Old-Fashioned Date Bars Recipe | Simple Nourished Living (2024)

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WW Recipe of the Day: Old-Fashioned Date Bars

Here's an easy homemade classic date bars recipe from my Nana's recipe file that's scribbled on an old recipe card in her distinctive handwriting. Just holding it and reading it brings her back to me.

Old-Fashioned Date Bars Recipe | Simple Nourished Living (1)

WW Friendly Date Bars

What is a date bar?

A date bar is a simple cookie bar consisting of two crumbly oatmeal layers sandwiching a layer of gooey date filling. Naturally gluten free, low in added sugar, and made with just five ingredients: dates, oats, butter, brown sugar and baking soda, they come together quickly.

I love classic simple homemade dessert recipes like this that have been passed down through the generations. I'll take these old-fashioned date bars (date squares, matrimonial bars or whatever you want to call them) over fancy multi-tiered desserts prepared by the finest pastry chef any day.

Of course, it goes without saying that this is a sweet treat for people who like dates. I happen to love dates and am always looking for ways to use them in desserts, snacks and appetizers.

Old-Fashioned Date Bars Recipe | Simple Nourished Living (2)

What do dates taste like?

Dates are very sweet and caramel-y. If you had to compare a date to another fruit, it would essentially be comparable to a bigger, jammier, more caramel-y raisin. There are several different kinds of dates. Medjool, which are bigger and softer than most, are a personal favorite.

Old-Fashioned Date Bars Recipe | Simple Nourished Living (3)

Low Fat Banana Bread with Dates & Apricots

How do you use Medjool dates?

It usually takes just one or two sweet succulent Medjool dates to satisfy my sweet tooth whenever it strikes. A much healthier alternative than an afternoon Snickers bar!

In addition to eating them as they are, you can add them to a cheese plate, slice them in half, remove the pit and stuff them with olive tapenade, wrap them in bacon and bake them, chop them and add them to breads, muffins or cookies or toss them into smothies or salads. The options are endless.

When you make these, you'll feel like you've stepped back in time as you stir together dates, water and sugar for the filling and then pop your pan of date bars into the oven. The smell of dates, oats, and brown sugar will fill the air. I think I love baking for the comforting smells, as much as for the delicious tastes.

How Many Calories and Weight Watchers Points in these Date Bars/Squares?

According to my calculations, each bar has about 176 calories and

8 *SmartPoints (Green plan)
8 *SmartPoints (Blue plan)
8 *SmartPoints (Purple plan)
5 *PointsPlus (Old plan)

To see your WW PersonalPoints for this recipe and track it in the WW app or site, Click here!

I love to serve these old fashioned date squares as a rustic home-style dessert following a casual family dinner, when enjoying afternoon tea with a special friend, and I've even been known to indulge in date squares for a quick and tasty breakfast treat every now and then.

Old-Fashioned Date Bars Recipe | Simple Nourished Living (4)

Tips & tricks for making date bars

This recipe is delicious as written and is also very flexible. It can be made with a variety of dried fruits such as raisins, dried cranberries, or chopped dried apricots instead of dates.For an added flavor boost try adding 2 tablespoons of a coordinating jam to the filling.

The recipe calls for ¼ cup of sugar in the filling, but I often leave it out since I find dates sweet enough on their own.

What else can you add to a date bar?

While plain date bars are great, there are lots of things you can add to them including:

  • Oranje juice/zest
  • Other dried fruit such as craisins, figs, raisins
  • Fig butter
  • Chopped nuts
  • Espresso powder
  • Chocolate chips
  • Cooconut

How do you store date paste?

Date paste, which is essentially pureed dates, can be stored up to six months in an airtight container in a cool dry place and up to one year when refrigerated.

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4.32 from 25 votes

Old-Fashioned Date Bars Recipe

When you make these date bars, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time as you stir together dates, water and sugar for the filling and then pop them into the oven.

Prep Time25 minutes mins

Cook Time35 minutes mins

Total Time1 hour hr

Servings (adjustable): 24

Calories: 176

Author: Martha McKinnon | Simple Nourished Living


For the Date Filling:

  • 2 cups chopped pitted dates (about 10 ounces)
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup water

For the Oat Crust:

  • 1-¾ cups old-fashioned or quick cooking oats (not instant)
  • 1-½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ cup butter, melted


  • Position an oven rack in the center and preheat your oven to 350F degrees. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.

  • Make the filling by combining the dates, sugar and water in a medium saucepan and cooking over medium-low to medium heat until it's thick. Remove pan from the heat.

  • To prepare the crumb crust, combine the oats, flour, brown sugar, baking soda in a medium bowl with a fork or whisk. Add the butter and combine until the mixture is crumbly.

  • Press half of the oat crumb mixture into the prepared pan. Spread the prepared date filling on top of the oat crumb mixture to within ¼-inch of the edge of the pan.

  • Top with the remaining oat crumb mixture, patting it down lightly.

  • Bake the date squares for 25 to 35 minutes, or until lightly golden brown.

  • Remove from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into 24 squares, bars, or triangles.

Recipe Notes

Serving size: 1 date bar

Click here to see your WW PersonalPoints for this recipe and track it in the WW app or site.

8 *SmartPoints (Green plan)

8 *SmartPoints (Blue plan)

8 *SmartPoints (Purple plan)

5 *PointsPlus (Old plan)

Nutrition Facts

Old-Fashioned Date Bars Recipe

Amount Per Serving (1 date bar)

Calories 176Calories from Fat 54

% Daily Value*

Fat 6g9%

Cholesterol 15mg5%

Sodium 97mg4%

Carbohydrates 30.5g10%

Fiber 1.6g6%

Protein 1.6g3%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Course: Dessert

Cuisine: American

Keyword: date squares, fruit bars, fruit squares

Did you make this recipe?Mention @simplenourishedliving on Instagram and tag #simplenourishedliving - we love to see your creations!

*Points® calculated by WW. *PointsPlus® and SmartPoints® calculated by Simple Nourished Living; Not endorsed by Weight Watchers International, Inc. All recipe ingredients except optional items included in determining nutritional estimates. SmartPoints® values calculated WITHOUT each plan's ZeroPoint Foods (Green plan, Blue plan, Purple plan) using the WW Recipe Builder.

If you like these old-fashioned date bars, you might also like:

Old-Fashioned Date Bars Recipe | Simple Nourished Living (6)Martha is the founder and main content writer for Simple-Nourished-Living.

A longtime lifetime WW at goal, she is committed to balancing her love of food and desire to stay slim while savoring life and helping others do the same.

She is the author of the Smart Start 28-Day Weight Loss Challenge.

A huge fan of the slow cooker and confessed cookbook addict, when she's not experimenting in the kitchen, you're likely to find Martha on her yoga mat.

More about Martha McKinnon

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Old-Fashioned Date Bars Recipe | Simple Nourished Living (2024)
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