40 Tailgating Recipes That Score
Fall weekends belong to football and the great outdoor eating experience of tailgating. Try these twists on traditional tailgate recipes, including soups, stews, salads, dips and snack mixes.
Mini Italian Beef Sandwiches with Pepperoncini Slaw
These little beef sandwiches make a great appetizer for a football party. And you can put them together in just 20 minutes.
Cheesy Rosemary and Pecan Snack Mix
On game day, plan to find us parked by this bowl of maybe the best snack mix we've ever published.
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.
These sinful brownies feature a cheesecake layer sandwiched between two ultra-rich chocolate layers. They'll be a hit at any tailgating party!
Smoky Beef, Black Bean and Corn Chili
This hands-off, slow-cooker recipe has just a pound of ground beef and a can of stock. All the rest of the heft and taste comes from black beans, fire-roasted tomatoes, smoked paprika, chipotle peppers and corn tortillas.
Ripe Olive Cheese Ball
Perfect for parties and tailgating! Make these cheese balls up to three months ahead of time then freeze. Thaw frozen cheese balls overnight in fridge before serving.
Sunny Broccoli Salad
A Cleveland reader makes this classic 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.
Buffalo Chicken Wings with Blue Cheese Dressing
Carrot and celery sticks add crisp crunch to the platter of Buffalo Chicken Wings with Blue Cheese Dressing. Our wings recipe includes blue cheese, garlic powder, vinegar, and spicy cayenne pepper sauce for kick.
Jumbo Chocolate-Cherry-Oat Cookies
Sometimes it's fun to have cookies the size of your face—these are 5 inches in diameter! For smaller cookies that are still impressive, use a 1/3-cup measure to portion the dough for 15 or 16 cookies. These sturdy cookies will travel well if you're packing for the game.
Bring along extra toppers inspired by pizza-parlor classics: thinly sliced sweet peppers and onion, spinach, sautéed mushrooms, jarred banana peppers or sliced olives.
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.
Calico Bean Bake
This recipe blurs the line between baked beans and chili. It's great for feeding a crowd.
Pepperoni Pizza Pull
Just five ingredients go into this incredibly delicious, gooey appetizer or snack.
Blue-Ribbon Ranger Cookies
Ranger cookies are made with rolled oats and cereal. Judy Kiburz Harrison won best-in-class at the Iowa State Fair for her version, which adds Beer Nuts for a peanutty twist.
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.
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.
Long, slow simmering melds flavors in this recipe from the Spice House in Evanston, Illinois.
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.
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.
Easy Apple Cranberry Slab Pie
Purchased puff pastry adds to the ease of this dessert recipe, but the real star is the filling the pairing of sweet apples and tart cranberries. Homemade icing rounds out this crowd-pleasing potluck pie.
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.
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!
Chipotle Black-Bean Chili
This chili is great for tucking into your slow cooker in the morning. 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.
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.
Chocolate-Peanut Butter Bars
Peanut butter and chocolate meet for a sweet treat in this recipe from a Cedarburg, Wisconsin, reader who likes to make these bar cookies for potluck gatherings.
Chicken Cuban Sandwiches
We traded the traditional roast pork for rotisserie chicken, but kept the signature Cuban flavors-mustard, onion and pickles.
Southwestern Potato Sausage Chowder
Vary the heat of this easy chowder by choosing sweet or hot sausage and serrano or jalapeno pepper. Cumin adds subtle Southwest character.
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.
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.
Starker's Bacon and Cheese Curd Burger
Sugared bacon and melting cheese curds or string cheese make a mouthwatering filling for these behemoth burgers.
Dried cranberries plump up when tossed with vinaigrette in this tangy coleslaw. The recipe was a winner at the Wisconsin State Fair.
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.
Chili Verde with Corn Bread Croutons
Bulgur wheat lends meaty texture, fiber and protein to soups and stews, where it can cook in the broth. In our sweet and savory chili, we match the grain with salsa verde, peppers and edamame-a weeknight meal that makes it oh-so-easy to be green.
Italian Dinner Soup
Gail Gladding-Pullara of Oregon, Wisconsin, created this simple, crowd-pleasing soup. "My family loves this recipe," she says. "It's easy and tastes like you've been cooking for hours."
Greens, Eggs and Ham Potato Salad
Loaded with protein and fresh greens, this is a simple yet flavorful potato salad. Paired with a fruit salad, it's almost hearty enough to eat as a meal.
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.
Mississippi Corn Bread Salad
Layers of corn bread, bacon and veggies ensure a flavor-packed salad that adds plenty of color to a potluck table.
Reuben Breakfast Sandwiches
This classic sandwich stars at breakfast when rye bread is swapped for English muffins or biscuits.
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!