Football season is in full swing, and no matter which team you’re rooting for, there’s one thing everyone can agree on — game day is a great excuse for digging into some delicious eats! Whether for a tailgate or watching the game on TV, an array of appetizers lets friends and family enjoy a sampling of all types of food, plus it’s so much easier than making a full meal. And although chips and pretzels have earned their rightful place on the snack table, we’ve got more ideas to make your spread extra special. Plus, an entertaining pro shares clever tricks for serving your appetizers that’ll make the day a whole lot easier on you. So keeping reading for our favorite game day snack recipes and get ready to score big with your football fare!
The best kinds of snacks to enjoy while watching football
When crafting a game day menu, finger foods take the top spot. Foods like chicken wings, dips and hot dogs are easy to prep in advance and serve to a large crowd, no utensils needed. These foods also travel well, which means there’s no need to worry about dishes getting ruined en route to a tailgate or watch party. Ultimately, this should spark inspiration for game day grub, but we have a couple of tips to make serving those dishes extra simple!
2 tips for serving the ultimate game day spread
Keeping your party food hot and fresh is key when feeding a game day crowd. So, we tapped Jessica Roe, entertaining expert and founder at EveryDayParty.com, for advice on how to do so along with a hack for creating an easy-to-serve snack platter.
- Turn your cooler into a “hot box.” The same insulating properties of a cooler that keep drinks cold can also keep game day fare hot! All you have to do is warm it up. First, line a cooler with foil, then heat about 2 to 3 bricks in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes at 300°F. Carefully set the bricks in the foil-lined cooler using tongs. Add a layer of tea towels for insulation, then place disposable pans of hot food on top. Tuck in more towels to fill any open space; close the lid. The food should stay warm for about 4 to 6 hours before digging in.
- Use muffin tins as snack trays. Rather than having a ton of bowls for veggies, chips and dip, portion each of them into the wells of a 6- or 12-cup muffin tin and serve! Keep extra amounts of every ingredient in a cooler to replace empty sections as needed.
These tricks are sure to make the occasion hassle-free, but for more check out these party tips from a tailgating pro. Now, you’re ready to whip up easy eats that will give your loved ones another reason to cheer.
4 recipes for mouthwatering game day snacks
The more snacks the merrier, and these five recipes from our test kitchen are worth adding to your game day lineup. Whether you’re in the mood for something sweet, spicy or savory, there’s a dish for everyone to fall in love with!
1. Stuffed Pizza Ring
Store-bought pizza dough helps speed this pull-apart bread into the oven.
- 3 Tbs. olive oil
- 2 Tbs. grated Parmesan
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- ½ tsp. dried Italian seasoning
- 2 (15 to 16 oz.) packages refrigerated pizza dough, room temperature
- 12 frozen Italian-style bite-size meatballs
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella
- 12 slices pepperoni
- 1 cup pizza sauce
- Fresh basil sprig (optional)
- Active: 30 mins
- Total time: 1 hr.
- Yield: 8 servings
- Heat oven to 400°F. Coat baking sheet with cooking spray. Place 5-inch diameter bowl upside down in center. In small bowl, whisk together olive oil, Parmesan, garlic powder and seasoning until combined; reserve.
- Divide dough into 12 equal portions. Form one portion of dough into round, then slightly flatten. Place one meatball in center, then pull edges up over filling. Using moist fingers, press ends together to seal dough around meatball. Repeat with remaining dough pieces and meatballs. Place dough balls around bowl, sides touching each other. Brush all over with oil mixture; remove bowl.
- Bake until dough is baked through and crust is golden brown, about 25 minutes. Sprinkle with mozzarella and top with pepperoni. Bake until cheese is melted and pepperoni starts to brown, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in small pot over medium heat, cook pizza sauce until heated through, about 5 minutes. Transfer sauce to small bowl; place in center of pizza ring. If desired, garnish with basil. Serve immediately.
2. Honey Buffalo Chicken Wings
These oven-baked bites come together in minutes and cook up without the messy frying and added fat.
- ¾ cup hot sauce + additional
- ¼ cup honey
- 3 Tbs. butter, melted
- 3 Tbs. tomato paste
- 3 lbs. chicken wings
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- ¾ tsp. celery salt
- Light blue cheese salad dressing (optional)
- Active: 15 mins
- Total time: 1 hr.
- Yield: 8 servings
- Heat oven to 425°F. Line large rimmed baking sheet with foil; coat with cooking spray. In small bowl, combine ¾ cup hot sauce with honey, butter and tomato paste. In large bowl, toss chicken wings with garlic powder and celery salt. Add ⅓ cup sauce mixture; toss to coat wings.
- Arrange wings in single layer on baking sheet. Bake until no longer pink near bones, 40 to 45 minutes, brushing with remaining sauce mixture several times during last 20 minutes of cooking. Serve with additional hot sauce and, if desired, dressing.
- Easy variation: Make them Teriyaki Wings. Omit tomato paste, salt and dressing. Sub in teriyaki for hot sauce.
3. Fresh Tomatillo Guacamole
A crowd-pleasing chips and dip platter becomes trophy-worthy when paired with fresh tomatillo guacamole!
- 4 avocados, pitted
- ½ cup chopped cilantro
- ¼ cup sour cream
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
- ½ chopped tomatillos
- 2 Tbs. minced onion
- 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (peeled and minced) + a spoonful of adobo sauce
- Pinch of salt
- Tortilla chips and veggies like celery sticks and sliced bell peppers
- Active: 10 mins
- Total time: 15 mins
- Yield: 5 to 6 servings
- Mash avocados in bowl until mixture reaches desired level of smoothness consistency. Alternatively, finely dice avocados for chunky dip.
- Stir in cilantro, sour cream, lime juice tomatillos, minced onion, chipotle pepper, adobo sauce and pinch of salt. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Chill until ready to serve.
- Serve guac in bowl or muffin pan alongside tortilla chips and veggies.
4. Coconut Shrimp With Sweet Chili Sauce
Old Bay seasoning in the coating is the secret to these crunchy bites that prep in just 20 minutes.
- 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut, chopped
- ⅔ cup seasoned panko breadcrumbs
- ½ tsp. less-sodium Old Bay seasoning
- 1 cup baking mix
- 1 egg
- 1 lb. peeled, deveined jumbo shrimp
Sweet chili sauce:
- ⅓ cup water + 1 Tbs. water
- ¼ cup rice vinegar
- 2 Tbs. honey
- 2 Tbs. ketchup
- 1 tsp. minced garlic
- 1 tsp. grated ginger
- 1 tsp. soy sauce
- ¾ tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1½ tsp. cornstarch
- Active: 20 mins
- Total time: 35 mins
- Yield: 8 servings
- Heat 7-qt. air fryer to air-fry at 325°F. Coat basket with cooking spray. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. In medium bowl, combine coconut, panko breadcrumbs and Old Bay seasoning. In separate bowl, stir together ⅔ cup baking mix, egg and ⅓ cup water.
- Place remaining ⅓ cup baking mix in separate bowl; add shrimp. Toss until coated; dip in egg mixture, then coconut mixture. Transfer to baking sheet. In batches, place shrimp in single layer in air-fryer basket. Air-fry until crisp and golden, 5 to 6 minutes per batch.
- For sweet chili sauce: Bring ⅓ cup water, rice vinegar, honey, ketchup, garlic, ginger, soy sauce and red pepper flakes to a simmer. Whisk cornstarch and 1 Tbs. water; stir in. Cook 2 minutes, or until thickened. Cool for
For more game day recipes, check out the stories below:
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