These Stuffed Dates are quick, easy, and delicious—a perfect finger food for any party or gathering! Plus, get my suggestions on what wine to pair with them.
I remember when I first heard about stuffed dates. A co-worker was planning a dinner party that included bacon-wrapped stuffed dates as an appetizer. It sounded so simple and delicious—I was intrigued!
I’ve since made stuffed dates a bunch of times in a bunch of ways and am still absolutely smitten with them as a party appetizer, finger food, or even a simple snack. Try this recipe, and you just might be too.
Making The Stuffed Dates
The recipe below is one of the easiest ways to do stuffed dates. Simply start with pitted dates, cut a slit in each, and fill each with about half a teaspoon of crumbled blue cheese. Arrange them on a plate or platter, drizzle with a little balsamic vinegar, and you’re done.
But that basic idea is really malleable.
Don’t like blue cheese? Stuff the dates with another type of shredded or crumbled cheese. (But if you intend to pair them with a big red wine—more on that below—use a very intense cheese like a sharp or aged cheddar or Parmesan.)
Don’t like balsamic? Skip it. (But it does help the red wine pairing.)
Want to get a little fancier? Wrap each date in half a slice of bacon or a folded slice of salami, secure with a toothpick, then bake at 450°F for 8 to 10 minutes.
I’ve tried all those variations and all are quick, easy, and delicious.
What Wine Should I Pair With Dates?
These dates are good no matter what you serve alongside. But for a really great combination, serve them with a big red wine like Merlot, Syrah, or Cabernet Sauvignon.
The combination works because the Stuffed Dates, like the wine, are rich and meaty. It also helps that the blue cheese is salty and fatty—two qualities in food that can balance the tannins in wine (tannins are what give you that dry-mouth sensation in a red wine). The cheese and balsamic also help temper the sweetness of the dates, which is good because too much sweetness in a food can make a dry, or non-sweet, wine taste sour.
Plus the balsamic also helps increase the acidity and the intensity of the recipe—mirroring and balancing those characteristics in the wine. I often refer to balsamic vinegar as my cheater ingredient for big red wine pairings. A little bit on almost any food helps make a great match.
Even though these Stuffed Dates are designed to pair perfectly with big red wines, they’d also be good with lighter reds like Pinot Noir or Grenache, especially if you omit the balsamic. In case you might want to combine recipes, Mushroom Flatbread with Caramelized Onions is another upcoming recipe in this series that would also be good with those wines.
Stuffed Dates also be good with a red dessert wine—sweet wines are, of course, great with sweet foods like dates. But they’re also killer with salty or funky cheeses, like blue cheese.Print
- 24 pitted dates, preferably not Medjool (see notes)
- About ½ cup crumbled blue cheese (see notes)
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar, ideally a thick, syrupy aged type
- Cut a lengthwise slit in each date. Fill each with a generous ½ teaspoon of the cheese.
- Arrange the dates on a serving platter or onto individual plates, drizzle with the balsamic vinegar, and serve.
Notes: If you’re serving dry wine with this recipe, small is preferable for the dates to keep the dish from being too sweet. So avoid the big, plump Medjool variety.
If you’d rather not use blue cheese, substitute another type of shredded or crumbled cheese.