If you’re looking for an easy, prep ahead appetizer that is always a huge crowd pleaser, then look no further! This the best bacon wrapped dates recipe, featuring crispy bacon, chewy dates, creamy goat cheese and crunchy almonds. The stuffed dates are taken to new heights with a simple maple chili rosemary glaze. A few easy techniques ensure that these devils on horseback turn out perfectly crisp and evenly cooked. Don’t the step-by-step VIDEO below!  

Devils on horseback with a maple glaze arranged on a serving platter.

Best bacon wrapped dates recipe

Do you have a hard time figuring out what appetizer(s) to make for special occasion meals? Yea, me too. Whether it’s a date-night-in, New Year’s Eve or a dinner at home with friends, offering a pre-dinner hors d’oeuvre feels celebratory and sets the mood for the night. But figuring out what to make? Not so easy. That’s where these devils on horseback gallop in (sorry, couldn’t resist). 

The bacon wrapped dates are easy to make, they can be prepped ahead, and they pair perfectly with cocktails. They’re sweet, salty, creamy and crisp—the perfect 2-bite appetizer.  

Hand grabbing a devils on horseback stuffed date off of a serving platter.

Bacon wrapped dates with goat cheese and almonds

In this bacon wrapped date recipe, the dates are stuffed with creamy goat cheese and a salted almond, which provides unexpected crunch (it’s a little surprise inside the date!). 

All of the ingredients for the devils on horseback recipe arranged on a marble surface.

What kind of dates should I use?

I prefer to use medjool dates which are plumper and sweeter than regular dates. They’re easier to stuff than smaller dates and have a richer, caramel-like flavor. 

Close up of three devils on horseback on a small serving plate.

Maple Chili Rosemary Glaze

The glaze gives the dates an unparalleled sweet, spicy and herbal flavor, and it couldn’t be easier to make. Mix maple syrup with fresh rosemary and Aleppo pepper, which has a subtly sweet spice (if you don’t have Aleppo pepper you can use red pepper flakes instead).

How to make devils on horseback

  • Cut a slit in the dates and remove the pits.
Medjool dates on a cutting board with a small knife alongside, showing how to remove the pits.
  • Stuff each date with about 1/2 teaspoon of goat cheese. 
Process shot showing a hand pressing goat cheese into a date.
  • Press a salted almond into the goat cheese, then use your fingers to close the date back up (it won’t close completely). 
Process shot showing the goat cheese and almond stuffed dates on a plate for the devils on horseback recipe.
  • Wrap each stuffed date in a half strip of bacon and secure it with a toothpick. Arrange the prepared dates on a baking sheet (you can do this up to 1 day ahead).
Process shot showing how to wrap the stuffed dates in bacon.
  • Bake the dates for 10 minutes, then flip them over. Bake for 10 minutes longer. Brush the dates with the glaze, then return them to the oven for 5 minutes. Flip the dates again (now they’re the way they started) and brush them with more glaze. Cook until the bacon is browned and crisp, 4-6 minutes longer.
Process shot showing a hand brushing the bacon wrapped dates on a baking sheet with the maple glaze.
  • Immediately transfer the dates to a serving platter and brush them any any leftover glaze. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt. Let the dates cool for 5-10 minutes before serving. 
Cooked bacon wrapped dates on a baking sheet.

FAQ


How do you cook bacon wrapped dates?

For the best results, cook bacon wrapped dates in a 375˚F (190˚C) oven, flipping them occasionally to ensure that the bacon evenly browns and crisps, about 30 minutes total. 

Can I make bacon wrapped dates ahead?

You can completely prep bacon wrapped dates up to 1 day before cooking. Arrange the stuffed dates on a baking sheet, cover them with plastic wrap, and refrigerate. Bake the dates right before serving.

What can I stuff in bacon wrapped dates?

Goat cheese works wonderfully, or you can use a small chunk of hard aged cheese, such as Parmigiano or Manchego. Avoid super soft cheeses such as cream cheese or mascarpone, which will leak out of the dates. 

Close up of bacon wrapped dates on a serving platter.

Tips for making devils on horseback:

  • It’s best to use medjool dates in this recipe, which have a delicious caramel-like flavor and are bigger than regular dates, making them easier to stuff. 
  • Be sure to use a rimmed baking sheet so that the bacon grease doesn’t drip off the pan. Also, line the baking sheet with aluminum foil, which will prevent the dates from sticking and will make clean-up a breeze. 
  • Buy meaty bacon for this recipe—if the bacon is too fatty it tends to fall apart. Don’t buy thick-cut bacon, which won’t wrap well or turn crisp. 
  • The glaze gets a touch of heat from Aleppo pepper, which has a subtly sweet spice. However, you can use red pepper flakes instead. If you like things spicy, increase the quantity to 1 teaspoon. 
  • It’s important to turn the dates occasionally during cooking (as directed) to ensure even browning.
  • A sprinkle of flaky sea salt (such as Maldon) at the end provides a delicious crunch and balances the flavors, but you can omit it, if you prefer.
Close up of a bacon wrapped stuffed date with a bite removed.

Other easy appetizers you might like:

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Devils on Horseback: Bacon Wrapped Dates with Spicy Maple Rosemary Glaze

These bacon wrapped dates, also called devils on horseback, are the ULTIMATE party appetizer! Crispy, salty bacon surrounds sweet dates that are stuffed with creamy goat cheese and crunchy almonds. A maple chili rosemary glaze takes the dates over the top. Use meaty bacon for this recipe, as if it’s too fatty it tends to fall apart (I suggest buying a bit extra, just in case any slices tear). All ovens are different, so keep an eye on the dates towards the end of cooking (be sure to check out the tips below). Feel free to cut this recipe in half for smaller gatherings. Don't miss the step-by-step video above!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Keyword: bacon wrapped dates recipe, devils on horseback, devils on horseback recipe
Servings: 24 stuffed dates

Equipment

  • Rimmed baking sheet

Ingredients

Stuffed Dates

  • 24 Medjool dates
  • 3 ounces goat cheese
  • 24 roasted salted almonds
  • 12 slices (12 ounces) bacon (not thick-cut), cut in half crosswise

Maple Rosemary Glaze

  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or red pepper flakes

For serving

  • Flaky Sea Salt

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 375˚F (190˚C). Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  • Slice the dates open lengthwise on one side (being sure not to slice all the way through the date). Remove the pits.
  • Stuff each date with about 1/2 teaspoon of goat cheese, and nestle an almond in the middle. Gently squeeze the dates shut (they won't close all the way). Wrap each date in a half piece of bacon and secure with a toothpick. Arrange the stuffed dates on the baking sheet. Do Ahead: At this point the dates can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 1 day before cooking.
  • In a small bowl, stir together the maple syrup, rosemary and Aleppo pepper (if you like things spicy, feel free to add more to taste!).
  • Bake the dates for 10 minutes. Flip the dates over, and bake them for another 10 minutes.
  • Remove the pan from the oven and brush the dates with some of the glaze (you won’t need all of it—the rest will be used later). Bake for another 5 minutes. 
  • Flip the dates over one more time (now they’ll be how they started) and brush with more glaze. Bake until browned, 4-6 minutes longer. Immediately transfer the dates to a serving platter and brush with any remaining glaze (you might not need it all). Sprinkle with flaky sea salt. Let the dates cool for 5-10 minutes before serving. 

Notes

Do Ahead: You can refrigerate the stuffed dates for up to 1 day before baking (arrange them on the baking sheet and cover them with plastic wrap). You may need to increase the baking time slightly.
Tips:
  • It’s best to use medjool dates in this recipe, which have a delicious caramel-like flavor and are bigger than regular dates, making them easier to stuff. 
  • Be sure to use a rimmed baking sheet so that the bacon grease doesn’t drip off the pan. Also, line the baking sheet with aluminum foil, which will prevent the dates from sticking and will make clean-up a breeze. 
  • Buy meaty bacon for this recipe—if the bacon is too fatty it tends to fall apart. Don’t buy thick-cut bacon, which won’t wrap well or turn crisp. 
  • The glaze gets a touch of heat from Aleppo pepper, which has a subtly sweet spice. However, you can use red pepper flakes instead. If you like things spicy, increase the quantity to 1 teaspoon. 
  • It’s important to turn the dates occasionally during cooking (as directed) to ensure even browning.
  • A sprinkle of flaky sea salt (such as Maldon) at the end provides a delicious crunch and balances the flavors, but you can omit it, if you prefer.

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