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Dates vs. Figs — What's the Difference?

By Fiza Rafique & Maham Liaqat — Published on February 28, 2024
Dates are sweet, chewy fruits from the date palm, rich in fiber and nutrients, ideal for energy, while figs, from the fig tree, offer a unique, slightly crunchy texture and a more complex sweetness, with notable calcium content.
Dates vs. Figs — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Dates and Figs


Key Differences

Dates, harvested from the date palm tree, are well-known for their rich, sweet flavor and chewy texture. They are a staple in Middle Eastern cuisine and are often used in desserts, smoothies, and health bars. Dates are high in natural sugars, making them an excellent source of energy. They also provide a good amount of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, including potassium and magnesium.
Figs, on the other hand, come from the fig tree and are celebrated for their unique taste and texture, combining sweetness with a slight crunch from their seeds. Figs can be eaten fresh or dried and are commonly used in baking, salads, and jams. They are particularly noted for their calcium content, which is higher than many other fruits, making them beneficial for bone health.
Both fruits are nutritious, but their nutritional profiles differ slightly. Dates contain more carbohydrates and are a better energy source, while figs offer more varied nutrients, including calcium and vitamin A. Figs also tend to have a higher fiber content compared to dates, which can be beneficial for digestive health.
In terms of culinary uses, dates are often used as natural sweeteners due to their high sugar content and sticky texture, making them ideal for binding ingredients in recipes like energy bars and natural sweet treats. Figs, with their distinctive flavor and texture, are more versatile in savory dishes, pairing well with cheeses and meats, in addition to their use in sweets and baked goods.
The choice between dates and figs can depend on personal taste preferences and nutritional needs. Dates are an excellent choice for a quick energy boost or a natural sweetener, while figs can offer a more complex flavor profile and additional nutritional benefits, particularly in terms of calcium and fiber.

Comparison Chart


Date palm tree.
Fig tree.


Chewy and sticky.
Slightly crunchy due to seeds.


Very sweet.
Sweet with a more complex flavor.

Nutritional Highlight

High in natural sugars and fiber.
Rich in calcium and vitamin A.

Culinary Uses

Natural sweeteners, desserts, energy bars.
Baking, salads, jams, savory pairings.

Energy Content

Higher due to more natural sugars.
Lower, with more varied nutrients.

Fiber Content

Good source of fiber.
Typically higher fiber content.

Best For

Energy boost, sweetening.
Varied dishes, bone health.

Compare with Definitions


Sweet and chewy fruit.
She enjoyed dates as a natural sweet treat after meals.


High in calcium.
She included figs in her diet to support bone health.


Staple in Middle Eastern cuisine.
Dates were a key ingredient in the traditional dessert she learned to make.


Unique sweet and crunchy fruit.
Fresh figs were his favorite addition to morning oatmeal for a burst of flavor.


Rich in natural sugars.
Dates were his go-to for a quick energy boost during long hikes.


More complex flavor profile.
The fig jam added a complex sweetness to the pastry.


Used as natural sweeteners.
Dates were blended into a paste to sweeten the homemade granola bars.


Used in both sweet and savory dishes.
Dried figs were a surprising but welcome addition to the savory stew.


High in fiber.
Adding dates to her diet improved her digestive health significantly.


Versatile in culinary uses.
Figs were a delightful complement to cheese platters at the dinner party.


A date palm.


The fruit of such a plant.


Plural of date


The sweet, hollow, pear-shaped, multiple fruit of this plant, having many tiny seedlike fruits.


Plural of fig.

Common Curiosities

What are dates?

Dates are sweet, chewy fruits from the date palm tree, known for their high energy content and nutritional value.

Can dates and figs be used interchangeably in recipes?

While both are sweet, their distinct textures and flavors mean they may not always be directly interchangeable without affecting the dish's outcome.

Can you eat the skin of figs?

Yes, the skin of figs is edible and contains fiber and nutrients.

How do you store fresh figs?

Fresh figs should be stored in the refrigerator and consumed within a few days due to their perishable nature.

Do figs need to be peeled before eating?

No, figs do not need to be peeled; the entire fruit is edible, including the skin.

Are dates good for weight loss?

Dates are high in natural sugars and calories, so moderation is key, especially in a weight loss diet.

How can dates help in energy production?

The high natural sugar content in dates provides a quick source of energy, making them ideal for snacking during physical activities.

Can dates be frozen for longer storage?

Yes, dates can be frozen to extend their shelf life while maintaining their nutritional value.

Are dates or figs better for you?

Both are nutritious but serve different nutritional purposes; dates are high in energy and sugar, while figs offer more varied nutrients like calcium and vitamin A.

What is a unique way to enjoy figs?

Figs can be enjoyed fresh, grilled, or as part of a savory dish, paired with cheeses or meats.

What are figs?

Figs are fruits from the fig tree, noted for their unique taste, slightly crunchy texture, and high calcium content.

What is a common use for dates in cooking?

Dates are commonly used as natural sweeteners in desserts, smoothies, and energy bars.

Is there a difference in fiber content between dates and figs?

Figs generally have a higher fiber content compared to dates, beneficial for digestive health.

Which is better for diabetic diets, dates or figs?

Both fruits contain natural sugars, so moderation is essential for diabetics; figs might be slightly preferable due to their lower glycemic index and higher fiber content.

Are dried figs as nutritious as fresh?

Dried figs retain most of the nutrients of fresh figs but have a higher sugar concentration due to the drying process.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.
Co-written by
Maham Liaqat

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