Testing Out a New Appetizer: Martha Stewart’s “Devils on Horseback”

Welcome to the 538th Metamorphosis Monday!

Update: Please note the two updates I’ve added to the bottom of this post. I made a slight change/addition to this recipe and it was big, big hit at the party, so be sure and note the updates at the end of this post.


I’ll be attending a party later this week and will be bringing a dish to share. They’ll be around 20 in attendance for this gathering. I found a recipe online that looked and sounded really tasty, plus it didn’t look overly complicated to make.

I found this appetizer/finger food online at Martha Stewart.com and it has the weirdest name: Devils on Horseback. I wonder how it got that name? Here’s how it looked in the photo online.

Devils on Horseback, Bacon Wrapped Dates


The recipe entails wrapping prunes in bacon, then baking them in the oven. I’ve really gotten hooked on dates this past year, love them! So I wondered how this recipe would work substituting dates for the prunes. I decided to test the recipe by trying both out to see which tasted the best.

Appetizer, Super Easy to Make


These are the toothpicks I’ll be using to hold them together. They are sharp/pointed only on one end. I ordered more today on Amazon since I will need a few more than what I currently have. (You’ll find this style toothpick available here: Toothpicks.)

Best Toothpicks for Serving Appetizers


Normally when I’m having a party in my home, I have no qualms about preparing something I’ve never tried before. So far I’ve never had a disaster occur where something turned out to be truly awful, but since I’m one of the few people who will be bringing food for this gathering, I figured I’d better test out this recipe first.

I don’t especially like the taste of prunes, so I decided to make one with a prune and one with the Medjool dates that I love so much. Medjool dates are almost twice the size of the organic prunes I purchased, so I cut the date in half and that turned out to be the perfect size.

The recipe states to cut a slice of bacon into thirds, then wrap each piece of bacon around a prune, securing it together with a toothpick.

Appetizer Recipe, Savory and Sweet


Here’s how they looked all wrapped up and ready to go in the oven. Again, this was just a test to see how they taste, so that’s why I only made a few.

Easy to make appetizer


The recipe recommends baking them at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. I checked them after 12 minutes and they weren’t quite ready. Fifteen minutes turned out to be pretty much the ideal time for baking.

The verdict: I like them with both the prunes and the dates, but I think I like the dates better. You can’t really tell that you’re eating prunes because the bacon flavor camouflages the prune flavor. One thing I did notice, the dates tasted a good bit sweeter than the prunes.

So either dates or prunes will work great for this recipe. I think I’ll probably go with dates…love the contrast of the sweet with the salty. Yum!

Update: As I was preparing this post, I read another version of this recipe that includes stuffing the fruit you use with Stilton cheese. I think I’ll look for that cheese in the grocery store tomorrow; I’d love to try that version, too!

2nd Update: These are insanely good stuff with Stilton cheese. That’s how I made them for the party and they were a BIG hit. So definitely stuff with them with Stilton cheese. Also, when you cut the date in half, it exposes the hole in the center where the date was pitted and that’s perfect for stuffing with the cheese.

I also found that cutting the bacon in thirds was a little too short once the dates were stuff with cheese, so you may need to just cut each slice of bacon in half, instead of in thirds to wrap around the dates that are stuffed with the Stilton cheese. They are just incredible with the cheese so I’ll always be making them that way. So many folks wanted to know the recipe during the party, so again, this recipe is a great one, especially when you stuff the dates with Stilton cheese. If you don’t like Stilton, use some other type cheese, but I loved it with the Stilton!

Appetizer, Bacon over dates or prunes


Have you ever made Devils on Horseback? I’m sure I’ll be making these again in the future. It’s one of those appetizers/finger foods/snacks that you can whip up in minutes if you suddenly find you have guests coming over. All you need is bacon, prunes or dates and some toothpicks–and maybe some cheese if you want to stuff the fruit with a bit of cheese. I’m definitely going to try them with cheese…that sounds over-the-top good!

Devils on Horseback, Bacon Wrapped Dates


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  1. Jillaine McNay says

    Those look delicious! Great combinations of flavors. I wonder if soaking the toothpicks (like wood skewers) would keep them from browning so much? I’m sure they’ll be very popular at your event.

  2. Beatrice says

    Devils and angels (oysters) on horseback were a UK standard party/restaurant menu thing in the 60s. If you make them with prunes, you can stuff them with chutney. Dates are already too sweet and deserve an almond.


  3. Cheese can get messy, almonds work better. I have melted Stilton on dried apricots

  4. I’ve made this several times, but always stuff the pitted date with a whole, blanched almond. Make more than you think you’ll need, as these will be snapped up quickly, as soon as the party-goers taste them! A bonus of this appetizer is that they’ll hold heat for quite a while after they’re baked, if you cover them. I mean, everyone loves bacon, but not everyone is a fan of COLD bacon! 😉 Have fun at the party, Susan.

  5. The recipe I am familiar with wraps bacon around scallops…the chunky kind. ( are they called bay scallops?) and otherwise treated the same. I am not sure if they bear any special name.
    Everybody loves them and always go fast! This is interesting variation and will definitely try to make in future.

  6. I make something similar. Stuff a date with goat cheese, then wrap with the bacon and bake. Yummy.

  7. Susan Holt says

    I love how what is “old” is new again. I have had them before with cheese, but they were served warm and the cheese was melted. I love the idea of the almond center with the dates or prunes. I am a fan of stilton. That sounds delicious. My dollar store sells the toothpicks like you are using. I also buy them that are longer.

    Description from Wkipedia

    Devils on horseback are a hot appetizer or savoury small dish. Recipes vary, but in general they are a variation on angels on horseback, made by replacing oysters with dried fruit. The majority of recipes contain a pitted prune stuffed occasionally with mango chutney or an almond and wrapped in bacon. Wikipedia

  8. Mmm … Medjool dates … yummy. But they need to be fresh and soft. I bought some once at Publix and they must have been sitting around a while because they were all dried up and hard. But fresh — oh, they are so delicious.

    I never would have thought of pairing them with bacon! When you think about it though, bacon just makes everything better. Thanks, Susan.

  9. That’s interesting, Susan!
    Every once in a while I make those appetizers myself, but I didn’t know their English name! You made me curious and I googled its origin. Amongst the various theories, I found this one which seems the most plausible to me:
    (“These are no devils, just prunes wrapped in bacon. One theory about the origin of the dish’s name goes back to about 1066 when the Normans invaded England at Cornwall. The raiders covered their armor in rashers of bacon to scare the villagers, and later cooked the meat.”) Yuck!

  10. If you like dates, you’ll have to try Sticky Toffee Pudding when in England. My favorite dessert there.

  11. Hosting a Medicare Card party this 24th. This recipe arrived in the nick of time. What about with figs or apricots?

    • Teresa M says

      Figs sound terrific, can’t wait for mine to ripen in my backyard. I think i will try this too. Nice suggestion!

  12. They look so yummy! Thanks so much for hosting each week!!

  13. Great recipe–this will be a big hit! I once had bacon-wrapped pineapple. What a great combination of flavors.

    • I guess that makes sense, Mia, when you consider the popularity of Canadian Bacon and pineapple pizza.

  14. How about using apricots instead of prunes or dates?

  15. BamaCarol says

    I make an appetizer similar but you wrap a smoked sausage with bacon and top them all with brown sugar right before baking. Bake at 300 degrees for 2-3 hours, stirring every hour. My husband calls it ‘Heart Attack on a Stick’ but these are always popular and go quickly at gatherings. I usually only make them once a year for us, on Christmas Eve when we have a big appetizer meal.

  16. These sound so yummy. I love prunes. Not a big fan of dates but bacon makes everything better!

  17. Sandra D in Joliet says

    They look delicious and I’m a sweet/salty fanatic. I’ve never made them before. Mom (she’s 86) gave me a recipe for a prune cake that her Mom made so I could bake her one. Sounded awful but it doesn’t taste like prunes and it’s extremely rich. It’s a type of poke cake where you poke the cake and pour on a hot icing that soaks into the holes. Very sticky sweet and rich. I tried the little weiners wrapped in bacon and that was too salty for me. I always buy low sodium bacon so I think the mini hot dogs was the culprit-I’ll have to try these.

  18. Susan – I’ve made these a few times and stuffed the dates with either goat or feta cheese and slivered almonds. Tasty

  19. Ok, I definitely want to try to make these! I love recipes that are fast and simple!

  20. I was at a wine tasting recently and they had stuffed the dates with Asiago cheese. They were wonderful with the crisp white wines we tasted.

  21. Marjorie Sargent says

    Can you explain why I can no longer open up any of the links below your article. Until you made your changes, I had no difficulty opening and enjoying all of the Monday links

    • Hi Marjorie,
      I’m not sure what is causing that for you. Check to make sure you’re using the latest version of your browser. I’ll let InLinkz know that you’re having problems in case they have a suggestion.

  22. Stilton would be divine! Thanks Susan

  23. Kathleen says

    These look soooo good! I like sweet and I like bacon; win-win. I also stuff dates with a walnut and coat in sugar. This would be a dessert treat and no baking needed.

  24. Bobbie T says

    A classmate of mine wrapped bacon around a club cracker and sprinkled generously with brown sugar and baked. They were a big hit at our class reunion. I do want to try the dates stuffed with an almond or walnut.

  25. Bobbi Duncan says

    Yes, I have made them and they’re always a crowd pleaser. I usually make them as you described but have made them with blanched almonds as well–they are yummy, too. Will have to try them with the stilton. I’ve also made BamaCarol’s bacon wrapped sausage with brown sugar–OMG, so delish! Hope you have a great time at the party! Hugs!

  26. Brenda Lawrence says

    I’ve never heard of these Susan, but you can bet I will be trying them as they sound really good. I love prunes and dates and of course bacon. lol I love the idea of an almond in it too. Funny name though and I enjoyed reading why they are named that. Have fun at your party Susan and I know your treat will be a hit! Hugs, Brenda

  27. I love these. 🙂 I like them stuffed with a sharp cheese. I also precook the bacon for a few minutes, but still soft enough to wrap. A little less bacon grease to deal with. fyi – https://www.makeminelemon.com/devils-horseback/

  28. Now, I am really hungry LOL I love the precooked bacon and my favorite is Jimmy Dean’s brand that I can no longer get locally. The one at Aldi’s is not bad as some are really greasy. Word to the wise: I go to a big meeting/class with a buffet type dinner every week. Can’t believe how many people don’t eat pork or they are vegan. I am the worst because I don’t eat chicken. Be sure to let us know if there are any leftovers.

  29. My favorite way is to wrap whole water chestnuts in bacon. Sprinkle with a bit of brown sugar before baking. Could use coconut sugar, raw cane sugar as well. I’ve made them many times and they go really fast!

  30. These sound delish! Have you ever tried half of a brussel sprout wrapped in bacon and then after they are cooked drizzle with a balsamic glaze. Yummy!

  31. Barbara Piechota says

    Those all sound good!
    As to the name, we grew up calling s’mores “angels on horseback”. Takes longer to say, but I always loved the imagery.

  32. I have had rumaki (japanese version with chicken livers) and a version that uses water chestnuts… all sorts of variations and I love most of them!

  33. Georgette says

    One variation that is very good–and I helped put hundreds of these together for a friend’s wedding years ago–is soaking the prunes in sherry for some hours and then pressing a walnut into the middle before rolling them in bacon. They are wonderful!

  34. Jennifer Witt-Wright says

    Well, all this sounds delicious..but my son loves hotdog wrapped with bacon. Don’t say anything until you’ve tasted them. Just 3rd a hotdog and cut 1 lb of bacon in half. Hold bacon on hotdog with toothpick. But in slow cooker and cover with brown sugar. Cook on low for @ 3-4 hours. Delicious!

  35. Susan, I can’t wait to try them with dates. I’ve heard of them but never made them.
    I take bacon and wrap it around stuffing. Mostly,I use prepared Stove Top stuffing and then use a tsp full and wrap with half a slice of bacon. I also cook the sliced bacon just a bit before rolling them up with bacon.

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