My best March Madness recipes include party snack ideas like soft pretzels, slow cooker dinner recipes (chili, anyone?), festive drinks, and winning dessert recipes. From Selection Sunday to the Final Four to the championship game, these crowd-pleasing party recipes will keep your entire squad satisfied.
Just like with football, come basketball season, I might as well be donning a shirt that says “Just Here For the Food.” 🤣 So today, I’m revealing my absolute best March Madness recipes, according to Culinary Hill fans and my game-day guests.
While I may not know all the win-loss record for any of the 64 teams and my bracket is probably busted by the end of day one, I’m definitely confident in my abilities to predict how to get the party started: delicious food and drink!
True, buffalo wings and layered dips are frequent party stars. But for my March Madness menus, I prefer handheld desserts that aren’t quite so drippy or messy so passionate fans can set them on a plate or use the other hand to cheer (or hold a drink).
You need just 3 ingredients and 20 minutes to make one of the best party snack ideas, Pigs in a Blanket. This easy appetizer recipe is pure, blissful comfort food that will transport you back to childhood (and delight kids, too).
Mini Twice Baked Potatoes are like appetizer-sized potato skins with the volume turned up. Although this party snack recipe tastes like it took all day, these bacon-studded beauties can be yours in just 35 minutes.
I’m a huge fan of a build-your-own-bowl concept for casual parties. That way, diners with different food allergies, intolerances, or preferences can customize to their heart’s content. Come gameday, when I’d rather “watch the first couple quarters” (AKA eat the snacks), I often opt for a set-and-forget recipe that can simmer itself until halftime of the mid-day match.
This delicious, nourishing Sweet Potato Chili is loaded with black beans, vegetables, and all the classic spices. It's naturally vegan, easy to make, and perfect for meal prep or popping in the freezer.
When you're craving Chili Dogs, make this easy Hot Dog Chili recipe. Make it on the stovetop, in your slow cooker, even in an instant pot, then spoon it on top of hot dogs for the ultimate tailgate or game day recipe.
This easy Cornbread recipe is made in the Northern style: Fluffy, cake-like, ultra moist, and with a hint of sweetness. It's perfect with the barbecue at your next picnic or on the side of a bowl of chili.
Just like with the snacks, handheld single-serving recipes are my go-to play for March Madness desserts. I love piping some white icing “laces” on Peanut Butter Cookies to make them look like basketballs.
Peanut Butter Cookies
Classic chewy Peanut Butter Cookies make the perfect pick-me-up, after school snack, or all around sweet treat. This old fashioned recipe is the one to bake, right down to the criss-cross pattern made with a fork.
This effortless Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake recipe starts with store-bought cookie dough topped with swirled chocolate chips and peanut butter. Then, decorate it any way you like! Think leftover Halloween candy (as if there is such a thing!) or decorations from your last birthday celebration.
Perhaps the greatest combination of all time, M&M Cookies are part cookie, part candy, and completely delicious. Make a triple batch, freeze the dough, and you'll have a colorful, sweet treat anytime you need it.
Want to wow all your chocolate-loving friends? Tell them your serving brownie pizza for dessert! With a chewy brownie crust, sweet cream cheese frosting, colorful fruit toppings, and an apricot glaze to finish, it’s a gorgeous, delicious, show-stopping masterpiece in and of itself.
Since the early days of March Madness span from morning to late-night news, I prefer to offer a lower-alcohol option so fans have the energy to go the distance. My new Chelada recipe is essentially a dressed-up beer. It feels more festive than just cracking open a can or bottle, but doesn’t take much more work! Plus, you can recreate this with your favorite brand(s) of ale.
All over Mexico, the natives prefer the pure taste of cold beer, fresh lime juice, and a pinch of salt. This easy Chelada recipe is refreshing and uncomplicated, the perfect way to end your or celebrate with friends and family.
Moscato Sangria is an easy cocktail recipe that's sure to get the party started. A bottle of white wine, fruit, and ginger ale team up in this refreshing wine-based pitcher cocktail (that is quickly becoming my signature drink!).
This Fruit Punch recipe lives up to its name: It's sweet, fruity, and guaranteed to be guzzled by kids and adults alike. Learn how to make Fruit Punch, how to spike it for a cocktail recipe, and how to customize it.
Meggan Hill is a classically-trained chef and professional writer. Her meticulously-tested recipes and detailed tutorials bring confidence and success to home cooks everywhere. Meggan has been featured on NPR, HuffPost, FoxNews, LA Times, and more.