Bacon-wrapped dates are just about the coziest bites of food you’ll ever find. The bacon is crisp and savory, the dates are sweet and warm. This version has creamy brie tucked inside and is drizzled with balsamic-infused honey.
The first time I had bacon-wrapped dates was many years ago at my favorite Kansas City tapas restaurant. I thought they were just about the most delicious and sophisticated thing I had ever eaten. Fast forward years later to my life as a professional cook and recipe developer, and I was thrilled to discover that those seemingly fancy bites are actually one of the easiest appetizers to make.
Best of all, bacon-wrapped dates can be entirely made ahead and baked just before guests arrive, making them a pretty perfect appetizer for guests.
- Dates - Look for pitted Medjool dates if available. If you can’t find pitted dates, you can slice the dates down one side and remove the pits yourself. It takes a bit of time (and is a little sticky), but is not difficult. You can also buy other varieties of pitted dates near the other dried fruit (like raisins and apricots). I find that these bagged pitted dates are often smaller than Medjool, so you may be able to make more of them using the bacon and cheese amounts listed.
- Brie - Creamy brie cheese goes inside the dates. If your brie is firm enough to slice, you can cut it into small pieces before filling the dates. If it’s super cream, just use a butter knife to spread it into the dates. See below for other varieties of cheese that work well here.
- Bacon - Be sure to use regular-sliced (not thick-sliced) bacon. For Medjool dates, you’ll need half a strip of bacon per date. If you’re using smaller dates, you may need to slice the bacon into thirds. You want the bacon to overlap slightly but not totally overwhelm the dates.
Adding Balsamic Honey
This is my little extra addition, and I don’t recommend skipping it. Adding a mixture of honey, balsamic vinegar, and thyme gives the dish extra flavor, but it also helps the bacon to get extra crisp and golden in the last few minutes of cooking.
This makes the bacon-wrapped dates fairly sticky, so be sure to leave the toothpicks in for easy serving!
How to Make Bacon-Wrapped Dates Ahead
To prepare: Prepare the dates, stopping before baking. This includes filling them, wrapping them with bacon, and sealing with toothpicks. Store the dates right on the sheet pan you plan to use for baking or transfer to a smaller container. Cover with a lid, plastic wrap, or foil. Refrigerate for up to 2 days.
To bake: When ready to serve, spread out on a greased or lined sheet pan (if not stored on one). Bake as directed.
Do you have to use toothpicks?
Having had a variety of bacon-wrapped dates over the years, one of the big questions I had was about whether or not they had to be sealed with toothpicks. While they look a bit more streamlined without the toothpicks, I had several batches of these that completely uncoiled while baking, leaving the bacon on the side and the date on its own. Low-sodium bacon seemed to hold its shape if wrapped around the dates even without a toothpick, but for the best results, I find it’s a really good idea to use the toothpicks.
If you want to serve them without toothpicks, just pull the toothpicks out right before serving.
Can you use different cheese?
Yes! Bacon-wrapped dates are great filled with feta, goat cheese, or Havarti. You can also stuff dates with almonds for a dairy-free version.
We tested several different varieties, but at our house the creamy richness of brie was a clear winner in the flavor department.
My Complete Thanksgiving Menu
- Simple Roasted Turkey
- Bacon Wrapped Dates with Brie and Balsamic Honey (to serve as an appetizer)
- 1-Hour Light and Buttery Dinner Rolls
- Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes
- Turkey Gravy with White Wine and Sage
- Homemade Green Bean Casserole
- Focaccia and Bacon Stuffing
- Creamy Butternut Squash and Spinach Casserole
- Cranberry Sauce (from Simply Recipes)
- Slow Cooker Pumpkin Cheesecake
Get more details and a complete Thanksgiving timeline here.
Bacon-Wrapped Dates with Brie and Balsamic Honey
- sheet pan
- 20 Pitted Dates
- 4 oz Brie, sliced into 20 small pieces
- 10 strips Bacon, sliced down the middle
- 20 Toothpicks
- 2 tablespoon Honey
- 1 teaspoon Balsamic Vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Thyme Leaves (ideally fresh; use half the amount if using dried thyme)
- Preheat oven to 400°F / 204°C. Spray a sheet pan with nonstick cooking spray or line it with parchment paper.
- Stuff each date with brie. Wrap with half a strip of bacon and secure with a toothpick.
- Spread dates out on sheet pan, leaving some space in between.
- Transfer dates to the oven and cook for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, whisk together honey, vinegar, and thyme leaves.
- Remove the dates from the oven and flip each one over. Brush or drizzle the balsamic honey over the top of the dates.
- Return dates to the oven and continue roasting until bacon is crisp, 5 to 10 minutes more. (Keep an eye on them towards the end of cooking and pull them if they start to get very dark brown or show any sign of burning. The sugars in the honey will cause the bacon to brown quickly.)
- Serve warm.
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