You'll only need three ingredients to make these always popular bacon-wrapped stuffed dates. This recipe includes helpful tips for avoiding messy filling and raw bacon! These little stuffed Medjool dates are guaranteed to be devoured at your next party!
This recipe for bacon-wrapped stuffed dates is a favourite for gatherings at any time of the year. These little goat cheese stuffed dates are just as welcome and as popular on dark cozy winter nights as they are on warm summer evenings on the deck.
Stuffed with either goat cheese, cream cheese, blue cheese or manchego cheese, they're a sweet and salty finger food that everyone seems to love.
These stuffed dates are an easy appetizer to make, but if you're not careful, cheese may leak out of the dates and the bacon may not be cooked evenly.
I've made these many times, and I've discovered a few tips and tricks to make these turn out perfectly.
You may also like these Goat Cheese Stuffed Dates with Walnuts and Mint. And if you have an air fryer, you'll love how easy it is to make these Air Fryer Bacon-Wrapped Dates. Try these Air Fryer Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp for another super popular appetizer!
Read on to find out how to avoid messy stuffing, leaking cheese and raw bacon. Make the best stuffed dates for your family and friends!
Devils on Horseback
Back in the '70s, these appetizers were known as Devils on Horseback. The fact that they're still popular now is a testament to how much we enjoy that sweet, salty, smoky contrast in our food.
I had forgotten about these bacon-wrapped dates until our last trip to Spain when we enjoyed them as tapas, or pintxos as they're known in the Basque region. Dates were also sold in the LaBoqueria market in Barcelona, stuffed with their famous Iberico ham, pistachios, almonds, or even chocolate.
I had a great time in my kitchen after that trip to Spain, recreating some of the food we tried in the local tapas bars, like this Tortilla Española, Spanish Spiced Almonds, Honey-Roasted Fig and Burrata Crostini and Salmorejo--Spanish chilled soup shots.
But back to those stuffed dates!
🛒 Three simple ingredients
Three ingredients are all you need to make these bacon-wrapped dates.
- soft, sweet Medjool dates: these are large, soft and squishy dates, perfect for wrapping in bacon. Smaller baking dates will not work with this recipe. Medjool dates are not dried fruit. They're actually fresh. They're harvested from the date palm and packaged right away with no processing required. Read more about their health benefits in this article, Everything You Need to Know about Medjool Dates.
- goat cheese: (or blue cheese, cream cheese or Manchego cheese)
- bacon: thinly sliced is best as it will cook faster.
Here's a quick overview of what you'll do. You'll find helpful tips and tricks below.
- Remove the pits from the dates. Use a small sharp paring knife to make lengthwise slits in each date. The pits will come out easily.
- Next, stuff the cavity with your choice of cheese. A soft cheese, like goat cheese, blue cheese or even cream cheese works well.
- And finally, wrap each date with a half slice of bacon. Transfer to a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet and bake in the oven.
👍🏼 Expert tips and tricks to make the best bacon-wrapped stuffed dates
How to stuff dates with cheese
The easiest way to stuff dates is to fill a piping bag with goat cheese and use a frosting tip to pipe it into the cavity. An even easier way is to buy the goat cheese in a tube, snip off one of the corners, and squeeze it into the date!
If you're using blue cheese or cream cheese, just use a small spoon. For Manchego, simply cut a small slice. Use about one teaspoon of cheese per date, depending on their size. Don't overfill, or the cheese will melt and leak out while the dates are baking.
Once you've stuffed them, gently pinch the dates closed to keep the cheese in before wrapping it with the bacon.
How to wrap dates in bacon
Thinly sliced bacon works best, as it cooks faster. You'll only need half a slice for each date.
Wrap each date so that there is just a small amount of overlap and secure it with a toothpick. Make sure to insert the toothpick in the meaty part of the bacon and not the fat to prevent it from coming undone.
If the bacon slice has too much of an overlap, part of it will not cook evenly and NOBODY LIKES RAW BACON, right?
Bake at 375°F. on a baking sheet for about 20 -25 minutes in total, using that handy little toothpick to turn them 2 or 3 times so that all sides of the bacon cook evenly. A baking sheet and rack set or a grill pan will both work well for this appetizer. (affiliate links)
Drain on a paper towel. Cool for 5 minutes before serving.
Can I make these ahead of time?
Yes. I often prepare these up to a day in advance. It's one more thing off my list that I can get done ahead of time! Just cover them tightly and refrigerate until you're ready to bake them.
You can also freeze them! Fill the dates with cheese, wrap in bacon, secure with a toothpick, then freeze on a baking sheet. Once frozen, transfer the dates to a freezer storage bag and freeze for up to a month. Thaw overnight in the fridge, then bake them as directed.
Storage and reheating instructions
In the unlikely event that you'll have leftovers, refrigerate them promptly. To reheat, spread out on a baking sheet and heat at 350°F. for 10 - 12 minutes or until bacon is crisp.
More ideas for stuffed dates
Besides goat cheese or blue cheese, you can fill dates with
- cream cheese
- Manchego cheese
- salted pistachios
You can also brush the bacon with a light coating of maple syrup before baking. I find the dates are sweet enough without adding maple syrup, but you do you!
🍽 Serving Idea: have a tapas party!
- Make these stuffed dates as one choice on a platter of tapas! Add a few other ideas, like Prawn and Chorizo Skewers with Lemon Dip, Prosciutto with Melon and Mint, and Whipped Feta Apple Hazelnut Canapés.
- You'll find more ideas in 20 Easy Finger Food Appetizers.
- Above all, keep your tapas party authentic with a large chilled pitcher of Cranberry Apple Cider Sangria! For summertime sipping, your friends will love Peach Sangria with Prosecco.
Enjoy every little bite!
More fun appetizer recipes
When you make these bacon-wrapped dates, please leave a comment and a rating below. I'd love to hear how they turned out for you!
This post was originally published in 2016. It has been updated with new photos and additional information.
Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Dates
- 24 Medjool dates, about 2 cups
- ½ cup soft goat cheese or blue cheese
- 12 strips bacon, hormone free, nitrate-free sliced crosswise (not thick-cut bacon)
- sturdy toothpicks
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- With a small sharp knife, make a lengthwise slit in one side of each date and remove the pit.
- Stuff about 1 teaspoon of cheese into the cavity.
- Wrap ½ slice of bacon around each date. Secure with a toothpick.
- Place on a rimmed baking tray (lined with parchment paper) and bake for 10 min.
- Remove from oven, turn each one over and bake for a further 6-8 minutes. Repeat this step one more time, or until bacon is cooked. Cook longer if you prefer crispier bacon.
- Drain on paper towel. Cool for 5 minutes before serving.
- Refrigerate leftovers.
- The easiest way to stuff the dates is to fill a piping bag with goat cheese and use a frosting tip to pipe it into the cavity. An even easier way is to buy the goat cheese in a tube, snip off one of the corners, and squeeze it into the date. If you're using blue cheese, just use a small spoon. Use about 1 teaspoon of cheese per date, depending on their size. Don't overfill, or the cheese will melt and leak out while the dates are baking.
- Once you've stuffed them, gently pinch the dates closed to keep the cheese in before wrapping with the bacon.
- Thinly sliced bacon works best, I've found, as it cooks faster. You'll only need half a slice for each date.
- Wrap each date so that there is just a small amount of overlap and secure it with a toothpick. Make sure to insert the toothpick in the meaty part of the bacon and not the fat to prevent it from coming undone. If the bacon slice has too much of an overlap, the part that is covered will not cook evenly and NOBODY LIKES RAW BACON, right?
- Bake at 375°F for about 20 -25 minutes in total, using that handy little toothpick to turn them 2 or 3 times so that all sides of the bacon cook evenly. Drain on paper towel. Cool for 5 minutes before serving.