Our Best Tailgating Recipes to Enjoy on Game Day
Whether or not you're a sports fan, tailgates are a fun way to gather with family and friends. But with limited cooking equipment and cooling temperatures, preparing a meal during a tailgate can be a challenge. Plus, you want to enjoy the game and the company rather than stress over what needs to be prepped. We're helping you take the stress out of putting together a game plan by sharing our favorite recipes for tailgate-worthy appetizers, mains, sides, and desserts. Make one (or more!) of these recipes and you're guaranteed to score big when it's time to serve.
Making as much food as possible ahead of time is the best way to ensure you have the chance to sit back and (mostly) relax. All of the dip recipes here can be made in advance and stored in airtight containers for easy transporting (and you can serve them in the same no-fuss container, too!). Be sure to marinate meat a few hours—or even a day—ahead of time so that all that's left to do at the game is grill them.
Though tailgates are all about hot dogs with all the fixings, burgers, pigs in blankets, and barbecued meats, there are tasty vegetarian tailgating recipes, too. Guacamole, of course, but also our creamy broccoli-spinach dip, which is a delicious meat-free option that uses airy ricotta cheese for a base. And if you're wondering whether or not to make a double batch of salsa, our classic style featuring roasted tomatoes goes fast, so don't be shy.
No gathering is ever complete without dessert! This made-for-a-crowd grasshopper sheet cake is easy to slice and serve (and the cute football candies on top make it the perfect dessert for a tailgate). But what about those who chose to enjoy the game from the comfort of their own homes? If you fall into that camp, we've got some delicious options for you, too—try stovetop beef chili and our insanely indulgent skillet chili nachos.
Cheer on your favorite team with our 25 best tailgating recipes.
Smoky Baby Back Ribs
Garlic and Chive Dip
Backyard Jerk Chicken
Texas Red Chili
Bistro Sliders with Pickled Onions
Classic Roasted Salsa
Cincinnati Chili Dogs
Wisconsin Beer Brats
Skillet Chili Nachos
Easy Beef Chili
Spicy Shrimp Fajitas with Grilled Pineapple Pico
Creamy Broccoli-Spinach Dip
Pigs in Blankets
This slaw uses broccoli stems, rather than the ever-popular florets. Broccoli stems are often discarded but when shaved and sliced thin, they taste delicious. Sliced apple keeps this slaw light and sweet while also providing a welcome contrast to the piquant mustard-and-mayo dressing.
Make-Ahead Bloody Mary Mix
Roasted Pepper-Thai Chile Deviled Eggs
Lima-Bean Salad with Roasted Poblanos and Queso Fresco
Cowboy Cookie S'Mores
Michelada Beer Cocktail
Big Batch Triple Chocolate Brownie Bars
Maybe lobster isn't the first thing that comes to mind for a tailgate, but now it can—and should be—part of your menu with this crowd-friendly twist on a BLT. Lay the tomatoes, lettuce, bread, bacon, and pre-cooked lobster out on a board so guests can DIY their sandwiches.