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For an easy salty-sweet snack, Cream Cheese Stuffed Dates studded with roasted pistachios are simple and satisfying. With only 3 ingredients, these protein-packed bites can be packed in a lunchbox or enjoyed as an afternoon snack. But they also make wonderful appetizers on a charcuterie platter at your next party.
What Are Stuffed Dates?
Dates are the sweet fruit of the date palm tree, which has been grown in the Middle East for thousands of years. They are packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals, plus naturally gluten free and vegan. Thus, they have many health benefits.
But it is their chewy texture and natural sweetness that make them irresistible to snack on. It also makes them great to pulse into a paste to make snacks like Apple Energy Balls or Apricot Chia Energy Bars.
Though you can eat them fresh, they are more commonly found dried. And in the United States, we most often see the plum Medjool date or the more elongated Deglet Nour date. Both can be purchased in most grocery stores and often in bulk in warehouse stores like Costco. You may find them in the produce section, in bags near other dried fruits, or in bulk bins.
Because they have a large pit, once you remove it, they can easily be stuffed with all kinds of fillings and toppings. This makes them a great appetizer or snack.
They are great for packing in a lunchbox or whipping up as part of a kids’ snack platter after school. But you can also make up a bunch for a charcuterie board at your next party. They are wonderful alongside a pile of prosciutto, some grapes and strawberries, and a selection of cheeses and crackers.
What can you stuff inside dates?
While this recipe will start you off with one of my favorite combinations, there are so many things you can stuff inside dates. Whether you want to complement the sweetness or balance it with something savory, keep it creamy or add some crunch, keep it simple or go gourmet, the possibilities are endless.
- Cheese: Soft cheeses work best for stuffing, like cream cheese, ricotta, or goat cheese. Even those store-bought cheese spreads are great. But you can stuff some blue cheese crumbles inside or wrap the date around a small stick of sharp cheddar.
- Nut Butters: Much like soft cheese, you can also use peanut butter, almond butter, or even Nutella to fill them
- Nuts or seeds: Small nuts can be kept whole, or any nuts or seeds can be chopped. Feel free to try walnuts, pecans, pepitas, cashews, peanuts, and more.
- Fruit: Blueberries or slices of strawberry work great, as do apples or pears that are chopped small. And you can also give it a sprinkle of coconut.
- Spices: Smoked paprika, cinnamon, Chinese five spice, pumpkinpie spice, ginger, chili powder, and more would all be great options for sprinkling on the stuffed dates before serving.
- Proteins: Whether you stuff them with hummus or sprinkle them with crumbled crispy bacon or prosciutto, you can make this a protein-packed snack.
- Drizzles: After you’ve stuffed your dates, try giving them a drizzle of honey, maple syrup, or chocolate for something sweet. Or go spicy with sriracha.
And this is truly just the beginning. Let your creativity and favorite flavors be your guide. Or start with this simple recipe…
Ingredients for Cream Cheese Stuffed Dates
Start with this overview, then check out the recipe card at the bottom of the post for amounts and steps. Though don’t be constrained by the quantities in the recipe. You can make one or two stuffed dates, or make one hundred!
- Dates: I prefer to buy them already pitted. But if yours aren’t, you’ll have to remove the pit yourself.
- Cream cheese: Regular or light is fine. Again, you can also substitute with goat cheese, cheese spread, or another soft cheese.
- Pistachios: Roasted and salted give a nice balance of flavors but use your favorite. You can keep them whole or chop them.
How to Make Stuffed Dates
Making this stuffed dates appetizer or snack recipe is as easy as it sounds.
Prepare the Dates: If your dates aren’t pitted, run a small paring knife down the side of each one. Remove the pit if it’s not already. Then open them up.
Stuff the dates: Using a spoon or small butter knife or spreader, stuff cream cheese inside each date. Press three pistachios into the cream cheese or roll the date in the chopped pistachios so they stick to the cream cheese.
Serve: Place on a platter and enjoy. You can also give them a drizzle of honey if you like.
Tips for Success
Opt for Larger Dates: Any kind of date will work, whether Deglet Nour or Medjool, but the bigger they are, the more you can stuff them.
Don’t Cut All the Way Through: If you are removing the dates yourself, be sure just to slice down one side so you can open it up. Don’t cut them fully in half.
Make A Lot or A Little: You can make just a few dates for a single-serving snack. Or prepare a lot of them if you are serving at a party. The exact amounts given in the recipe are just a starting point.
Get Creative: Remember, you can truly stuff them any way you like.
Make Them Ahead
The stuffed dates can be prepared in advance. Once assembled, they can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. If you are going to drizzle them with something like honey, I recommend doing that right before serving.
Freezing Stuffed Dates
If you want to freeze them, place them in a single layer slightly separated on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or wax paper. Put the sheet pan in the freezer just until the dates are frozen, then transfer to an airtight container or plastic freezer storage bag. Freeze for up to 3 months, then thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
More easy snacks
- Chocolate Pudding Snack Hack
- Spinach Parmesan White Bean Dip
- Buffalo Chicken Bites
- Cherry Chocolate Pistachio Trail Mix
- Candied Spiced Nuts
Pistachio Cream Cheese Stuffed Dates
- 12 pitted dates
- 6 Tablespoons cream cheese
- 36 roasted, salted pistachios, left whole or chopped.
- Or try other ideas for stuffing the dates (see Note)
- If they aren’t already, run a small paring knife down the side of each of the dates in order to open them up.
- Stuff about a half tablespoon of cream cheese inside each date and press three pistachios into the cream cheese. Alternatively, you can chop the pistachios and roll the dates in the chopped nuts so they stick to the cream cheese.
- Serve right away or store in an airtight container in the refrigeratoe for up to three days.
- Soft cheese: goat cheese, ricotta, crumbled blue cheese, cheese spreads, etc.
- Nut butter: peanut, almond, chocolate hazelnut, etc.
- Nuts and seeds: Cashews, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, pecans, etc.
- Fruit: Blueberries, chopped apples, coconut, etc.
- Drizzles: Honey, chocolate, maple syrup, jam, sriracha, etc.