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:
This 3-Ingredient Bacon Wrapped Dates recipe is incredibly easy to make and always a crowd favorite!
10 slices bacon
20 Medjool dates
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.
OH.MY.GOODNESS! How amazing do these look?!?! I love all 3 ingredients and am so happy to find a recipe that uses all of them!
My Mom has been making these since the 80’s. She’s always called them Devils On Horseback. And they are divine! I love your idea about serving them with a red wine reduction though.
Nice manicure on the closeup photo!
Wow! I absolutely have to have these. I wish I’d seen this prior to the Superbowl so I would have an excuse to make them. ;)
You should use fresh dates and prosciutto! So rich and delicious!
Bacon-wrapped dates are always such a big hit with my family, but I had never thought of mixing it up with blue cheese – genius!
Thanks Lindsay, we hope you guys like them this way!
I love bacon wrapped dates! We had them at our wedding during happy hour! I haven’t heard of stuffing them with Blue cheese, that would be really yummy!
Yum, what a fun treat to have at a wedding! :)
Bacon wrapped dates are amazzzzzing! But can I tell you my secret of what I love even more? Bacon wrapped apricots. Oh-my-gravy they are to die for!!! Just swap out the dates for dried apricots and use goat cheese instead of blue cheese. It’s perfection. Your party will thank you.
Oh my gosh, now you’re talking! Thanks for sharing that tip with us, we’re so going to have to try that — yum!
I travel to the Middle East frequently and they have the best dates in hundreds of varieties (the date souk has dozens of vendors selling nothing but dates). I’d be glad to bring you guys some next time I go.
And any recipe with goat or blue cheese and bacon is a winner!
Very cool Jack, we’re jealous! We hope you enjoy these!
My mom makes these with goat these and theyre to die for!!
Delicious, I also make a version that uses softened goats cheese, chopped walnuts and a drizzle of honeymixed and used as the stuffing. Often I will wrap in prosciutto or Parma ham and dry fry in a pan. This is a great appetizer with a cheese board and some port at Christmas.
Thanks Emma, and thanks for sharing — that goat cheese, walnuts and honey version sounds amazing! Especially with prosciutto – yum!
These date bites are AMAZING!!!
Thanks Amanda, we’re happy you like them!
If you’re up for the extra credit of just one more ingredient, adding some fresh rosemary makes these extra-special. I like to work the rosemary into the cheese before stuffing the dates.
Thanks for sharing Kristy, that’s definitely a wonderful suggestion! Rosemary would go great with those other ingredients, good call! :)
I love these and always make them for my Yankee Swap at Christmastime. Yours look way prettier than mine. How do you do that? I use Boursin herbed goat cheese but will try blue cheese next time. Yum!
Thanks Karen! And that Boursin herbed goat cheese sounds fantastic, we’ll have to give that a try sometime!
Would Feta taste okay in these rather than bleu cheese?
Yes, totally, we think feta would be great! :D
I have made these for years. I substitute the cheese with a pecan. Easy and delicious! We always have requests for them.
We’re glad you like these Linda, and the pecan is a yummy sub! :)
We’ve always made them stuffed with a raw almond. A little crunch, a little sweet, a little salty…..perfect.
Oooh, we think that sounds yummy Denise! :)
Thanksgiving is at my cabin this year,27 family members so I’m really excited to try the three ingredient appetizer.
Awesome, I hope you enjoy them!
Can you substitute another cheese for that?
Hi Gayle! Yes, of course — we think goat cheese would be lovely in this (you can also use cream cheese). We hope you enjoy!
I had these tonight with a port wine reduction and it was fabulous
We’re so glad to hear that, Cathy — thanks for sharing with us!
Super easy and absolutely delicious. Huge hit at my party.
Addy what temperature do you bake these… they sound SCRUMPtious!
I’m recommend everyone should try this recipe…your Baked Potatoes are Delicious !!
Omg, these are insanely good. We made them for Christmas and they disappeared in half a second.
I’ve made these before and they are delicious!!! Can they be prepared early and final bake later? Just trying ton coordinate the rest of the items I’m making along with these.
Delicious with goat cheese! These were amazing!
Also, thank you for mentioning prebaking the bacon some…we always do that so the items we wrap in bacon will not get burnt while the bacon is cooking to a safe temp…most recipes have you wrap the items in the raw bacon…it just doesn’t turn out as good as it does precooking it.
I made these for a Christmas party I went to and they were an awesome hit! Many people were asking for the recipe! YUMMY, YUMMY,YUMMY! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️👍
Plan on serving these at a party. Can they be made ahead and then baked when time to serve?