Our Best Easy Tailgating Desserts
Football season is fast approaching, and that means there's not much time left to get your tailgate offerings planned out. Don't worry, we've got you. We've rounded up our best easy tailgating desserts—cookies, cheesecake bars, brownies, and even a few cakes—that everyone will eat right up, no matter who they're cheering for. The only thing sweeter than these easy treats is a win from your team.
Chocolate-Peanut Butter Bugle Bars
Chocolate-Peanut Butter Bugle Bars Recipe
Creamy, crunchy, rich, salty, and sweet all at the same time—these no-bake, chocolate-peanut butter bars are everything. Crisp crushed Bugles (one of our staffs' junk food favorites) make for a fun and amazingly delicious twist on a typical crumb crust. They lend the perfect hit of salty, crispy, buttery goodness in the base of this cookie bar, and topping the assembled bars with a another handful of the the whole chips is a playful touch that lets folks know what's in store when they bite into this salty-sweet situation. These decadent cookie bars were a huge hit in the test kitchen, and recipe developer Ivy Odom notes that they would be "perfect for tailgates, school parties, or for eating in front of the TV, with wine and the rest of the bag of Bugles, after a long day at work."
Hello Dolly Bars
These bar cookies are also known as seven-layer bars. They take less than 30 minutes to make and call for just 8 ingredients, making Hello Dolly Bars the perfect dessert for taking along, well, just about anywhere!
The Ultimate Salted Chocolate Chunk Cookie
The Ultimate Salted Chocolate Chunk Cookie Recipe
Everybody needs a go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe, and this is the one that you can rely on, time after time. Topped with flaky sea salt and bursting with bittersweet chocolate chunks, this sweet treat is not for the faint of heart. By baking them at a high temperature for a short burst of time, the exterior boasts a crisp texture and golden-brown color, while the inside remains melty, chewy and warm as ever. For the ultimate sweet deal, top it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or drink it alongside a tall glass of milk.
Copycat Little Debbie Oatmeal Crème Pies
Copycat Little Debbie Oatmeal Crème Pies Recipe
Is this recipe an exact replica of Little Debbie Oatmeal Crème Pies? No. These are better. Rather than thin cakes, we went for oatmeal cookies that pack an almost peanut-butter-like flavor without any nuts. The crème filling completely nails what we love about the prepackaged pies, but takes things further with an almost airy, marshmallow-based consistency. If that doesn't convince you, preparing these at home is just as quick (if not faster) than a grocery run.
Easy Key Lime Pie
Dessert doesn't get easier, or more delicious, than a no-bake key lime pie. Requiring just a handful of ingredients, this easy pie is a great recipe for less experienced bakers—especially considering what a crowd-pleaser it is. Perfect for the hot summer months when you'd rather reduce your oven use, the luscious key lime filling sets up to creamy perfection with the help of Cool Whip. Though we provide instructions for a homemade graham cracker crust, you can make this key lime pie recipe all the easier (and skip the oven altogether) by opting for a pre-made, store-bought pie crust instead.
Rocky Road Popcorn Balls
Rocky Road Popcorn Balls Recipe
Guess what? This is a whole-grain dessert. To keep the stickiness at bay, wear latex gloves coated with cooking spray as you shape the popcorn balls.
Sheet Pan Oatmeal Toffee-Orange Cream Bars
Sheet Pan Oatmeal Toffee-Orange Cream Bars Recipe
These toasty-sweet, sheet pan sandwich cookies are fantastic for potlucks or tailgates—heck, whip a batch up on the weekend and enjoy for after-school snacks or dessert throughout the week. Toffee bits and cinnamon kick up the flavor of a traditional oatmeal cookie, while adding fresh orange zest to the filling adds a special touch or bright flavor to these tasty bars. Be sure the cookie is completely cool (out of the pan) before cutting it, or it will crumble. And to ensure a smooth cut, you'll want to chill the filled cookie really well before slicing into bars.
Best Fudgy Brownies
Meet your new go-to recipe for homemade brownies. These decadent treats are extra rich and fudgy, thanks to a double hit of baking chocolate and bittersweet chocolate morsels. They're incredibly easy to make, plus you probably have most of the ingredients in your pantry already. And while we're definitely not above boxed brownie mixes, these homemade brownies would certainly steal the show at any party or get-together.
Kahlúa Cookie Dough Bites
Kahlúa Cookie Dough Bites Recipe
If you're only going to have "a bite" of dessert, this is the bite to have.
Classic Banana Bread
This healthier take on banana bread uses yogurt instead of butter, but it's just as moist and indulgent as classic recipes. This banana bread recipe isn't just easy. It's also highly customizable and can adapt to a number of flavors and substitute ingredients. Banana bread should form a crack down the center as it bakes--a sign the baking soda is doing its job. Serve toasted with a smear of cream cheese, Greek yogurt, or peanut and top with mixed nuts, if desired. You can even customize your bread with a crunchy streusal topping that the kids will love.
Texas Sheet Cake
This class Texas sheet cake recipe features a homemade chocolate cake layer topped with chocolate frosting and chopped toasted pecans. Its rectangular shape makes this cake perfect for serving to a crowd.
Skillet PB&J Monkey Bread
Skillet PB&J Monkey Bread Recipe
Ooey gooey peanut butter and jelly goodness! Kids and adults alike will go nuts for this sweet and decadent treat, which gets its chewy, light-as-air feeling from store-bought pizza dough.
Tangy Lemon Cheesecake Bars
Tangy Lemon Cheesecake Bars Recipe
Classic lemon squares can contain 36g sugar per piece. We put a puckery cheesecake spin on ours--cutting sugar to just 6g per bar--which allows the bright citrus to shine.
Glazed Condensed Milk Cookies
Glazed Condensed Milk Cookies Recipe
Need to throw together a last minute treat? Make a batch of fluffy and buttery, cream cheese-glazed cookies using 1 whole (14-ounce) can of sweetened and just a handful of other staple ingredients you probably already have in the fridge and pantry. You will use 2/3 cup of the condensed milk in these melt-in-your-mouth cookies (which eliminates the need for additional sugar or eggs), then simply combine the rest of the can with softened cream cheese to create a tangy-sweet glaze. After you glaze the cookies and add sprinkles (if desired), leave them on the wire rack for 5 to 10 minutes so that the glaze can set so that you don't end up with a mess.
Chocolate-Hazelnut Brownies Recipe
Fair warning: Our editors and test kitchen staff LOVED these gluten-free brownies. Words like "decadent" and "divine" were thrown around liberally.
The Ultimate S'mores Cookie
The Ultimate S'mores Cookie Recipe
These cookies taste just like a s'more, no campfire required. The graham crackers really come through in the cookie, while the melty chocolate melds with toasted marshmallow during the baking process.
Peanut Butter and Pretzel Brownies
Peanut Butter and Pretzel Brownies Recipe
Irresistibly nutty and salty, these peanut butter pretzel brownies are for the die-hard chocolate lover in everyone's lives. Incorporating Reese's candies, crushed pretzel bits, and a heaping spoonful of creamy peanut butter, these rich, decadent squares are perfect for you next potluck dessert party, special occasion, or late night craving. For an added bonus, go ahead and eat them warm out of the oven with a scoop of ice cream.
Almond Joy Cookies
Inspired by the favorite almond, coconut, and chocolate candy bar, these loaded Almond Joy Cookies are sure to steal the show on any holiday cookie platter or cookie swap they show up at.