10 Recipes to Make Your Next Tailgating Party Legendary

updated Oct 24, 2019
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Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: Jesse Szewczyk/Kitchn

I’ve heard that some people attend tailgating parties to root for teams and watch rivalries. I wouldn’t know about that — I only go to eat delicious food and drink a good beer (or two). Bringing a legendary dish to the tailgate is its own kind of competitive sport: You want to bring a dish that everyone gobbles up, but it needs to be easy to transport and clean up.

That may feel like a tall order, but don’t worry — here are 10 tailgate-tested party recipes sure to make you a game chow champion.

1. Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken

Combine chicken with butter and hot sauce and you’ve got Buffalo chicken. Make it in the Instant Pot and you’ve got delicious sandwich or wrap fodder that is easy to transport and goes well with cold beer and winning.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

2. Cowboy Caviar

Kitchn contributor Patty Catalano brings this dip to every tailgate because it’s delicious, doesn’t need to stay cold, can be made in minutes, and meets a large variety of different diets (it’s gluten-free and vegan, although be sure to double-check your chips).

Get the recipe: Cowboy Caviar

Credit: Joe Lingeman

3. The Easiest Pigs in a Blanket

These mustardy snuggled-up pigs are ideal. You need just a handful of ingredients to make them. And instead of wrapping dozens of cocktail weenies, we call for whole sausages wrapped then sliced, which saves on prep time. Serve them warm or at room temperature.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

4. Homemade Guacamole

Guacamole is one of those miracle dips that almost everyone seems to love, can be prepped in a flash, and keeps well at parties. And the homemade stuff knocks the socks off the store-bought kind! You can serve it with a variety of chips or for smearing on tostada shells and topping with that Cowboy Caviar.

Credit: Casey Barber

5. Cheeseburger Hand Pies

These little cuties take more prep than some of these other recipes, but the oohs and aahs will be worth the effort. Use store-bought pie dough to save a little time, and bake just before heading out!

Get the recipe: Cheeseburger Hand Pies

Credit: Joe Lingeman

6. Slow Cooker Hawaiian Brisket Sandwiches

A slow cooker is an incredible tool for tailgating because it cooks food and keeps it warm. Case in point? These brisket sandwiches! If you don’t want the hassle of cutting up pineapple, a pineapple salsa is an excellent alternative.

7. Classic 7-Layer Taco Dip

Seven-layer dip sounds complex, but most of the work is just assembling ingredients to serve them up. This recipe will make the best classic seven-layer dip that you can take to any tailgate party and delight dip fans.

8. Peanut Butter Scotcheroos

A little like a gussied-up Rice Krispies treat, Scotcheroos are a lazy baker’s dream. Bust them out to satisfy a tailgate crowd whether your team won or lost.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

9. Puppy Chow (aka Muddy Buddies)

Here’s another tailgate recipe that uses easy prep steps, cereal, and chocolate to make a big-batch treat that everyone loves. If you want to get really fan-friendly, you can add your sprinkles in your team’s colors to dress up a batch.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

10. Buckeyes (Without All the Mess)

Sure, Buckeyes are an Ohio State-inspired treat, but you can make them for plenty of other tailgates, as long as your team isn’t playing OSU or isn’t a longstanding rival. (Sorry, Michigan.) Either way. these chocolate and peanut butter truffles are terribly good.