Date Bars (Date Squares)

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.

date bars stacked on a cake stand
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Sometimes you just want a simple sweet treat, and these date squares 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.

date bars stacked on a cake stand

Date Bars are also called Matrimonial Squares

These date bars are a popular Christmas dessert in Canada, specifically on the prairies, but are also known by another name, Matrimonial Squares! This is due to the two layers coming together – an interesting name for sure, but regardless of what you call them, they are absolutely a must try and truly are delicious.

How to Make Date Bars

  1. Combine the filling ingredients in a pot and start simmering, stirring often until you have a smooth mixture (See recipe card below for measurements).
  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 degrees F until well browned on top, then cool and cut into pieces to make your date bars!


I recommend using pre-chopped dates that are sold in a block, they are often easier than having to chop them yourself and is cheaper to purchase.

Going Gluten-Free?

Date bars are easy to make gluten-free!

You’ll need to check that the oats that 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 flour and use it instead of the all-purpose.

Storing or Freezing Date Bars

These date bars are best kept in a Rubbermaid or similar container to ensure they don’t become stale. If you wish, they freeze beautifully as well.

I recommend separating each layer with wax paper to ensure they don’t freeze together. Suppose you plan to store them for an extended period in the freezer. In that case, I’d suggest flash freezing the entire block of squares on a baking sheet, then package them using a vacuum sealer (this keeps them very fresh) but if you are only planning on pre-baking for Christmas, a standard resealable plastic bag (Ziploc or otherwise) is fine as well, just make sure to remove any air before sealing the bag for extra freshness!

Other Delicious Christmas Desserts

I hope you enjoy them; they are the perfect bar for any occasion but, around our house, are a regular treat whenever we want something simple and sweet for dessert.

Happy baking!



Date Bars

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.
5 from 20 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 9×9 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 Video

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. regina suplicki says

    375 gram pkg would equal what measurement??? 2 cups??? can i add finely chopped walnuts to tart???
    sounds like a mix betty crocker used to have…miss it so much…would love to give it a try

  2. 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?

    • Mr. Kitchen Magpie says

      No, rolled oats are necessary so they don’t get soggy.

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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!

  8. Mike Jones says

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

  9. 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.

  10. Angela says

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

  11. 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?

  12. 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!” 😉

  13. 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.

  14. 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!

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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.

5 from 20 votes (19 ratings without comment)

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