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22 Irresistibly Delicious Recipes to Make with Dates

Updated on May 30, 2024

Satisfy your sweet by adding this luscious fruit to everything from smoothies to desserts.

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Photo: Teri Lyn Fisher

Our Best Ideas for Dates

We’re pretty smitten with dates, the rich, almost creamy dried fruit of date palm trees that originated in the Middle East. Let’s get the health benefits out of the way: They are packed with antioxidants, fiber, and lots of weird but important micronutrients, like manganese and copper. But let’s not focus on that, because it would imply that we eat dates just because they’re health food. The best dates—those Medjools you find in the produce section of a supermarket—can rival a square of dark chocolate for their complexity and ability to satisfy a sweet tooth, with notes of caramel. They up your charcuterie game because they pair so beautifully with any salty cheeses or cured meats. And, they're easily turned into date syrup, a natural sweetener for coffee or baking. But even more common dates, sold in bags near the raisins, make an excellent snack, and blend gorgeously in smoothies and desserts, eliminating the need for additional sugar. Look at them as an opportunity to stay home and wash your hair—and have a hot date on the very same night.

The perfect place to start? These easy homemade candies take the classic chocolate-and-peanut butter pairing to a new level, both in taste and texture. The dates make ideal vehicles for the two, their own flavor receding while lending a nice gooiness at the same time.

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Photo: Teri Lyn Fisher

Date Shakes

Any visit to the west coast is incomplete without a date shake, which stems from the history of dates in the region. The American government began importing the trees from the Middle East to test them as a crop in Palm Springs in the early 19th century, estimating that its hot, dry climate would be hospitable to the plant. Indeed, the trees flourished, and the area produces most of the country’s dates today. Though the date shake originated with a local orchardist’s product of date crystals, small, dehydrated chunks of the fruit, you can achieve a supremely yum shake in minutes with ordinary dates.

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Broccoli Date Crunch Salad with Spicy Peanuts

The appeal is in the name—a "crunch salad" gives so much crunch in every bite. Here, peanuts become extra toasty by roasting with chili powder, and a creamy tahini dressing brings an additional layer of nuttiness to chopped broccoli and cabbage. Dates round out everything with little moments of sweetness.

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Banana Date Bread with Lime

When Samantha Seneviratne bakes banana bread, you know it will be anything but same-old. The dates are left quite large, so that you get big hits of their gooiness; but some lime zest in the batter keeps things from going too cloying, brightening everything up.

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