Published Nov 20, 2019, Updated Jan 13, 2022
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These sweet and savory goat cheese stuffed dates topped with roasted pecans and fresh thyme are a quick and easy appetizer that everyone will love. This post is sponsored by Kroger.
Are you usually the host or attendee for holiday dinners? No matter what your role is, I feel like it can be chaotic up until the time of the meal. If you’re the host, you somehow have to balance cleaning, setting up and typically cooking the food. As an attendee, you usually still bring a dish to share and you might have a family to wrangle and make sure they’re all dressed and presentable.
The only thing worse than the chaos before dinner is when everyone gets hangry before the meal hits the table. Because we all know that when your grandma or in-laws say dinner is at 4PM, the meal will 100% hit the table closer to 6PM. SO this year, let’s combat hunger (and make sure no one gets hangry!) with a quick and easy appetizer to hold you over and keep everyone happy leading up to the meal!
These goat cheese stuffed dates take close to no time at all to throw together, but they look really festive and kind of fancy. The best part? They’re made with 6 simple ingredients, all of which I picked up at my local Kroger. I love their Simple Truth Organic line and always look for the green label when shopping.
Pro tip: Kroger now has in-store pickup and delivery so if you’re running short on time or just despise grocery shopping around the holidays, Kroger has you covered.
What Are Dates?
I have a whole post about Medjool dates if you want more of a deep dive, but to keep it simple:
- There are 1,500 different date varieties grown in warm climates around the world – including Nevada, California, Arizona and Florida here in the US.
- Medjool dates are one of the most popular varieties, known for their large size, soft texture and rich flavor.
- They are a fresh food – not dried! That’s why you find them in the produce section of your grocery store!
- Dates grow on date palm trees and are a labor intensive fruit to grow and harvest.
- Medjool dates originated in Morocco! 11 Medjool date palms were brought from Morocco to Nevada in 1927. Six of the eleven are still standing and producing today.
- Medjool dates grown in the Bard Valley are never treated with pesticides. The desert-like climate doesn’t allow for insects or pests to survive so it’s not necessary.
- medjool dates – Two brands that I like are Natural Delights and Joolies. You can find Natural Delights in the produce section of most grocery stores (near the bananas) and Joolies are offered on Amazon and Thrive Market. You can by them with the pits removed or remove them yourself, it’s super easy!
- goat cheese – a savory cheese that is perfectly paired with the delicate sweetness of the dates.
- pecans – the perfect crunch! I recommend roasting them for the ultimate flavor but you can skip that step if you want.
- maple syrup – if roasting the pecans, you’ll toss them in maple syrup first. Trust me, it’s delicious.
- fresh thyme – this fresh herb pairs nicely with these flavors.
- paprika and sea salt – flavor enhancers.
How to Make Stuffed Dates
For prepping the stuffed dates, start by chopping your pecans and adding them to a small bowl with maple syrup and spices. Toss until the pecans are well coated. Spread on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and roast for 8-10 minutes. This seems like an extra step, but trust me it’s worth it!! Roasting the pecans with maple syrup and spices makes them extra crunchy and gives this appetizer a delicious sweet and savory component.
While the nuts are roasting, slice the dates in half lengthwise and remove the pit.
Stuff each date with goat cheese. Once the pecans have cooled add them on top of the goat cheese. Garnish with fresh thyme and arrange on a serving platter. Voila! A quick and easy appetizer to hold the crew over until dinner.
Stuffed Date Variations
- Not a goat cheese fan? Cream cheese or a different soft cheese would be equally delicious!
- Dairy-free? Sub in a dairy-free cheese!
- Get creative with the herbs you use! I love the thyme on these, but I bet basil or rosemary would be delicious as well.
- For a dessert stuffed date, try filling the dates with nut butter and topping with roasted nuts or chocolate chips. I personally love these chocolate covered stuffed dates.
How to Store Stuffed Dates
This is a great recipe to make ahead of time! I recommend storing them in an airtight container in the fridge. They should last 3-4 days.
More Easy Appetizer Recipes
- Sweet Potato Bites
- Creamy Hummus
- Thanksgiving Veggie Tray
- Smoked Salmon Dip
- Buffalo Cauliflower Wings
- Almond Pesto Dip
- Sweet Potato Skins
- Sweet and Savory Party Nuts
Looking for More Date Recipes?
- 17 medjool dates
- 4 oz goat cheese
- ½ cup pecan halves
- 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme + more for garnish
- ⅛ teaspoon paprika
- ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Chop pecans and add to a small bowl with maple syrup, paprika, salt and fresh thyme. Toss pecans and spread on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Roast pecans for 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
- Cut dates in half and remove pit.
- Stuff each date with goat cheese, top with pecans and garnish with fresh thyme.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
what spices do you put on the pecans?
Hey Carey – The peans are mixed with maple syrup, paprika, salt and fresh thyme before roasting.
These were soo good. Made them for a neighborhood happy hour and every single one was gobbled up!
Ahh yay!! So glad these were a hit. Thanks for making my recipe and for coming back to leave a comment + star rating. I so appreciate it!
Wow it seems so appetizing
I have made several versions of this (add a little chili flake to the cheese) and they are ALWAYS adored. Came to say these pecans are amazing! I will be making them solo as a snack, they were so, so good!! THANK YOU!!
Ahh yay!! So glad this recipe has been a hit, Tessa! 🙂
These were the first appetizers to be devoured at our 50th anniversary party! So yummy! Will definitely make them again!
Ah yay! This makes me so happy to hear. I’m so pumped these stuffed dates were a hit. Thanks for the review, Sharon! I really appreciate it.
Sounds great and I plan to make these for a party soon! Do you have a wine pairing recommendation?
Any red wine would be my pick!
Love this recipe. I used goat cheese with Fig and like it better than plain goat cheese.
Yay! I am so excited to hear that you are loving this recipe, Bob. The goat cheese with figs sounds amazing. Thank you for sharing your review + star rating, I really appreciate it!
I made these for a neighborhood gathering this past weekend. The pecans got a little too toasted after cooking for 9 minutes so at the end I drizzled honey over them. I also used honey infused goat cheese. This recipe was a huge success I’ve been asked to make them again.
Ah YUM! Love the idea of using the honey infused goat cheese, sounds absolutely delicious, Brigid. Thank you so much for your review & star rating, I so appreciate it!
I just bought 15 2 lb containers of Madjool Dates at Kroger. If I’m understanding this right all Madjool dates are pestilence free and you don’t have to clean or soak them, is that right? Are the joulies from Amazon raised by you and pestilence free also? Also I have had stuffed dates with fondant and a pecan on top and planning on making them Christmas. Was wondering if I need to soak them first?, and do you soak the ones you stuff with cheese? Also how long can you keep these after soaking? Loved reading this and learning all about dates and if I can eat them right out of the container I will be so happy! Can these be ordered from you? Thank you so much!!!
Hi Sylvia – You do not need to clean or soak your dates UNLESS you are finding that they are a bit dry/hard, if so, I would recommend soaking them in hot water for a bit until they have softened. You can read all about dates and how to prepare them HERE! Hope you enjoy this recipe!