Bacon Wrapped Dates with Cranberry Stilton: An old holiday appetizer gets a facelift with the addition of some cranberry Stilton. Creamy blue cheese, salty bacon, and sweet dates just work so perfectly together here!
Bacon wrapped dates are kind of iconic holiday appetizer. And yet, you just don’t see them around much any more, do you?
Bacon wrapped scallops? Definitely! But dates? Not so much.
In preparing for this Thanksgiving, which we’ll be hosting this year, I wanted to come up with some new ideas for appetizers that I’ve never made before. Bacon wrapped dates certainly fit the bill!
Many years ago, my aunt made a platter of bacon wrapped dates stuffed with cheese for our holiday appetizer spread. I honestly can’t remember what kind of cheese the dates were stuffed with but I do remember loving on them very much.
This version is just as delightful as I remember those original dates being all those years ago. The dates sweeten as they caramelize in the oven and the contrasting flavors between the dates, salty bacon, and pop of blue cheese is truly awesome!
This is an earthy and warming appetizer that’s just right for the holiday season.
What Cheese Goes Best with Dates?
Most bacon wrapped dates recipes you see these days are stuffed with goat cheese. And if you like goat cheese, I’m sure it’s a delicious combination. However, I’m not a goat cheese fan – sorry, friends! – so I went in a different direction for this version of this classic holiday appetizer.
I’ve been falling in love with blue cheese over the past few years as is evidenced by this blue cheese dressing and these blue cheese burgers with red wine onions. So I felt like blue cheese would be an excellent choice for stuffing into these dates.
I used the cranberry Stilton I found at Trader Joe’s. Stilton is an English blue cheese that’s mild in flavor and very much unlike the stinky (in the best way possible, of course) and bold blue cheese varieties you can find from France.
The cranberry Stilton was an excellent choice to stuff into these dates and the cranberries just added to the holiday festivity of this appetizer!
Other cheeses that would work great in bacon wrapped dates include gorgonzola, manchego, cream cheese, boursin, and a soft gouda variety (not an aged gouda since it tends to be a harder cheese).
How Reheat Bacon Wrapped Dates
To be honest, this is an appetizer that is best when it’s fresh and warm from the oven. But, if you want to make these bacon wrapped dates with blue cheese ahead of when you need to serve them, you can keep them in the fridge for 2 days.
When you’re ready to serve them, pop them on a baking sheet and reheat them in a preheated 300° F oven for about 10 minutes.
Holiday Appetizer and Cocktail Suggestions
Whether you’re hosting a holiday event or meal this year, or bringing a dish to someone else’s home, you’ll be welcomed in with open arms by showing up with an appetizer or pitcher of drinks to share.
Some of my other favorite appetizers worthy of a holiday meal include my baked brie with fig jam, apricots, and honey from last year, the ever-popular sausage stuffed mushrooms that never seem to go out of style, and my long-time go-to soft pretzel bites.
For cocktails, you can NEVER go wrong with The Mistletoe Kiss. It’s THE most popular recipe with readers on this site each holiday season and in my opinion, you can never go wrong with vodka, lemon juice, and my secret weapon simple syrup.
Make a large batch to share with everyone and bring these bacon wrapped dates along too!!
- 8 oz bacon, each piece sliced in half lengthwise
- 4 oz cranberry stilton cheese
- 16 dried dates, pitted
- Lay the bacon out on a large baking sheet and put it in the oven on the middle rack. Turn the oven on and set the temperature to 400° F. Bake for 9 minutes. At this point, you are pre-cooking the bacon so it isn't so fatty when you bake the bacon wrapped dates. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to cool for just a couple of minutes (you want the bacon to be warm when you wrap the dates). Leave the oven on.
- Using a sharp knife, open up a slice in the dates from end to end, taking care to not split them into halves. Divide the cheese between the dates, stuffing the cheese into the pocket of each date. Sprinkle each date with a small pinch of salt. Wrap each date with a slice of warm bacon and lay the dates on a clean, large baking sheet lined with parchment paper with the loose end of the bacon facing down.
- Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the bacon is crispy, and then transfer the dates to a paper towel-lined plate for a couple of minutes. Transfer the dates to a serving platter and serve while they are still warm.
Do Ahead: The dates can be stuffed, wrapped in bacon, and refrigerated up to 1 day ahead of time. Bake them right before you serve them.