These bacon-wrapped water chestnuts are one of my favorite appetizers from when I was a kid in the ’80s! These were at every party and baby shower and are perfect for basically any occasion!
Table of Contents
- Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts
- Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts Ingredients
- How To Make Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts
- Do You Need To Soak The Water Chestnuts In Soy Sauce?
- How Could You Turn This Into A Vegan Appetizer?
- PIN THIS RECIPE to yourAPPETIZER Boards and Remember to FOLLOW ME ON PINTEREST!
- Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts Recipe
Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts
Water chestnuts seem to have gone out of fashion recently, which is really sad because when cooked properly and wrapped in bacon, they make a truly incredible appetizer for any party.
While they might not seem like much, when combined with a bit of sugar, plenty of intense Worcestershire sauce, and some salty bacon and soy sauce, they turn into a crunchy, salty treat that is perfect as a snack or a crowd pleaser at your next party.
Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts Ingredients
Make sure you look at the recipe card at the very bottom for the exact amounts so that you know exactly what to buy for this recipe.
• Sliced bacon
• Cans of whole water chestnuts, rinsed and drained
• Low sodium soy sauce
• Packed brown sugar
How To Make Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts
• Place the drained water chestnuts into a large plastic zip-top bag, and then pour the soy sauce in
• Roll the bag to coat all of them in the soy sauce, and then let marinate for at least half an hour.
• While marinating, in a small saucepan, combine ketchup, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce
• Cook and stir over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved completely and the mixture is hot and thick
• Cut the bacon strips into thirds and preheat the oven to 375 Fahrenheit
• After 30 minutes, drain the water chestnuts and wrap a strip of bacon around each water chestnut, securing them with a wooden toothpick
• Place in a large jelly roll pan and bake until the bacon is crisp about 25 minutes
• Remove the chestnuts to a plate, and then drain the bacon grease from the pan
• Dip each water chestnut into the ketchup mixture and place back on the pan
• Spoon all of the remaining sauce over the chestnuts and then return to the oven for 15 minutes, or until the glaze is sticky and reduced down at least 50%
• Remove each water chestnut to a big platter and serve
Do You Need To Soak The Water Chestnuts In Soy Sauce?
What she said: Some recipes don’t soak the water chestnuts in soy, but that’s how my mom made them, and it is the BEST version!
Most people are reasonably familiar with the concept of marinating things like meat or fish, but less so with things like water chestnuts.
This might lead you to consider skipping the step of soaking the water chestnuts in soy sauce, but if you do that, you will truly miss out on some of the best-tasting appetizers you have ever had.
The soy sauce isn’t just there for flavor – it also contributes a bit of umami richness throughout the water chestnut while doing the really important job of seasoning the insides.
If you don’t thoroughly season the interior, your water chestnuts will taste pretty bland and uninteresting, as well as lack any kind of significant saltiness.
You really need to let them sit for a while as well, or otherwise, you are going to lose out on so much flavor.
If you really don’t like the taste of soy sauce, you can use other liquids as well, or even just a homemade brine with salt and water, so long as you let it sit for long enough to get really tasty.
How Could You Turn This Into A Vegan Appetizer?
This recipe uses some salty and hopefully good-quality smoky bacon to help provide a ton of extra flavor to each bite of water chestnut.
However, the bacon is really the only ingredient in this recipe that isn’t vegan, making it very easy to change this into a completely vegan recipe.
For starters, you could just totally omit the bacon and serve the water chestnuts on their own. While they will lack that little of extra saltiness and umami flavor from the bacon, they will still be perfectly delicious all on their own.
If you still want to keep that same texture and experience of biting through something meat, like when you bite down on the chestnut, then why not consider using vegan alternatives to bacon?
Things like Quorn bacon, Fakon, or really any vegan alternative to bacon would work just fine here, so long as you remind guests that what they are eating is vegan, so they don’t go into it expecting all of the flavors of bacon in every bite.
Looking for more delicious Appetizers recipes? Try these out:
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Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts
- Prep Time
- 10 minutes
- Cook Time
- 40 minutes
- Karlynn Johnston
- 1 pound sliced bacon
- two 8 ounce cans whole water chestnuts rinsed and drained
- 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- Place the drained water chestnuts into a large plastic zip-top bag, then pour the soy sauce in. Roll the bag to coat all of them in the soy sauce, then let marinate for at least half an hour. (This is a good time to get the rest of the prep work done like slicing bacon and making the sauce etc)
- In a small saucepan, combine ketchup, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce; cook and stir over medium heat until sugar has dissolved completely and the mixture is hot and thick.
- Cut the bacon strips into thirds.
- Preheat your oven to 375°F.
- After 30 minutes drain the water chestnuts.
- Wrap a strip of bacon around each water chestnut and secure with a wooden toothpick.
- Place in a large jelly roll pan. Bake until the bacon is crisp, about 25 minutes.
- Remove the chestnuts to plate, then drain the bacon grease from the pan.
- Dip each water chestnut into the ketchup mixture and place back on the pan.
- Spoon all of the remaining sauce over the chestnuts. Return to the oven for 10 – 15 minutes, until the glaze is sticky and reduced down.
- Remove each water chestnut to a platter and serve!
- Some recipes don’t soak the water chestnuts in soy, but that’s how my mom made them and it is the BEST version!
- These disappear so fast that if you are entertaining, I would double the batch and make a huge amount all at once.
All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.