This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, please see our affiliate policy.
Whether you’re watching your favorite college team or are hosting a Super Bowl party, this crowd-pleasing Football Party Menu will be a winner. With these sporty snacks, main dishes for a crowd, plus delicious drinks and easy make-ahead dessert ideas, get ready to accept the trophy for host of the year.
I absolutely LOVE football season, but probably not for the football. I love it for the food that we get to eat while other people enjoy the game.
Chili, wings, dips, oh my! It’s a mash-up of all the favorites and I love it all. “What shall I feed them this weekend,” I wonder, as I sort through all the appetizers, soups, and sandwiches. It’s a tough call, and no giant Samsung replay monitor is going to help me. It’s all just too good!
A good rule of thumb, like any party, is to mix it up. Have 1 or 2 hot entrees, some cold side dishes, plenty of appetizers, and some age-appropriate drinks. Add a few sweets if you want. Leave all the bad plays on the field; in your house, it’s nothing but touchdowns!
Table of Contents
Pregame Show: 2-Ingredient Barbecue Little Smokies
My play book for football party appetizer success: 2 ingredients + zero prep = two-point conversion. That’s the promise my 2-Ingredient Barbecue Little Smokies deliver on! I always have a batch on the stove or in the slow cooker for every game, home or away.
It’s always hard to choose favorites, though, so some other top hot snack contenders include Bacon Wrapped Smokies, Pigs in a Blanket, Baked Potato Skins, Bacon Wrapped Shrimp, Crab Rangoon, and Air Fryer Chicken Wings with Homemade Buffalo Sauce.
Kick Off: Turkey Roll Ups
A tray of sandwiches is always a welcome site at any Football Party. I love these Turkey Roll Ups because they are simple to make and easy to transport, and the flavors are great! People might even be familiar with them because Costco sells the exact same thing. They make a nice hearty addition to any buffet.
Half Time: Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili
The slow cooker is my Football Party MVP. Not only does it allow you to get a head start on meal prep, but this set-and-forget appliance also allows everyone to serve themselves whenever they’re hungry.
A chili bar is always a successful strategy for large gatherings, and I love to serve Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili. Simply set out a big bowl of tortilla chips, plenty of shredded cheese, minced cilantro, sliced jalapeños, diced avocado, and sour cream so each fan can garnish as desired. You can make White Turkey Chili in your slow cooker, too.
2-Minute Warning: Puppy Chow
Puppy Chow is a must on every Tailgating menu or holiday menu in the Midwest, I rarely host any occasion without a big batch of this 15-minute, no-bake dessert. Coated in melted chocolate and peanut butter, then dusted with powdered sugar, this recipe makes a huge batch (at least 28 servings, enough for a crowd).
Serve in single-serving cups or jars for an easy grab-and-go treat (and feel free to toss in M&M candies that match your team’s colors, if you like!).
Hand-held desserts are always convenient and easy to serve. Your guests will go crazy for a batch of Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting or Banana Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting. Or serve a Chocolate Eclair Cake, that classic Midwestern dessert made with graham crackers, vanilla pudding, and chocolate frosting.
Overtime: Jello Shots
Speaking of team colors, root, root for the home team by tinting these playful Jello Shots to match your mascot. These mini cocktails can be spiked with vodka, tequila, gin, or even bourbon to keep everyone in good spirits all four quarters. Of course, a cooler of beer is a great teammate for any football party, too.
If you’re 21+ crowd is eager to indulge, consider a Bloody Mary Bar with homemade Bloody Mary Mix and all the toppings you can score (don’t forget celery, olives, Pickles, sausage sticks, Pickled Asparagus, and maybe even some skewered Deviled Eggs). You can even make your own homemade Celery Salt for the rim.
Other festive cocktails that can be made in batches include Pirate Punch, a big batch of Palomas, Cheladas (beer with lime juice), or Charros Negros (coke with tequila and lime juice). If you’re looking for something non-alcoholic, a big batch of Arnold Palmers of Fruit Punch is an easy way to go.
Meggan Hill is the Executive Chef and CEO of Culinary Hill, a popular digital publication in the food space. She loves to combine her Midwestern food memories with her culinary school education to create her own delicious take on modern family fare. Millions of readers visit Culinary Hill each month for meticulously-tested recipes as well as skills and tricks for ingredient prep, cooking ahead, menu planning, and entertaining. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the iCUE Culinary Arts program at College of the Canyons.