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Where to Find Dates in the Grocery Store? (Quick Guide)

Lisa Price
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by Lisa Price

Dates can be found in the dried fruits and nuts section of the grocery store. If you don’t see them there, you may find either fresh or dried dates in the fresh produce aisle.

Dates
Dates

Dried fruits and nuts are often in the same corner of the store. Since there aren’t usually enough items to take up a whole aisle, they’re usually tucked in by the snacks. For instance, if your store has an aisle with popcorn, candy, and potato chips, there might be a section with granola and other healthier snacks nearby.

That’s a likely spot to find nuts, dried fruits, and dates. Dried dates are a much more common sight in the supermarket than fresh ones. But, if you don’t find dates in the dried fruits and nuts area, try the produce section.

You may find fresh dates there, especially in a high-end or specialty grocery store. And sometimes, there is also an area with dried fruit within the produce aisle.

There are often even small displays with harder-to-find items, like dates, tucked in near other fresh fruits. You might find fresh dates in vacuum-sealed bags or produce containers.

If you have trouble finding dates and you don’t want to ask an associate in the store for help, another trick is to look for figs. Figs are closely related to dates and also come either dried or fresh. So if you find them, dates might not be too far away.

There are two main types of dates you’ll probably see. Medjool dates are larger, have wrinkly skin, and look like a fat raisin. They’re considered sweeter and softer than other dates, so they are often used in recipes that require a strong flavor profile.

Deglet Noor dates are sometimes just called ‘regular dates.’ They’re a bit smaller, smoother, and chewier. So, they’re pretty commonly found in snacks and trail mixes. You might only find one variety locally, but you have some options if you look online.

Though dates are grown in the United States and Mexico, their heritage is stronger in the Middle East, so if you live near a Middle Eastern market or specialty store, they may have even more varieties of dates.

Where to buy Dates near me?

As a rule, you can usually find dried dates in a large supermarket. The more extensive and specialized the produce section, the more likely you will find fresh dates. So, if you have a local grocer with only a small sampling, you might have to go to a more diversely-stocked store.

If you’re near any of these stores, they all should have dates. In general, fresh dates are harder to find than dried. But some stores have both.

  • Whole Foods recently opened a massive new store in San Francisco. Like many other Whole Foods locations, they have fresh and dried dates in stock. They also have a date spread and energy bars made with dates for a handy snack on the go. 
  • Safeway stores often sell dates. Check online to see if they’re in stock at the Safeway market nearest you. You may also be able to order dates from Safeway for delivery.
  • Trader Joe’s has more than 500 stores nationwide. They don’t all have fresh dates but should have dried dates in stock. Check with your local Trader Joe’s store to see what’s available.
  • Target stores sometimes have big grocery, produce, and fresh food sections where you might find fresh dates. Almost every Target has a dried snacks section where you might find dried dates.

How to buy dates online?

  • Medjool Dates offers an impressive selection of fresh dates. Medjool is actually a specific type of date, but you’ll find Zahidi Dates and Brown Barhi Dates to choose from as well. 
  • Instacart offers a variety of fresh and dried dates, though options vary a bit depending on where you live.
  • Walmart has dates on the shelf in their brick-and-mortar stores with a grocery aisle. Or, you can also order online. Look for Bard Valley Fresh Dates, Food to Live Whole Medjool Dates, and Made In Nature Organic Deglet Noor Dried Dates.

What can i get instead of Dates?

Some substitutes for dates include:

Raisins

Raisins
Raisins

Cranberries

Cranberries
Cranberries

Fruit Spreads

Fruit Spread
Fruit Spread

The overall best substitute for dates is dried raisins. If you’re making cookies, cake, or another recipe that calls for chopped dates, chopped raisins are nearly indistinguishable. Plus, they have a similar fruit taste and almost the same consistency as a dried date.

Raisins are also just about the closest fruit substitute for fresh dates. But no one will be fooled by a tiny raisin posing as a date that’s usually much larger.

If you don’t have raisins, cranberries are also a close approximation for the flavor of a date. They’re an easy date substitute for a baking recipe, though you might want to roll them in a bit of honey, as they can be much tarter than dates.

Finally, you can also substitute date preserves or a spread for fresh or dried dates. If you don’t have any date spread, other fruit spreads can be used to add a bit of sweet flavor to a recipe as a substitute.

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About Lisa Price
Lisa Price
Lisa is Food Champ's resident fitness enthusiast and nutrition expert. She holds a nutrition degree in her home state of Florida and works for a large health system to ensure sound nutrition and dietetics information is passed on to all members.
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