Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts
These Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts are a delicious one-bite appetizer that’s always a hit at parties. Each bite is crunchy, savory, salty, and meaty! You only need 4 ingredients and 35 minutes to make these.
This recipe is proof that some of the simplest things are also the most delicious. Only 4 ingredients are involved here, but there are so many different flavors and textures going on. The crunch of the water chestnuts is so unique!
What’s funny about this recipe is that I ate probably a thousand of these growing up, but I had no idea that they have a special name.
Many people refer to Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts as “Rumaki,” though there’s quite a bit of variation in how people prepare it. The version I’m sharing today is how my mom made them when I was a kid. Bacon water chestnuts were one of her party staples, and people always raved. And I always wanted to eat the entire tray before the guests arrived.
What’s nice about these is you can assemble them in advance and store them in the fridge, then pop them into the oven before you want to serve. I love make-ahead appetizers!
Tips for Best Results
Use a thinner bacon – I don’t recommend using a thick cut bacon here, as it won’t wrap as easily and will also take much longer to cook through. Opt for thinner sliced bacon strips here. The center cut bacon works great.
Get the largest whole water chestnuts possible – The bigger water chestnuts you can find here, the better. A lot of times they come in cans already sliced, so make sure to look for whole pieces. Look for words like “jumbo” or “fancy” on the can.
Use grainy mustard – What I like about grainy mustard is it’s actually milder than your typical mustard spread, and you get pleasing pops of texture from the seeds. I highly recommend selecting this type of mustard for the recipe so it doesn’t overpower the overall flavor.
Step by Step Overview:
The first thing we need to do is start by mixing together brown sugar and a high quality, grainy Dijon mustard:
If you’re using a good quality mustard here, the flavor should be excellent. But if you wish, you may add 1 tsp of worcestershire sauce here for extra savory flavor.
Cut each piece of bacon in half, then spread lightly with the brown sugar and mustard mixture:
That bit of sweetness pairs perfectly with the savory bacon!
Now it’s time to assemble everything together.
If you’re using a can of water chestnuts, then simply drain and rinse them, and gently pat dry with a paper towel or tea towel.
Can you use fresh water chestnuts?
It is generally very difficult to find the fresh version in most grocery stores, and I personally have never come across them. But if you do, feel free to use them for this recipe. You will need to peel them, but otherwise the cook time will be the same.
Wrap each half bacon slice around individual water chestnuts, and secure with a wooden toothpick.
If you haven’t worked with this ingredient before, it will take a little “ummph” to push the toothpick through each crunchy water chestnut. They have a firm texture similar to jicama.
Also, while it’s not required, I specify below in the recipe box that I recommend soaking the toothpicks for a few minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. Dry toothpicks won’t catch on fire in the oven at this temperature, but I think it looks better when the toothpicks aren’t darkened and scorched.
At this point, you can either bake the rumaki right away, or if you want to make them ahead of time as a party appetizer, you can store the tray in the fridge for several hours.
Bake the bacon-wrapped water chestnuts for 20 minutes in a preheated oven at 375 degrees F, until the bacon has cooked through and crisped up slightly on the edges, and the brown sugar has caramelized. The inside will retain its crunchy texture.
I personally do not line my rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil, though you may if you wish to contain the bacon grease a little better.
If you have chilled the rumaki in the fridge because you were making them ahead, you will likely need to add an additional 5-10 minutes of oven time, since they are not starting from room temperature.
How to Serve
These are best served about 5 minutes after taking them out of the oven, while they’re still warm, but the bacon isn’t so hot that it will burn your mouth. This is the perfect time for enjoying the saltiness of the bacon with the sweet brown sugar and tangy mustard.
There’s no need to transfer these to a cooling rack. Simply serve on the baking tray or on a platter.
Because this is party food, this is the perfect appetizer to pair with other finger foods like Potato Croquettes, Bacon Wrapped Dates, and Puff Pastry Cheese Straws. I also really love these for New Year’s Eve!
Recipe Tips and FAQ
Keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Reheat in a 300F oven for about 10-12 minutes, until the bacon is crispy and hot.
Yes, keep in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. I recommend thawing in the fridge overnight before reheating.
Feel free to double, triple, or quadruple the recipe as you desire. This is always a popular appetizer that won’t last long at holiday parties, so a big batch is often a great idea. Just make sure to roast in a single layer, and use multiple pans as needed.
After roasting in the oven, you may keep these warm in a slow cooker as needed. However, you’ll lose a bit of the crispy bacon texture. They’re still good though!
For more tasty appetizers, try this Antipasto Platter, Coconut Shrimp with Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce, or Stuffed Cherry Peppers. Or if you have extra bacon slices, try Bacon Wrapped Jalapenos.
Did you enjoy the recipe? Please leave a 5-star rating in the recipe card below and/or a review in the comments section further down the page.
Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 tbsp whole grain dijon mustard
- 10 strips bacon
- 8 oz can whole water chestnuts drained and rinsed*
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Soak some toothpicks in water as you prepare the other ingredients so they don’t burn in the oven.
- Mix together the brown sugar and mustard until combined. Set aside.
- Cut the bacon strips in half (right in the middle), and spread evenly with the brown sugar and mustard. It’s okay if it’s a little messy.
- Wrap each water chestnut with a half bacon strip and roll it up, securing the bacon with a toothpick.
- Place all of the bacon wrapped water chestnuts onto a baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes, until the bacon has cooked through and the brown sugar has caramelized. Serve and enjoy!
Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.
38 Comments on “Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts”
I made these but used a smooth dijon mustard. Baked them as directed, cooled and put in the fridge for a couple of hours. Reheated as directed and they came out perfect!! Will make again and may try some pineapple chunks instead. Thank you so much!! Really appreciate make ahead recipes!
These were super easy to make. I did need to cook them about 30 minutes as my bacon may have been a little thicker. Brought them to a Labor Day party, and they were a huge hit. I used two 8 ounce cans and 1 pound of bacon which made 26-28 appetizers. I like this better than the recipes which use ketchup. We will definitely make these again.
These were a hit at my dinner party! My husband especially loved this recipe because it does not have the large amount of sugar and ketchup that we don’t care to cook with. Thanks so much!
perfect starter!! this is great!
My mom’s version has chicken livers but yours are even better!!!
I have never been a fan of water chestnuts – I think it’s a texture thing. Though, I always say anything with bacon is better – completely changing my view on the water chestnut!
My question is about the bacon grease. Does it help to line the baking sheet with foil that has small holes for grease to drain down onto?
Hi Jackie, if you want the fat to drain I would use a rack instead, but foil with holes would work too. Enjoy!
These look absolutely delicious!
Mmmm! Can’t wait to try them. I’m curious though if they would travel well to bring as an appetizer to a party? They sound best right out of the oven, but will they keep well and be alright to serve if driving over to a friends with them (as in, do they still taste good cooled a bit, or if they sit out at a party)? Thanks for the great recipe and awesome photos! The pics always win me over when deciding on recipes and your’s a great. 🙂
Hi Erin, I do think these would travel well. I actually think they taste really nice at room temperature (and they don’t taste as good when they’re super hot). Happy holidays!
New to the site and browsing all your great recipes, this one reminds me of my In-Law’s New Years special: Bacon-wrapped Olives! All you need are green olives stuffed with pimentos, wrap in partially cooked bacon then bake for 10 minutes @ 350.
Hi Joelle, welcome! Those bacon wrapped olives sound delicious! I will try those soon, I have all the ingredients in my fridge actually!
Wow, these really are a throwback. 🙂 I don’t have much patience for fussy little appetizers but these are fairly simple and a great flavor combo. Sometimes the classics need to be revived.
My mom is famous for her bacon wrapped water chestnutS. They always make me think of her!