30 Tailgating Recipes That Score
Black Bean Salsa
Nina Swan-Kohler of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, loves both food and football. She enjoys developing tailgating recipes and has published a collection in her cookbook, Tailgates to Touchdowns, Fabulous Football Food. "I developed Black Bean Salsa to serve over brats or burgers," Nina says, "but I recommend it as a tasty dip for tortilla chips, too."
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.
Sweet and Spicy Caribbean BBQ Sauce
Cookbook author Nina Swan-Kohler created this tailgating sauce recipe to remind her of the Caribbean flavors she enjoyed while living in Trinidad and Tobago after college. Brush the sauce on beef, chicken or pork.
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.
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.
Salmon Tailgating Sandwiches
Freshwater salmon gets the spotlight in these sandwiches, created by Midwest Living® to represent Michigan's Great Lakes bounty. A relish made of Granny Smith apples and dried cherries tops it all off. While freshwater salmon would be the first choice in this sandwich, ocean fish works, too.
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.
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.
Lansing Fire Chili
If you're feeding a crowd, this recipe -- designed for hungry firefighters -- should go a long way. You can make the chili at home, then reheat at the game for a hearty meal. Three-Alarm Lansing Fire Chili comes from Lansing, Michigan's Fire Station 8. The recipe uses beef roast and pork sausage. A surprise ingredient: a chocolate bar.
Pumpkin bars and oatmeal cookies
Cookies and bars are great to tote to tailgating events or potlucks. Canned pumpkin and chopped pecans add seasonal flavor to Sour Cream Pumpkin Bars, while rolled oats, chocolate pieces and shredded coconut combine to make deliciously chewy Oatmeal and More Cookies.
Chunks of sharp cheddar cheese, tomatoes, tarragon and spinach punch up the flavor in classic macaroni salad.
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!
Calico Bean Bake
A trio of beans goes into this sweet version of baked beans. Ground beef and bacon add a hearty touch.
Combine just three ingredients with a beef roast, and let the roast bake in your oven until it's tender enough to slice or shred. Serve on toasted onion buns or Kaiser rolls, if you like.
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!
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.
Zesty Three-Bean Salad
Combine kidney beans, garbanzo beans and frozen sweet soybeans (edamame) with red onion, cilantro and lime juice for a fresh twist on three-bean salad.
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.
Dried cranberries plump up when tossed with vinaigrette in this tangy coleslaw. The recipe was a winner at the 2009 Wisconsin State Fair.
Caramel Blonde Brownies
Caramels, oats and milk chocolate pieces blend in these gooey sweets from a West Des Moines, Iowa, reader.
Mix-and-Match Corn Bread
Personalize this quick-and-easy favorite, a great side for any tailgating menu. Start with the basic recipe, then choose your cornmeal, a liquid and a stir-in that gives your cornbread the flavor you're in the mood for. Next, select a pan or skillet, and bake. Serve the bread warm with butter, maple syrup, sorghum or honey. Plenty of options mean you'll want to try this recipe over and over again.
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.
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!