If you've never had a date stuffed with cheese and wrapped in bacon, you are missing out. Bacon Wrapped Dates with Goat Cheese are one of the easiest, most delicious appetizers you will ever enjoy or serve to your family or friends. Is there anything that isn't better with bacon? Dates have a special affinity for bacon. For example, I also used dates and bacon in these delicious Bacon, Molasses & Date Bran Muffins.
Why This Recipe Works
These yummy appetizer bites have it all going on. Sweet, creamy Medjool dates stuffed with tangy goat cheese (I used one with cracked black pepper). A little pop of cranberry is tucked in there for a fruity burst of tartness. Then, you wrap them up in smoky, salty bacon and pop them in the oven to get crisp and caramelized. (The bacon crisps, the date caramelizes). And that's it. So simple yet so delicious.
Here's What You Need
Bacon wrapped dates with goat cheese have just a few ingredients, and all of them are items that will keep for a while in the fridge. Which makes having them on hand easy for throwing together a last-minute appetizer. Here they are:
- Medjool dates: you can buy these pitted or you can pit them yourself, which is easy to do.
- Goat cheese: some of the flavoured ones are wonderful. I used a cracked black pepper goat cheese here, but plain is good too.
- Bacon: A thinner cut bacon works best for these
- Cranberries: Fresh or dried cranberries work equally well.
How To Pit Your Dates
If you buy Medjool dates with pits intact, you can easily pit them yourself. With a small paring knife, cut a slit the length of each date, gently open it and remove the pit. Be sure not to cut the date completely in half. You just want a nice pocket that will contain the filling. If you bought pitted dates that pocket will already be there, and you can skip this step.
How To Make Them
Making bacon wrapped dates with goat cheese is so easy! Now that they are pitted, the first step is to fill the dates with cheese. Use about a teaspoon of cheese per date. You don't want to overfill them because the cheese will just ooze out when they are baking.
Next, push a cranberry into the center of each date. You can skip the cranberry altogether, or you can try one of the variations listed later in this post.
Now, gently push the edges of each date together to close up the pockets full of filling. One by one, lay each date on the end of a bacon slice and roll until each one is encased in a bacon blanket.
Secure the wrapped dates with toothpicks and bake until the bacon is crisp and browned.
Some Tips For Making This Appetizer
You can prepare these ahead and store them in the fridge, covered in plastic until you're ready to bake them.
You can also bake them ahead and store them in the fridge fully cooked, then reheat them in a 350° oven for 5-10 minutes.
Toothpicks are not required. However, they do make the dates easier to turn while they are baking for more even browning. Toothpicks are also handy for serving. If you don't have toothpicks, just put each bacon wrapped date with the seam side down.
Turn your dates often while they are baking to get them browned and crisp on all sides.
Use parchment or foil to line your baking sheet for easy cleanup.
Variations For Bacon Wrapped Dates
Try using prosciutto or pancetta instead of bacon for the wrapping.
Medjool dates are especially delicious wrapped in bacon because they are softer and sweeter than regular dates, (also called Deglet Noor). But, feel free to use regular dates. They will still be delicious and they will still disappear fast. If you're interested in the difference, check out Medjool Dates vs Deglet Noor
You can omit the cheese for a non-dairy option, filling the dates with nuts, or even not filling them at all.
If you do want to fill the dates, almost any soft or crumbly cheese will work. Try blue cheese, cream cheese, ricotta, feta or manchego.
Other additions to the filling that works in place of cranberries: apple slices, especially tart apples like a Granny Smith. Pears that aren't overly ripe are great, too.
More Appetizer Ideas
Looking for more delicious appetizers? Try these:
- Classic Stuffed Mushrooms
- Merlot Meatball Appetizers
- Pear Gorgonzola Appetizer Bites
- Mini Quiche Appetizers
Bacon Wrapped Dates
- 12 Medjool dates pitted
- ¼ cup goat cheese
- 12 cranberries
- 6 slices bacon cut in half, crosswise
- Preheat oven to 375°
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment or foil
- Using a small spoon, stuff each date with cheese (about 1 tsp per date)
- Push a cranberry into each date
- Gently push the edges of each date pocket closed around the filling
- Wrap each date in a half slice of bacon, rolling to enclose it completely.
- Secure each bacon wrapped date with a toothpick
- Bake for 20 minutes, turning halfway through until bacon is brown and crisp.
- Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving