28 Best Tailgate Food Ideas So Good You’ll Skip The Game

It’s football season! You know what that means, don’t you? Well, football games, of course. But also, tailgating, which is arguably better than some of the actual games. With big tailgates comes plenty of beer and board games, but an awesome tailgate also consists of good food. And yes, we mean more than just bullet points.

Fun and exciting tailgates can make game day even more memorable. It’s a chance to indulge in some delicious food with friends, family, and a parking lot full of like-minded fans. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, these recipes will give you (and your team!) the pre-game boost you’ve been looking for all season long.

Courtesy of Lil’ Luna

The classic game-day staple is a cinch with these two-ingredient bite-sized nuggets.

Get Lil’ Luna’s recipe.

Healthy 7 Layer Dip
Mitch Mandel and Thomas McDonald

You can’t go wrong with a tasty seven-layer dip, with its many textures and flavors. This version is loaded with meat, veggies, and tons of seasoning.

Get our 7 layer dip recipe.

Flaming Hot Cheetos Hot Dogs
Courtesy of How Sweet Eats

Grilled hot dogs will get even spicier with the addition of these hot and spicy cheese crisps.

Get the recipe from How Sweet Eats.

Soft Buttery Pretzel Bites
Courtesy of Gimme Some Oven

The perfect crowd pleaser appetizer, these pretzel bites will pair perfectly with anything you drink on game day.

Get the recipe for Gimme Some Oven.

Healthy ultimate burger
Mitch Mandel and Thomas McDonald

This simple, easy-to-assemble burger takes the mess out of your regular burger, making it perfect for tailgating. The fact that it’s (rather) healthy is just a bonus.

Get our Healthy Ultimate Burger recipe.

garlic knots on a marble counter
Kiersten Hickman / Eat This, Not That!

You don’t need to save garlic knots for pizza night. Instead, take them to the tailgate and watch those adorable sides get devoured.

Get our Garlic Knot recipe.

Swiss Burger A1
Mitch Mandel and Thomas McDonald

If you have access to a cast iron skillet, these juicy smashburgers won’t disappoint and will keep you satisfied until halftime.

Get our recipe for the Smashed A.1. Swiss Burger.

Brown Sugar BBQ Chicken Wings
Courtesy of Inspired Taste

Wings and football are a match made in heaven. This baked version of the classic bite packs powerful, delicious flavors and can be carried around for any tailgating event.

Get the recipe from Inspired Taste.

Soccer BBQ Bacon Ranch Cheeseball
Courtesy of Julie’s Eats & Treats

You can’t go wrong with a football-shaped ball on game day. Bacon, ranch AND cheese all in one appetizer? You are golden.

Get the recipe from Julie’s Eats & Treats.

Vegetarian coleslaw
Mitch Mandel and Thomas McDonald

Every good barbecue includes at least one salad option, and coleslaw is always a winner. This light coleslaw mix is ​​a good way to offset some of the fat you’re probably consuming.

Get our recipe for the easiest coleslaw.

Healthy fiery buffalo wings
Mitch Mandel and Thomas McDonald

If you love a crispy chicken wing that packs a little heat, these traditional Buffalo wings will have you swooning.

Get our recipe for Best Ever Buffalo Wings and Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken Wings.

Grilled corn with coconut curry butter
Claudia Sidoti / Eat This, Not That!

Make room on the grill for this vegetarian staple, which is topped with a unique curry butter that will delight your senses.

Get our recipe for Grilled Corn in Coconut Curry Butter.

Healthy simmered chili
Mitch Mandel and Thomas McDonald

This hearty, meaty dish was meant for game day. This one offers just the right amount of heat and can be made ahead and kept warm in your slow cooker all day.

Get our recipe for Smoky Crockpot Chili.

Soccer Whoopie Pies
Courtesy of The BakerMama

Is there anything more on-brand for a hatchback than those sweet treats? We think not.

Get the recipe from The BakerMama.

keto pork bbq dip and fries
Carlene Thomas / Eat This, Not That!

These keto-friendly pork rinds are a snack for the ages. Pair them with this meaty, well-seasoned dip to give you barbecue sensations without even having to fire up a grill.

Get our recipe for BBQ Pork Dip and Crispy Chips.

BLT Pasta Salad
Courtesy of Averie Cooks

An easy side dish that can be made in 15 minutes and goes well with just about anything.

Get the recipe from Averie Cooks.

Low Calorie Fudge Brownies
Mitch Mandel and Thomas McDonald

These rich, chocolatey treats are a staple at your hatchback dessert table.

Get our recipe for Fudgy Brownies.

Buffalo Chicken Dip
Courtesy of The Girl Who Ate It All

Another classic Sunday football treat that works just as well for a tailgate as it does for a home viewing party.

Get the recipe for The Girl Who Ate It All.

Low Calorie Chicken and Black Bean Nachos
Mitch Mandel and Thomas McDonald

Easy to make and easy to snack on, these nachos are everything you could want in a nacho dish. Plus, you also get tons of protein.

Get our recipe for Chicken and Black Bean Nachos.

Grilled prawns with honey garlic marinade
Courtesy of Cooking Classy

Don’t like burgers and dogs? You shouldn’t have to settle for side dishes. This grilled shrimp with a sweet marinade gives you all the barbecue vibes.

Get the recipe from Cooking Classy.

Low Calorie Sliders 2 Ways
Mitch Mandel and Thomas McDonald

Name a time when you weren’t thrilled by the sliders. These tiny snack joints are easy to handle with one hand, so you won’t have to ask someone to hold your beer.

Get our recipe for Chipotle Bacon Sliders.

Grilled vegetable skewers
Courtesy of Minimalist Baker

Get your veggie fix with these perfectly charred skewers, which feature more than just onions and peppers.

Get the recipe from the minimalist baker.

Beer Cheese Dip
Courtesy of Sally’s Baking Addiction

Another great combo on game day? Beer and cheese! This dip is perfect with pretzels or fries.

Get the recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction.

Mac and cheese cups topped with crispy breadcrumbs
Waterbury Publications, Inc.

All the beauty of mac and cheese, in a smaller, more portable version. These cups are easy to transfer and easy to eat in the parking lot of any game.

Get our recipe for crispy, breadcrumb-topped macaroni and cheese cups.

healthy cowboy burger
Mitch Mandel and Thomas McDonald

You don’t have to be a Dallas Cowboys fan to enjoy this loaded burger (although it could become your new tailgate staple).

Get our recipe for the Cowboy Burger.

Black bean dip with squash, garlic and chipotles
Courtesy of First Mess

Not your average black bean dip, this one comes with seasonal ingredients that are readily available during football season.

Get the recipe from The First Mess.

Hoisin beef skewer
Mitch Mandel and Thomas McDonald

If you’re looking to change up your typical barbecue hot dog and hamburger meat options, these beef skewers are for you.

Get our recipe for Tokyo-inspired Hoison Beef Skewers.

Cocoa Coconut Oatmeal Cookies with Chocolate Chunks
Waterbury Publications, Inc.

Our recipe for Cocoa-Coconut-Oat Cookies with Chocolate Chips is like your favorite chocolate chip cookie, made up to 11. Whether you’re setting up food and grill tables with a large group or just a few people, your tailgate menu is going to be the talk of the parking lot. If the rival team’s fans try to crash your party, can you really blame them?

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