35 Tailgating Recipes That Score
Light and Layered Taco Dip
Ground turkey, reduced-sodium and light ingredients, and a confetti of crisp, colorful veggies make this potluck staple more nutritious than a typical layered dip—but every bit as tasty.
Chipotle Black-Bean Chili
This chili is great for tucking into your slow cooker in the morning, so you can come home to a warm winter dinner. Omit the meat if you'd prefer a hearty meatless main dish. If you like, add chopped avocado or shredded cheese as toppers before serving.
Sunny Broccoli Salad
A Cleveland reader makes this potluck salad the day ahead and refrigerates the dressing and vegetables separately. When it's time to serve it, she tosses everything together. Bacon, sunflower kernels and raisins make a crunchy and flavorful side dish.
Steep your grilled brats in this onion-and-herb beer mixture for an easy way to keep them warm while tailgating. Beer-Braised Brats get a liberal dose of cranberry-pickle relish for extra color and tang.
Jack Cheese and Smoky Chipotle Fondue
Lots of Monterey Jack cheese goes into this creamy fondue, along with sour cream, chipotle peppers and bacon. Scoop up with bread or tortilla chips.
Combine edamame and avocado with basil pesto, lemon juice and chopped tomato for this easy potluck dip.
Combine hash browns, sausage, bacon, eggs, cheese and chopped veggies for a hearty breakfast tortilla. Top the colorful mixture with cool sour cream and spicy salsa in this recipe inspired by RAGBRAI vendor Farm Boys.
A leafy celery stalk is the classic bloody mary garnish, but you can also use long picks with green olives and small pickles, or even a strip of crisp bacon or smoky beef jerky.
Roasted Red Pepper-Chipotle Hummus
Hummus is easier than you might think: Just throw the ingredients in the food processor. Find canned smoky chipotle peppers in the Mexican aisle of large supermarkets.
Beefy Chili Dogs
The Coney Island Lunch Room in Grand Island, Nebraska, has served its all-American chili dog since 1933. In honor of this Cornhusker State edible institution, we created this recipe for Beefy Chili Dogs. Stewing the hot dogs in the seasoned meat mixture makes them extra juicy. Top them with cheese.
Black Bean Salsa
This salsa does double duty as a tortilla dip or a meat topper. Serve with a slotted spoon over grilled pork, smoked bratwursts or sausages, grilled chicken or salmon.
Banana Nut Sandwich Cookies
Take advantage of a prepackaged muffin mix to keep the ingredient list short and the banana flavor big for these cookies. You can use a football cookie cutter or just cut in a ball-shape pattern.
Calico Bean Bake
This recipe blurs the line between baked beans and chili. It's great for feeding a crowd.
Cheesy Snack Mix
Grated Parmesan cheese gives extra cheesy flavor to this blend of crispy corn and rice cereals, canned shoestring potatoes, crisp breadsticks and bite-size cheese crackers.
Hot Spinach Artichoke Dip
Good food and friends are what tailgating is all about, says Debbie Pamperin of Suamico, Wisconsin. Debbie plans her Green Bay Packer tailgating experiences with this in mind. The Hot Spinach Artichoke Dip recipe, originally from one of her co-workers, has been a crowd-pleaser at her tailgate parties.
Multigrain Apple Streusel Muffins
Rise and shine! These tender gems taste so good, you’d never guess we bumped up the fiber in this fall recipe with two kinds of whole grains and traded most of the butter for applesauce and buttermilk.
Hash Brown Casserole
A crispy, savory crust of cheese, crushed cornflakes and butter tops a combination of ham, hash brown potatoes, cubed cheese, condensed soup and sour cream. A potluck favorite!
Starker's Bacon and Cheese Curd Burger
Sugared bacon and melting cheese curds or string cheese make a mouthwatering filling for these behemoth burgers. The recipe comes from chef/owner John McClure of Starker's Restaurant at Country Club Plaza in Kansas City.
Meat and Potato Pizza
Chalk this recipe up as an occasional indulgence. It's topped with a totally mouth-watering combo of thin-sliced potatoes, bacon, sausage and a delectable garlic-rosemary butter. The recipe comes from Hidemi Walsh of Plainfield, Indiana.
Dave's Pigskin Special
Assemble these hefty ham-and-cheese sandwiches at home, then grill them on-site for a warm game-day meal. The recipe is from Dave Sutton of Menomenee Falls, Wisconsin.
These sweet treats have a coconut-and-chocolate flavored center surrounded by flaky biscuit and topped with melted chocolate pieces.
Big Irv Favre's Red Beans and Rice
This dish honors "Big Irv" Favre, the late father of former Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre. Red beans and rice is a tradition in Mississippi, Brett's home state, and makes a great addition to Midwest tailgate parties.
Apple Bagel Sandwiches with Pumpkin Cream Cheese
Illinois grows 80 percent of the pumpkins processed in the United States. That's why we created Apple Bagel Sandwiches with Pumpkin Cream Cheese. They're a good option for morning tailgating events. Or try them as a meatless sandwich any time of day.
To see more one-of-a-kind sandwiches created using ingredients special to each Midwest state, click the link below.
Tex-Mex Cheesy Chicken Chowder
Nina Swan-Kohler of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, loves easy-to-make dishes that travel well to football games or other events. Tex-Mex Cheesy Chicken Chowder is one of her favorite recipes. "It uses a variety of convenience foods that are stirred together in one big pot, and brings out the great flavor of all the ingredients," Nina says.
Tailgaters' Brownie Cupcakes
Spicy Chicken Wings with Blue Cheese Dressing
These succulent chicken wings might disappear as fast as you can grill them. The recipe comes from Danny Edwards Famous Kansas City BBQ, formerly Li'l Jake's Eat It and Beat It. The tiny, no-frills eatery has served weekday lunch crowds in Kansas City for more than two decades. You"ll enjoy sharing the recipe with your weekend tailgating friends.
Iowa Corn Chowder
This hearty soup, an update of an Amish favorite, comes from an Iowa City, Iowa, reader and football fan. Flavored with bacon and onion, it's a great soup for family dinners or tailgate parties.
Soft melting marshmallows blend with toasty pecans and chocolate to create a sure crowd-pleaser.
Mustard, mayo and dill pickle spice up this grilled ham, pork, salami and Swiss cheese sandwich. Our recipe gives step-by-step instructions to make this a tailgating success!
Caramel Blonde Brownies
Caramels, oats and milk chocolate pieces blend in these gooey sweets from a West Des Moines, Iowa, reader.
Zesty Three-Bean Salad
Cajun Snack Mix
Cajun seasoning is a blend of black and cayenne pepper with onion, garlic and other herbs. It adds kick to this appetizer mix of peanuts, popcorn and pretzels.
Prairie State Oatmeal Cake
Rolled oats keep this old-fashioned cake moist. You'll love the gooey coconut-walnut topping.
More party and snack ideas
Click below for more great Midwest Living party and snack recipes!