Crunchy water chestnuts wrapped in smoky bacon, basted with a sweet and savory sauce. Baked and caramelized to perfection. Perfect for parties.
Bacon-wrapped water chestnuts are an easy party snack that can be served at any type of gathering, from a potluck to a fancy dinner party. This simple yet delicious appetizer is sure to be a huge hit. Not only is it easy to make, but the combination of savory bacon and crunchy water chestnuts is so delicious—they will disappear fast.
Find What You’re Looking for:
Bacon – regular cut bacon. Avoid thick bacon, as it will take too long to get done and crispy. Smoked bacon is delicious, or you can try different flavors like apple cinnamon bacon, peppered bacon, jalapeño bacon, etc.
Water chestnuts – whole water chestnuts, canned in water.
Ketchup – regular ketchup, Simply Heinz is an excellent option.
Worcestershire sauce – original Worcestershire sauce (commonly made of molasses, water, tamarind extract, white vinegar, chili pepper extract, garlic powder, and sugar).
Brown sugar – light brown sugar, packed.
Are water chestnuts nuts?
Despite its name, a water chestnut is not a nut. It’s actually the bulbous underground stem of a grass-like plant that grows in wetlands and marshes in tropical regions across the world. The edible parts include the outer fibrous husk, thin brown skin, and crunchy white flesh underneath.
- Measuring cups/spoons
- Small bowl and spoon
- Baking sheet
- Parchment paper
- Baking rack
- Baking spray
- Serving tray or platter
Toothpicks – we like to use the type with an ornate top.
Baking spray – you can use a cooking spray like Pam or an oil mister with olive oil.
How to Make Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts
Follow these simple steps to make bacon-wrapped water chestnuts in the oven.
Step 1 | preheat oven to 425°F
Begin by preheating the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. (Use the convection setting for added crispiness, if your oven has it.)
Step 2 | Cut Bacon in thirds
Using a sharp knife and a cutting board, cut the bacon slices into thirds.
Step 3 | Make the Sauce – Mix Ketchup & Worcestershire
In a small bowl, combine the ketchup and Worcestershire sauce. Mix well.
Step 4 | Make the Sauce – Mix in brown sugar
Add the brown sugar to the ketchup mixture. Stir until well combined. Set aside.
Step 5 | prepare a baking sheet
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper for easy cleanup (we love the pre-cut sheets). Then place a baking rack on top of the parchment. Spray the wire rack with cooking spray so the bacon does not stick.
Step 6 | Drain the water chestnuts
Use a strainer to drain the water from the water chestnuts.
Step 7 | soak the toothpicks
Soak the toothpicks in water for a few minutes. This will help prevent the toothpicks from becoming too dark and charred while baking. But don’t soak too long, or they may become soft and difficult to push into the water chestnuts.
Step 8 | Wrap bacon
Wrap each piece of bacon around one whole water chestnut and secure with a toothpick. Repeat until all water chestnuts are gone. Arrange them all on the prepared baking rack.
Step 9 | Bake for 10 minutes
Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes to start.
Step 10 | Remove and add sauce
Remove from the oven and use a basting brush to apply the sauce.
Step 11 | FLIP and COAT with Sauce
Flip each bacon-wrapped water chestnut. Then brush with barbecue sauce.
Step 12 | Bake for 10 minutes MORE
Continue to roast for another 10 minutes.
Step 13 | Brush with sauce and Bake for 5 to 10 more minutes
After 20 total minutes, check on the appetizers. You will likely need 5 to 10 more minutes to get the bacon nice and crispy and the sauce caramelized. Brush with more sauce, if desired, and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes until they are done to your liking.
Step 14 | Serve & Enjoy!
Remove from the oven, transfer to a serving platter, and enjoy immediately (they will cool down quickly).
More About This Appetizer – Why We Love It
- Water chestnuts wrapped in bacon feature a delicious balance of flavors – the fresh, crisp flavor of the water chestnut pairs perfectly with the salty, smoky flavor of the bacon. Plus, you can use different types of bacon (such as maple-flavored or applewood smoked) or try a variety of sauces (list of ideas) for different flavors.
- Another great thing about these tasty treats is their versatility. You can serve them as a snack, appetizer, or side dish – they’ll always be a hit! Plus, they couldn’t be easier to make; all you need are some water chestnuts, bacon strips, bbq sauce, and toothpicks. Simply wrap each water chestnut in bacon and secure it with a toothpick before baking in the oven.
What Are Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts Called?
This mouthwatering appetizer is called ‘bacon-wrapped water chestnuts’ or ‘water chestnuts wrapped in bacon’ but is very similar to a dish called Rumaki—chicken liver and water chestnuts (sometimes onions, pineapple) wrapped in a piece of bacon and grilled or baked until crispy. The precise origins of Rumaki are unknown, rumored to be from Japanese or Hawaiian culture. However, likely originated in the 1940s, when it was first served at Trader Vic’s (formerly Hinky Dinks)—a California Polynesian-themed restaurant and tiki bar owned by Victor Bergeron. Interesting tidbit: this is where Mai Tais are said to have first been created as well.
How to Make Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts Ahead of Time
Bacon-wrapped water chestnuts can be prepped the day before (up to 24 hours in advance) and stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container until you’re ready to cook them. Follow the steps above to cut the bacon in thirds, drain the water chestnuts, wrap each water chestnut in bacon and secure with a toothpick. You can even prepare the sauce a day ahead of time and keep it in the fridge.
When you’re ready to bake them, leave the water chestnuts wrapped in bacon out at room temperature while the oven is preheating. Then bake and coat with sauce as instructed in this recipe. (Note: if you take them directly from the fridge to the oven before letting them sit out at room temperature for a while, you may need to add bake time to compensate.)
Another option is to prepare and bake them ahead of time and reheat them right before you’re ready to serve. Simply bake at 425°F for about 5 minutes, or until heated all the way through. We suggest adding more sauce before baking so they don’t dry out.
How to Make in the Air Fryer
To make bacon-wrapped water chestnuts in the air fryer, first preheat your air fryer to 400°F. Follow the directions above to assemble. Place the wrapped water chestnuts into the air fryer basket or tray. Cook for 8 minutes on one side, then remove and brush with sauce. Then flip and brush the other side with sauce. Cook for another 8 minutes, then check. If needed, cook for a few more minutes until the desired doneness is achieved.
We love the sauce on this water chestnut appetizer—it’s like a homemade sweet honey barbecue sauce. But you can easily substitute another sauce in its place. Here are a few flavorful ideas:
- Teriyaki sauce
- Sweet soy sauce
- Favorite bbq sauce
- Maple syrup
- Sweet chili sauce
- 1 lb bacon
- 2 cans of water chestnuts (8 ounces each)
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire
- 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Cut the bacon slices into thirds.
- Make the sauce by mixing together the ketchup and Worcestershire sauce in a small bowl.
- Next, add the brown sugar and stir until well combined. Set aside.
- Prepare a baking sheet with parchment, place a baking rack on top, and spray the rack with cooking spray.
- Drain the water chestnuts.
- Soak toothpicks for a few minutes.
- Wrap each water chestnut in bacon, then secure with a toothpick. Repeat until all water chestnuts are gone. Arrange them all on the prepared baking rack.
- Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes to start.
- Remove from the oven and brush with the sauce mixture.
- Flip each bacon-wrapped water chestnut. Then brush with barbecue sauce.
- Continue to roast for another 10 minutes.
- After 20 total minutes, check on the appetizers. You will likely need 5 to 10 more minutes to get the bacon nice and crispy and the sauce caramelized. Brush with more sauce, if desired, and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes until they are done to your liking.
- Remove from the oven, transfer to a serving platter, and enjoy immediately.
- Use the convection setting for added crispiness, if your oven has it.
- A variety of sauces can be used in place of the BBQ sauce. See this list of ideas.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Category: Appetizer
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: American
- Serving Size: 2
- Calories: 141
- Sugar: 7.9 g
- Sodium: 245.7 mg
- Fat: 9.8 g
- Saturated Fat: 3.3 g
- Carbohydrates: 10.1 g
- Protein: 3.2 g
- Cholesterol: 16.2 mg
Bacon-wrapped water chestnuts make a fantastic appetizer that can liven up any party. They’re quick and easy to make with just five ingredients. We’d love to hear what you think about this recipe – let us know in the comments!
Have You Tried This Recipe? Please rate it in the comments and let us know your thoughts!
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