35 Super Tasty Tailgate Recipes To Make Ahead For Game Day
We can’t say for certain, but we are pretty sure tailgating originated in the South. From humble beginnings of sandwiches and soft drinks served out of a cooler, we've now graduated to strategically planning the most touchdown-worthy lineup of tailgating recipes to be served on any given Saturday.
This impressive roster of crowd-pleasing favorites contains easy make-ahead recipes, such as our Spicy Bisquick Sausage Balls and Muddy Buddy Mix, and ready-to-serve dips, including our most popular renditions of spinach dip and Rotel-studded cheese dip. Classic tailgating recipes like deviled eggs and pimiento cheese team up with new players like bacon-wrapped party poppers and buffalo chicken dip, to give your tailgating menu the crowd appeal needed to satisfy a hungry Southern group from one Saturday to the next. So get to planning and you're sure to score come football season.
Slow-Cooker Beef Sliders with Pickled Peppers
You can turn that slow cooker on the night before game day to make sure these pickled pepper-topped puppies are ready to be toted over to the tailgate.
Recipe: Bacon-Pimiento Guacamole
In our opinion, the only thing that can make guacamole even better is the addition of pimientos and bacon—but that's just us.
Baked BLT Dip
Recipe: Baked BLT Dip
Creamy, cheesy, bacony, and oh-so bubbly, this dip will have the whole tailgate doing victory dances. Top with lettuce and cherry tomatoes to make it look just like the sandwich.
Sweet-and-Salty Autumn Snack Mix
Recipe: Sweet-and-Salty Autumn Snack Mix
This perfect munch mix is filled with cereal, bite-size pretzels, candy-coated peanut-butter candies, mini marshmallows, and a yummy butter mixture that includes brown sugar and honey. What can go wrong?
Tex-Mex Deviled Eggs
Recipe: Tex-Mex Deviled Eggs
Classic deviled eggs get a festive spin from cilantro, serrano peppers, chili powder, and cheese.
Warm Cheese-and-Spicy Pecan Dip
Recipe: Warm Cheese-and-Spicy Pecan Dip
We'll never turn down cheese dip, especially when it comes filled with three types of cheese and topped with homemade spiced nuts.
Recipe: Ham-and-Cheese Sliders
Southerners will instantly recognize this handheld staple, made with ham, cheese, Hawaiian rolls, and a homemade cheesy cream sauce.
Smoky Black-Eyed Pea Hummus
Recipe: Smoky Black-Eyed Pea Hummus
Smoked paprika gives all the flavor to this hummus recipe made with black-eyed peas instead of chickpeas. Top with extra olive oil, lemon zest, and paprika before serving.
Georgia-Style Boiled Peanuts
Recipe: Georgia-Style Boiled Peanuts
This easy snack is always a crowd-pleaser at a Southern tailgate. Make them in a slow cooker and haul it over to the tailgate to keep the boiled peanuts warm all day.
Crispy Baked Chicken Wings
Recipe: Crispy Baked Chicken Wings
Because sometimes firing up the grill just isn't an option. Pop these wings in the oven and get all the flavor with way less hassle.
Classic Pimiento Cheese
Recipe: Classic Pimiento Cheese
Need we say more? It's not a Southern day party without at least one batch of pimiento cheese. Hot tip: Serve with crackers and a jar of Wickles on the side.
Recipe: Brownie Cookies
Hard choices aren't to be made on game day—so get the best of both worlds with this recipe that combines the sweet outer crunch of a cookie with the rich decadence of a brownie. Oh, and did we mention it all starts with a box of brownie mix?
Muddy Buddy Mix
Recipe: Muddy Buddy Mix
Similar to its sweet sibling, puppy chow mix, this recipe gives chocolate and peanut butter lovers the ultimate game day snack option. Just a handful of ingredients and about ten minutes, and you're there.
Warm Spinach-Sweet Onion Dip with Country Ham
Every party needs a spinach dip on the lineup, and this one goes fully Southern with the addition of sweet onions and country ham. Can you say yum?
Easy Buffalo Chicken Dip
Recipe: Easy Buffalo Chicken Dip
This is hands-down the most crowd-pleasing dip recipe for when you're feeding a group of hungry Southerners. It's melty, creamy, cheesy, chicken-filled, and packed with a kick of buffalo flavor.
Spicy Bisquick Sausage Balls
Recipe: Spicy Bisquick Sausage Balls
Did someone say sausage balls? We can hear the people running from other tailgates already. This recipe spices it up a notch with hot pork sausage and pepper Jack cheese.
Laura Bush’s Cowboy Cookies
Recipe: Laura Bush’s Cowboy Cookies
Filled with all the most delicious ingredients like chocolate chips, oats, coconut, and pecans, this reader-favorite cookie recipe makes a big enough batch to feed your crowd all day long.
Recipe: Rotel Dip
We know that you know this dip—because it might be the most popular game day dip of all time. This recipe gives you the perfect ratio of cheese, meat, chiles, and tomatoes, which are all cooked and served warm in your slow cooker.
Recipe: Party Poppers
Stuffed with a cream cheese mixture and wrapped in thick-cut bacon, these jalapeño poppers are guaranteed to get the party going.
Chicken Tenders with Jalapeño-Mustard Dipping Sauce
Grab your favorite store-bought or drive-thru chicken fingers and pair them with fun game-day skewers and our easy three-ingredient spicy mustard dipping sauce.
Broccoli, Grape, and Pasta Salad
Recipe: Broccoli, Grape, and Pasta Salad
Say hello to the most dependable pasta salad this side of the Mason-Dixon. Everyone loves the simple combination of broccoli, grapes, pecans, and bacon.
Smoked Sausage Pretzel Bites
Recipe: Smoked Sausage Pretzel Bites
We upgraded your classic pigs in a blanket with spicy smoked sausage, pretzel dough, and a complementary Creole honey mustard dip to serve alongside it.
Recipe: Pecan-Praline Dip
Who said dips need to be exclusively savory? This sweet dip is made with butter, brown sugar, and toasted pecans—plus, vanilla wafers for dipping.
Salted Caramel Popcorn
Recipe: Salted Caramel Popcorn
Popcorn is an easy snack to bulk up the tailgate table, and this recipe makes it even more exciting with the addition of a sweet coating of salted caramel.
Sweet Heat Hot Dogs with Peach Ginger Slaw
It doesn't get any more classic than having a hot dog on game day, and this recipe gets its signature sweet heat from sweet-hot pickles and a crunchy slaw.
Pecan Pie Bars
Recipe: Pecan Pie Bars
These chewy, bite-size bars require just 20 minutes of prep time.
Recipe: Beer-Cheese Fondue
We upped the ante on this popular dip by using dry mustard, Gruyère, Cheddar, Worcestershire sauce, and a lager beer. Serve with sliced cooked bratwurst for extra fun.
Potato Salad with Sweet Pickles
Recipe: Potato Salad with Sweet Pickles
Much like everyone's beloved old-fashioned potato salad, this recipe gets a little extra personality for the tailgate from sweet pickles. Only six more ingredients and you're there.
Recipe: Mini Muffulettas
You can easily make these mini muffuletta sliders the day before the party. Just assemble, place in zip-top plastic freezer bags, and refrigerate overnight. Store-bought craft paper and simple twine create clever sandwich wrappers.
Recipe: Smoked-Tomato Salsa
What's a party without salsa? Make yours one to remember.
Coconut Cheesecake Squares
Recipe: Coconut Cheesecake Squares
Lemon bars just met their biggest competition. Made with sweet coconut and creamy cheesecake filling, these bar cookies are bound to disappear well before kickoff.
Baked Goat Cheese Spread with Pepper Jelly
There's nothing more Southern than literally anything topped with red pepper jelly—but we can't help but be partial to a melty goat cheese dip.
Fried Chicken Sliders with Pimiento Cheese
Store-bought chicken fingers and buns make a tasty duo when spread with our quick pimiento cheese recipe. It makes a hearty option for any tailgate.
Recipe: Bacon-Cheese Dip
Keep your game day party easy by making this tasty dip ahead of time.
Ham-Stuffed Biscuits With Mustard Butter
Yeast biscuits—also called angel or bride’s biscuits—hold together well, so they’re a good choice to serve at gatherings. The so-Southern combination of ham and biscuits is always a hit!