Recipes

cider-glazed bacon-wrapped dates

Let me state for the record that I am usually opposed to sharing non-recipes like this. Thus, whenever I’ve mentioned bacon-wrapped dates as part of a party or Friendsgiving menu and have received a surge of comments and DMs asking me for the recipe, I’ve responded, “Just Google it — recipes abound!” Or, more huffily, “That’s it. That’s the recipe.” But I’ve begun to question why I want to send your beautiful faces elsewhere, especially because when you do Google for a recipe, it’s going to lead you to what I consider inadvisable places. And now, like clockwork, here come Opinions:


Before wrapping pitted dates in bacon, I’ve, on the advice of countless glossy food magazines, stuffed almonds and/or pistachios inside the dates. I have filled them with blue cheese, goat cheese, and, truly the worst, fiddly matchsticks of aged manchego and if I could, I’d take every one of those minutes of my life back because forgive me for making us sound like a bunch of savages here, but I can barely taste them in the end, but they increase the amount of time it takes to put together what should be the simplest party trick up your sleeve threefold.

If I had this kind of time, I’d just make more. They go so fast. Most friends will tell you they had to cut themselves off at five. We estimated my daughter ate about 10 and then not one other thing. Later, I found discarded dates on various surfaces; apparently she’s only into the wrapper. You try to reason with a four year-old, I’ll be over here, cracking up.

all you needrolled and pinnedbrushed with glazefrom the oven

However, because it adds only about 90 seconds to the whole shebang, I do like brushing the bacon with a mixture of cider vinegar, maple syrup or honey, and some mild pepper flakes. From brand to brand, bacon can be wildly inconsistent. Some are too salty and need sweetness. Some are too sweet and need salt. But all, I find, benefit from a little blast of acidity, the sugar in the glaze increases the caramelization we are after, and the pepper makes it more dynamic.

Finally, I don’t really care what the timer says; the only thing that matters it that they’re cooked long enough that they’re nicely browned and crisp and sizzly. If not, bake them longer. Bacon should be crisp. The dates will forgive, and usually get more infused and chewy and salty.

cider-glazed bacon-wrapped dates

Previously

Six months ago: Chocolate Budino
One year ago: Chocolate Caramel Tart
Two years ago: Endive Salad with Toasted Breadcrumbs and Walnuts
Three years ago: Spinach Sheet Pan Quiche and Chocolate Caramel Crunch Almonds
Four years ago: Date Breakfast Squares, Parsley Pecorino Biscuits and Potato Kugel
Five years ago: Crispy Sweet Potato Roast and Cranberry Pie with Thick Pecan Crumble and Twice-Baked Potatoes with Kale
Six years ago: Cauliflower with Brown Butter Crumbs, Parsley Leaf Potatoes and Sugared Pretzel Cookies
Seven years ago: Cauliflower-Feta Fritters with Pomegranate
Eight years ago: Dijon-Braised Brussels Sprouts and Nutmeg-Maple Butter Cookies
Nine years ago: Roasted Chesnut Cookies
Ten years ago: Gingerbread-Apple Upside Down Cake and Cappucino Fudge Cheesecake
Eleven years ago: Mushroom and Barley Pie, Mustard-Roasted Potatoes and Walnut Tartlets
Twelve years ago: Rugelach Pinwheels
Thirteen years ago: Winter Panzanella

Cider-Glazed Bacon-Wrapped Date

  • Servings: Makes about 28 bites
  • Source: Smitten Kitchen
  • Print

This recipe has a few variables. Most thin bacon can be split in half to easily wrap two dates. You want to make sure that your bacon will wrap around each date twice before securing it with a toothpick as it will shrink a lot in the oven. Bigger or smaller dates will change the yield, too. I’m using Trader Joe’s today, for reference; each package has 14 slices and wraps 28 dates. I find bacon easier to work with cold from the fridge. If you can track down pitted dates, this fantastically easy recipe is even more so, but should you have no choice but to pit your own, it’s not hard, just make a slit down the side of the date and you can pop the pit out. If you’d like to be fancy, this is really nice with some rosemary sprigs on the tray, roasted in the bacon drippings, cider vinegar, and salt.

  • 12 ounces bacon (thinner is better), each strip cut into two segments
  • 6 ounces pitted dates (about 28)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup or honey
  • A few pinches aleppo-style mild red pepper flakes
  • Flaky sea salt

Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Wind bacon around each date, securing it with a toothpick and arranging it on a rimmed, foil-lined baking sheet or roasting dish. (I didn’t line with foil and suffered the dish-washing consequences.) Combine cider vinegar, maple syrup, and pepper flakes in a small bowl. Brush or spoon over each bacon-wrapped date; you can even very briefly roll them in the mixture to coat. Sprinkle with sea salt. Roast for [updated with reduced time for first check-in, based on recent comments] as little as 15 and up to 35 minutes, until bacon is a deep, crisp, sizzling brown — this varies a lot between brands. Check in on the early end, and then every 5 minutes thereafter, to get the color and crisp just right. If you have extra vinegar mixture, you can brush it on again in the second half of the baking time. Serve warm, sprinkling with more sea salt and/or pepper flakes to taste.

Do ahead: Bringing these to a party? They rewarm well at almost any temperature. You can also bake them most of the way at home — until the bacon is cooked and mostly crisp, but not browned — and finish them up where you are, rewarming them as you do.

Leftovers: Nah, no such thing.

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85 comments on cider-glazed bacon-wrapped dates

  1. Dustin

    There used to be a Tapas restaurant near where I live that would serve goat cheese-stuffed dates, wrapped in prosciutto, that had some kind of glaze drizzled over them. I really miss that place, but this may be a good place to start to relive that experience.

  2. Jacob Thomas

    Great recipe, wrapped dates, or even stuffed dates that are wrapped are amazing. You totally have reminded me that I should make something like this when the weekend comes. You are right, leftovers, who would allow such a thing.

  3. jeffreycollier

    I love dates this time of year. I usually pit the dates, stuff with the funkiest soft cheese I can find, wrap with a sage leaf and then again with bresaola, which is just cured beef.

    If you’re going to stuff with cheese, might I suggest using a tasting spoon? Like the ones they give you at Trader Joe’s, or you can do like I do and save your gelato spoons when you’re in Italy. I’ve skipped the cheese (hey, if that cupboard is bare, it doesn’t mean you can’t wrap a date in your favorite charcuterie! Adapt, overcome! Conquer that recipe!) and I can tell the difference. Then again, with that tasting spoon, I can stuff both halves pretty well!

    And yeah, you can’t make enough.

      1. mark

        Meryl-
        I think your response to JEFFREYCOLLIER was a bit harsh. In fact, I MADE the Cider-Glazed Bacon-Wrapped Dates* and thought they were delicious—-but once I discovered that JEFFERYCOLLIER loves dates in the autumn, prefers his dates pitted, adores funky cheese, doesn’t think I know what bresaola is, is affluent enough to shop at Trader Joe’s and travel to Italy (where he clearly appreciates authentic gelato), enjoys when people emulate his hoarding tendencies of small plastic utensils, clearly has a more sensitive and sophisticated palate than Deb (whose taste buds cannot discern the stuffed cheese from the date/bacon medley–poor girl), is as previously noted most affluent but certainly not so cavalier with his frugally-saved plastic as to foolishly dedicate only one spoon to each date he prepares—well, I found them even BETTER tasting! Who knew!
        *(in my mind)

      2. jeffreycollier

        Sorry if it troubles you that I haven’t made this specific concoction of this recipe. In my defense, I’ll argue that if you’ve ever wrapped some plant based foodstuff with any piece of sliced charcuterie and baked it off as an appetizer then you’ve made this recipe.

        I was wondering about checking that box about “I made this!” when I was doing it, so I’ll refrain from that the next time around.

        My post was intended to let folks know “I made this!” and you can dress this up or down a thousand different ways depending on your mood. And that if stuffing dates is the way you roll, then little spoons are the way to go because Deb ain’t wrong that it’s a PITA.

        Apologies to all who took offense!

          1. mark

            Michelle–glad you enjoyed my (attempted) humor!  Madison–sorry my post offended.  Clearly humor can be just like dates–some people prefer them stuffed, others do not.  (And Meryl–sorry for the wrath YOU received after MY response!)

            But as to Madison’s question “Why are you here?”–that is easy!  I am HERE (reading the “I MADE THIS” section) to benefit from the experience and insight of others who MADE this recipe!   Deb moved up from Hero to Goddess in my world a few years back when she changed her comments section from a single general one to one with “All Comments” and “I Made This” sections. We all know how many “Comments” sections on other blogs and sites are filled with pointless “This looks delicious…” and “Can’t wait to make this…” entries but offer no USEFUL opinions or ideas. Deb’s own instructions for COMMENTS say you should ADD something to the conversation. I think most people would prefer a simple “This recipe was delicious” or “Not the best thing I have made” to a lengthy personal account of your life as it pertains to a given recipe.  Meryl’s and my responses to JEFFERYCOLLIER simply reflect this perspective.  His entire entry could have been reduced to:”If you’re going to stuff with cheese, might I suggest using a tasting spoon? I have found this to be a practical way to do so.” THAT is relevant and useful, not his shopping and travel history etc.*

            That being said, Deb’s instructions also say to “consider yourself a welcome guest in my home,” so I apologize to anyone if my snark and criticism offended you, including Jeffery.  I certainly do not want to be asked to leave the SMITTENKITCHEN home!  After all, these are JUST RECIPES. Nothing important in the big picture. Some nice conversation about shared interests like food and recipes is not something to get upset or angry about.

            Friends, please, if you have MADE the recipe and have a useful comment, please let those of us looking for insight know in the “I MADE THIS” section. If you just want to express your opinion, thoughts, musings, or just engage in cooking chat, use the “Comments” section so the rest of us don’t have to weed through those messages. Thanks so much!

            *And for those who want to know, I too shop at Trader Joe’s (though not exclusively),  have been to Italy once, don’t care for gelato (latose intolerance issue), and do not collect plastic mini-spoons but do have a small but nice collection of early-American hand-forged iron animals. 

    1. mpriola

      Who’s going to wait that long?

      I ate a dish like this at a tapas restaurant in Philadelphia whose name I’ve forgotten. It was basically this with almonds sitting in a little pool of what I think was vanilla creme anglaise. incredible.

  4. Caitlin

    I made something super similar as a Thanksgiving appetizer!!! Instead of stuffing the dates with anything (which is sooooo tedious and messy!), I made a gorgonzola dipping sauce and it was delicious. Can’t wait to try glazing my bacon-wrapped dates for Christmas :)

    1. Caitlyn, would you care to share how you made your gorgonzola dipping sauce? Because drool is now pooling in my mouth as my mind conjures how delectable bacon wrapped dates dipped into gorgonzola sauce must be!

      1. Genevieve

        Bogle821,

        Not Caitlyn, but… If you are looking to turn a crumbly cheese like gorgonzola into a dipping sauce, consider using sodium citrate. Adding liquid (cream, milk, beer, water, etc) and a small amount of the sodium should release the proteins in the cheese and allow it to form a liquid consistency. Google has good guidelines for the sodium citrate. I bet the sauce would be delicious!

  5. Madeline

    Bacon wrapped dates are my husband’s favorite thing IN THE WORLD! He could eat this whole recipe by himself but I always remind him we have friends here too LOL! Will definitely try the glaze! We are Jews that serve bacon wrapped dates & latkes at our Chanukah Party! Happy Holidays all:)

    1. Hallie Goodfriend

      I made candied bacon for my Chanukah party last year and it was devoured! Making these for our party this year…it’s easier, less mess and I can guarantee it will be the first appetizer to go!

  6. Ariella

    I’m just gonna respectfully disagree that it’s never worth it to stuff the dates with anything. I throw an annual Christmas party and bacon-wrapped dates are a staple. Over the past few years, I have experimented with different fillings and the one I’ve gone back to a few times is chorizo sausage with andouille coming in at a close second. That said, they are definitely delicious without any filling at all!

  7. Susan

    My favorite Tapas place serves their bacon-wrapped dates with a cheesy tomatoey dipping sauce that seems like it would be a much easier way to get those flavors into a bite, if you’re determined to have them but not up to stuffing.

  8. Kitty Ruch

    A recipe handed down from my grandmother took pitted dates, stuffed them with peanuts, and rolled them in sugar for a unique addition to cookie plates. I loved them!

    1. Christy Lanier Attwood

      Kitty, my grandmother did the same. I think she used pecans and rolled the date in confectioner’s sugar. She also put them on the cookie plate. Did we share a grandmother? I’ve never seen anyone else do this!

  9. Jenny

    I adore these, and fully agree they don’t need to be stuffed. Bacon + dates is perfection. We know them as ‘devils on horseback.’

      1. Pippa S

        Yes, I use prunes too. I think that once you’ve baked them in bacon, you wouldn’t tell the difference, and they’re cheaper and more likely to come pitted. I agree about not stuffing them but am really surprised Deb adds more salt to the bacon.
        One trick we have is to thin the bacon using the side of a knife before wrapping. You kind of smear it on a chopping board. Being thinner, it crisps more easily and wraps round more, so no cocktail sticks – yay! less fiddling.
        My whole family agrees that these are probably the best thing about Christmas…

  10. Bridgit

    We’ve made these several times: I agree, the cheese is not worth it. I do find a nicely toasted almond a fine addition, and very easy to insert. I love the idea of an acidic glaze to give these a little life: now I’m looking forward to making these again for the first time in years.

    1. Bridgit

      Also, I just realized these are gluten free AND diary free, which means they need to happen for the family tree trimming party on Saturday, cause we are that kind of family.

  11. Susan

    The closest I’m come to this was at a September wedding. It was a halved fresh mission fig with a single mint leaf between the cuts, wrapped in prosciutto and baked until crisp. I salivate from the memory.. But a date will do this for me, too!

    1. Fefe

      Devils on horseback! One of our holiday faves! We usually use prunes-but will have to try this variation this year. I like the spicy glaze idea. Thanks for sharing your take on it!

  12. Julie

    I’ve made these (not THESE exactly) many times, and I always add goat cheese. I put it in a baggie and snip the corner and then squeeze some into each date before wrapping. I can definitely taste it, and it’s delicious! But you are absolutely right: it’s enough of a pain to do that I don’t make these very often. If I skip that step (and add yours of the glaze), it’ll likely be just as good and easier. Thanks for sharing!

  13. Jane

    My almost-4-year-old would do the exact same :D down to not eating anything else for dinner. She’s not picky, exactly, just not usually a big eater – unless it’s bacon or sausage.

  14. Julie Kirgo

    Our family’s version of this–aka “rumaki”–is bacon-wrapped watermelon pickles. I know, I know–but just try them. Beyond yum.

  15. Moonvirgo

    Thank you for changing your mind and writing this post. Always enjoy your voice – it beautifully shines through even in a recipe-not-recipe (your words, not mine). Psyched to bring this party in a bowl to my neighbors now.

  16. Patrick Hannay-Zaia

    Love these- they are delicious! I used to make ’em with a simple balsamic glaze (which I still love) but these have a different kinda “oomph”!

  17. Lena

    I want to make these for an office potluck but there are a few vegetarians in the group. Do you think it would work if I make a few without the bacon? Is there anything else I can sub?

    Thanks! LOVE the site!!

  18. Hi Deb and readers,
    Quick question about foil vs parchment paper for easy clean up situations. I hate to use foil if not necessary, but do appreciate not scrubbing a pan for hours. Is there a culinary (ie: taste, texture, etc) reason to use one and not the other in this sort of deliciousituation?
    Thanks!

  19. datesbacon

    I used Medjool dates and found that I needed a whole piece of bacon per date in order to wrap around it twice. I wondered which type of dates you used, Deb? The date-to-bacon ratio seemed a bit too skewed towards the date side for me.

    I had some trouble with the glaze. I brushed it onto the bacon twice, once before baking and once halfway through, but it just seemed to run straight off and pool on the baking sheet and I couldn’t really taste it in the finished product.

    Still super delicious, though! They didn’t last 5 minutes.

    1. deb

      My dates weren’t labeled but they of course sound smaller. I did not that some bacon can be used for two dates, other cannot; you just need to work with what you’ve got. (I chose TJ’s bacon because it seemed the most middle-of-the-road and accessible to use as an example.) You can brush the vinegar a third time, too, or even dip it. It’s not going to be a strong flavor, but it should add depth and interest to the bacon.

    2. jeffreycollier

      I use those too, and they can be big. There’s no reason you can’t use half of a large one.

      There’s always going to be some differences in the ingredients not only from one cook to another but from one trip to the store to the next. Jacques Pépin has a nice little piece of text (and video) where he talks about how a recipe is just a snapshot in time. Worth a google.

  20. Barbara

    I wrap the bacon around the pitted date just once. Even though no vinegar, maple or red pepper flakes, I never have leftovers! It is a protein and fruit serving all in one! Have you heard of “Better Than Good Bacon Jam”? It may be a Texas thing. Sweet, spicy sauce in a jar that I will try next time I make these. I have used it when making meat balls, so I know that for me, it is a little too spicy, but not for most.

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  22. melrago

    Hi Deb, if you have not tried it yet, you may love Hot Honey (there is a brand that seems the most well known and in my experience it is the best) and you will be able to skip a step and save the flakes. I am going to give it a try!

  23. Brandi

    These were delicious, but I had some problems with the oven temperature. After 20 minutes in our convention oven, the dates were pretty black. It’s on me for not checking on them sooner, but realistically we could have done them at 425 for a lot less than 25-35 minutes. I’m going to try these again on a lower temp.

  24. Diane

    Hmm I so wanted to love them but they really left kind of a sticky mess at the bottom of each piece, which burned and took away from the flavor. Not that we didn’t eat them all.

  25. Megan Gelstein

    Can I warm these in the microwave? I’d like to bring them to a work party but all we have is a microwave. Do you think that would ruin them?

  26. Amy Morgan

    This is an old favorite with a new twist. I have made various versions of this appetizer for years and it is always a crowd pleaser. I found that, in my oven set to 425, the maple/honey sugar burns before the bacon can nicely crisp.

    1. karen marie

      In that case, perhaps wait until they’re almost cooked to brush on the vinegar/honey?

      Also, this is a good reminder that I need to buy an oven thermometer because I just moved into a new apartment and who knows how hot or cold the oven runs!

  27. missnese

    I made these super easy appetizers for a Christmas party this week and they were delicious. I assembled the wrapped dates and mixed up the sauce the night before and popped them into the oven during the party. A great recipe, thank you!

  28. Carrie

    Made them this weekend for family holiday party, just fantastic and very easy. We actually had some leftovers (so.much.freaking.food) and I can attest that they are absolutely delicious cold straight out of the fridge. Thanks Deb!

  29. ljay2

    Deb I can see that you never made these! It is virtually impossible to brush the glaze on 28 stuffed dates!! Possibly 1/3 of them?? There is barely 2 1/2 tablespoons of glaze in your recipe. And a second brushing or “briefly roll them in the mixture to coat” …???
    Please correct your recipe so we cult followers can have a successful turnout. I tried googling whose recipe you duplicated or adapted to find the glaze error. But this was another recipe that doesn’t work with the proportions you gave us!!

    1. deb

      I have made these dozens of times (I take recipe testing pretty seriously! not sure which you meant by “another”) and you can even watch me make in real time on Instagram — you’ll see that I always have extra. It’s water-thin and coats a lot. I’m sorry it didn’t work out for you but I just haven’t experienced running out.

  30. Julie

    Has anyone made these (at least assembled) the day before? I’m bringing them to a Christmas gathering and was thinking of getting the prep done the day before, and cooking them at the party the next day.

      1. Julie

        Well no one answered but I’m going to do as suggested and cook them almost fully, then put them in fridge until I get to the party. I’ll finish the cooking there. Can’t wait to try!

        1. Mel

          I am curious how this worked out for you! I am going to prep these today, then go to a movie with my guests, pop back home and grab these and other goodies and then head to their house (15 minute drive) for a holiday feast. I think I am going to bake them 25 or so minutes here, go the movie and then take them to my host’s home and reheat/crisp up.

  31. Jesse

    Made these last night for a party. Two seconds after setting the plate down I had numerous people asking me if I made these and where I got the recipe. They were a hit! My only regret is not making 3 times as many. I also found the wrapping process to be very soothing after a day of cooking and baking. Anyway, my only gripe is that the glaze is not very glaze-y. It was really runny and I don’t think it added much to the end product, sadly. I’m making them again in a few days for a Christmas party and I think I’m going to increase the amount of glaze but also reduce it first so it’s thicker and see if it sticks better. Also, I very dutifully covered my baking sheet in foil but quite shortsightedly used a rimless sheet so all the bacon fat and glaze dripped off onto my oven and created a smoke bomb. But otherwise – this is a great recipe and so easy!

  32. Lori

    Unbelievably easy & delicious. I made it for 2 parties 2 nights in a row. I couldn’t taste the glaze very much with just one coat so the 2nd time I doubled the glaze then glazed a 2nd time right out of the oven. Love the hint of Aleppo pepper. A big hit both times!
    I have an old not awesome oven so I just check every 10 minutes or so. I either turned them over or turned on the broiler a little to reach the right bacon doneness. A foil lined pan is essential. 1st time I put the toothpicks in after I baked so I could turn them over (more time consuming); 2nd time I just put the toothpicks in & turned on the broiler for a couple minutes. Either way was fine.

  33. Mel

    Rats! I dropped my aleppo pepper recently and haven’t replaced it. Any thoughts on a suitable substitution for aleppo pepper flakes? Since these are mild, I am thinking hot pepper flakes might be too much (and reducing them by a lot would mean they’d wouldn’t add much/anything.)

  34. Christine

    I made these with Deglet Noor dates and half slices Costco precooked bacon and they came out great! The only thing with precooked bacon is that they cooked in under 5 minutes so my first batch burned (oops). Also didn’t have honey so I cooked down a glaze with red wine vinegar, chili flakes and brown sugar. They were super simple and went over pretty well! Would definitely make again for a party.

  35. Kelsey

    I tried this recipe, almost exactly but (although I try adding goat cheese to half of them) and that were so burnt on the bottom after 30 minutes at 425 that ended up throwing them away.

    I probably should have turned them over halfway through, but I will probably try a lower temperature a shorter cooking time.

  36. Elizabeth

    I auditioned these last night and everyone in my family loved them! I had to forge ahead while both of my daughters insisted they don’t like dates. Well, they might not like them solo, but wrapped in bacon, they’re the bomb! We agreed we’d like more pepper on them next time. Can’t wait to make them again tomorrow night for New Year’s Eve!

  37. Marie M. C.

    Yum

    Yum! I have dates that have been sitting around for a while — they don’t seem to be dried out too much. Do you think they’d be OK to use? Any way they can be rehydrated?

    I LOVE that you don’t have advertisements. That — and all the content and recipes are what keeping me coming back — but how do you manage to keep your website up without them? Hope I’m not asking a too personal question!

    1. deb

      The dates should be fine. I do have ads here; two per page. But I prefer to keep the site as uncluttered as possible because I find too many sites impossible to use these days with the 42 popups at once.

  38. Marie M. C.

    Oops! Sorry. I just googled “rehydrate dates”. It said to pour boiling water over them, wait 10 minutes then drain. Going to try it.