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Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts

5 from 3 votes
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posted: 12/05/21

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This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy

Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts are such a delicious holiday appetizer. They are easy to make ahead of time, and even easier to eat.

close up of a bacon wrapped water chestnut recipe on a platter

Are you in the thick of holiday shopping, sending cards, and wrapping? I am too! I am also working really hard at slowing down and enjoying the small moments of this very busy time of year. Little peace-filled moments, like the joy on my kids’ faces when they open advent calendars, makes the craziness a little easier, a little less crazy.

A big part of the holiday season is spending time with people you haven’t seen in ages. That seems especially sacred this time of year, and it is filling up my tank.

If you love making Christmas appetizers for those holiday parties like me, these Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts are perfect! I tweaked this recipe several times until it was just perfect. The end result was an appetizer I could eat endlessly. Delicious flavors, the perfect amount of sweetness, and crisp bacon all around a crunchy water chestnut will make you fall in love too.

overhead of sauce for bacon wrapped water chestnuts

How to Make Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts

  1. Soak some toothpicks. It is easy for the toothpicks to get charred in this recipe. One thing that helps is if they soak in water for 30 minutes before going in the oven. You will notice they still get dark, but this is much less than if they weren’t soaked.
  2. Make the sauce. Whisk together the ketchup, brown sugar, soy sauce, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and minced ginger.
  3. Soak the water chestnuts. Add the drained water chestnuts to the sauce and soak for 30 minutes.
  4. Wrap the water chestnuts. Cut the pound of bacon into thirds. In other words, one slice of bacon, cut into thirds, is enough to make three bacon wrapped water chestnuts. (Do not discard the remaining sauce.)
  5. Bake them. Place a wire cooling rack on a parchment paper rimmed baking sheet. Spray it with cooking spray. Add the wrapped water chestnuts and bake for 30 minutes.
  6. Add more sauce. Remove them from the oven and dip them in the remaining sauce, then place them back on the wire rack. Bake for an additional 10 minutes.
overhead view of water chestnuts soaking in sauce

What is a Water Chestnut

Believe it or not, before developing this recipe, I didn’t really know where a water chestnut came from. Though, I love them and have been using them in my Szechuan Chicken for years, I didn’t know their origin.

Water Chestnuts are aquatic vegetables grown in marshes, streams, and even mud. They grow under water with greens coming up above the surface. They can be eaten raw and are often used in Chinese dishes.

uncooked bacon wrapped water chestnuts on a cooling rack on top of a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper

Making Backing Wrapped Water Chestnuts Ahead

If you want to prepare this recipe ahead of time, make it up to the point of putting them in the oven. They can be made up to 24 hours in advance.

Place the prepared water chestnuts in an air tight container (fully wrapped and speared with a toothpick) and store the sauce in a separate air tight container. Put both containers in the refrigerator until you are ready to bake and serve.

Storing Left Overs

Place cooled leftovers in an air tight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. These are actually really good cold. So I wouldn’t necessarily recommend reheating them. If you reheat them, keep in mind that the bacon won’t be as crisp.

bacon wrapped water chestnuts on a platter

FAQ

How much does this recipe make?

This makes about 30 pieces (depending on how many chestnuts come in the can you buy). It is very easy to double though, just keep in mind that you will want to recruit help wrapping them.

Are bacon wrapped water chestnuts gluten free?

This recipe is not gluten free because of the soy sauce. That being said, you could replace the soy sauce with coconut aminos and liquid aminos and then it would be gluten free.

Can bacon wrapped water chestnuts be made ahead?

Yes! Please see my instructions above for making these up to 24 hours in advance.

bacon wrapped water chestnuts on a platter

Other Christmas Appetizers

If you are making a whole smorgasbord of holiday appetizers, here are some of my other favorites:

If you make this bacon wrapped water chestnut recipe, please leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

close up of a bacon wrapped water chestnut recipe on a platter
5 from 3 votes

Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts

Serves: 30 servings
(tap # to scale)
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Total: 1 hour 25 minutes
Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts are such a delicious holiday appetizer. They are easy to make ahead of time, and even easier to eat.

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces whole water chestnuts well drained
  • 1 pound bacon cut into thirds
  • 2/3 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1 tablespoon Worchestershire sauce
  • toothpicks soaked in water

Instructions

  • In a bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, ketchup, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and Worchestershire sauce until smooth.
  • Pour the sauce over the drained water chestnuts. Let soak for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place a wire rack over it. Spray it with cooking spray.
  • Wrap the water chestnuts in bacon, and skewer with a soaked toothpick. (Do not discard the remaining sauce.) Place the water chestnuts on the wire rack. Bake for 30 minutes.
  • Remove them from the oven, and brush with the remaining sauce. Bake for 10 more minutes.
Author: Lisa Longley
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
close up of a bacon wrapped water chestnut recipe on a platter

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Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts

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Hi! I'm Lisa Longley, and I am committed to giving you simple dinner ideas and recipes that are easy to make; recipes that will fill your home with joy. I am the owner and author of SimpleJoy.com and I'm so glad that you are here.

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  1. Jan Wheat says

    5 stars
    I have made these bacon wrapped water chestnuts for about 50 years. They are a favorite of mine !!

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