Bacon wrapped dates stuffed with cheese and pecans make the perfect appetizer for pretty much any event! They’re simple to make, sound elegant, and both kids and adults will enjoy!
When we lived in Virginia, one of my favorite tapas restaurants had the most amazing bacon wrapped dates. I still to this day, even though we moved over four years ago, crave those dates.
These aren’t those dates, but they’re still equally as delicious – just a little different. Those ones were breaded and deep fried, and I hope to recreate them at some point.
These are bacon wrapped stuffed dates and the perfect appetizer for pretty much any party. They work well if you’re looking for Christmas appetizers, adult party food, or really if you’re like and just crave a little sweet and salty bite at the end of the week.
Why you’ll love this recipe
- Easy to make – while bacon wrapped dates sounds fancy (and is kind o fancy), they’re actually really easy to make. You stuff, wrap, and bake.
- Sweet and salty – I’m a huge fan of sweet and salty foods (hello sweet and salty s’mores) and these have that perfect combination.
- Customizable – these are super customizable depending on who you are serving them to. Serving to kids? Skip the chili flakes. Want to go more sweet than salty, skip the salt in the stuffing mixture.
- Serve at room temp – some foods (like these garlic parmesan wings) are really only good warm. These bacon wrapped stuffed dates are good both warm and at room temperature, so they work well for serving at a party where food will be sitting out for a while.
- Bacon – I mean who does not love bacon? Plus, this bacon is wrapped around a sweet date so it is the perfect combo!
- Parsley – minced parsley adds a nice flavor as a garnish but if you don’t have it, don’t sweat it
- Maple syrup – use real maple syrup, not the cheap stuff. You only use a little bit of maple syrup to brush the dates, but it really does make a difference in the flavor in the end
- Chili flakes – these are optional. They add a nice contrast to the sweetness of the dish but if you’re serving these to kids or anyone who may not like a little heat (it’s very slight), I’d skip them. I like them with and like to feed them to my toddler without.
- Salt – If you prefer your dates to be more salty than sweet, you can add salt to the filling or add a little flaked salt to the dates after removing from the oven.
- Dates – my note only note is to make sure they are pitted, no one wants to eat a date pit. I’m pretty sure most come pitted these days but just double-check.
- Feta cheese – crumbled works best to mix with the pecan pieces.
- Pecans – you want small pecan pieces that will mix well with the feta crumbles. If you bought chopped pecans, just chop them up a bit more.
Preheat oven to 400°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Using a sharp knife, cut a slit halfway through each date lengthwise. Make sure when you’re cutting that you only cut through the top layer of the date, not all the way through.
You want them to be kind of like a little boat that you can stuff – these are bacon wrapped STUFFED dates after all.
Next, mix together the feta, pecan pieces, pepper, and salt (if using) in a bowl. You want the mix to be well combined but don’t stir it so much that you cream the feta.
If you’re using salt, you’d add it to this step (or you can just salt the dates after they’re baked).
Stuff each cut date with about one teaspoon of the mixture so it’s well stuffed but you don’t want the date to just totally fall apart.
Now wrap a piece of the halved bacon around each date. With half a piece of bacon you’ll likely end up wrapping around it 2-3 times.
This is okay – the double layer wrapping turns out way better than a single layer. I actually tried this with cutting the bacon slices into thirds and wrapping it around the date once – the half slices were better across the board.
Place a toothpick through the date to secure the bacon then place it on the prepared baking sheet. Keep wrapping until you have an entire baking sheet full of dates.
Bake the dates for 20 minutes then remove from the oven and brush with maple syrup, flip dates over and brush the other side with syrup.
Return them to the oven and bake for an additional 10 – 15 minutes, until the bacon reaches the desired crispiness.
Remove from oven and sprinkle with chili flakes and parsley before serving.
Serve warm (still good at room temperature) either with the toothpicks or without. If you do remove the toothpicks, make sure to pull from the side opposite the end of the bacon so that it doesn’t accidentally start unwrapping the piece of bacon.
Add salt to the filling or sprinkle a little flaked salt on with the parsley after baking if you prefer more salty than sweet.
Either serve with the toothpick in or remove it. To remove, make sure you pull it from the non-end side so it doesn’t start unwrapping the bacon when you remove it.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Reheat in the oven at 350°F for 5 to 8 minutes, watching carefully so that the bacon doesn’t crisp up too much.
These would also be really good with goat cheese in place of the feta. Just know that goat cheese tends to be a little on the sweeter and creamier side than goat cheese, so you’ll probably want to add the salt for added saltiness.
While these can technically be made ahead of time and reheated, they’re not as good reheated as they are fresh. I recommend making these fresh then if you have leftovers, reheat those.
These are still good at room temperature. I personally prefer them at room temperature or warm compared to cold. If you have the time, just reheat them in the oven for a few minutes rather than serving cold.
These particular bacon wrapped dates use maple syrup, which is not keto. You can technically skip the maple syrup, but it totally changes the recipe and won’t be nearly as good.
More Easy Appetizers
- Crockpot grape jelly meatballs – these grape jelly meatballs are the perfect appetizer for any event! Just add all the ingredients to a crockpot, cook, and serve!
- Easy queso fundido – this delicious dip is a cheese lovers dream!
- Spinach artichoke dip – this dip is super easy to make guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser every time
- Buffalo chicken dip rollups – these take everyone’s favorite buffalo chicken dip and turn them into a handheld appetizer everyone will love even more!
Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Dates
- 24 Medjool dates
- 12 slices bacon cut in half
- ½ cup feta cheese crumbles
- 3 TBS pecan pieces
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- ½ tsp salt optional, see notes
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup
- ½ tsp crushed chili flakes for garnish
- parsley for garnish
- Preheat oven to 400°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Using a sharp knife, slit each date in half lengthwise.
- Mix together feta, pecan pieces, pepper, and salt (if using).
- Fill each date with about 1 tsp of filling mixture.
- Wrap each stuffed date in half a piece of bacon, secure with toothpick and place on baking sheet.
- Bake for 20 minutes, remove from oven and brush with maple syrup. Flip dates over and brush other side with syrup then return to oven and bake an additional 10 – 15 minutes, until bacon is desired crispiness.
- Sprinkle with chili flakes and parsley before serving.