What Do Medjool and Deglet Noor Dates Taste Like? Why Nature's Candy Is so Versatile

Dates are basically a natural caramel.


Feb. 13 2024, Published 11:01 a.m. ET

A pile of Medjool dates on a white crate at Sam Cobb Farms in Blythe, CA
Source: Getty Images

The next time you’re looking for something delicious to snack on, consider getting dates at the grocery store. They’re tasty and healthy, and can even sometimes be purchased package-free. But what do dates taste like?

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Read on to learn more about this interesting fruit before your next trip to the grocery store. You’ll understand if Medjool dates or Deglet Noor dates will better please your taste buds, and learn how to use them in a few recipes to make your culinary life more enjoyable.

Four packing women sort Medjool Dates and pack them in the Coachella Valley
Source: Getty Images
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What do dates taste like?

Dates taste like an extra sugary treat because each date has around 16 grams of sugar, as referenced by the USDA. After removing the pit, you’ll get a pop of sweetness within each chewy bite.

Food & Wine notes that the harvest timing can give dates a sugary flavor like molasses or caramel. Most of the time, you’ll have to remove the pit from each date to enjoy your snack safely, though some packaged dates already have the pits removed — but clever culinary adventurers already found a use for the pit. As a 2022 study published in Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems found, you could steep the pit in coffee to create fiber-rich coffee with notes of molasses.

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AllRecipes points out that spoiled dates will taste sour, appear slimy, and grow mold. You’ll know immediately if your dates have begun to rot before ever taking a bite.

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Here’s what to expect when eating Deglet vs. Medjool dates.

People often compare Deglet Noir and Medjool dates because they’re the most popular types. The U.S. produces around 57,000 metric tons of dates annually to keep up with demand for both, per the International Society for Horticultural Science.

Deglet Noor dates are best for people who like savory flavors more than sweet flavors. They have nutty undertones and less sugar, according to Raising On Plants.

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Medjool dates are much sweeter and taste like caramel, as noted by Heal With Food. They’re what people expect from dates, because the fruit is known for its sweetness.

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Try a few delicious Medjool dates recipes.

There are numerous ways to enjoy the sugary goodness of the popular Medjool dates. Follow this recipe for Vegan Goat Cheese Bacon Wrapped Dates from spabettie if you want to serve a salty-sweet appetizer at your next party.

Make every morning more flavorful with this recipe from The Big Sweet Tooth. Prepare a bowl of your preferred oatmeal by mixing cardamom, cinnamon, and dates. Top with drizzled honey (or a vegan honey!) to make this nutrient-packed breakfast complete.

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Serve dates as a dessert by making these delicious plant-based Almond Butter Brownies by From My Bowl. Dates, cacao powder, chocolate chips, and almond butter create a sticky-sweet flavor will have everyone going back for seconds.

Explore the flavorful world of dates.

Dates might become your next favorite versatile fruit if you try them. Experience the range of sweetness available with all kinds of dates to learn what they taste like. As your culinary world expands, you’ll have fun making recipes you’ve never tried.

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