35 TAILGATE RECIPES: EASY GAME DAY FOOD IDEAS
The first step to a successful game day tailgate is planning the ultimate spread of crowd-pleasing recipes that will keep your friends and family fueled and ready to cheer on their favorite team. From classic dips and finger foods to hearty main courses, mouth-watering desserts and refreshing cocktails, this guide provides game day recipes that will score big with your guests.
EASY TAILGATING RECIPES
Preparing for a game day tailgate is always an opportunity to get creative in the kitchen. Regardless of your menu, your KitchenAid® food processor can help you quickly chop vegetables for homemade guacamole or hummus, your stand mixer can help you whip up fluffy dips or creamy desserts and your blender is ready to make tangy dressings or frozen cocktails. Explore the easy tailgate recipes below to get inspired as you design your game day spread.
1. SPICY MEATBALL SLIDERS WITH QUICK PICKLED CABBAGE
Spicy Meatball Sliders with Quick Pickled Cabbage is a mouth-watering recipe that combines juicy, spicy meatballs with tangy and crunchy pickled cabbage, all served on soft slider buns. The result is a delicious and satisfying dish that packs a flavor punch, perfect for serving at a tailgate party or any game day gathering.
2. PULLED PORK
This pulled pork is a delicious, flavorful choice for various occasions, including tailgate parties. The recipe begins by rubbing a pork shoulder roast with a blend of spices, including chili powder, smoked paprika, garlic powder and onion powder, before slow cooking it with a mixture of barbecue sauce, apple cider vinegar and brown sugar. Shred your pulled pork with your KitchenAid® stand mixer and serve it topped with your favorite tangy coleslaw.
3. BBQ BRISKET PO BOY
The BBQ Brisket Po Boy recipe is a mouth-watering take on the classic Louisiana sandwich. This recipe begins by slow-cooking beef brisket in a blend of freshly ground spices, including paprika, garlic powder, onion powder and black pepper, and a mixture of beef broth and barbecue sauce. After several hours of cooking, the brisket becomes tender and flavorful and is then sliced into thin pieces and served atop toasted baguettes. Topped with a tangy homemade dressing, the result is a delicious, hearty sandwich that will surely be a crowd-pleaser.
4. BACON CORN JALAPENO POPPERS
This recipe is a delicious and flavorful appetizer that combines spicy jalapeno peppers with creamy cheese, sweet corn and smoky bacon. The recipe begins by cutting jalapeno peppers in half lengthwise and removing the seeds and membranes. The pepper halves are filled with cream cheese, sweet corn, scallions, spices, garlic powder and cumin. The stuffed peppers are then wrapped with bacon slices and baked in the oven until the bacon is crispy and the filling is hot and bubbly. Your KitchenAid® food processor will help you make quick work of this spicy, creamy and smoky recipe.
5. CHICKEN ENCHILADA ROLL UPS
Use your KitchenAid® stand mixer and flat beater to shred the chicken for this delicious game day dish. Shredded cooked chicken is mixed with creamy ricotta cheese, shredded cheddar cheese and enchilada sauce to create a rich and flavorful filling. The mixture is then rolled up in tortillas, sliced, topped with enchilada sauce and shredded cheese and baked in the oven until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Enjoy the flavors of enchiladas without the traditional assembly process when you make this versatile dish as an appetizer or main dish.
6. SANTA FE EGG ROLLS
Get your KitchenAid® food processor ready to make this delicious and creative take on classic egg rolls, with a Southwestern twist. Seasoned ground beef is mixed with black beans, corn and diced green chilies to create a flavorful filling. The mixture is then spooned onto egg roll wrappers, along with shredded cheese, before being rolled up and fried until crispy and golden brown. These deliciously crunchy and savory egg rolls are bursting with flavor. They can be served with a variety of dipping sauces, such as salsa, sour cream or guacamole, for a fun tailgating dish that is great for game day or any gathering.
7. BUFFALO CAULIFLOWER BITES WITH SRIRACHA-LIME SAUCE
Baked until crispy and golden brown in your KitchenAid® oven, this recipe features bite-sized cauliflower florets seasoned with a blend of spices, including garlic powder and paprika and tossed in a spicy buffalo sauce made with hot sauce, butter and vinegar. The recipe also includes a refreshing and zesty sriracha-lime sauce made with mayonnaise, sriracha sauce, lime juice and honey for a delightful contrast of flavors.
8. GRILLED WINGS WITH CHARRED PEPPER SALSA
To make this recipe, chicken wings are marinated in a blend of spices and olive oil before being grilled to perfection over an open flame, giving them a smoky and charred flavor.
But the star of the show is the charred pepper salsa, which is made with roasted bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, garlic and fresh herbs like cilantro and parsley. These ingredients are mixed together to create a tangy and flavorful salsa that complements the smoky flavor of the grilled wings. Combining charred and smoky wings with zesty salsa will delight your guests.
9. CLASSIC ITALIAN SUB
Using your KitchenAid® Pro Line® 2-Slice Automatic Toaster, you can create these subs that are packed with flavor and texture. To make this recipe, a toasted baguette is stuffed with a variety of Italian deli meats, including salami, mortadella and prosciutto, as well as sliced provolone cheese, lettuce and tomato. The sandwich is then dressed with olive oil, red wine vinegar and Italian seasoning, creating a tangy and savory flavor that complements the salty and savory meats. The robust and filling ingredients of the Classic Italian Sub will satisfy even the heartiest of appetites at your next game day get-together.
10. SHREDDED CHICKEN SANDWICHES WITH HONEY DIJON SLAW
Shredded Chicken Sandwiches with Honey Dijon Slaw is a delightful combination of tender shredded chicken and sweet and tangy honey Dijon slaw. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are slow-cooked with a blend of spices until they are tender and easily shred with a fork. The shredded chicken is then mixed with a homemade barbecue sauce that includes ketchup, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce, creating a rich and flavorful filling for the sandwiches. The combination of savory and sweet flavors in this tailgate recipe will be a hit with all your friends and family.
11. THAI CHICKEN SKEWERS
The Thai Chicken Skewers recipe is delicious and flavorful. It combines tender and juicy chicken with a sweet and spicy Thai marinade. Chicken breasts are marinated in coconut milk, soy sauce, brown sugar and Thai red curry paste, infusing each piece with a complex flavor. The marinated chicken is then threaded onto skewers and grilled until they are cooked through and slightly charred, giving them a smoky and caramelized flavor. As an appetizer or the main course, Thai Chicken Skewers will be a unique addition to your game day spread.
12. CREAMY PESTO POTATO SALAD
This recipe elevates the classic potato salad with a creamy, flavorful pesto dressing made with mayonnaise, sour cream, pesto, grated Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley. The result is a tangy and refreshing dish, perfect for any game day tailgate or backyard barbecue. Plus, it's quick and easy to make, with only a few steps and ingredients required. Use your KitchenAid® Spiralizer Attachment to make spiralized potatoes for this show-stopping dish.
13. CREAMY PASTA SALAD
The Creamy Pasta Salad recipe is a crowd-pleasing classic that is great for any occasion, whether it's a tailgate, picnic or potluck. This recipe features a colorful mix of pasta and fresh veggies along with a creamy dressing that you can whip up in your KitchenAid® blender. Creamy Pasta Salad will satisfy any craving for a delicious and hearty salad.
14. LAYERED CHOPPED SALAD
This Layered Chopped Salad recipe is a colorful and flavorful dish to make for a crowd. This recipe is unique in that it's layered with a variety of colorful and healthy ingredients, making it both visually appealing and delicious. Your KitchenAid® food processor will help you quickly prepare all the ingredients with its multipurpose blade and ability to chop, puree, mix and whip.
15. CURRIED BEEF HAND PIES
If you’re looking for a warm, savory recipe, look no further than these Curried Beef Hand Pies. These little pies are loaded with flavor thanks to the combination of curry, beef, and a variety of veggies. The dough for this recipe is easy to make in your KitchenAid® food processor. The result is a delicious and savory hand pie with a crispy crust and a flavorful, curried beef filling. These pies are a quick and easy meal, ideal for on-the-go eating.
16. VEGETARIAN THREE-BEAN CHILI
This Vegetarian Three-Bean Chili recipe is a hearty and flavorful dish that's comforting for a chilly fall or early spring day. This recipe features a blend of three different types of beans - black, kidney, and pinto - which are cooked in a flavorful tomato-based sauce with vegetables and spices. You can customize this recipe to suit your taste preferences by adding spices or vegetables, such as corn, carrots or zucchini. Serve this tailgate dish with a dollop of sour cream, shredded cheese or a side of cornbread.
17. BAKED ITALIAN-STYLE MEATBALLS
Prep these Baked Italian-Style Meatballs for your next tailgate party using your KitchenAid® countertop oven. This crowd-pleasing appetizer features a blend of ground beef and pork mixed with a variety of flavorful herbs and spices, including oregano, basil and garlic. Consider serving these alongside your favorite homemade marinara sauce.
18. BEER BRAISED BRATWURSTS WITH APPLE MUSTARD SLAW
Featuring bratwurst sausages that are cooked in a flavorful beer broth and served with a sweet and tangy apple mustard slaw, this recipe is a great addition to your next game day tailgate. With its blend of savory and sweet flavors, this dish will surely be a hit with your family and friends.
19. STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE CUPCAKES
Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes are a delightful and flavorful dessert, delicious on any occasion, whether it's a summer barbecue or a game day get-together. This recipe features light and fluffy vanilla cupcakes, topped with fresh strawberries and whipped cream frosting that you can make in your KitchenAid® stand mixer.
20. OATMEAL CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE CUPS
These oatmeal chocolate chip cookie cups are a decadently sweet treat for your backyard party or gathering. Using your KitchenAid® stand mixer, these cookies start with a simple oatmeal base, which is filled with creamy chocolate chips and then baked in a mini muffin pan to create delightful bite-sized treats. The outside of each cup is crisp and crunchy, while the inside stays soft and chewy - it's the perfect combination of textures. Enjoy them warm from the oven or cooled down - either way, they're bound to be a crowd-pleaser.
21. ALL-NATURAL CARAMEL CORN APPETIZERS
These all-natural caramel corn appetizers are a delicious and healthy treat made for sharing. Start with homemade stovetop popcorn and smother it with the irresistible blend of honey, maple syrup and butter. The mixture is then baked until it's crisp and golden brown, with the subtle sweetness of the honey caramel coating each kernel. Serve this tailgate recipe as an afternoon snack or an easy handheld dessert at your next outdoor party.
22. PEANUT BUTTER JELLY BAR
These peanut butter and jelly bars are a delicious twist on the classic sandwich and are easily made with your KitchenAid® stand mixer. They start with a salty-sweet crust made from graham crackers, butter and sugar, then topped with creamy peanut butter and your favorite jam. Baked until golden brown and crispy on the outside, these bars have a gooey center that will make everyone happy.
23. MINI S’MORES TARTS
These mini smores tarts are a delicious treat that capture the flavor of a summer classic. Start with a graham cracker crust, then fill it with melted marshmallows and dark chocolate chips. Bake in the oven until golden brown and top with fresh whipped cream. The combination of crunchy Graham crackers, lightly toasted marshmallow and rich chocolate will have everyone coming back for more. Enjoy these tarts as an after-dinner dessert or a sweet snack throughout the day.
24. NO-BAKE LEMON BERRY CHEESECAKE BARS
These no-bake lemon berry cheesecake bars are great for any occasion and can be easily mixed up in your KitchenAid® stand mixer. Start with a creamy base of cream cheese, yogurt and sugar, then add layers of tart lemon curd and fresh raspberries. Top it off with a crunchy granola crust, and you’ve got an irresistible dessert that looks as good as it tastes. Chill overnight to set the topping, and enjoy. With the bright flavors and mixture of textures, these bars are a delicious addition to any party spread.
25. LEMONADE COCKTAIL
This lemonade cocktail is an easy way to transform a classic summer staple into an adult-friendly tailgate party beverage. Start with freshly squeezed lemons, then add vodka and simple syrup for sweetness. Top it off with club soda for a touch of fizz, and you're ready to enjoy. Let the refreshing citrus flavor take you away to a beach in the tropics - great for when the weather is warm, and the sun is shining bright. This tart and sweet cocktail will refresh your party guests all spring and summer.
If you have access to power at your tailgate, a blender can help you create refreshing blended drinks.
26. CARAMEL APPLE BOURBON SLUSH COCKTAILS
These Caramel Apple Bourbon Slush Cocktails will keep you cool on a hot day. Start with a smooth and sweet base of caramel-flavored vodka, then add apple cider, freshly squeezed lemon juice, simple syrup and cinnamon. Stir in a splash of bourbon for a hint of smoky depth, and top with crushed ice. The result is a frosty beverage, bursting with tart apple flavor and warming spices - the perfect accompaniment to an outdoor party.
27. SAGE HONEY PINEAPPLE BLENDED COCKTAIL
This Sage Honey Pineapple Blended Cocktail is a unique combination of sweet and savory. Start with freshly chopped pineapple, then use your KitchenAid® blender to mix it with mezcal, lime juice, honey simple syrup and fresh sage leaves. The result is a creamy drink, bursting with tropical fruit flavor and hints of smoky mezcal and herby sage. Serve this beverage at your next dinner party or event.
This guacamole recipe is bursting with rich and spicy flavors, highlighted by the addition of zesty lime juice and a splash of orange juice to create a well-balanced taste. It also features red onions, adding a pop of color and a textured crunch. Hass avocados add to this recipe with their creamy, flavorful flesh. Use your KitchenAid® K150 blender to achieve a smooth and consistent texture for your guacamole.
29. SWEET & SPICY SNACK MIX
Sweet & Spicy Snack Mix is a delicious and hard-to-put-down snack that your guests will keep reaching for throughout the day. This recipe features a mix of salty pretzels, nuts and cereal, and a blend of sweet and spicy seasonings to create a unique and flavorful snack.
30. CRISPY ZUCCHINI CHIPS WITH ROASTED TOMATO DIPPING SAUCE
These crispy zucchini chips and roasted tomato dipping sauce make for a delicious appetizer or snack. Start by coating zucchini slices in a light batter before frying up in hot oil until golden and crisp. Serve with a simple but flavorful roasted tomato dip made with tomatoes, garlic, basil and olive oil. The rich umami flavor of the sauce complements the lightly crunchy chips - a definite hit. Enjoy these chips with family and friends as the perfect way to kick off any game day.
31. POTATO CHIP BUFFALO CHICKEN NACHOS
This Potato Chip Buffalo Chicken Nachos recipe is a flavorful twist on classic nachos. Spicy buffalo chicken is layered over crispy potato chips, melted cheddar, and mozzarella cheese, then topped with diced tomatoes, crunchy celery and tangy blue cheese crumbles. This indulgent and easy-to-make snack is essential for any game day gathering. Go from the kitchen to the party in no time when you use your KitchenAid® food processor to help you quickly shred the cheese, chop the celery and tomatoes for the topping and make the buffalo sauce.
32. HUMMUS ARTICHOKE DIP
Your KitchenAid® food processor or immersion blender will help you whip up this creamy dip for your next get-together. Hummus artichoke dip is a creamy, herb-filled appetizer that's sure to please. Start with a blend of creamy garlic hummus and artichoke hearts before adding in savory herbs like dill, parsley, thyme and oregano. Serve this dip with pita chips or vegetables, and watch it disappear. With its bright flavor, delightfully creamy texture, and gorgeous presentation it’s a fantastic accompaniment to any gathering.
33. SPICY QUESO DIP
This spicy queso dip will be a crowd favorite at any gathering. Start with a base of creamy cheese and milk, then add tomatoes, jalapeno peppers and spices. Simmer until the mixture is smooth and hot, then serve warm with your favorite tortilla chips or veggies. The combination of flavors creates a unique blend that your guests will love. Serve this dip as an appetizer or snack.
34. FRESH SALSA
This fresh salsa is flavorful and perfect for your next tailgate party. Start by combining ripe tomatoes, red onion, cilantro, jalapeno peppers and garlic for a delicious combination of flavors and textures. Add lime juice to brighten it up, and let the mixture sit for a few minutes to allow the flavors to meld together. Serve with your favorite chips or on top of tacos or burritos.
35. BEER AND CHEESE DIP
This beer and cheese dip is a unique and tasty option for any party or gathering. Start by combining a smooth lager beer, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, Worcestershire sauce and spices in a pot. Simmer until the mixture is hot and creamy, then serve warm with your favorite crackers or veggies. The irresistible combination of beer and cheese makes this dip a must-have tailgate recipe.
SHOP KITCHENAID® FOOD PROCESSORS
From quick tasks to full recipes, food processors help elevate your everyday meals and creations. Slice and shred or even dice fruits, vegetables, cheese and more. Stainless steel blades, various speeds and additional accessories on select models help you streamline food prep and master new techniques as you prep your favorite snacks for a game day crowd.
WHAT MAKES FOR A GOOD TAILGATE PARTY?
From barbecued treats and tasty snacks to spirited games and music, there are plenty of ways to make sure your party is the one everyone's talking about. Use the tips below to have fun and get creative with your next tailgate gathering.
Create a versatile menu that will satisfy different tastes.
Consider including hand-held foods to make meal-time and snacking easier.
Label menu items so your guests can peruse the spread and find their favorites.
Provide comfortable seating for your guests.
Keep guests warm by bringing extra blankets, just in case.
Get creative with your cooling. Turn a wheelbarrow or wash basin into a cooler.
Put together game-time favors that include sunscreen, a water bottle, an extra snack and moist towelettes.
Bring portable games that your guests can enjoy.
- Provide music that will keep the party going and satisfy guests of all ages and music preferences.
WHAT DO YOU BRING TO A TAILGATE?
Tailgating requires some essential items to make for a fun, worry-free experience. Consider the categories below as you get prepared and packed.
Be prepared for all types of weather. Pack a lap blanket for extra warmth, gloves, scarves, hats and hand or foot warmers in case temperatures drop. Don't forget to bring an extra fleece or sweatshirt, too. For hot days, on the other hand, you'll want a battery-powered fan, personal misting bottles, a hat and sunglasses to stay cool and protect yourself from the sun's rays. Sunscreen and bug spray are musts too.
Depending on what you are serving, you may want to bring a grill and fuel, coolers (one for drinks, one for food), platters/containers for food, plates, cups and utensils. You might also want to bring plastic wraps/foils, cleaning supplies like paper towels, wet wipes and trash bags. Be sure to pack clean plastic carry-away bags for leftovers, too. Don't forget the plastic totes with lids for hauling dirty dishes home.
If you want to create fresh blended cocktails or mocktails or serve heated dips from a slow cooker, check for a nearby power source to plug in small appliances.
Another great way to ensure you're ready for game day is to prepare some entertainment. Fill a tote bag with a football, flying disc, decks of cards and a board game. Trivia games with sports questions can also be a hit at any tailgate. Don't forget the wireless speakers to listen in on other games while you hang out pre- and post-game. Portable outdoor games like corn hole, ladder golf and washer toss are also worth investing in if you plan to tailgate all season. If you plan to stay after dark, don’t forget lanterns and flashlights.
WHAT IS THE MOST POPULAR TAILGATE FOOD?
The most popular tailgate dishes depend on your crowd but are often classic recipes everyone enjoys. It’s also important for your menu to be easy to eat, so consider finger foods and handhelds when making menu choices. Some favorites include nachos, pulled pork sandwiches, chips and dips and grilled items like burgers and hotdogs.
WHAT ARE THE MOST POPULAR FINGER FOODS FOR TAILGATE PARTIES?
Finger foods are an excellent option for tailgates because they are easy to eat and often crowd-pleasing. Some possibilities include kabobs like antipasto kabobs or chicken skewers, handheld desserts like cheesecake bars, and easy-to-share foods like nachos, and chips and guacamole.
EXPLORE KITCHENAID® countertop appliances FOR TAILGATING RECIPES
With KitchenAid® countertop appliances, you're able to unlock a world of possibilities in the kitchen quickly. With countertop appliances like blenders, slow cookers, countertop ovens and more, KitchenAid brand can help you embrace your creativity.
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