The Essential Tailgating Recipes

We've consulted with the experts and they agree: These are the recipes that no successful tailgate party should be without.

  • Layered Spicy Black Bean Dip
    Photo: Lee Harrelson; Styling: Jan Gautro, Laura Zapalowski

    Layered Spicy Black Bean Dip

    With a 10-minute prep time, this is a crowd-pleasing appetizer you can make just before you walk out the door to head to the game. Once your friends start scooping it up with corn chips, they may not be able to stop.
  • Bloody Mary
    Sara Gray

    Bloody Mary

    To get a prime tailgating spot, you need to get there early in the morning. So once everything's set up, relax and get ready for the game by pouring a pitcher of Bloody Marys–always perfect for a morning celebration.
  • Beer-Cheese Spread
    William Dickey

    Beer-Cheese Spread

    A spicy cheese spread flavored with beer is an all-purpose spread for tailgating. It's great over hot dogs and chili or with pretzels, crackers, and fresh veggies. You can freeze this spread for up to one month, so why not make a batch and be set for the whole season?
  • "Fried" Pecan Chicken Fingers

    "Fried" Pecan Chicken Fingers

    Chicken fingers seem to be easier to eat than pieces of fried chicken when you're mingling with friends at a tailgate party. And the pecan coating on these baked chicken fingers makes them extra-good and extra-special.
  • Spicy-Sweet Deviled Eggs

    Spicy-Sweet Deviled Eggs

    Chutney and ground red pepper add a little kick to these football day stuffed eggs. You'll get extra points when you arrange fresh chives to resemble the laces on a football.
  • Slow-Cooker Barbecue Beef Sandwiches

    Slow-Cooker Barbecue Beef Sandwiches

    You can start cooking this 'cue in the slow cooker the night before, then just carry the cooker to the game so the meat will stay warm. Be sure to buy plenty of buns.
  • Chicken and Roast Beef Muffulettas
    Photography: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Lydia DeGaris-Pursell

    Chicken and Roast Beef Muffulettas

    Although a muffaletta sandwich is traditionally made on a big round of crusty Italian bread, these individual sandwiches are easier for serving a crowd. The flavors of the olive spread, cheese, meats and bread blend while the sandwiches are chilling, so the make-ahead step of this recipe is key.
  • Beef, Black Bean, and Chorizo Chili

    Beef, Black Bean, and Chorizo Chili

    Warm up with a bowl of chili just before you head to the stadium. You can make this chili the night before, and then just reheat at your tailgating spot on a camp stove or charcoal grill.
  • Honey Barbecue Chicken

    Honey Barbecue Chicken

    Whether you tailgate with a tabletop charcoal grill or a larger-than-life gas grill, this easy barbecue chicken recipe is a sure winner. Make the sauce the night before and store in the refrigerator. The chicken doesn't marinate in the sauce, so just brush it on as you grill.
  • Mini-Cheeseburgers
    Photo: Tina Cornett; Styling: Leslie Byars Simpson


    Mini burgers that fit into the palm of your hand are a great addition to any tailgating menu. Make the patties the night before and store in the refrigerator in an airtight cooler. Keep the container in your cooler until you're ready to cook. The recipe directions call for baking the patties, but you can grill them over medium heat for about 5 minutes on each side.
  • So Good Brownies
    Photo: Jennifer Davick; Styling: Marian Cooper Cairns

    So Good Brownies

    Sturdy, easily transportable, and hard to resist, fudgy brownies are the ultimate tailgating dessert. And because these don't have (and don't need) chocolate icing, you don't have to worry about getting chocolate all over your hands.
  • All-Time Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies
    Photo: Beth Dreiling Hontzas; Styling: Rose Nguyen

    All-Time Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies

    Easy to transport and easy to eat, these all-time favorite cookies are a must when you're pulling for your all-time favorite team.
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