Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts make a unique and delish appetizer, perfect for any occasion!
This retro recipe for water chestnuts wrapped in bacon is an instant crowd-pleaser for a game day celebration or when company pops over! Crunchy water chestnuts are wrapped in meaty, maple-infused bacon and baked until crispy. It’s a classic appetizer that never goes out of style, and it can be served for any occasion. Try it at a potluck, a holiday dinner, or even for those springtime baby and wedding showers. Everyone is sure to enjoy this new twist on a classic recipe.
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Our Fave Appetizer!
- These water chestnuts wrapped in bacon bring together the perfect combination of crunchy and crispy, sweet and sour. There is literally something for everyone’s taste!
- It won’t take long to make these easy, inexpensive, and absolutely delicious, bacon-wrapped water chestnuts. Plus they look so impressive on any buffet or picnic table!
- It’s the perfect make ahead recipe. Simply reheat under the broiler to make them crispy again before serving!
Ingredients and Variations
WATER CHESTNUTS: Not actually a nut, but a tuber (root), freshwater chestnuts can be hard to find, but canned water chestnuts can be found year-round in any Asian or International section of the market. Drain, rinse and pat dry before using. For an Asian-themed appetizer platter, prepare this recipe using baby corn, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, and even wedges of pineapple!
BACON: Thinner slices of bacon will wrap more easily around the water chestnuts. Plain, honey maple, applewood, and pepper bacon make this appetizer something unique every time!
SAUCE: Maple syrup is the perfect choice for adhering to the bacon and adding a sweet component to the bacon. Experiment with other seasonings that are sweet or spicy like brown sugar, ketchup, bbq sauce, or chili sauce. Or brush the tasty sauce onto some BBQ Drumsticks and serve as an entrée with some Lemon Rice and a tangy Creamy Coleslaw.
How to Make Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts
This gourmet level appetizer comes together with some simple steps:
- Marinate drained water chestnuts in soy sauce.
- Lay strips of bacon on a work surface (a cutting board works great!), and brush with maple syrup.
- Sprinkle strips with pepper then cut each strip into thirds (unless water chestnuts are very large, cut strips of bacon in half).
- Wrap bacon around each water chestnut, tucking the ends under the flat part and through the bottom of the water chestnut with a wooden pick.
- Place wrapped water chestnuts on a rack over a prepared baking pan, brush with maple syrup and sprinkle with pepper.
- Bake until the bacon is crispy, (per the recipe below). Flip after 20 minutes. Serve as is or with a homemade sweet and sour dipping sauce.
Best Tips & Tricks
- Use strong picks to get through the middle of the water chestnut while avoiding breaking or cracking it.
- Skewer multiple prepared water chestnuts on metal skewers and then slide off once they are fully cooked and cooled.
- Microwave the maple syrup to heat it up enough to make it easier to brush onto the water chestnuts.
Other Easy Appetizers!
- Bacon Wrapped Brussels Sprouts – super tasty!
- Chicken Wonton Cups – cute and delicious.
- Easy Chicken Lettuce Wraps – as an appetizer or meal.
- Homemade Jalapeno Poppers – why not wrap in bacon too?
Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts
- 16 ounces whole water chestnuts 2 cans
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- ¾ pound bacon *, 1 package
- ¼ cup maple syrup optional
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper or to taste
- Drain water chestnuts and place in a zip top bag. Add soy sauce. Gently massage bag to ensure chestnuts are covered. Marinate for 30 minutes to 2 hours, massaging bag once or twice.
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking tray with foil or parchment paper and add a wire rack.
- Lay out strips of bacon, brush with maple syrup if using, and sprinkle with pepper. Cut each strip in thirds*.
- Wrap bacon around each water chestnut, with the ends of the bacon tucked under the flat part of the water chestnut. Stick a toothpick through the bacon ends into the water chestnut.
- Lay chestnuts on the wire rack, leaving space between. Brush with remaining maple syrup, and sprinkle with additional pepper.
- Bake for 20-30 minutes or until bacon is crispy. After 20 minutes, if the top of the bacon is almost cooked but the bottom is not, flip the chestnuts over and continue baking.
- Serve as is or with sweet and sour sauce, aioli, or plum sauce.
- *If water chestnuts are very large (or you want more bacon on your chestnuts), you can cut bacon in half. You’ll need about 1 pound of bacon.
- Use toothpicks strong enough to stick into the water chestnuts.
- Avoid cracking the water chestnut but sticking the toothpick into the center of the water chestnut.
Nutrition information does not include optional ingredients or garnish and is an estimate. It may change based on actual ingredients and cooking methods used.