Manchego Stuffed Date Appetizers

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Looking for easy make ahead appetizers for cocktail parties and holidays? These Manchego Stuffed Date Appetizers are KILLER.  Heat the stuffed dates  for 8-10 minutes so the manchego cheese gets ooey-gooey.  This is probably my favorite manchego cheese recipe because they’re an easy tapas that everyone loves.

ingredients for stuffed dates.

I am utterly smitten with these little date appetizers —  and I’m not the only one.  I’ve made different versions of stuffed dates for years – and every time I do — EVERY TIME — my guests squeal excitedly – “Ooohhhh my GAWD!” “What IS this?”  

That’s because these little tidbits pack a powerhouse punch of flavor.  They literally hit every sensor on your tongue.  A little sweet, a bit salty,  melty-gooey-cheesiness and all in an easy make ahead appetizer.  You’re welcome.

medjool dates and manchego cheese are easy tapas.

In fact, I hosted a Christmas party one year and served these easy tapas with cocktails.  Guests were literally following the tray of manchego stuffed date appetizers around to sneak another morsel before we ran out. The best part is that this manchego cheese recipe — isn’t really cooking.  I mean it.  It’s straight assembly-line stuff with only 3 — count them — 3 — ingredients.  

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Ingredients for Stuffed Dates

  • Medjool Dates
  • Manchego Cheese
  • Prosciutto Di Parma
wrap date appetizers with prosciutto di parma.

Medjool Dates

These dates are from the Middle East and North African regions of the globe, grown on palm trees in hot, arid climates. Medjool dates are loaded with nutrients and actually contain more potassium than bananas. Many people use dates in smoothies for post workout pick-me-ups or those tasty date balls, but they are also the perfect receptacle for holding a nugget of cheese.

Manchego Cheese

Manchego is a firm, nutty Spanish sheep’s milk cheese that melts like a dream in these date appetizers. I used a young Manchego (aged about 3 months) that’s moist and not as crumbly as the longer aged varieties. Note: the rind on Manchego isn’t edible, so trim it before you stuff the dates.

Prosciutto di Parma

Prosciutto di Parma is one of the most prized Italian dry-cured hams. It is served very thinly sliced and uncooked (crudo) and it melts like butter. Prosciutto di Parma (literally from Parma) has protected status and is only from the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. There are other very good prosciutto hams available (di San Daniele is also very good and can be used in this recipe), but the soft, buttery nature of Prosciutto di Parma is my favorite — and a little goes a long way in these date appetizers. Each slice of prosciutto can be cut into quarters or even sixths to wrap around each nugget of dates and cheese.

assembling easy make ahead appetizers on a cutting board.

Make These Easy Tapas

  1. Cut the Medjool dates in half.
  2. Remove the pit and discard.
  3. Stuff the dates with a small piece of Manchego cheese.
  4. Wrap a ribbon of prosciutto around the date and cheese.
  5. Set them on a baking sheet (cheese side up) and bake in a hot oven until the cheese is melty.  
  6. Transfer to a serving platter and serve immediately.

For Easy Make Ahead Appetizers

  1. Proceed through Step 4. Transfer the dates to a storage container and refrigerate until you’re ready to heat them.
  2. Place the dates on a baking sheet and bake in a hot oven until the cheese is melty.
  3. Transfer to a serving platter and serve immediately.
baking date appetizers on a sheet pan.

Now about the dates… I know some of you might be a bit squeamish.  Suspicious.  Dubious.   I know — you don’t normally eat dates, you don’t like dates, blah, blah, blah.  Get over it.  

These stuffed dates aren’t about one ingredient.  They’re about how each component complements the others.  How they harmonize.   

My daughter thought she didn’t like stuffed dates — because she didn’t think she liked dates. Ha. Then she tried them… and boy, did she change her tune, enjoying bite after bite of these easy tapas and shaking her head in regret for so many missed opportunities… Don’t be like her.

serving manchego cheese recipes on a slate tray.

You’re going to want to have these date appetizers on hand for the holidays, as they go great with a cocktail and are a great way to rev up your taste buds for a good meal.  

Don’t save them just for holiday times though… These 3 ingredient stuffed dates are delicious in the summertime too, when you’re hanging out on the patio in the evening with friends and cocktails.

stuffed dates are easy make ahead appetizers.

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4.24 from 13 votes

Manchego Stuffed Date Appetizers

These surprising little bites are the first to go at any cocktail party.  I’ve actually had guests follow me to sneak an extra two or three from the tray!
Author: Lisa Lotts
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Keyword dates, manchego, prosciutto
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 23 minutes
Servings 10


  • 10 dried dates
  • pound manchego cheese cut into twenty 1/2″-pieces
  • 5 thin slices prosciutto di parma sliced lengthwise into thin ribbons about 1/2″ wide


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 
  • Slice the dates in half lengthwise and discard the pit. 
  • Stuff each date with a piece of cheese. 
  • Roll proscuitto around the date crosswise a few times and transfer to a baking sheet. Repeat for the rest of the dates. 
  • You can make the date appetizers to this point and refrigerate until you’re ready to cook them later.
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a serving dish.


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Calories: 107kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 8mg | Sodium: 61mg | Potassium: 174mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 65IU | Calcium: 76mg | Iron: 0.2mg

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Need easy make ahead appetizers? Stuffed dates make easy tapas & these Manchego Stuffed Date Appetizers are a crowd favorite. Great manchego cheese recipes. #dateappetizers #stuffeddates #manchegocheeserecipes #easytapas #easymakeaheadappetizers #appetizers #prosciuttodiparma #manchegocheese #medjooldates

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  1. 5 stars
    For my vegetarian grand daughter could I leave the bacon off and drizzle the top of the stuffed dates with honey? Thanks!

    1. That sounds like a great substitution. Add the honey after baking the dates.

  2. Very nice hors d’oeuvres! The manchego and ribbons of prosciutto go together perfectly with the date and almond.

    1. When I make these, and my guests haven’t eaten them before, they’re first suspicious, and then they take a bite and their eyes open wide and they’ll pretty much hoard the dish the whole night.

  3. 5 stars
    We also fell in love with these at one of Lisa’s amazing get-togethers! YUMMY!

  4. I can attest to the deliciousness of these phenomenally easy-to-prepare hors d’oeuvres as I’ve had the honor of tasting yours (sans almonds)! Will try this version!

    1. Thanks for being my guinea pigs!