15 Classic Tailgate Foods To Master Before Football Season Starts

15 Classic Tailgate Foods to Master Before Football Season Starts

When summer comes to a close and the fall weather slowly creeps in, football season is just around the corner. Whether this is your first time at the tailgate rodeo or you're a seasoned veteran, there are some classic tailgating recipes you need to master before the first kickoff.

Artichoke Spinach Dip

Fall brings cooler weather, meaning this warm dip will be welcomed at your tailgate. It's a classic that works well not only for your tailgate, but for any upcoming get-togethers of the season.

Click here for the Artichoke Spinach Dip recipe.

BBQ Wings

Barbecue wings are the perfect choice for those who like their wings with a little more sweet and a little less heat than Buffalo wings provide.

Click here for the Barbecue Wings recipe.

Best Burgers

You can't have a tailgate without a classic burger. Forgo the frozen options and batch these out the night before your tailgate for more flavor (and fewer preservatives).

Click here for the Classic Hamburger recipe.

Black Bean Dip

Black bean dip is easy to make ahead of the tailgate, and it's a little healthier for those watching what they eat. It's also a great dip for any vegans and vegetarians joining your tailgate party.

Click here for the Black Bean Salsa Dip recipe.

Boiled Peanuts

Boiled peanuts hail from the South, where college ball is king. Pair the salty snack with a cold beer for maximum tailgate potential.

Click here for the Boiled Peanuts recipe.


What's a tailgate without some brats? While Cheddar brats are an easy buy at the store, making these homemade sausages will earn you major tailgate-chef cred with the other grillmasters at the game.

Click here for the Homemade Pork and Veal Bratwurst recipe

Buffalo Chicken Wings

Spicy, messy, and delicious — the trifecta of a perfect Buffalo chicken wing. Make a big batch of these guys, because they're everyone's favorite.

Click here for the Classic Buffalo Chicken Wing recipe.


A chilled bowl of coleslaw to accompany your burgers and brats is a must-have for the perfect tailgate. This recipe from the classic Maine lobster roll and seafood outpost Red's Eats in Maine is as close to perfect as it gets.

Click here for Red's Coleslaw recipe.

Crock Pot Chili

Crock Pot Chili is a crowd pleaser, and easy to set and let cook while you're enjoying the tailgate with your buddies. Top with chopped onions, Cheddar cheese, or sour cream for an extra kick.

Click here for the Crock Pot Chili recipe.

Crock Pot Queso

We love the cheesy, gooey goodness of queso. The chunky, cold queso from a jar? Not so much. Make your queso in your Crock Pot to ensure proper creaminess with minimal effort. Leave your Crock Pot on low to keep the cheese dip melty and warm throughout your tailgate.

Click here for the Crock Pot Queso Blanco recipe.


You can almost guarantee that any bowl of guac you bring to a tailgate will leave empty. The pros at Chipotle know a thing or two about the perfect guac, so why not recreate their recipe? Extra chips, please.

Click here for the Guacamole recipe.

Jalapeno Poppers

Jalapeño poppers are a spicy, creamy snack that's sure to please your tailgate guests. Add a little bacon and you have a recipe you'll be making throughout the entire football season.

Click here for the Bacon Jalapeño Poppers recipe.

Potato Skins

Toss around the old pigskin with one of these potato skins in hand.

Click here for the Potato Skins recipe.

Ranch Dip

This ranch dip is the perfect complement to your tailgate wings. It also pairs well with vegetables and potato chips for those who feel like snacking before the game.

Click here for the Ranch Dip with Bacon recipe.

Sausage and Peppers

Pump up your brats with this heartier dish of sausage and peppers. The sweet and smoky Italian sausage can stand alone as a dish when paired with crisp and sweet bell peppers, but if you want a little carb action, spoon them into a baguette or bun for a handheld meal.

Click here for the Sausage and Pepper recipe.


—  Lauren Durden

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