Ten Tailgate Recipes That Might Be Better Than the Game


Casual observer or obsessive talk-radio listener, you can’t escape tailgate season. May as well eat well. Whether you’ve been a season ticket holder since birth or haven’t been to a game since freshman year, tailgating is a great excuse to get together with friends, cheer on your favorite team, gather around the grub, and enjoy a few adult beverages. We’ve scoured the web to bring you the very best tailgate recipes. Here you’ll find some classics and a few soon-to-be favorites. Pick one or make them all and impress your friends, or maybe your opponents, this weekend.


Nothing says Southern like cooking with Bourbon (and of course, football). Make sure to pack the napkins when you prepare these Bourbon Spice Barbecue Chicken Wings. Fresh bird plus homemade spice rub and sauce equals bragging rights on game day.

Recipe and image courtesy of A Family Feast.

tailgate recipes

No football party is complete without a melty cheese dip. Hello, Jalepeno Popper Dip. Delicious is obvious at first sight, but we love this dip because it’s easy. It’s basically a mix, bake, and collect compliments kind of dish. (The compliments help if you’re team isn’t the best. At least your dip is the best!)

Recipe and image courtesy of Spend with Pennies.

Again with the cheese, because you can never have enough. (Sorry, dairy intolerants of the world. It’s not a party without the cheddar.) We’re not going to lie, Cheesy Potato Fries is not the quickest prepping recipe on the list. And if you pressed us, we might admit that we started with a bag of frozen steak fries. We also might admit that we remember when the only way to get Ranch Dressing was by mixing up an envelope at home. Worth it then and worth it now.

Recipe and image courtesy of oh so Delicioso.

We’ve got a genius in our midst! How else to describe the inventor of Individual Seven-Layer Dips? Forget tailgating, these are the ideal solution at any gathering in families with “double dip” boundary issues (or just issues). A bit time consuming, but can be assembled the night before, possibly while enjoying one of those adult beverages or listening to your significant other diagnose the opponent’s offensive line for the billionth time.

Recipe and image courtesy of The Girl Who Ate Everything.

tailgating recipes

Here’s a childhood favorite with a surprise. Lemon Supreme Rice Krispies Treats with a lemony kick. We’re not always fancy (unless your tailgate is in The Grove, you gotta keep your fancy on lock there), but when we are we like tinted sugar. A little on top of these couldn’t hurt.

Recipe and image courtesy of Sweet as a Cookie.

Macaroni and cheese as a finger food? Bring it. Honestly, the crumble of bacon is what elevates Mac n’ Cheese Bites from borderline trailer trash eats to acceptable party food. And if we haven’t mentioned it, a good tailgate is a good party. Now, if only we could get this one on a stick…

Recipe and image courtesy of Pantry Chef.

Only in the South. A Barbecue Sundae in a Mason jar. Surely there’s not a more delightful way to get your pulled pork, cole slaw, and beans. The beauty of this “recipe” is that, unless you’re an over-achiever, it comes from your favorite BBQ joint. Presentation really is everything. Don’t forget the pickle.

Recipe and image courtesy of Southern Belle Simple.

In some circles these are simply known as Tailgate Sandwiches (in other circles, they’ve been served at wedding showers). Whatever you call them, Ham and Swiss Sliders are a trusted pleaser in any crowd. These are the ideal balance between no-fuss and almost-just-a-little-bit-fancy. Do yourself a favor and make a double batch. Keep them warm on game day by storing in a crock pot.

Recipe and image courtesy of Chef in Training.

Frito pie in a bag? Oh, yes. Don’t judge. First, this recipe for Frito Chili Pie is from Ree Drummond, whom we adore. Second, the chili is homemade, y’all! This is the ultimate convenience food. Show up with this and you will win this tailgate and every tailgate! And sometimes, if your team’s defense is non-existent, it’s kind of about winning the tailgate.

Recipe and image courtesy of The Pioneer Woman.

Need a sweet way to support your team? With a few bags of M&Ms, these Pretzel Hugs become a custom tribute. And they’re very pretty.

Recipe and image courtesy of The Foley Fam.

Do you have a favorite tailgate recipe? Let us know. If we like it, we’ll Pin it!