Date Bars

5 from 17 votes
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Sometimes you just want a simple sweet treat, and these date bars are the ultimate easy to make fix for those cravings! The crisp and buttery topping combined with the sweet filling makes these absolutely scrumptious.

I love this classic date bars recipe and I’ve been making it for the family ever since it was passed down to me from my Grandmother.

stack of Date Bars in a small white plate
Date Bars

These bars are also the reason Mr Magpie married me, he claims, for a lifetime supply of date bars. So I taught him how to make them himself 😉 and he now has mastered this recipe, and has become the official date bars baker in the house.

If you’re looking for the perfect sweet snack, you’ve found it. These date bars are naturally low in sugar and they go down just as well with a nice cup of tea after a long day too.Let’s just say if you don’t have a date with these date bars at least once a month, you’re missing out!

Of course, this is a recipe for the date lovers out there, but I’m definitely one of them! I’m always looking for great ways to incorporate dates into my recipes, whether they’re desserts or snacks.


A Date Bar By Any Other Name is Still a Date Bar!

(….annnnd Shakespeare is definitely rolling in his grave right now.) Think you’ve never heard of date bars? You might be wrong. These tasty treats are sometimes referred to as matrimonial bars or date squares – but they’re literally the same thing, and still my favorite thing!

Dates Are a Healthier Snack

Dates are a really healthy sweet snack and a much better option when you’re tempted to reach for the chocolate! They’re packed with fiber, full of energy, and a bit high in sugar and calories – but that’s not always a bad thing if you’re dealing with young picky eaters in your house!

Oh and if you’re a fan of healthy date recipes you absolutely have to try my healthy banana date oatmeal breakfast cookies too!

You can replace the sugar with sweeteners that are a 1:1 replacement, and Splenda even has a brown sugar mix now! That would make these lower in sugar and a great treat!

close up stack of Date Bars in a small white plate

How to Make Date Bars

  1. Combine the filling ingredients in a pot and start simmering, stirring often until you have a smooth mixture.
  2. Combine the sugar and butter to start the base and topping.
  3. Add in the oats, flour, salt, and baking soda.
  4. Press most of the crust mix into the bottom of a 9×9 pan but save some for the topping.
  5. Pour the filling and spread it evenly.
  6. Crumble the topping evenly across the filling.
  7. Bake at 350 F until well browned on top, then cool and cut into pieces to make your date bars!

Which Dates Should You Use to Make Date Bars?

You can really use any dates for making these date bars but I tend to use dates that are chopped up and in a block form the most because they’re the most affordable, easy to find in pretty much any store, and they have that delicious caramel taste that I love.

close up stack of Date Bars in a small white plate

Going Gluten-Free? Check Your Oats

Date bars tend to be gluten-free but you’ll need to check that the oats you’re using aren’t processed in a cross-contamination facility. If you want a gluten-free version of these bars, make sure that you specifically look for gluten-free oats.

Happy baking!




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Date Bars

The best date bars recipe around! This was my Grandma's recipe for making matrimonial squares, also known as date squares or bars!
5 from 17 votes
Prep Time
10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Total Time
30 minutes
Karlynn Johnston


  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Filling Ingredients

  • one 375 gram package dates chopped up
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup water


  • Combine the ingredients for the filling into a small pot and start simmering over medium heat,, stirring often. You want to dissolve the dates and cook until it's a smooth mixture with very few lumps. Once this is finished remove from the heat and set aside.
  • Start the base and topping. Combine the sugar and butter together until creamy and combined thoroughly.
  • Add in the oats, flour, salt and baking soda. Mix together completely.
  • Press 2/3 of the crust mix into the bottom of a 9x9 pan, saving some for the topping. 
  • Pour the filling on top of the bottom crust and spread it around evenly.
  • Crumble the remaining oatmeal mixture as a topping evenly across the filling.
  • Bake at 350 degrees until it's beautifully browned on top.
  •  Cool it and then cut into pieces.

Recipe Notes

It is easiest to buy the dates that are already chopped and in the package in a block, not separate ones.  

Nutrition Information

Calories: 155kcal, Carbohydrates: 21g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Cholesterol: 20mg, Sodium: 165mg, Potassium: 38mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 13g, Vitamin A: 227IU, Calcium: 13mg, Iron: 1mg

All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.

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Karlynn Johnston

I’m a busy mom of two, wife & cookbook author who loves creating fast, fresh meals for my little family on the Canadian prairies. Karlynn Facts: I'm allergic to broccoli. I've never met a cocktail that I didn't like. I would rather burn down my house than clean it. Most of all, I love helping YOU get dinner ready because there's nothing more important than connecting with our loved ones around the dinner table!

Learn more about me

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Reader Interactions

Comments & Recipe Tips Share a tip or comment!

  1. Ana Maria Rios says

    All I have in my pantry is the oats that cooks in one minute. Is that okay to use on these dates bars?

  2. Ana Maria Rios says

    Can I use a bag of chopped dates from the store? They seem to be already sweetened so I would just have to cut back on the sugar or just omit it! Please let me know! Thank you!

  3. Myron Bobzien says

    dry mixture was a little too dry had to add another 1/2 stick of butter. now it looks alot better to me. kind of holds together better. But other to that turn out dam good.

  4. Peggy says

    I made these fabulous buttery date bars yesterday. My husband and I were amazed by the flavor. Not like the date bars I have made before. These are more like dessert!5 stars

  5. Patricia Smith says

    So good. I made them yesterday for a luncheon card party. Took a taste last night….then took another. Luckily there will only be 4 of us.

  6. Bryan says

    For the filling – boil the dates in day old coffee. Takes the sweetness out and add another flavor dimension. When they’re soft, puree in a blender. If there are any stones – and there’s always one at least – the blades of the blender will pick them up. Better than your teeth!

  7. Mike Jones says

    If you say it’s gluten free, why the flour?

  8. Ronna Wagar says

    I used spiced rum instead of water and added 1/2 cup chopped pecans. I tasted the filling and it was great. Can’t taste the crusty parts as I used wheat flour as gift for husband. Next time I might make gluten free. My husband is hard to shop for so I make some of his grandmother’s recipes and things he hankers for. This was perfect for him.

  9. Angela says

    Hi, tried it yesterday. They came out very soft and don’t hold their shape when cut.

  10. Arden Grant says

    The coffee additive sounds super I always add vanilla o mixture and cut back on sugar..EXCELLENT Where is Butter tart rec?

  11. Melanie Harmsma says

    When I first glanced at it I thought it was a key chain and I thought “she’s turning baked goods into accessories… She’s finally lost it!” 😉

  12. Tara Zieminek says

    Whoa…hold on there. It’s just a date – let’s not go overboard.

    • Ann Titel says

      Enjoyed this date recipe. But too much oat mixture I only covered the top. I added 1/2 c homemade applesauce as I didn’t have enough dates. I added 1 tsp cinnamon& 1/4 tsp allspice.

  13. Susan Fisher Westervelt says

    YUM wrote the date squares down! haven’t had those for years will have to make and see if it is the same as what my mom made us while I was growing up!

  14. Erika Boyer says

    i have made your date square and your butter tarts and both are RIDICULOUSY delicious (I am picky about both) and get rave reviews!

    • Erika Boyer says

      from now on, if you say a recipe is amazing, I will not question, I will make it!

    • The Kitchen Magpie says

      Erika Boyer Now if only my kids would
      listen to me like that!! \U0001f60d\U0001f60d

  15. Sonia Olivier says

    Date squares and butter tarts, you don’t hear of either one down here.

    • The Kitchen Magpie says

      You have to try them!! They are the best!

    • Linda Cunliffe says

      Made date squares as and butter tarts not too long ago…..two of my favorite treats\U0001f604\U0001f604

  16. Julie O'Hagan says

    No sugar needed with date mixture. I add coffee and later lemon and vanilla.

    • Julie O'Hagan says

      They are. I tend to find other recipes too sweet for me.

    • Jo Mar says

      How much coffee, and lemon juice please. Sounds so good.

    • Julie O'Hagan says

      About 2 cups chopped dates or more, 1 cup cold coffee, 1 TBSP lemon juice.

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