Our Best Tailgating Recipes
Dip, scoop, and score with these all-time staff and reader-favorite tailgating recipes that will please any and every crowd.
Sausage, Bean, and Spinach Dip
Break out the shakers, war paint, and jerseys; it’s football time and we’ve got you set all season long with our best tailgating recipes ever. First up, this ultimate spinach dip featuring the addition of ground sausage, pinto beans, cream cheese, and Parmesan will easily be your go-to dish all seaon. It's almost hearty enough to be a main dish.
Easy Margaritas for a Crowd
Look no further than these large-batch margaritas for your next tailgate when you can't spend hours juicing limes. This recipe is a revelation--the secret ingredient is a can of frozen limeade concentrate which, once emptied, doubles as a measuring cup for the remaining ingredients.
Sausage-Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole
Combine frozen hash brown potatoes with sausage, eggs, and cheese for a hearty, 5-star-rated breakfast or brunch casserole that can be prepped ahead and baked the next morning.
Two-Cheese Veggie Nachos
We love the double-cheese contrast here: Shredded cheese melts into a bubbly blanket over the tortillas, while crumbly queso fresco covers the veggies with a salty kick. It's an impressive dish for coffee table dining--it's fun to keep it all on the baking pan and serve as a shared platter.
Sour Cream & Onion Potato Chips
Layered Spicy Black Bean Dip
Make this spicy Mexican dip your go-to dip for tailgate parties and casual entertaining. Just layer cream cheese, black bean dip and shredded cheese and top with your choice of onions, olives and tomatoes.
Yummy Sausage Cups
Sausage on the go is the perfect tailgating appetizer for morning or evening games. Pop these on the table when you set up your tailgate and watch them disappear in seconds.
Shrimp-and-Andouille Gumbo Dip
Bring the sea shore right to your kitchen table with this delicious gumbo dip.
White Cheddar-Chive Pimiento Cheese
Here's the secret to nice pimiento-cheese texture: Grate the cheese by hand, half on the large holes of a box grater and half on the small holes. Choose an aged sharp Cheddar cheese for extra bite. Chopped chives and Dijon mustard add piquant punch in place of grated onion.
This is the base guacamole recipe from Gabriel's in Santa Fe, New Mexico. It is intended only as a jumping-off point: Add more seasonings to your taste. We preferred it with 1/2 teaspoon jalapeño, 4 teaspoons onion, and 4 teaspoons lime juice.
Bacon and Cheddar Sliders
Classic burger toppings are all here on these Bacon and Cheddar Sliders. Toasting buns on the grill gives these little burgers a delightful crunch.
Loaded Greek Salad Nachos
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.
Skillet Nacho Dip
We combined our favorite elements of cheesy queso dip and loaded beef nachos into one epic skillet dish.
Smashed Double Cheeseburger Sliders
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.
Crispy Cauliflower Bites with Herbed Yogurt Dip
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
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.
Grilled Cheeseburger Nachos
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.
Bacon-Wrapped Potatoes with Queso Blanco Dip
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.
Nacho Sausage Balls
Nothing says PARTY like two of the all-time greatest finger foods uniting as one. And that is exactly what is happening with these Nacho Sausage Balls. Adding chorizo, Mexican cheese, pickled jalapeño, cilantro, and crushed nacho cheese flavored Doritos to the mix gives traditional sausage balls a hit of spicy personality. They’re perfect for tailgating or holiday parties—plus, these next-level sausage balls can be made ahead of time and frozen for up to 1 month. For ease, form the sausage ball and freeze them in a single layer on a baking sheet; once frozen, transfer them to a freezer-safe container. When you’re ready to serve, pop them straight from the freezer to the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes. Serve your nacho sausage balls with favorite nacho condiments, like sour cream, salsa, and guacamole, for dipping.
Look no further for the ultimate, easy chili recipe. You may think you know how to make chili, but our homemade chili recipe is a gamechanger. With just a push of a button, your weekday dinner is taken care of as the chili cooks away in the slow-cooker. Add chili to your next barbeque to top grilled sausages for an upgraded version of chili dogs. You can easily substitute ground turkey instead of beef for a lighter option and the rest of the ingredients should already be stocked away in your pantry. To top the hot, spicy chili, add shredded Cheddar cheese and corn chips for extra flavor and texture. To go beyond our favorite classic recipe, find more chili recipes here.
Ultimate Crispy Ranch Smashed Potatoes
This practical (and much tastier) alternative to loaded potato skins is both fun and filling. The savory potatoes are crisp and salty on the exterior, and soft and creamy inside.
Cheesy Stuffed Pizza Crust Ring
You know how as soon as you grow into a fully formed adult human, you realize that the best part of a delivery pizza is the part you’ve been foolishly tossing aside (for your parents to eventually graze on)? Well we decided to make up for lost years by making this cheesy stuffed crust ring, no pizza necessary. Of course, we all know the only thing better than a standard hand-tossed pizza crust is a stuffed crust. We flavored this cheesy ring of bready glory with a seasoning blend inspired by the masters—Domino’s—and served it up with a delicious blend of the two most perfect crust dipping sauces: ranch and marinara. Warm from the oven, this cheesy appetizer perfect for a Super Bowl party, or any other game day gathering.
Turkey and Swiss Pinwheels
These turkey and swiss roll ups are perfect for packing kids' lunches.
Layered Buffalo Chicken Dip
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.
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"
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.
Crispy Grilled Buffalo Wings
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.
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).
Slow-Cooker Beef Sliders with Pickled Peppers
Rev up your slow cooker the night before, and on game day, tote it to the game, plug it in, and let your crowd build their own sandwiches.
Baked Mozzarella Bites
Grilled Garlic Knots
You can’t beat a garlic and butter roll, especially one that has been grilled. The cheese and parsley give them a nice Fazoli’s feel, while the charred bread adds extra flavor. Plus, they’re a cinch to grill. Prepared pizza dough can easily be found in the deli section of major grocery stores, but you can even buy it directly from a pizza shop if you ask.
Creamy Tahini Hummus
The key to achieving this rich hummus’s creamy texture is an unexpected pantry staple: baking soda. Simmering dried chickpeas in a baking soda solution helps the legumes break down faster and more efficiently, resulting in an impossibly smooth spread. While 1/2 cup may seem like a generous measure of tahini, this is what will give your hummus its signature deeply toasty flavor—so don’t cut yourself short. We especially love Soom brand tahini, as this is a high-quality product made from single origin sesame seeds. Better than anything you’ll buy in your grocery store deli, this velvety and delicious homemade hummus is perfect served with warm, fluffy pita and crudite, or spread onto sandwiches.