate arils or dried cranberries) to the center of the date along with the cheese.
Add chocolate: Add chocolate chips or a tiny piece of chocolate bar to the center of the date along with the cheese.
Add seasoning: Add some dried or fresh herbs/seasonings to the cheese stuffing. (I love adding a sprinkle of everything bagel seasoning or herbs de Provence, especially when using goat or feta cheese.)
Add hot honey: My easy hot honey recipe is also fantastic drizzled atop these stuffed dates just before serving.
More Easy Appetizer Recipes
Looking for more easy appetizer recipes that are sure to be crowd faves? Here are a few winners:
4 ounces crumbled blue cheese (or goat cheese or feta*)
freshly-ground black pepper and flaky sea salt
Prep oven and baking sheet.Heat oven to 400°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Precook the bacon.*Lay the bacon strips side by side on the baking sheet. Cook for about 10 minutes. (Cook time may vary depending on the thickness of your bacon, so keep an eye on it. The idea is for the bacon to be about halfway cooked yet still soft enough to easily wrap around the dates.)
Stuff the dates.While the bacon is precooking, use a paring knife to make a shallow cut lengthwise in the top of each date, careful not to cut all the way through. Remove the pits, then fill each date with a spoonful of cheese, and use your palm to gently squeeze the date so that it is mostly closed.
Wrap the dates.Once the precooked bacon is cool enough to handle, slice the bacon strips in half. Wrap a strip of bacon around each date and secure it closed with a toothpick.
Bake.Remove the previous sheet of parchment paper (and any leftover grease) from the baking sheet, and layer on a fresh sheet of parchment paper. Arrange the dates evenly on the baking sheet and season with a few twists of black pepper. Bake for 5-7 minutes per side, flipping the dates halfway through until the bacon is cooked and slightly crispy. (Keep a close eye though so that it does not burn.) Transfer baking sheet to a wire rack and sprinkle the dates with a pinch of flaky sea salt.
Serve.Serve warm and enjoy!
Type of cheese:It’s important to use a cheese that won’t immediately melt and ooze out of the stuffed dates. I prefer a bacon-wrapped dates with goat cheese, a crumbly blue cheese or feta cheese, but feel free to use whatever cheese you love best. (Manchego, Parmesan, or a good aged cheddar are also great options!)
Precooking the bacon: You can skip this step and purchase precooked bacon if you prefer, which is typically still flexible enough to wrap around the dates.
Recipe update: This recipe was updated slightly in 2022 to include the step of pre-baking the bacon.