Date Paste – The Ultimate All Natural Sweetener

After I used date paste in my Most Decadent Paleo Chocolate Cake Ever, I came to realize that this little marvel of a sweetener was causing a lot of confusion, so I decided to make a new batch for you and document it in pictures.

Date Paste| by Sonia! The Healthy Foodie

You know what they say, right? A picture is worth a thousand words… And since I’ll be using a lot of pictures today, I think I’ll go easy on the words, if you don’t mind.

Besides, this recipe is so easy, it really doesn’t require a lot of explaining!

Pitted Dates | by Sonia! The Healthy Foodie

First off, you don’t need to take out your fancy and slightly more expensive Medjool dates for this. Your standard, widely available and much more affordable standard pitted dates will be the perfect candidate for this task.

Pack your pitted dates real tight in a Mason type glass jar. You should be able to cram about 450g in a half liter jar.

Date Paste | by Sonia! The Healthy Foodie

Then, pour water over the dates until the jar is really full. You should need about ¾ of a cup.

Make sure you fill it right to the top then cover and let your dates soak overnight or at least 12 hours.

OR, if you are in a pinch and want to make your date paste RIGHT AWAY, you can cover your jar loosely with a non reactive lid and throw it in the microwave for about 2 minutes. You don’t want to cook the dates or even heat them up. You only want to get them nice and soft.

Date Paste in the making | by Sonia! The Healthy Foodie

After the dates have soaked or have been softened in the microwave, transfer the entire content of the jar, including the water, to the bowl of your food processor.

Date Paste in the making | by Sonia! The Healthy Foodie

You should be staring at a content that looks something like this.

If you wanted to, you could also add a splash of pure vanilla extract and a pinch of salt at this point. In fact, I strongly recommend that you do this.

Trust. It really makes a big difference in the taste of the final product!

Date Paste in the making | by Sonia! The Healthy Foodie

Now simply process your dates on high speed for about 5-8 minutes, or until smooth and creamy in consistency. The longer you process, the smoother and creamier your paste will be.

After 3 to 4 minutes, you will have obtained a paste alright, but it will still be somewhat grainy and not so smooth. Resist the urge to stop now. Let that motor run for a bit longer. Trust me, it’ll be worth it!  

Date Paste in the making | by Sonia! The Healthy Foodie

Ah, now that’s more like it! See how beautiful and smooth that looks after a few [thousand] more spins?

Date Paste in the making | by Sonia! The Healthy Foodie

After the desired consistency has been obtained, transfer your date paste back to your Mason jar

Date Paste| by Sonia! The Healthy Foodie

Make it all nice and pretty…

Date Paste| by Sonia! The Healthy Foodie

…and place it in the fridge where it will keep for up to 3 months. (That’s if you can make it last that long… you will want to use that wonderful sweetener everywhere, and will probably end up eating it by the spoonful too!)

See how much darker it gets, too, after sitting in the fridge for a couple of days?

Date Paste| by Sonia! The Healthy Foodie

And there you have it. Beautiful, creamy, deliciously sweet and entirely natural home made date paste.

I’m telling you, once you’ve made a batch of this, you’ll never be able to be without it ever again.

I personally ALWAYS have a batch in the fridge. As soon as I run out, I make a new one.

Oh, and feel free to experiment, too! You could also, if you wanted to, mix in any other dried fruit, such as apricots, figs, cranberries or raisins. This will slightly change the taste, texture and sweetness level of your paste. Just use whatever ratio you want.

So long as it fits in the jar, you’ll be alright!

Date Paste - The Ultimate All Natural Sweetener

Yield: Makes about 2 cups

Date Paste - The Ultimate All Natural Sweetener

INGREDIENTS

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pack your pitted dates real tight in a Mason type glass jar.
  2. Pour the water right over, cover and let soak overnight.
  3. Alternatively, you could cover loosely with a non-reactive lid and pop in the microwave for about 2 minutes. You don't want to cook the dates or even heat them up. You only want to get them nice and soft.
  4. After the dates have soaked or have been softened in the microwave, transfer the entire content of the jar, including the water, to the bowl of your food processor.
  5. Add vanilla extract and salt and process for 5 - 8 minutes or until really smooth and creamy.
  6. Transfer back to the glass jar and place in the fridge where it will keep for about 3 months.
http://thehealthyfoodie.com/date-paste/

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Comments

    • says

      The date paste can be used to many desserts and concoctions that call for a little bit of sweetness. I used it in this chocolate cake here, as well as in this pineapple upside down cake. I use it a lot in baked (and raw) desserts, so I get the feeling that it will be used as a base ingredient in a lot of my future creations.

      I also sometimes use it in smoothies, to add a little bit of sweetness to them…

      Of course, there’s always the good ole “just eat it by the spoonful” for a quick sugar fix… ;)

    • says

      Hey Samia! See answer to Jade’s comment. I’ve given her a few options, but I know for a fact that there will be many, many creations coming on this site that will call for this sweetener. So stay tuned for more! ;)

  1. julie says

    Bombay & tonic with lime? My favorite too! Sadly, it’s been years…I need more friends like yours!

    • says

      LOL! I remember having gin & tonic when I was younger and not liking it at all, so I thought I was safe for sure… NOT! Wow is that stuff good. Well, it tastes good anyway. ;) Must be the lime that did it. Oh, and the pouring technique. Apparently, you have to pour the tonic water from a decent height so it fizzes. It just changes everything! Now, I wish I hadn’t tried that again… like I needed a new poison, you know! ;)

  2. zosia says

    that looks so tasty and thanks so much for doing this picture-tutorial. it is very helpful :)

  3. says

    I have a real amateur question but if I don’t have a food processor can a blender be used instead and if so, what speed setting should I use?

    I absolutely LOVE dates and this sounds like the best treat ever!
    Thanks for sharing. :)

    • says

      Yikes, not sure! The thing is a blender is designed to treat mainly liquids and wouldn’t be able to handle such a thick paste (cuz trust me, this is THICK!). I guess you could probably make a much thinner version, but then you’d have to adjust your liquids accordingly if using in recipes.

      If you do try it, you’ll definitely need to add water to the mix and use the highest possible setting.

      I think you’d be better off investing in a food processor, though! ;) I know… much easier said than done, sometimes, but I know I couldn’t be without mine!

  4. says

    As usual, your pictures astound me and if only I could “embrace” the true essence of your healthy approach to food.

    At this time, I have not made any of your recipes because I don’t have the ingredients but I’m looking forward to soon giving this a try. Can you recommend something healthy and easy to prepare for a healthy noob like myself?

    You’re the best! ;-)

  5. says

    Sounds like you have a great time with your friend! I am glad you had some time to let loose – everyone needs a little bit of that now and then! :)
    That bread with the cheese + fruit looks HEAVENLY! AND so does that carrot cake! OOOOOh and that date paste! Tartlettes, I can’t wait for that one! EEEEEE it all looks and sounds amazing! XO

  6. says

    Aw, I’m glad you had such a fantastic time. And I have to say, I love your healthy approach to food. The food you make for the blog is so healthy, but there is always time to relax a little and enjoy treats too :) Love the date paste! I have some in my fridge right now and I can’t wait to try some more recipes with it!

  7. Casey says

    I tried this in a baby food jar with dried peaches… very tart, but sweet! I used it to sweeten a chocolate chickpea cake. Everyone I shared with loved it (:

  8. Mary says

    After making the chocolate cake, Imtoo am a date paste convert, IPve made another batch, and I’m mainly using it swirled through my porridge in the morning, and as you say, on a spoon…..because I can….I’m also planning to use it as a spread on toast of pancakes or anything else like that, plus I’m keen to try a chocolate mousse made with dates, avocados and cocoa powder… I love my date paste

    • says

      Thanks for that, Mary! Glad to see I’m not the only date paste addict! Love the idea of swirling it into warm cereal. Yum! I wish I was having some of that right now (especially since I’m currently starving!) It definitely is my new go-to sweetener. It’s just the best for smoothies, too!

  9. Joann says

    I think maybe I packed too many dates into the jar…I didn’t have this problem last time but I can’t get this to process in either one of my food processors. Maybe I used my Ninja last time but that’s in the dishwasher right now. Maybe I let them soak too long because it has been almost a full day? Thoughts??? I’ll try again with my Ninja in a little while but I may just have to use this batch for smoothies since I might not be able to get it the right consistency for baking. It could just be a continuation of the run of bad luck I’ve been having!

    • says

      Eeeee, strange. Do you have a photo by any chance? Maybe your food processor isn’t powerful enough? Soaking too long is not the culprit, sometimes I let mine soak for an entire week… maybe try and microwave your paste for a minute or two? Just a thought… that’s what I would try. I’m really thinking processor too weak.

      Keep me posted!

  10. Amy says

    So after you soak the dates, are you supposed to leave the water in while you food process them or drain the water off?

  11. tina says

    I made this date paste today I soaked the dates overnight and put them in the food processor this morning. After it went through the food processor it did not look like yours in the picture? It’s so much darker, like it just remained the same colour of the dates (before being processed). How did your dates become lighter after being processed? Do you think I should process the mixture again..?

    • says

      How long did you leave them in the food processor for? My guess is you didn’t leave it long enough. It takes a while for the dates to become all nice and smooth and creamy. I say just put them back and spin them some more! :)

      • tina says

        Hi there! I processed them for about 10 mins and they remained the same color. The consistency is creamy and smooth though. I will try to process them again for a longer time and let you know how it goes. Thanks for your help :)

      • says

        Tina, if it’s only the color you are concerned with, I wouldn’t worry about it. We probably used different varieties of dates, that’s all. Besides, it always gets darker after it sits in the fridge for a little while. So long as it’s creamy and lump free, you’re good to go! :)

  12. KristenInGermany says

    Hi! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! I came across it on Pinterest, and I immediately went out and bought some dates (already had raisins at home). I couldn’t find pitted, but they’re super easy to remove the pits from, so it was no biggie! I can see myself using this paste in so many different recipes. I have been looking for an easy date paste recipe, and I liked yours best! I also made a nifty label for the jar… I was excited to share the recipe with my friends – and linked them all back to your site!

    I am new here, but there are tons of recipes that I am looking forward to try out! Thanks again, -Kristen in Germany!

    • says

      LOOOOVE your label for the jar, Kristen. Thank you so much for sending that to me and for taking the time to write such great feedback on the recipe. I’m really glad that you like it, and by all means, don’t be afraid to play with it. I regularly do dates only, or dates and raisins, but have also added plums, figs and apricots. I think this is the best sweetener EVER! Thanks a bunch for sharing with your friends too, and I really look forward to you trying more of my recipes, because I want to hear all about it! :)

      • Kristen says

        Hi again,

        thanks for your comment. <3 I just sent you the label, as an attachment, in case you would like to use it for gifting, or storing at home. I think it adds a little aesthetic value to the paste. ;-) Anyhow… I look forward to trying so many of your recipes. I can't wait to try this sweet potato brownie recipe (also how I originally found the date paste recipe). I am thinking about hosting a little get-together here, for Thanksgiving (even though it's an American holiday)… I think my in-laws will play along. (Who can pass up the yummy Thanksgiving dinner?!) I'm considering making the sweet potato brownies for dessert!!!! I bet they won't even notice how healthy they are! ;-)

      • says

        Thanks for sending the label, Kristen. I truly appreciate that! It really is nice. Have you seen my Spicy Pumpkin Apple Bundt Cake? I think that one would look glorious on a Thanksgiving table. If I celebrated Thanksgiving, I would definitely go for that! But the brownies are a definite crowd pleaser! Hope you like ‘em. Can’t wait for your feedback!!! :)

    • says

      I suppose it probably could, although it is my understanding that in order to can stuff, you need to heat it up first and I cooking the dates is something I would rather avoid doing. It does keep in the fridge for months, so it could still very well be made into a nice Christmas present, for I suppose leaving it out of the fridge for a couple hours wouldn’t do considerable damage… Neat idea, too!

  13. KristenInGermany says

    A note, on my second batch of date paste…
    I noticed, in preparing my second batch of date paste, that the quality of the product plays a huge role, in the taste, and aesthetic of the date paste! The first time I purchased dates, (in my life) for the first batch, I specifically went to the store with the goal of purchasing the dates, and a few other baking items. I paid close attention to the ones that I purchased, and got the ones that looked the best. The other day, I was at the grocery store, and realized that I needed more, because my jar was empty. I quickly grabbed 2 packages, and proceeded to the checkout. I used a few of these new dates in another recipe, and it made no difference, because they were more still raw, un-soaked, and pretty much in natural form. (except for the fact that they were chopped) Well, to wrap-it-up, I noticed that the darker the dates, and more plump they are, the better quality/tasting date paste they make! Looking at the second (un-opened) package – the dates a bit paler than the last, and a bit more shriveled, I have decided to pay way more attention during my next purchase, and use these for something other than date paste! (I’m not about to waste them ;-)) I thought this may perhaps help someone else avoid this situation. :-)
    **note** a higher price, doesn’t always mean higher quality! The packages were both the same size,(200g)but the better quality ones even cost 20 cents less, per package.

  14. Jen P. says

    I copied this recipe but made mine with dates, some dried apricots, and tangerine zest. Also made it a bit looser, with more soak liquid whipped in there. My blender could not handle it at the thickness yours can.

    It is sweet, subtly floral (from the tangerine zest) and wonderful. I love it on my yogurt in the morning with a sprinkle of cinnamon.

    I made some dark chocolate cherry cordial candies with this fig-tangerine paste as the liquid center, along with a whole dried tart cherry.

    DELICIOUS.

    Thank you so much.

  15. shadow says

    i made this paste by soaking in strong black coffee, then processed with pre-soaked hazlenuts (filberts), a little vanilla. yummy. great with fresh fruit. try it once, dare you, you won’t stop. this is my creation, but is free to share

  16. Katie says

    Hi! I was wondering if you have to use a mason jar or if I could use a Tupperware. I only have a large mason jar and I wanted to start the paste today to make the sweet potatoe brownies tomorrow!

  17. Holly Green says

    Does it work (in a pinch) if you skip or shorten the soaking process? I want to make the healthy flour less chocolate cake right. now!

      • Holly says

        Awesome! This is a trial run for my son’s first birthday cake. I am so excited to find a grain-free, no sugar added cake! Thanks for posting this and for your fast response!

  18. says

    Hi Sonia, I just wanted to ask what food processor / blender do you usually use for making this date paste? My food processor broke, and my Magic bullet cannot really cope with it. So I am looking for a new one, that would be strong enough to make date paste, nut butters, etc. Any recommendations? Thanks and have and I hope you are having a great weekend :-)

    • says

      I’m a big fan of KitchenAid. I’ve had their stand mixer, blender and food processor for over 10 years now and am still just as satisfied with them today as I was on day one. They are very sturdy little machines and sure can handle the load! For the little jobs, I just recently discovered the awesomeness of the Ninja Master Prep. Costs close to nothing and really can get the job done. I’ve even made a small batch of raw cashew butter in it and it didn’t die on me. No doubt it would handle the date paste, too! So I definitely recommend that one, also.

      Hope this helps, and you have a great week-end too! :)

      • says

        Thank you, Sonia. I love my Kitchen Aid mixer. And I think I will follow your advice and buy the Kitchen Aid food processor too. I already bought a meat grinder attachment for the mixer to make pastes, but have not tried it yet. But even if it works for a date paste, I don’t think it will grind nuts into butter ;-). Thanks again!

  19. Anna says

    Hi! Someone already asked a similar kind of a question, but just to make sure, I’ll ask again.. So, did you use dried or fresh dates here? If using fresh ones, would you still recommend soaking them? I was planning to make this tonight but forgot about the soaking time.. :)

    • says

      I’ve never tried a fresh date, Anna, so I wouldn’t know, sorry… Plus, I’m not sure that you would be getting the same result if using fresh dates. I think I would stick to dry!

      If you are in a pinch, you can simply microwave the dates and water for a minute or two, this will help soften the dried fruits.

      Hope this helps! :)

      • Anna says

        Okay! :) I only had the fresh ones at hand and no time to get anything else, so I just decided to give them a try. I skipped the soaking, but added some water while processing the paste, and I think it came out just fine! Only, I wasn’t able to get as smooth a paste as yours, but I think that was only due to my processor not powerful enough to completely break down all the pieces of peel. Taste however is excellent :) Thank you!

      • Anna says

        Oh yes! I have it with my homemade coconut milk yogurt and spread it on my almond bread together with some leftover chocolate ganache and crispy lettuce, and can’t help eating it by the spoonful too… :D yum!

  20. says

    Made this yesterday and can’t believe how much I love it! Could definitely just eat this with a spoon. Only thing I’d change next time is making more! I used 450g dates and only got about 2 cups of date paste. I read through your tips in the comments and only soaked it for 6-7 hours but then heated it up before processing, and it came out beautifully!

    • says

      Heating it up sure will speed up the process, but I generally prefer not to, as I find it tends to make for a “softer” paste. I will, however, revert to that technique if in a pinch! Glad you liked the stuff, I couldn’t be without a batch sitting in the fridge anymore. I use that *!&% in everything! (works wonders to give salad dressings a little hint of sweetness. Try it, you’ll see!)

  21. Cathy says

    What dates do you use? Have you heard of medjool dates? From what Ive heard theyre the best of the lot!
    Would you agree Sonia?

    Whats the difference?

    Can you buy any kind of dry dates?

    Thank you so much, I love your website! The recipes are so good & good for you!!

  22. says

    I made this on Saturday and I was immediately in love! I used it in 2 of my recipes for my blog. When I post my recipes this week, using the date paste in them, I will link people back to your page for the recipe! :)
    Thanks!

  23. Maria says

    Hi Sonia,
    Thanks for the recipe I found it on Pinterest. I was wondering if I wanted to put this in my own recipes what the conversion from sugar to date paste might be.

    • says

      I wish I could give you a precise answer, Maria, but unfortunately, I don’t think there really is a one size fits all answer to this question, especially if/when dealing with baking. I think this is something that needs to be experimented with…

Trackbacks

  1. [...] added to thin it out (but it’s still pretty thick. Think apple butter consistency). I found this recipe over at the Healthy Foodie. You can really use any dried fruit, but dates work well because they [...]

  2. […] The Healthy Foodie certainly got me thinking with this next mason jar recipe. Date paste. Yep, I said date paste. It looks really pretty in the jar but I’m not to sure how it would taste. I look forward to trying this one out though! I have never in my life heard of this but it seems like a great idea! […]

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