date pasteDate paste is a natural sweetener made entirely from dates. It has a sweet, caramel-like flavor and a smooth, thick texture. Since the only ingredient is dates, date paste is vegan (dairy-free, egg-free), grain-free (gluten-free), soy-free, nut-free, and refined sugar-free.

Dates are one of my favorite natural sweeteners because they’re essentially a whole-food alternative to sugar. Yes, they do contain a significant amount of fruit sugar, but this makes them an excellent alternative for those wanting to cut back on refined sugar.

Dates, in their whole form, are a delicious, sweet snack. But if you want to incorporate dates into your baking or cooking, making your own date paste or date syrup is the easiest way. So, what exactly is a date paste, and how is it different from date syrup?

  • Date paste is one of the least processed sweeteners as it’s whole dates blended into a thick paste. Since nothing is removed or added while making date paste, the glycemic index* of date paste is the same as that of raw dates – 42. For comparison, refined sugar has 60, honey has 58, and maple syrup has 54. 
  • Date syrup is a natural sweetener made by simmering dates in water, then pressing and straining the mixture, and leaving the pulp behind. The resulting syrup is relatively thin (thinner than maple syrup) but sweet and flavorful. It has a glycemic index of 47 and contains more than twice the potassium, calcium, and magnesium levels of maple syrup or honey, with up to 10 times the antioxidants. Refined sugar has none of that. 

*Glycemic index (GI) indicates how much specific foods increase blood sugar levels. Foods are classified as low, medium, or high glycemic foods and ranked on a scale of 0–100. (1) A low glycemic index is less than or equal to 55. A medium glycemic index is from 56 to 69. A high glycemic index is about 70. 

While you can purchase date paste, it’s not easy to find in stores or online. It’s much easier (and cheaper!) to make date paste at home!

date paste recipe

Tips for Making Date Paste

Ingredients

You only need one ingredient to make date paste:

  • Medjool dates: there are several types of dates, but Medjool dates are ideal for making date paste. Seek out dates that are organically grown and not treated with sulfur, which some companies add to preserve their color. Medjool dates tend to have wrinkly skin but should still be quite plump and juicy-looking. Bahri dates are also incredible for making date paste but are difficult to find outside date-growing states. Deglet Noor dates work but aren’t ideal because they’re less sweet and drier than Medjool dates or Bahri dates.

Medjool dates

How to Make Date Paste

Making date paste from scratch is not difficult. However, there are a couple of tips to make homemade date paste a success:

  1. Check that all the pits have been removed from the dates. Whether you buy pitted dates or remove the pits yourself, ensure no pits are left. Date pits are hard, stone-like seeds and can potentially damage the blender blade.
  2. Soak the dates. Add the dates to a large bowl, cover them with water, and let them soak for at least 4 hours so they soften and are easy to blend. You can also soak the dates in hot (boiling) water for about 30 minutes, but the date paste will no longer be raw. Reserve the soaking water in case it’s needed to thin the purée when blending.
  3. Blend the dates. Add the soaked dates to a high-speed blender with a tamper and blend them into a smooth paste. If all you have is a standard blender or a blender with no tamper, I recommend using a food processor. Dates are dense and sticky, with very little water content, so they don’t blend easily. If your blender or food processor is struggling, add a little bit of water, 1 Tbsp./15 ml of water at a time (up to 2 Tbsp./30 ml of water per 1 cup/170 g of dates). The date purée is ready when it’s completely smooth. 

How to Store Date Paste

  • Refrigerating: transfer the paste to an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 months. 
  • Freezing: transfer the paste to an airtight container and store it in the freezer for up to 6 months. Date paste doesn’t fully freeze, so you can take out as much as you need, even when frozen.

How to Use Date Paste

Date paste can be used in so many ways! You can blend it into your smoothies, stir it into coconut yogurt, mix it into overnight oats, or spread it on pancakes or toast. If you have a sweet tooth, you can eat it by a spoonful. 

Using Date Paste as a Sugar Substitute

If you’re substituting date paste for granulated sugar, such as coconut sugar, you can generally use a 1:1 ratio. Date paste does impart more moisture than sugar, so start with less date purée and gradually add more.

If you’re substituting date paste for a liquid sweetener, such as maple syrup, I recommend using a 2:1 ratio, aka doubling the amount of date paste to make up for the moisture loss.

Remember that when you use date paste as a substitute, the texture and sweetness will vary slightly from the original recipe. So, experiment and note what works best to achieve your desired result

homemade date paste

Date Paste Recipes

The great thing about date paste is that you can use it in raw recipes that call for dates, including date caramel, date truffles, energy bites, almond butter fudge, raw brownies, or salted caramel nice cream.

You can also bake with date paste. Some baked dessert recipes naturally contain dates, such as this banana bread or these banana muffin tops, so swapping dates for date paste is not an issue (1 cup/170 g of pitted Medjool dates equals ½ cup of date paste). 

If you try any of these recipes, please leave a comment and rate the recipe below. It always means a lot when you do.

date paste

Date Paste

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Yield: 24 (1-Tbsp.) servings
Date paste is a natural sweetener made entirely from dates. It has a sweet, caramel-like flavor and a smooth, thick texture.

Ingredients
 

  • 3 cups (510 g) Medjool dates, , pitted
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) water

Instructions
 

  • Soak the dates. Add the dates to a large bowl, cover them with water, and let them soak for at least 4 hours so they soften and are easy to blend. Reserve the soaking water in case any of it is needed to thin the purée when blending.
  • Blend the dates. Add the soaked dates to a high-speed blender with a tamper and blend them into a smooth paste. If all you have is a standard blender or a blender with no tamper, I recommend using a food processor. Dates are dense and sticky, with very little water content, so they don't blend easily. If your blender or food processor is struggling, add a little bit of water, 1 Tbsp./15 ml of water at a time (up to 2 Tbsp./30 ml per 1 cup/170 g of dates). The date purée is ready when it's completely smooth. 
  • Store. Leftover date paste keeps well in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 months. For longer-term storage, freeze in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Notes

*Prep time does not include soaking the dates, about 4 hours.
**Nutrition information is approximate and may contain errors. Please feel free to make your own calculations.

Nutrition

Serving: 1of 24, Calories: 48kcal, Carbohydrates: 12g, Protein: 0.3g, Fat: 0g, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 10g
Course: How-To
Cuisine: American
Keywords: date paste, date paste recipe