By Gabby Vernon-Melzer

Are you ready for some football food?

Want to be the MVP of your next game day tailgate? Don't just show up with food. Score extra style points by turning your game day nibbles into Insta-ready football-themed party food. Read on for recipes, ideas, and party tips.

Get all of our top-rated tailgate recipes.

Tips for Hosting a Great Tailgate

Take a page out of our playbook for top tips on hosting the perfect tailgate.

  • Pack wisely to avoid crushing your food. Decorating a dip or cake with a theme to support your favorite football team is a lot of fun, but it's labor intensive. Don't let your hard work go to waste due to poor packing. For example, decorated dips should be packed at the top of your cooler. Get more tips to prep and pack for a winning tailgate party.
  • Stick to easy-to-handle foods. Skip any foods that a guest needs to cut with a knife. A tailgate won't always have tables, or even chairs. Keep in mind that you might be eating standing up. Stick to burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, chips and dips, and any dish that can be eaten simply with a fork or spoon. We've pulled together 5 classic tailgate menus to wow your crowd.
  • Keep food warm at the game. On a brisk autumn day, nothing beats tailgating party food served piping hot. This can be tricky if the stadium is far from home. It helps to bring two well-insulated coolers to the party; one for hot items and one for drinks and perishables. A great hack is to heat a few bricks in your oven, wrap them in foil, and place them inside a cooler lined with cardboard or paper bags. It will keep what you cooked at home nice and hot for the game.

8 Football Themed Snacks to Make You a Tailgate MVP

1. Seven Layer Dip

This dip by is a "must-have" for game day, and, as many users report, it disappears quickly at parties. "Every time I make this, everybody raves. There's never any left!" says Allrecipes home cook CJFARRAR1.

Though it's delicious any time of the year, this dip really takes the stage when decked out in team colors. Take a page out of Allrecipes user (and Packers fan) Kathigh's book and use cheese, sour cream, and a steady hand to show your team pride.

Photo by Kathigh

2. Loaded Baked Potato Dip

This flavorful dip has all the savory flavors of a baked potato without the hassle of having to bake anything. This certainly comes in handy at a tailgate, where barbecues may be commonplace, but ovens are pretty tough to come by.

The recipe comes from Chef John, who says, "Any decent big game snack table has to have a few substantial dips, and this loaded baked potato dip, with its three pounds of bacon, is nothing if not substantial. It's also shaped like a football, which of course has been proven to taste better to people drinking beer than dips in a bowl. Speaking of beer, I think this will pair nicely with something cheap, domestic, and in a can."

This dish can be prepared in advance, so take some pressure off yourself on game day and whip it up the night before.

3. Football Cheese Ball

This creative cheese ball is the perfect snack to nibble while you wait for everything on the grill to finish cooking. This recipe has been a big hit on Allrecipes, with many users suggesting to make this in advance. Not only does this reduce your to-do list on game day, but it helps the flavors shine.

Allrecipes home cook Mary confirms this, saying, "The taste was SO much better the following day after spending some quality time in the fridge."

Photo by Gabby Vernon-Melzer

4. 100 Yard Football Field of Dips

Can't decide between dips for the big day? Skip the choice and just make 'em all. This impressive appetizer has something for everyone, and will be the topic of conversation for the whole tailgate. Here's a handy step-by-step to help you pull it all together. If you build it, they will dip.

Photo by Denise Sakaki

5. Gridiron Sheet Cake

Who says tailgating food has to be all grilled meat and salty dips? A chocolate sheet cake decorated to look like a football field is a surefire crowd-pleaser and can easily be made to represent whichever two teams are playing.

Any little football fans in the house will enjoy lending a hand with this cake. Separating the gummy bear "players" by team colors is a fun task for children—just make sure they don't eat them all!

Photo by Gabby Vernon-Melzer

6. Soft Sugar Cookies IV

Iced sugar cookies are an ideal tailgating food. They require no utensils, are easy to transport, and can be decorated to look like team logos, mascots, or even just footballs themselves. A football-shaped cookie cutter and a bit of chocolate icing can turn a tasty cookie into perfect game day treat.

These classic sugar cookies have garnered hundreds of positive reviews on Allrecipes. As user CHRISH put it, "Hello. My name is Chris and I love sugar cookies. I love sugar cookies more than any other dessert, snack or .. well .. any meal. These cookies are hands-down the BEST sugar cookies I have ever eaten." Need to brush up on your cookie-baking skills? Here's how to bake great sugar cookies from scratch.


7. Mini Football Meatloaves

These mini meatloaves are an Allrecipes favorite throughout the year, but they really shine during pigskin season. They're small and bite-size, which makes them ideal for tailgates and viewing parties. For a kickoff-themed bite, shape them into footballs and use a piping bag full of bechamel to create the stitching.

Photo by Gabby Vernon-Melzer

8. Pile High Snack Stadium

This massive snack centerpiece is perfect for a huge group—the stadium walls alone are comprised of 200 sandwiches. Be prepared for lots of admirers; even tailgaters supporting the opposing team will want to know how you've done it. (And no, you don't have to make 200 sandwiches if you're fielding a smaller crowd.)

Allrecipes user Esmee Williams reports, "'s nothing short of amazing (and delicious,)" while themoodyfoodie refers to it as an "epic, fun recipe!!"

It may be epic, but this feat of snackdom is actually quite easy to construct. Be sure to build it in the spot you intend to eat it; though it isn't difficult to make, a dish this intricate isn't very portable.