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.
Triple-Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Puppy Chow
Triple-Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Puppy Chow Recipe
Puppy Chow is a classic portable, bring-along sweet snack. Our version--full of rich chocolate and creamy peanut butter--will become your new, go-to way to make the classic chocolate-cereal treat.
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.
Layered Spicy Black Bean Dip
Layered Spicy Black Bean Dip Recipe
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.
Jalapeño Popper Dip
Made with bacon, cream cheese, jalapeno, cheese, and more, this dip is sure to be a fan favorite.
Crispy Potato Chips
Instead of grabbing a store-bought bag of chips, serve up these homemade Crispy Potato Chips.
Hawaiian Ham Sandwiches
Hawaiian Ham Sandwiches Recipe
With the perfect combination of sweet and salty flavors, these Hawaiian Ham Sandwiches are sure to be crowd-pleasers. Serve them during the holidays or during a football party–they are great for any occasion.
All-Time Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies
All-Time Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe
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.
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.
Loaded Greek Salad Nachos
Loaded Greek Salad Nachos Recipe
Everything you love about a Greek salad—but way more fun! Delivering a perfect blend of flavor and texture in every bite, these loaded nachos are the perfect snack to throw together for your next at-home movie night or tailgate party. This recipe is an excellent way to give a new life to leftover rotisserie chicken and veggie scraps kicking around your fridge. Feel free to use store bought pita chips rather than baking your own.
Pineapple Pizza Dip
Whether you’re pro- or anti-pineapple on pizza, we’re willing to bet you’re going to love this pineapple pizza dip. Why? Well, because its delicious balance of salty and sweet, and the savory, ooey-gooey goodness this dip packs makes it irresistible. Give it a try for your next party, potluck, or tailgate and see what we mean.
Grilled Cheeseburger Nachos
Grilled Cheeseburger Nachos Recipe
It was determined in our test kitchen that it is legitimately impossible to be anything other than happy while eating these cheeseburger nachos—do with that information what you will. The cookout-inspired food mashup is as perfect served as a fun, grilled snack for guests (especially during tailgating season) as it is an easy, throw-together meal to use up leftovers from a weekend get-together. So while the cheeseburger recipe provided here does produce an extremely moist and flavorful patty, you can certainly use leftover cooked burgers if you already have them on hand. Same idea applies to the nacho toppings; we went with a blend of typical Tex-mex toppers and backyard cookout accouterments, but you can vary things up however suits you. Your baking sheet will only be on the grill for a few minutes (just long enough for the cheese to melt) so you shouldn’t experience any issues with the pan warping or taking on grill marks. However, for easy clean-up, you can certainly go ahead and wrap your pan in aluminum foil.
Crispy Cauliflower Bites with Herbed Yogurt Dip
Crispy Cauliflower Bites with Herbed Yogurt Dip Recipe
Even your most carnivorous meat-eating guests won’t be able to resist these crispy, spiced cauliflower bites. Offering the perfect balance of hearty crunch and bright, tangy sauciness, our cauli-bites are a grade-A vegetarian appetizer for entertaining, tailgating, and beyond. You can find berbere at supermarkets like Whole Foods or online; and if this Ethiopian spice blend is new to you, be prepared, you’re gonna wanna add it to everything.
Super Sports Sunday Slow-Cooked Chili
Super Sports Sunday Slow-Cooked Chili Recipe
There are so many things that are awesome about chili, but here are my top five: 1) Chili is incredibly hearty and, even though it’s a soup, it can stand alone as a meal; 2) the texture is way more satisfying than most other soups—you don’t have to just slurp it down, you can actually chew it; 3) if it’s decent chili, it’s got serious kick and tons of flavor; 4) it’s perfect for late fall and winter fangating because it’ll heat you up with both its temperature and spice quotient; and 5) it’s easy to make ahead of time and tastes better the next day once the flavors and spices have had time to marinate in their own goodness. This chili recipe has it all—plus plenty of kick and even beer to get your tailgate going.
Bacon-Wrapped Potatoes with Queso Blanco Dip
Bacon-Wrapped Potatoes with Queso Blanco Dip Recipe
You can keep the queso blanco warm in a fondue pot or 1-qt. slow cooker. These are hearty, and would be a winner for a tailgate too.
Tailgate Tip: Prepare sandwiches the day before the game. Place in zip-top plastic freezer bags, and refrigerate overnight.
Classic Beef Chili
This is our latest take on traditional chili, and it comes together in just under an hour. It's a winner for a family-friendly weeknight supper or crowd-pleasing tailgate dish.
Skillet Nacho Dip
We combined our favorite elements of cheesy queso dip and loaded beef nachos into one epic skillet dish.
Turkey and Swiss Pinwheels
Turkey and Swiss Pinwheels Recipe
These turkey and swiss roll ups are perfect for packing kids' lunches.
Layered Buffalo Chicken Dip
Layered Buffalo Chicken Dip Recipe
This buffalo chicken dip is a completely homemade labor of love, and your guests will fall head over heels for this incredible appetizer. This dip offers the complete buffalo chicken experience all in one dish and combines layers of different ingredients and flavors along with a unique scratch-made carrot ranch dressing. There is a crunch, a richness, and a level of spice all mixed together in this wow-worthy dip that make it the perfect contributiion to any party or tailgate. This dish delivers intense flavor and an all-inclusive and truly delicious buffalo chicken experience.
Tex-Mex meets tater tots in this easy, inexpensive, and all-around comforting one-dish dinner. Our spicy twist on the classic tater tot casserole consists of a succulent ground beef filling—featuring creamy black beans, crisp-sweet corn, cheese, and mild green chiles for a kick—topped with crispy tater tots, and finished with a drizzle of an addictively spicy and tangy sour cream sauce. Top this fiesta of a casserole with fresh garnishes, such as avocado, tomato, jalapeño, and cilantro, and it’s as perfect to serve at your next football feast as it is for a casual weeknight meal. We use 85/15 lean ground beef for this recipe and recommend that you do not go with anything leaner, as the higher fat percentage both contributes to the filling’s rich flavor and keeps it from drying out while baking.
Sweet Orange-Chili Wings
Sweet Orange-Chili Wings Recipe
Skip the mess that comes with deep-frying wings in oil with this smart oven-baking trick: Coat your chicken wings in baking powder. Yep, baking powder—this easy hack makes for exceptionally crispy skin. As soon as the wings are golden brown, toss them in this sweet orange chili sauce to get the party started. The dynamic sauce offers a subtle heat from the fresh ginger and chili flakes, balanced by sweet brown sugar and aromatic orange.
No Super Bowl party is complete without guacamole, and why not serve it in avocado halves to mimic the shape of a football? Accented with sour cream to imitate the lace on a football, these easy gameday appetizers are just as cute as they are tasty. For a hungry crowd, you'll probably want to go ahead and double the batch.
Salt-and-Vinegar Boneless "Wings"
Salt-and-Vinegar Boneless "Wings" Recipe
The popular potato chip flavor translates fantastically to boneless "wings." OK, admittedly, they're basically chicken fingers, but for game day, we're calling them boneless wings. Be sure to line the baking sheet with parchment paper, as the chicken tends to stick to aluminum foil, even if it's coated with cooking spray.
Quick and Easy Nachos
This platter of goodness represents the lowest-effort end of the homemade nachos spectrum. That said, “low-effort”—by no stretch of the imagination—means a low YUM-factor here. Although this game day-perfect platter of beefy, cheesy nachos comes together quickly and relies largely on store-bought shortcuts, it delivers the classic meld of flavors and textures that you want from everyone’s favorite appetizer. For this nachos recipe, we combine the meat and nacho cheese elements to create a Ro*Tel Dip-inspired, beefy cheese sauce. This guarantees an even distribution of the hearty toppings and keeps you from having to crank up the oven. However, if you prefer melted, shredded cheese over a nacho cheese sauce, simply cook your ground beef in a skillet on the stovetop, drain, and distribute over the nachos on a sheet pan. Then, top the platter with shredded cheese and pop it under the broiler until melty and glorious (no Ro*Tel required).
Crispy Grilled Buffalo Wings
Crispy Grilled Buffalo Wings Recipe
Skip the deep frying mess and go for the grill instead. Grilling chicken wings creates a delightfully crispy exterior and gives them added depth via delicious smoky char. These crisp grilled wings are delicious as is, so feel free to skip the Buffalo sauce or give them the lemon-pepper treatment instead. They’re the perfect snack for a Super Bowl party or other casual get together.
Jamaican Jerk Chicken Wings with Cilantro-Lime Ranch
Sheet Pan White Pizza with Salami and Peppers
Sheet Pan White Pizza with Salami and Peppers Recipe
This pizza is flat out delicious! Hold the tomato sauce with this easy, one (sheet) pan pizza. Test Kitchen Tip: Preheating the sheet pan is key to achieving a crisp, crunchy, pizzeria-worthy crust at home.
Smashed Double Cheeseburger Sliders
Smashed Double Cheeseburger Sliders Recipe
You can easily make these on the grill instead of the stovetop. Just preheat the grill to high, and set a cast-iron skillet on the grill grate to preheat also. Be careful when touching the skillet, as the handle will be extremely hot. A pinch of sugar in the beef patty mixture helps deliver deep-brown, caramelized crust to the burgers without making them taste sweet.
Cheesy Pigs in Blankets
Cheesy Pigs in Blankets Recipe
Serve up this cheesy twist on the classic pigs in a blanket for a tasty tailgating appetizer.
This game-day chili is a sure-fire crowd pleaser, perfect for serving for football games during chilly weather.
Buffalo Chicken-Cheese Dip
Buffalo Chicken-Cheese Dip Recipe
Buffalo Chicken-Cheese Dip is a favorite game-day appetizer. Cook and serve this savory dip in your slow cooker.
How to Make Spinach-and-Artichoke Dip
Our crowd-pleasing appetizer is rich and creamy without excess fat and calories. Learn how we made over this all-time favorite.
Buffalo Chicken Sliders
Buffalo Chicken Sliders Recipe
For this slider, we tuck the usual Buffalo wing accompaniments--carrots and celery--inside the patty. This gives you all the flavors of a wing plate while also helping to keep the lean breast meat moist.
Barbecue Pulled Chicken Sliders
Barbecue Pulled Chicken Sliders Recipe
Make these easy barbecue pulled chicken sliders by pairing shredded rotisserie chicken with homemade barbecue sauce for an easy weeknight meal.
How to Make Simple Guacamole
Two perfectly ripe avocados and a small handful of simple seasonings are all it takes to make the best guacamole you've ever tasted.
How to Make Loaded Baked Potato Dip
Learn how to take your love of baked potatoes to the next level with this easy and addictive Loaded Baked Potato Dip recipe. Move that loaded spud from the side dish spread to the appetizer buffet. You won't regret it and your friends will love it.
Sweet Heat Hot Dogs
Take hot dog toppings beyond traditional sauerkraut and mustard by dressing with sweet-hot pickles, shredded red cabbage and a creamy topping made of mayo, whole grain mustard, and hot chili sauce.
Baked Buffalo Chicken Strips with Blue Cheese Dip
Baked Buffalo Chicken Strips with Blue Cheese Dip Recipe
These chicken fingers made with hot sauce and Buffalo wing seasoning simply scream game day.
The classic sports bar staple is even tastier when homemade. Make these party-perfect jalapeño poppers and watch them disappear.
Nachos for a Crowd
These nachos are so easy to make — it’s all about the art of layering the toppings. Your guests will have these finished off way before kick off.
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.
Pesto Arugula Wraps
Use store-bought pesto, fresh arugula and mozzarella cheese to make these savory roll-ups in only 15 minutes. They’re great for tailgates – no fork required – and you can make them ahead and keep them chilled until you’re ready to put them on a platter.
Smoky "Pimiento" Cheese Sandwiches
Smoky "Pimiento" Cheese Sandwiches Recipe
These pimiento sandwiches make a quick and easy finger food that’s perfect for tailgates. 15.
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 Recipe
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 Recipe
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 Recipe
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
Chicken and Roast Beef Muffulettas Recipe
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 Recipe
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
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.