Eat & Drink

Spicy Maple Glazed Rumaki

As a wife, mom + food enthusiast with a passion for sharing love through my kitchen, and the blogger behind Girl Meets Kitchen, Julia Esch knows a thing or two about creating recipes with real ingredients. Below, she shares her recipe for spicy maple glazed rumaki.

Rumaki. Everything about word makes me smile. From the ingredients and quasi-Polynesian heritage to the City Slickers reference it brings to mind – the appetizer is all things unique and quirky. It needed a little makeover in my opinion, and the makeover I had in mind added an entirely new flair to this once popular bite. Below you will find the recipe for my spicy maple glazed rumaki.

In its original form, Rumaki is a typically a water chestnut and pieces of chicken liver wrapped in bacon with a soy based glaze. My first experience of the appetizer was at a wedding and I was equal parts intrigued + determined something was missing. To start, anything with bacon as a staple ingredient has great legs. After pondering over each bite a bit with one of my wedding companions, the lightbulb went off in my brain and I immediately knew how to vamp up these dated morsels and give them some flair: add some sweet and add some heat.

Per usual, the quality of ingredients matters – so choose your bacon wisely. While I’m normally enamored with thick bacon (affectionately known as “stacon” in my family,) thin is best for Rumaki to ensure it crisps up nicely when wrapped around the water chestsnuts. You can also determine what you’d prefer for sliced or whole water chestnuts – I prefer them whole because they give the bites a better crunch. I also par baked my bacon slices to ensure the flavors came together and there were no undercooked bites.

These are really simple to make but offer a bold flavor. Bring them to any party + let the conversations lead you where they may (City Slickers references or not!)


  • 1 lb. all natural bacon (not thick cut)
  • 1 large fresh jalapeno, thinly sliced
  • 1 5 oz. can whole water chestnuts (see note above regarding whole or sliced), strained
  • 4-5 tbsp. pure organic maple syrup
  • 2-3 tbsp. red pepper flakes, depending on heat preference
  • toothpicks


  1. Layer 2 sheet pans with parchment paper, setting one aside for the second round of baking + preheat oven to 400 F. Soak the toothpicks in a water bath to avoid burning during the cooking process
  2. Cut the bacon slices in thirds and lay them in a single layer across one lined sheet pan
  3. Lightly coat each piece of bacon with the maple syrup using a basting brush
  4. Sprinkle each piece with the red pepper flakes and lay sliced jalapenos atop the bacon
  5. Par bake for 8-10 minutes and remove from oven
  6. Using 2 strips of bacon for each water chestnut, wrap each chestnut like a present with the par baked bacon + secure with a toothpick. Place a jalapeno atop each wrapped Rumaki and place on the second lined baking sheet. Complete until all the water chetsnuts and bacon is gone.
  7. Bake an additional 10-15 minutes or until bacon has reached desired crispness. Yields approximately 12-16 pieces.
  8. Serve + Enjoy!