A perfect appetizer anytime, these bacon goat cheese dates check all the flavor boxes! Savory, sweet, and bacon make this one of the first party snacks to disappear from the table.
The first time I tried bacon goat cheese dates was at an after work happy hour. We went out to dinner to try a new local restaurant. Browsing the menu, we spied an appetizer for sharing sold as “yuppie crack”. It was the restaurant’s version of this recipe. Darlings, it was amazing!
Everything we had was delicious because the chef there at the time is phenomenal. But this recipe, in particular, became an instant “must order”. And since one doesn’t go out for every event, an instant “must replicate at home” too.
You only need 3 ingredients for bacon goat cheese dates!
I’ll give you a hint, all the ingredients are in the title (hahaha). I do recommend an optional bonus ingredient in the balsamic glaze.
You can make a balsamic glaze from balsamic vinegar using the instructions outlined in my Italian salad skewers recipe, or buy it at the store.
Otherwise, you are looking for dates, goat cheese, and bacon. This is less a recipe and more like assembly instructions.
Dates are found in the produce section at most grocery stores, they are not refrigerated.
Goat cheese is either with the specialty cheeses in the deli or with other cheeses in the dairy section. Sometimes you find it in both! It just depends on how popular goat cheese is in your area and the store’s layout.
It’s easier to fill the dates using the log of goat cheese instead of crumbles. Crumbled goat cheese will work in a pinch, but it’s not as creamy as what you find sold in log form.
Bacon is with, well, the bacon. Over the years, I’ve learned a few things regarding bacon selection.
First of all, standard thickness works better than thick cut. Thick cut bacon takes longer to cook. It also doesn’t wrap quite as nicely around the dates.
Second, if you want to make these for people that don’t eat pork… turkey bacon works! Now, the Godfather would be protesting if he heard me say this, but I’m putting it out there anyway. The final result isn’t quite the same, but you still get a good savory/salty/sweet combo.
Can I make this recipe in advance?
Sort of. If you’d like to assemble the dates up to a day before you plan to serve, that’s fine. Keep them on a baking sheet covered with plastic wrap in the refrigerator. An airtight container also works if you’re short on space.
As far as baking though, these are best fresh. It’s not really an appetizer that’s easy to make and reheat without a little loss in texture.
We definitely reheat and enjoy leftover stuffed dates, but the goat cheese isn’t quite as creamy with the second heating.
Do I have to use my oven? Can I make this in my air fryer?
Darlings… this was something I tested this year! I had a little bit of bacon, some dates, and a little bit of goat cheese. So naturally, I decided we needed to add some of these to dinner.
Well, the oven was busy baking something and I couldn’t use it to bake the dates too. Looking around the kitchen, I spied my air fryer and thought, maybe?
Basically your goal in cooking is to cook the bacon until crispy and heat the goat cheese. By the time the bacon is ready, the goat cheese is definitely warm. The air fryer is a pretty awesome way to cook crispy bacon quickly.
To make just a few of these in the air fryer, place the dates so they don’t touch in your air fryer tray. Cook at 375 for 8-10 minutes until the bacon has cooked through, flip halfway through the cooking time.
Watch them carefully though, because bacon goes from crispy to burnt pretty quickly.
The air fryer was great for making a few, but the cheese did have a slightly different texture after air frying in my opinion. It was pretty minor though, but something I thought was important to note.
You’re definitely going to want to stick to the oven most of the time, because no home air fryer is big enough for a full batch! But if you’re just getting fancy for a tapas night for two at home, the air fryer works great. Definitely a time saver!
I hope you love this easy appetizer recipe! Whether you’re making for game day, date night in, girl’s night, or whatever your plans, it’s sure to be a hit. Enjoy!
- 16-18 pitted medjool dates
- 4 ounces goat cheese
- 6 slices bacon
- optional: balsamic glaze
- Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, spray with nonstick spray, and set aside.
- Slice down one side of each date and remove the pit (seed).
- Stuff each date with anywhere between 1/2-1 teaspoon of goat cheese. The amount isn't exact. You need just enough cheese to fill the date while still being able to close the two sides together. Repeat for all the dates.
- Cut your strips of bacon into 1/2 or 1/3 (depending on length). The strips of bacon should be long enough to wrap once around each date and overlap just enough to secure with a toothpick.
- Wrap each stuffed date with bacon and place on your prepared baking sheet.
- At this point you can cover the dates with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to one day before baking.
- When you are ready to bake, place the dates into the oven (no plastic wrap if you prepared the dates in advance). Bake for 25-30 minutes, flipping the dates about halfway through the cooking time to encourage even crisping of the bacon.
- When the bacon has cooked through, remove the dates from the oven.
- Carefully transfer the dates to a serving tray and drizzle with balsamic glaze, if using. Serve immediately.
- If there are leftover dates, refrigerate and enjoy within 3 days.
- The exact number of dates varies per package. I find that I get about 16-18 dates per batch.
- You don't need to use toothpicks, but it makes it *very* easy to flip the dates for even crisping of the bacon.
- Using standard thickness bacon is preferred to thick cut bacon as it bakes a little faster and wraps easily.
- Depending on the length of your bacon strips and circumference of your dates, one slice of bacon will work for 2-3 dates. You don't want too much overlap so that all the bacon cooks at the same rate. There should be just enough overlap to secure the bacon around the date with the toothpick, but not much more. If you double wrap the bacon, the texture will be off since the outer section of the bacon will cook faster than the inner circle of bacon.
- Party planner tip: The dates are best baked just before serving. But if you'd like to save a little time, you can stuff and wrap the dates up to a day before your event. Loosely cover the baking sheet with plastic wrap. Then, when you're ready to bake, remove the plastic and pop the stuffed dates in the oven! This is a HUGE time-saver and makes menu prep easy for events like holiday meals.
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