The best tailgate food ideas are easy, delicious, and will please everyone. You don’t have to spend hours in the kitchen or be a professional chef slaving away for your guests. With these awesome tailgate recipes, you’ll find that there’s something for every taste bud!
This list of the best tailgate food recipes has been divided into five different categories; appetizers, chicken recipes, meaty recipes, crockpot recipes, and dessert recipes.
Best Tailgate Food Appetizer Recipes
Appetizer recipes are great to put together to munch on before game day. They are normally easy, throw-together ingredients that make a great portion for any size crowd. We definitely love recipes that make too much so we can finish it up for leftovers later on.
1. Smoked Mac & Cheese
Who doesn’t love a good mac & cheese? Why not up the normal recipe and make a mouth-savoring smoked mac and cheese? Check out our very own recipes and you will thank us later!
2. Bacon Crackers
Found from Love Bakes Good Cakes
Cheese, bacon, and crackers … do I need to say more? Yum! This is one recipe that we will definitely be trying this football season! Perfect finger foods to put out and let your party-goers graze on.
3. Cracked Out Corn Dip
Found from Plain Chicken
Why do all of the best dips have to be so bad for your health? If you are NOT counting calories, this dip looks amazing! Everything is in moderation and you can indulge in this cream cheese corn dip.
4. Jalapeño Popper Wonton Cups
Found from Lemon Tree Dwelling
The pop of flavors in these wonton poppers is to die for! Loaded with bacon, shredded cheese, and jalapenos. Your tailgate guests will not be able to have just one!
5. Mini Italian Skewers
Found from Listotic
So simple to string together a few ingredients on a toothpick for your next get together. The simplicity of bringing this appetizer tailgating allows for extremely easy pick up!
6. Cowboy Caviar
Found from Culinary Hill
One of our all-time favorite appetizers! I make Cowboy Caviar for almost every event I attend. It can take a little longer than the other recipes, but trust me when I say it is completely worth the time. This recipe makes a lot and I have used the leftovers in a tortilla and it is incredible!
7. French Onion Dip
Found from Glamper Life
French onion dip is the perfect sidekick for any meal. This French recipe has a sweet and salty flavor that will make you want more with every bite!It tastes so good with your veggie platter or potato chip bowl!
8. Sour Cream and Cheddar Cheese Dip
Found from Apron And Stilletos
This sour cream and cheddar cheese dip recipe is a staple for us this football season. There’s nothing better than coming home after an afternoon of watching our favorite teams win, sinking your teeth into some good old-fashioned comfort food – just like mom used to make!
9. Pico de Gallo
Found from Food Network
It’s always a good idea to have some pico de gallo on hand for your next tailgate. This easy recipe from Ree will give you everything that is needed in just five ingredients!
10. Hot Blue Cheese Dip
Found from FruetCake
What better way to enjoy the game than with a variety of dipping options? Served alongside crunchy baguette slices, this hot blue cheese dip will make your taste buds thank you. This creamy Dip is perfect for serving with wings Celery sticks and carrots on top.
Chicken Tailgate Recipes
The perfect solution to a light, healthy tailgating meal is chicken. There are so many ways you can prepare it and no matter what dish you are craving for when grilling season comes around. Chicken is one of the easiest and healthiest meats to work with for tailgating recipes.
When in doubt or in a crunch, I use a rotisserie chicken that I can normally get from the grocery store for around $5.
11. Classic Buffalo Wings
Recipe from Delish
Need a tasty and authentic wings recipe for your next game-day party? These Classic Buffalo Wings are the real deal! Cook up some of this delicious, crispy goodness in anticipation.
12. Hawaiian Chicken Kebabs
Found from Cooking Classy
These kebabs are easy to throw together before you leave the house. When you get to your tailgate, throw them on your portable tailgate grill and you’re ready to go. Another easy clean-up recipe.
13. Spicy Chicken Cheeseballs
Found from Everyday Made Fresh
Yes, you read that right! Spicy chicken cheeseballs! A simple recipe of mixing all ingredients in a bowl, roll the balls and bake for 20 minutes. SOLD!
Read also: Easy BBQ Recipes
14. Cheddar Ranch Popcorn Chicken
Found from BuzzFeed
I do not know about you, but recipes that have a demonstration video of the recipe bring it to whole new level. I love being able to pause the video to mix ingredients and continue. This source link has a video of how to make this amazing ranch chicken.
15. Chicken Avocado Burger
Found from California Avocado
This 4 out of 5 star recipe takes less than 20 minutes to make from start to finish. These burgers are also a great health alternative for anyone watching their weight or has any diet restrictions. The best tailgate food doesn’t always have to have cheese … or does it?
16. Barbecue Bacon and Chicken Bites
Found from Lilluna
Anything wrapped in bacon is bound to be delicious! This best tailgate food recipe made the list because it has a total of 3 ingredients!
17. Fried Chicken and Waffle Skewers
Found from The Hopeless Housewife
Game day is not complete without a taste of the classic American dish: chicken and waffles! It’s easy to enjoy this combo either by skewering it on sticks, frying up some Korean fried chicken, or baking them in an oven with special seasonings.
18. Buffalo Chicken Pizza
Found from Well Plated
You can never go wrong with a classic. The Buffalo chicken pizza is everything that makes buffalo wings epically awesome—the juicy meat, signature spicy sauce, and tangy blue cheese fused together to form one delicious bite of goodness in your mouth!
19. Southern Style Cheese Fries
Found from Spicy Southern Kitchen
When you’re looking for a tasty alternative to the typical game-time snacks, these crinkle fries are exactly what your stomach needs. They come topped with pulled pork BBQ sauce and homemade pimento cheese sauce that will have everyone asking “Where’s the beef?”
Meaty Tailgate Recipes
We can’t forget some of the other favorite meats that make for good tailgate ingredients. It’s time to throw out your old sandwich recipe and try a new one!
20. Easy Meatball Sliders
Found from Homemade Interest
You can clearly see from the above picture how simple and easy this recipe is. Wrap up the sliders in some tinfoil and break them apart when you arrive at your parking lot tailgate.
21. Hawaiian Roll Ham Sliders
Found from Just a Pinch
Another recipe I make all of the time! We love these sliders so much! The dressing is incredible and the Hawaiian sweet roll is a must! The best is when I score the sweet rolls discounted on the clearance bread shelf at Wal-Mart.
22. Italian Pinwheels
Found from Mother Thyme
No round-up of the best tailgate foods would be complete without one pinwheel recipe. Kelan loves his meat and these are perfect when hosting a lot of manly men at your next parking lot tailgate.
23. Walking Tacos
Found from Neighbor Food Blog
These are perfect for walking around your tailgate party and checking out what is going on. Make ahead of time and baggie all the goodies to easily fill your Fritos bag up.
24. Simple Homemade Pretzel Dogs
Found from The Best Blog Recipes
Just like it says in the title, SIMPLE pretzel dogs. The worst part is waiting for the dough to rise. After that, smooth sailing and worth every second!
25. Taco Cups
Found from Taste of Home
These spicy taco cups rank high on the list of favorites because they combine three things I look for in a recipe: fast and easy to make, yet delicious when you take one bite. They’re perfect finger food for game day parties – everyone has fun choosing their desired toppings!
26. Sweet Heat Hot Dogs
Found from Southern Living
A true classic, hot dogs are an American food item that has been enjoyed by people all around the world for generations. This recipe gets its signature sweet heat from pickles and a crunchy slaw. These hot dogs you can make ahead of time, and even more delicious than before!
27. BBQ Beef Nachos
Found from Good House Keeping
These nachos have a special ingredient that makes them extra tasty. You’ll never guess what it is! BBQ Sauce. No one would know these party snacks are so easy to season if they haven’t tried it themselves yet and added their own spice mix for the perfect flavor profile.
Best Tailgate Food Slow-Cooker Ideas
The fall season is here and so are all of your favorite football games. But what if you need to cook for a crowd? Well, slow cooker recipes can be used at any time during the week or weekend without sacrificing taste (or healthy eating).
These crockpot tailgating recipes will help make planning your next tailgate event with ease!
28. Bacon Cheeseburger Crock Pot Dip
Found from Recipes that Crock
Set it and forget for 2 hours with this tasty bacon cheeseburger dip. Pair it with some tortilla chips and you can rock your tailgate.
29. Crockpot Chex Mix
Found from Gimme Some Oven
We can’t get enough of Chex mix in our house. It is so addicting and so is this recipe. I love a variety of different types of food at a tailgate to please all different kinds of taste buds. This one is most definitely a keeper!
30. Slow Cooker Spinach Artichoke Dip
Found from Gimme Some Oven
Spinach dip is so delicious! Again, this crockpot recipe only calls for two hours, so it will finish just in time to bring with you to the big game.
31. Beer Cheese Dip
Recipe from Spend With Pennies
A cheesy dip, with a flavorful bliss that will have your guests asking for seconds! This beer cheese dip recipe is the perfect way to start off any party or get-together. With pretzel bites as well as snacking on tortilla chips while they’re still hot from the oven nothing could be better than this delectable delight!
32. Slow Cooker Grape Jelly Meatballs
Found from Mommy Musings
How easy is this recipe? Party meatballs are awesome because they are enjoyed by everyone and it is so simple to make a large batch for everyone.
33. Buffalo Chicken Dip
Found from All Things Mamma
I don’t know if it is just a New York thing, but we LOVE our buffalo chicken dip! We have it all football season long. To mix up your dippers you could use baguette bread, tortilla chips, or celery.
34. Nacho Cheese Dip
Found from The Stay At Home Chef
Nacho Cheese is another classic. It’s so easy to make and tastes better than store-bought! Use it as a dip or top a nacho platter off. I mean come on, who doesn’t love melted cheese?
Best Tailgate Food Sweet Ideas
Nothing wraps up a tailgating party like some freshly baked BBQ desserts.
35. Football Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Blondies
Found from Well Plated
How adorable are these blondies?! All she did was use a football cut out of the blondie bars. So clever! There are so many different desserts you could try that with.
36. Pretzel S’mores Bites
Found from Well Plated
When I think of summer ending and the beginning of fall, I still think about s’mores by the fire. You might not be able to make s’mores at your tailgate however, you can still enjoy them with this recipe.
37. Easy Football Cupcakes
Found from Your Cup of Cake
A basic cupcake with some chocolate frosting and white laces. Another baking technique that could be used with so many different desserts.
38. Referee Wafer Cookies
Found from Wilton
WOW! These easy wafer cookies will blow away all your tailgate goers! So simple and creative. I love the visual and being able to follow the order step-by-step, I know I wouldn’t mess this recipe up.
39. Buckeye Dip
Found from What Molly Made
In honor of our Ohio roots, this dip is a touchdown celebration for sure! I love the pairing of the graham crackers, but with fall upon us and apple-picking season, I would have to cut up some fresh apples.
Best Tailgate Food Recipes For The Win
When it comes to preparing to watch game day you should always be prepared to serve some great food. Let’s be honest, one of the best parts of getting together to watch some sports is the food!