Learn the secrets to this delicious and simple Spanish pintxo recipe that I’ve made for countless gatherings at home: bacon wrapped dates stuffed with cheese. These are some of the most satisfying, quick, and easy appetizers you can imagine! You can bake them in the oven or even throw them on a hot grill (perfect for summer barbecues). Don’t miss this incredible 4 ingredient tapas recipe!
Do you have a go-to appetizer? I sure do. It’s a recipe I always use whenever I have people coming over for dinner; no matter how many guests there might be.
See also: 7 Pintxos Recipes for a Pintxos Party
It’s a delicious recipe that never fails to impress, but even better: it’s so easy to make! What is this magic dish, you ask? It’s my recipe for stuffed dates wrapped in bacon (or Serrano ham). And if that sentence alone isn’t enough to get your mouth watering, then I don’t know what will.
I first ate these beautiful sweet and salty bites on a trip to the Basque Country in the north of Spain. At an old-school tavern in Bilbao, where the wine ran freely and the pintxos were delicious, I decided to order the bacon wrapped dates.
In the País Vasco, every tapas bar has a counter covered with these wonderful morsels, the Basque version of tapas. Generally, pintxos are slices of crusty toasted baguette topped with something savory, but they can also be small plates or skewers, too.
And often the best are the most simple, like my favorite dates and bacon, a magnificent and creative work of food art.
Key Ingredients: Dates, cheese, bacon or cured ham, almonds (optional).
Ingredient Notes & Substitutions
To make my Basque-inspired bacon wrapped dates recipe, all you’ll need are three ingredients: dates, bacon, and cheese. That’s it! Get creative by adding an almond too.
- Cheese: The cheese you choose is up to you, but I almost always go for goat cheese. Alternatively, you can use Manchego or even blue cheese for a snack with a kick. But I find that goat cheese gives you the gooeyness we all crave, as well as a bit of acidity to cut through the fattiness of the bacon.
- Bacon: And when it comes to the bacon, the thinner the better. That will help you get the crispiness you want when they come out of the oven. You could also use thinly sliced jamón serrano or prosciutto.
- Almond: You can also optionally add a Spanish Marcona almond inside (it adds a delicious crunch!). Not an almond lover? A hazelnut, pecan, or macadamia nut all work well too.
- Toothpicks: These are held together by a toothpick, as good pintxos should be! For best results, soak the toothpicks in water before using them in the oven.
If you’re a vegetarian, you might not have read this far — they are called bacon wrapped dates after all! But I actually make these for vegetarian family members all the time! I simply don’t wrap them in anything. They’re still absolutely delicious served piping hot from the oven, stuffed with flavorful cheese and a Marcona almond.
Bacon Wrapped Dates: Step by Step
These bacon wrapped dates are super easy to prepare! Buy pitted dates for an even easier process.
Steps 1-4: Start by cutting each date lengthwise. Remove the pit if necessary. Then stuff each date with a good amount of cheese. Add the almond (if using) and press closed with your fingers.
Steps 5-8: Cut each piece of bacon in half (if necessary) and tightly roll each date in bacon. Close together with a toothpick and lay on a baking tray. Leave enough space between dates so each will get nice and crispy in the oven. Bake in a preheated oven (350°F/175°C) for about 15-20 minutes. Turn halfway through to make sure both sides get nice and crispy.
Step 9: Let them cool for a couple of minutes, then remove from the baking tray, plate, and enjoy! Warn guests they can be very hot inside.
Recipe Tips & FAQs
Speaking of the oven, make sure to use a baking dish with a raised rim (and one you can clean easily). The bacon is going to give off a bit of grease as it bakes, so be prepared for a bit of leftover mess.
My recipe makes 12 pintxos, but you can easily change the quantities to make as many (or as few) as you need for your guests (or just for you). Alternatively, why not combine them with some of my other authentic Basque pintxos recipes for a night of Spanish food or a grazing plate of appetizers?!
These make the perfect part of any Spanish tapas feast! Check out my list of 30 top Spanish recipes here.
More Easy Pintxos Recipes
- Chorizo al Vino Tinto: This simple recipe cooks flavorful chorizo in red wine for an impressive (and simple) pintxo or tapa.
- Spanish Meatballs: There are slightly more time-consuming, but worth the effort. Spanish albóndigas are the best.
- Gilda Skewers: The most popular Basque pintxo is made using jarred pickled peppers, olives, and anchovies. Don’t judge until you’ve tried it!
- Brocheta de Gambas: These easy shrimp skewers are perfect for a barbecue.
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Bacon Wrapped Dates Recipe
- 6 strips of thinly sliced bacon you can substitute serrano ham or prosciutto
- 12 large dates
- 3 ounces of goat cheese
- 12 toothpicks
- 12 Marcona almonds (optional)
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
- To prepare the dates, use a sharp knife to slice lengthways into each date from the edge to the pit. Carefully remove the pit, and replace it with a small amount of goat cheese (and the almond if using). Press the edges of the dates together to seal.
- Cut the strips of bacon in half, and wrap each date in one piece of bacon. Pierce the bacon, dates, and cheese all together with a toothpick so that the cheese is sealed inside.
- Arrange the dates evenly across a baking dish with raised lips, leaving space between each date. Bake for about 15 minutes, turning halfway through, until the bacon is brown and crispy.
Update Notice: This post was originally published on July 14, 2020 and was republished with new text and photos on July 1, 2021.
What’s your go-to appetizer for guests? Let me know in the comments below, and have fun with this recipe!
Photography by Giulia Verdinelli