Jar of date paste with a spoon scooping the paste and two lemon halves next to the jar

The topic of sweetener is an important one when it comes to raw food. With a lot of options on the shelf, which one do you choose and how do you know if it’s really raw? The answer is simple – make it yourself! If there’s one recipe other than AtV Sour Cream that I always have in my refrigerator, it’s Date Paste. Finding its way into just about every recipe from savory to sweet, main courses and smoothies, Date Paste is, without a doubt, my personal favorite sweetener of choice.

Let’s talk about Medjool Dates:

  • They are one of the largest and most tender Dates you will find. They’re also the sweetest of the Date family, with flavor notes similar to Brown Sugar and Vanilla.
  • They can often be purchased in bulk, found in the produce section of your grocery store.
  • When stored as a whole Date, they will last for a very long time – just remember to keep them in your refrigerator.
  • Always soak your Dates before using them in recipes.
  • Soak them in warm or cold water until they are soft enough to remove the pit by hand (I usually soak my dates anywhere from 30 minutes up to 2 hours).

Can you substitute another type of Date when making Date Paste?

There are a lot of Dates out there, but the closest in taste and texture to the Medjool is the Black Sphinx Date. They are slightly smaller than the Medjool, but still very sweet and tender.

One Last Helpful Hint:

Make your Date Paste in bulk. It will keep for up to 3 months in the freezer. Store your Date Paste in a ziplock baggy, laying it flat in your freezer. Freezing it flat will enable you to break off a small or large piece as you need it. This is a great way to get your kitchen raw food ready. The more food prep you do in advance, the better you eat!

I’m going show you how to make this very important staple in two different ways. The first way will be with a Food Processor, which is how I always make it.

The second way is man powered, with a Mortar & Pestle. All you need is patience and some gusto!

Jar of date paste with two halves of lemon and three strawberries next to it
Date Paste with a Food Processor
This recipe yields roughly 2 cups of Date Paste. If you think this may be too much then you can freeze half of the batch.

Step 1: Prepping your Dates:

  • Soak 40 Medjool Dates in Warm Water until your Dates are tender/soft.
  • Remove your Dates from the soaking water
  • Remove the seeds by hand – make sure to get all of them!


Partial view of a plate of soaked dates and fresh dates next to it
Step 2: Making your Date Paste

1. Combine the following into your food processor:

  • All of the Dates from Step 1
  • 2 Tbsp Water

2. Puree!

Soaked dates in a blender


Date paste in a blender
Depending on how large your food processor is,  you may need to stop processing in intervals to scrape down the sides to remove it all – don’t let this discourage you.

Puree your Dates until they have become a thick whipped and creamy texture. Place your date paste in an air tight container and store in the fridge or freezer.

Jar of date paste with a lemon cut in half and strawberries next to it
Date Paste with a Mortar & Pestle
This is the most efficient way to make Date Paste if you only need a small amount OR  if you don’t have a food processor. You won’t get it as creamy and whipped as you will with a processor, but you will still have the same wonderful flavor and creamy consistency. Get your muscles ready!
Step 1: Prepping your Dates:

  • Soak your Medjool Dates in Warm Water until your Dates are tender/soft
  • Remove your Dates from the soaking water
  • Remove the seeds by Hand – make sure to get all of them!

Mortar and pestle and a cup with soaked dates
Step 2: Making your Date Paste with your Mortar & Pestle

  • Put 3 Dates into your Mortar with 1/2 tsp of Water
  • Proceed to mash/grindpPound your Dates with your pestle until they have become a paste. This could anywhere up to 3 minutes.

Dates pressed with a mortar and pestle
If you have a small mortar like I do, then I recommend making Date Paste with no more than 3 to 4 Dates at a time. Just remember: No more than 1/2 tsp of water for every 3 Dates.

Your finished product should look something like this:

Spoon scooping date paste from a mortar

Jar of date paste with a spoon scooping the paste and two lemon halves next to the jar

Try this: Add Vanilla Bean to your Date Paste before Processing. You can also add fresh Lemon Juice in place of water for a tangy sweetener.

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From our friends


  1. I’m definitely going to try this. I love dates, and am always looking for natural sweetners!

    sasha | 02.15.2012 | Reply
  2. LOVE THIS!! I used to make it all the time, good reminder! Thx Sarah 🙂

    abigail | 02.15.2012 | Reply
  3. Great recipe, thank you for this recipe and idea. Looking forward to trying it.

    Nicole Pressey-Elev8Dezign | 03.02.2012 | Reply
  4. 40 dates? is that correct? seems like a lot.

    Theresa | 06.17.2012 | Reply
  5. Great info. I realized that date paste from Medjool dates is what I needed for the granola recipe I’m developing, overworked my Vitamix in the process of trying to make some and finished up in the stand mixer. Thanks for the tips. Soaking, using a food processor, and adding a little extra water are all good ideas.

    Mary @ Fit and Fed | 08.04.2012 | Reply
  6. Just what I was looking for– looks delicious and simple! I’ve recently become addicted to using my food processor and, in turn, making myself what I could buy in the store. It’s a great feeling making things homemade!

    I look forward to trying this– thanks in advance!

    Stephanie | 01.28.2013 | Reply
  7. Great recipe and nice illustrations. I am big fan of dates and personally find Saudi Arabian Mabroom or Khalas dates sweeter than Medjool dates. Khalas dates are more suitable than Mabroom dates for preparing date paste.

    Omar | 03.14.2013 | Reply
  8. Is it possible to make “coconut sugar”? or is that another name for date paste? This is probably a stupid question, I’m just confused 😉

    Autumn Ducharme | 06.16.2013 | Reply
    • No, coconut sugar and date paste are not the same. Coconut sugar is make from the coconut meats, as I remember. Will look into if it’s possible to make it yourself. Will get back to you.

      Susanna | 06.15.2015 | Reply
  9. Thanks for sharing! I only did 20 dates instead of 40…I soaked the dates for about 10 hours, pulled out all the pits, and put them in my food processor. I think I needed about 4 TBSP. of water but the paste looks amazing! Thank you so much for posting this.

    Suzanne | 09.18.2014 | Reply
  10. Added 1 tbsp of vanilla powder (no alcohol) and followed the directions perfectly. My daughters and I both agreed that the paste tasted like chocolate chip cookie dough (sans the chocolate) and was delicious. I used some to sweeten a Whole 30 complaint bbq sauce and packed the rest away for later. I told the girls to wash the food processor out, which they did by licking it clean… Great recipie.

    Josh | 07.17.2015 | Reply
  11. […] To make this pie paleo compliant, use this date paste recipe instead of sugar and use honey instead of corn syrup. Honestly, I think I like this version […]

    Pecan Pie {With Revised Options For Paleo!} | 11.19.2015 | Reply
  12. […] a dessert staple. To make this #whole30 compliant, I swapped equal parts of the honey for date paste. However, if you want it to be less sweet, like I did, I put in about 70% of the volume of date […]

  13. Replace refined sugar with this bell-fat BUSTING date paste (Includes ginger, cinnamon and MAGNESIUM) | 03.07.2016 | Reply
  14. what do i add to the date paste as a preservative to keep it for a longer time period, without keeping it in refrigerator.

    Kamil | 04.02.2016 | Reply
  15. Delicious! Thanks

    Nina | 09.09.2017 | Reply
  16. I am anxious to try this! If your recipe calls for 1/2 c sugar, how much date paste would you use?
    Thanks 🙂

    Karen | 10.23.2017 | Reply
  17. Can I just say what a relief to discover somebody who genuinely knows what they’re discussing on the internet.
    You actually realize how to bring an issue to light and
    make it important. A lot more people must check this out and understand this side of the story.
    I was surprised that you’re not more popular since you definitely have the gift.

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  18. I was going to use dates a few days ago for a dessert recipe and have had them soaking every since. Do you think that they are still salvageable or I need to discard them because I’ve had them soaking so long?

    Lisa | 06.01.2020 | Reply
  19. Please what’s the date paste used for and how is it being used. Thanks

    Oge Love | 07.05.2021 | Reply
    • Hi there, the date paste used is made here in the recipe! You can then use is as a sweetener many ways.

      The Chalkboard | 07.13.2021 | Reply

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