We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are Angels on Horseback?

By Liz Scott
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
DelightedCooking is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At DelightedCooking, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

"Angels on horseback" is the fanciful name given to a type of hot hors d’oeuvre in which oysters are wrapped in bacon strips, skewered and broiled. They originated in Victorian England as a popular after-dinner snack but have since become a common appetizer served at upscale parties, weddings and other types of gatherings. They occasionally are served on toast points, which are crustless triangles of buttered and toasted bread, but they most often are presented simply on their own to be eaten directly from the skewer.

The name itself, “angels on horseback,” is believed to be derived from its classic appearance when the bacon edges curl up after broiling, remotely resembling the upturned wings of angels. They are sometimes referred to as oysters en brochette or just bacon-wrapped oysters. On occasion, angels on horseback will be battered and deep fried, but for the most part, they are either broiled or grilled.

Shucked oysters usually are first marinated in a combination of white wine and garlic for several hours. They are then patted dry, seasoned with salt and pepper, then carefully wrapped in a flattened piece of bacon or sometimes only half a bacon strip, depending on the size of the oyster. Secured with a toothpick, they can be prepared ahead of time and kept covered and refrigerated until ready to broil. They can also be frozen. Only a few minutes per side under the broiler are required to crisp the bacon before serving.

There are a number of variations on the traditional angels on horseback, such as replacing the oyster with scallops, shrimp or chicken livers. A particularly popular version called devils on horseback replaces the oysters with stuffed prunes or dates. Almonds, bleu cheese and mango chutney are often used as the stuffing, although anything that complements the bacon flavor and can stand up to the grilling or broiling temperature could be used.

It also is possible to replace the bacon with pancetta, an Italian cured meat similar to bacon but not smoked, or even turkey bacon for a reduced fat and lower-calorie version. Some recipes for angels on horseback will suggest partially cooking the bacon or pancetta before wrapping, which reduces the required broiling time, ensuring that the oysters or other selected centers are not overcooked. This also will help to lower the fat content.

Toothpicks are the usual implement for skewering, although metal or bamboo skewers also can be used. For grilling, bamboo skewers in particular should be soaked in water for at least 30 minutes to prevent burning. In addition, longer skewers can turn an individual appetizer into a three- or four-piece first course dish or light supper when served with toast points and a small salad. This is a quite popular way to serve angels on horseback in England as well as many other northern European countries.

A number of frozen food manufacturers make angels on horseback for easy preparation and serving, but they can be made at home just as easily. Shucking the oysters might prove to be the most difficult task, so when they are bought from a fishmonger, it is a good idea to have them shucked at the store. They should be used within 24 hours, because their freshness will deteriorate rapidly.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By Grivusangel — On Feb 05, 2015

@Grivusangel -- Yeah, is there anything that's not improved with the addition of bacon? I'm kind of a shrimp and scallop fan myself, and I've made these before.

I'd never heard of wrapping bacon around prunes or dates, though. Ham around melon slices yes, but not bacon with plums. I figure it's probably pretty tasty, though.

What I always heard called devils on horseback were the bacon-wrapped oysters, but either tossed in hot sauce or served with a pungent horseradish sauce -- hence, the "devil."

By Grivusangel — On Feb 04, 2015

I like the shrimp version of angels on horseback, since I'm not really an oyster fan. However, bacon can make nearly everything a lot better. But bacon-wrapped shrimp is wonderful, either for an appetizer, or a main dish. It's also really good with grilled or broiled scallops, either sea scallops or the little bay scallops.

I've also heard of the devils on horseback appetizer recipe, and I've seen prunes, dates, dried apricots and even dried apples used in that recipe. Some recipes have cream-cheese stuffed prunes or dates, and then wrap that in bacon. There are certainly worse things than bacon and cream cheese in one appetizer!

DelightedCooking, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

DelightedCooking, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.