Fresh, ripe figs are tender and full of flavor, and thus require very little gussying up. With two short seasons—early June and early fall—you will want to take advantage and enjoy the fruit in a variety of delicious ways. Figs are great in salads with sweet, tangy dressings, served simply with an added ingredient or two for an appetizer, and of course, incorporated into a beautiful dessert. Don't be afraid to improvise, as figs are very forgiving and allow you to mix and match basic ingredients. This collection of sweet and savory recipes makes the most of fresh figs when they're in season.
01 of 23
Figs and bacon are a match made in heaven—the sweet and salty complement each other beautifully—and this recipe is a perfect example of how simple is best. Calling for just figs and bacon, you will be able to assemble and cook this crowd-pleasing appetizer in no time. Simply wrap each fig with a strip of bacon a few times over; the bacon should stay in place when cooking, but if you'd like to be extra careful, use a couple of toothpicks to keep it all intact. You can either cook it under the broiler or fry it on the stove top.
02 of 23
This tasty appetizer looks like you spent a lot of time preparing it, but all you need is just 10 minutes to assemble and cook. Figs are stuffed with good quality blue cheese (creamier blues like Gorgonzola dolce work best), giving these little morsels the perfect balance between savory, sweet, and creamy. You can serve as is, or brush the figs with oil and set in a pan, cooking until the figs are hot and the cheese is melted. Make them part of a cheese platter, serve them at cocktail hour, or add to a salad.
03 of 23
When you have figs that aren't as sweet as you'd expect, it's a good idea to cook them in a sweet syrup and make them almost preservelike, perfect for adding them to pancakes, waffles, sandwiches, or pairing with cheese. Simply simmer together sugar, cinnamon, and other spices, add the figs, and cook for about 5 minutes. Feel free to get creative and add other spices to the syrup like cardamom or peppercorns. Keep in the fridge or give as holiday presents to family and friends.
04 of 23
This recipe for fig coulis is good on pretty much anything. Spread it on bread to add a sweet note to sandwiches, use it to top focaccia and add nuts and a drizzle of honey, serve it on the side with roasted meats, including your next Thanksgiving turkey, or put it on a charcuterie plate.
Simply blend figs, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper and heat gently. To use it as a dressing for spinach and kale salads, thin it out with water and olive oil.Continue to 5 of 23 below.
05 of 23
This pretty appetizer never gets old, as it has many variations. Start with tossed figs in olive oil and balsamic, and place on top of warm crusty baguette. Add goat's cheese, ricotta salata, mascarpone, or brie to make a small open sandwich. Crumble blue cheese on top of the figs and add sliced almonds. Or place the seasoned figs on a warm piece of naan bread, add Camembert, bake for 10 minutes, and top with arugula and olive oil.
No matter which way you choose to serve it, this simple recipe is a good template for you to have fun, improvise, and experiment.
06 of 23
These chewy and sticky figs are a delicious dessert by themselves but can be included in other preparations as well. They are also simple to make—just mix honey, butter, and figs in a pan, cook until soft, and serve hot. Use them on a cheese platter, spoon over ice cream, or add them to a baked pie shell with a basic custard to make a fig pie.
07 of 23
This flavorful dessert would be the ideal grand finale at any dinner party. Fresh figs are cooked in a simple syrup until soft and then drizzled with a spiced brandy and sherry sauce. These figs are a great dessert when paired with cheeses or cream but can also be a vehicle to carry stronger savory flavors like prosciutto, bacon, or pancetta.
08 of 23
Labneh is a yogurt cheese made by straining the yogurt of most of its liquid. This recipe teaches you how to make this versatile cheese, which you can then use in other recipes in lieu of mascarpone or soft ricotta. After the figs are baked, they're stuffed with the labneh and drizzled with honey and a topping of chopped pistachios. It is great as an appetizer as well as a dessert.Continue to 9 of 23 below.
09 of 23
Shake up your next shindig with this retro-inspired cheese ball recipe that is sure to please all of your guests. Fig jam, crispy crumbled bacon, scallions, cheddar, and cream cheese combine to form a spread that's great for all of your celebrations, from holiday gatherings to housewarming parties to bridal showers.
10 of 23
If you have a surplus of figs, this recipe will come in handy. The flavor from the red wine and balsamic vinegar make this jam perfect for cheese plates and preparations with pork and game meats. Once the figs have sat in a sugary liquid for 2 hours, the mixture is brought to a boil and cooked until the jam reaches the gel point. The cooled mixture is spooned into sterilized jars to keep at home or to give to family and friends.
11 of 23
Homemade fresh fig jam is wonderful for spreading on crostini, adding to cheese boards, and folding into sauces and dressings. Even better, it is as easy as simmering figs, sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest until the mixture reaches the gel stage, which is just over an hour. Store in sterilized jars and enjoy throughout the year.
12 of 23Continue to 13 of 23 below.
13 of 23
Fresh figs and blue cheese mingle with toasted pecans, tangy red onion, and soft spinach leaves in this elegant dinner salad. The finishing touch is an out-of-this-world, warm bacon dressing that only involves frying the bacon and simmering the other ingredients. Serve it when you want to impress your guests.
14 of 23
Surprise your friends by bringing this gorgeous salad to late-summer potlucks, when figs are in season. Figs add their rich, full, sweet flavor to a fresh-tasting chopped kale salad that features creamy avocado, crunchy carrot, yellow zucchini, and tender leafy greens. Lemon juice and sea salt add a bit of brightness while highlighting all of the fresh flavors.
15 of 23
Panna cotta translates as "cooked cream," but this take on the recipe skips the stove and oven altogether, bringing you a quicker and colder version of the Italian classic. Yogurt, goat's cheese, cream, and sugar are mixed to make the "panna" base, which is then refrigerated until firm. Figs cooked in sugar, honey, salt, and water are then placed on top. Garnish with some chopped mint for color and toasted seeds, pine nuts, or walnuts for crunch.
16 of 23
Create an Instagrammable dessert for parties, potlucks, and special dinners with this sophisticated, French bakery-style fig and honey tart with a sweet and lemony cheesecake filling. As impressive as it looks, it is quite simple to put together. A filling of mascarpone cheese, lemon juice, and sugar is blended, spread into a homemade tart dough, and baked until set. Sliced figs are then arranged on top and drizzled with honey.Continue to 17 of 23 below.
17 of 23
You may not think of figs when it comes to cobblers, but this luscious fruit is an ideal candidate for this comforting dessert. Sharp cheddar cheese is the secret ingredient in the pastry topping, which is a fabulous match for the naturally sweet, rich flavor of baked figs. The figs are sprinkled with a mixture of sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg and then topped with the pastry, creating a uniquely delicious flavor in this all-American cobbler dessert recipe.
18 of 23
Fig Newton lovers are sure to flip for these sweet, moist, buttery homemade cookies. Bake up a couple of dozen and enjoy with your afternoon coffee or add to your kids' lunch boxes (sneak in a little nutrition). You can use either fresh or dried figs. These cookies are as easy to make as your favorite chocolate chip cookie but a bit healthier. Fill the cookie jar with these fig drop cookies and watch them disappear.
19 of 23
Dense, rich, moist fig cake makes a wonderful treat for your book club or to enjoy solo with a cup of tea. This cake is made with fig preserves and topped with a to-die-for caramel glaze that you will want to repurpose for other dessert recipes. Buttermilk is what contributes to the moist texture, while chopped pecans add a nice bit of crunch.
20 of 23
Elevate your smoothie game with this luscious-tasting fig and honey smoothie. A combination of fresh figs, banana, Greek yogurt, and honey are blended together to make a refreshing drink the whole family will love. Enjoy it in place of dessert on healthy-eating days or as a delicious breakfast treat to start your day.Continue to 21 of 23 below.
21 of 23
Figgy pudding is not just a catchy lyric in a popular Christmas carol; it's a moist, rich, delicious, spiced, soufflelike dessert, made with plenty of dried figs along with all of your favorite holiday baking ingredients. It is a popular holiday dessert in Britain and even has some symbolic meaning relating to Christmas—the 13 ingredients represent the 12 apostles and Jesus Christ.
22 of 23
We are all familiar with ice cream made of milk and cream, but when sour cream is added, it takes on a wonderful tang that happens to blend beautifully with roasted figs. The caramelized figs are pureed and then added to a mixture of milk, heavy cream, sour cream, sugar, vanilla, and salt and then placed in an ice cream maker. The result is not only refreshing but will add a gourmet touch to any party.
23 of 23
Other Fig Ideas
Find more ideas to put your sweet figs to good use:
- Halve or quarter figs lengthwise and serve with small dollops of mascarpone, crème fraîche, Greek yogurt, or sour cream. Top with a chiffonade of mint or lemon zest.
- Cut figs in half or into wedges. Set on a plate with shavings of Parmesan cheese and drizzle with high-quality balsamic vinegar or fruit vinegar. Add a few twists of freshly ground black pepper.
- Lay halved figs on a baking sheet and brush them with oil or melted butter. Sprinkle on some brown sugar and broil them until the fig tops bubble and start to brown on the edges. Serve with a slice of tangy cheese and a drizzle of balsamic glaze.
- Add a small dollop of fresh, creamy goat cheese and some toasted pine nuts on top of halved sweet figs and serve on top of crusty bread.
- Make a fruit salad with figs and berries to pair with granola and then top with yogurt, or use it in smoothie bowls.