If you're looking for the best tailgate snack foods, look no further! We've put together a list of our favorite snacks that will be sure to please every guest.
From classic favorites to more unique options, we've got something for everyone. So fire up the grill and get ready to party!
When you think about it, a tailgate party is just an outdoor party with more than likely some serious food. So what better way to get ready for the big game than with some incredible snacks that are sure to have your friends asking for more?
When you’re tailgating, every moment counts. You want to make sure you’re spending time with your friends, but you also don’t want to spend the entire day preparing.
That doesn’t mean that your food needs to be boring or unoriginal. On the contrary, with these tailgate food ideas, you can keep things exciting while also keeping things simple enough that you still have plenty of time left over for pre-game beers and last-minute prep before kickoff!
Here are our top tailgate snack foods:
First up on our list of tailgate snacks is probably one of the most iconic dishes in all of football food culture: nachos. These Mexican-inspired cheesy snacks are incredibly popular and incredibly easy to make ahead of time.
Nachos are incredibly easy to layer, and you can use virtually any type of meat or topping that you’d like. If you’re serving nachos at a tailgate, though, you might want to use some disposable trays to make it easy to serve and eat.
And while you might be tempted to use traditional nacho chips, we suggest switching it up a bit and using alternatives. For example, use corn tortilla chips or blue corn chips; they taste better and are eco-friendly.
You can also use nacho chips, which are baked rather than fried. Pair this with a creamy dip with sour cream, and you’re good to go! This is a great way to keep your nachos healthy while keeping a tailgate's spirit.
2. Smoked Meat
Smoked meat, whether ribs, pork, chicken, or brisket, is absolutely delicious and incredibly forgiving when cooking it ahead of time.
You can smoke meat well in advance, then either keep it warm in an oven, a slow cooker or even just on a countertop to provide a constant supply of meat for your guests. Of course, with great seasoning for best results!
Be sure to pick up some extra paper towels for cleanup and a glove or two for safely handling the meat when it’s time to serve it. Smoked meat is best served on a sandwich or on top of a pile of delicious coleslaw with a side of baked beans or potato salad.
3. Hot Dogs
Let’s face it, one of the best tailgate food is hot dogs. They’re easy to cook, easy to eat, and they’re always a crowd pleaser. So be sure to have plenty of ketchup, mustard, and relish on hand for your toppings bar.
4. Buffalo Wings
Fried chicken is another tailgate classic, but why not mix things up with some Buffalo wings? Just be sure to have plenty of blue cheese dressing and celery on hand to help cool things down.
Buffalo chicken bites are a delicious way to enjoy all the flavors of Buffalo chicken without all the mess. Hot sauce, butter, and garlic are all you need to make these delicious tailgate wings.
This is an easy recipe that can be made ahead of time and reheated, so you can enjoy your next tailgate party without worrying about cooking.
You can’t have a tailgate party without wings! Spicy, savory, and always a hit, these are a tailgate staple. Serve them with celery and bleu cheese dressing for the perfect snack.
5. Tater Tot Casserole
You don’t have to go all out and make a full meal out of this, but a tater tot casserole is a great way to feed many people with very little effort. You can easily buy bags of tater tots and top them with shredded cheese, chopped bacon, and green onions.
Bake these in a casserole dish, then serve them in individual bowls. These are best served warm, so try to keep an eye on them to ensure they don’t get too dark.
This one is self-explanatory and a great way to switch up your regular cheeseburger routine. You can make mini cheeseburgers by forming ground meat patties and baking them in the oven.
Then, use buns instead of regular hamburger buns for a unique look and flavor. You can either buy mini buns or slice regular buns in half. If you go the sliced bun route, be sure to butter them first, so they don’t become crumbly once they’ve been cut in half.
If you have time, put the buns and burgers in the oven to warm up, but you can also just put the burgers on a plate along with the buns on a separate plate nearby.
7. Taco Bowls
If you’re a fan of nachos but are looking for something just a little different, consider taco bowls. Layer your favorite taco ingredients into a bowl, like ground beef, black or pinto beans, shredded cheese, tomatoes, and lettuce.
You can also make taco salad by mixing the ingredients in a bowl. Taco shells also make great bowls for taco salad or taco casserole, a variation of the tater tot casserole mentioned above.
These bowls are great because you can make several different varieties and let your guests mix and match the ingredients as they wish.
8. Baked Salmon With Avocado Mash
Salmon is one of the easiest fish to cook and has one of the best nutritional profiles of every fish out there. Baking salmon is incredibly simple and produces a delicious, flaky fish that will surely be a hit at any tailgate.
You can oven-bake salmon in a baking dish or foil packets. You can also mix salmon with other veggies, like asparagus or carrots and serve the salmon and veggies in a foil packet. This way, you have a full meal and a healthy snack that is easy to transport and store.
When baking salmon, you can serve it whole or slice it once it’s finished cooking. If you’re baking salmon in a foil packet along with veggies, squeeze the liquid from the veggies before serving.
9. Crispy Calamari With Aioli
Calamari, or squid, is a great choice for tailgaters, as it is incredibly easy to prepare and doesn’t have any special cooking requirements. This can be either served as an appetizer or as a main dish.
If serving as an appetizer, cook the calamari and serve it with dipping sauces. Then, cut the calamari into pieces for the main dish and serve it with a side of mashed potatoes or rice.
Calamari is best served with a side of aioli or garlic mayonnaise. To make aioli, mix garlic with mayo, then add salt and pepper to taste. A spinach dip could also be served on the side.
10. Nuts And Beef Jerky
If you’re looking for a protein-packed snack that is easy to transport and store, look no further than nuts and beef jerky. Nuts are a great source of healthy fats, proteins, and vitamins, while beef jerky is an excellent source of protein and has a very long shelf life.
You can buy both snacks in bulk, saving you money in the long run. Then, put these snacks in bowls when tailgating, and let your guests help themselves.
You can also create a trail mix by mixing nuts, dried fruit, and chocolate chips. This is a great option if you want something sweet and salty.
11. Football Shaped Egg Rolls With Sweet And Sour Sauce
Egg rolls are straightforward to make, and because they are served in a wrapping rather than on a plate, they’re also incredibly easy to transport. To make football-shaped egg rolls, cut a wrapper and fold it in half again, then fill it with your favorite ingredients like chicken, vegetables, and bean sprouts.
Once folded, fry the egg rolls in oil until they are crispy on the outside. Then, serve them with sweet and sour sauce for dipping. If you don’t have time to make your own sweet and sour sauce, you can easily buy it in the sauce aisle at your local grocery store.
12. Baked Ziti
Ziti is a delicious Italian pasta dish that is incredibly easy to make ahead of time. You can prepare ziti in a large baking dish and let it cool in the dish. Then, you must reheat it in the microwave and serve it in individual bowls.
Ziti is best served with a side of garlic bread. When reheating ziti, be careful not to let it get too hot, or it may dry out. Ziti also reheats very well in the microwave, so if you have a large group, you can quickly reheat it in small batches to ensure it stays warm throughout the meal.
Football season is fast approaching, so it’s time to start planning your tailgate menu for the game day party. These are just a few of the many delicious and easy-to-make tailgate snack foods that your guests are sure to love. So get creative and have fun with your tailgating menu this season!
Whether you’re a diehard fan who always has the game on or just looking for an excuse to spend time with friends and family, the best way to enjoy the game is with great food, you’ll have the most delicious tailgate with these delicious, easy-to-prepare recipes. So whether you’re watching the game at home or at the stadium, these dishes satisfy any football fanatic.