Football season is kicking off, and whether you’re a die-hard sports fan who never misses a game or are purely in it for the socializing (no shame), one thing’s for sure: You need appropriate eats. But instead of spending hours in the kitchen the day-of, why not make it a little easier on yourself and prep some tasty treats beforehand? Here, some of our favorite make-ahead recipes that are perfect for both tailgating and hosting at home.
BLT Potato Salad
You can’t have a cookout without potato salad, and Heather Christo’s version incorporates bacon and tomatoes for an added level of flavor. She uses an olive oil and vinegar dressing instead of traditional mayo for a lighter dish you don’t have to feel guilty about getting seconds (or thirds) of.
Brie Spinach Dip
A twist on classic spinach artichoke dip, Carlsbad Craving’s spinach brie dip with red pepper is uber creamy and decadent. Prep it to the point of baking to simply heat up when you are ready, or bake it beforehand and keep warm in a crockpot.
Chicken Taco Casserole
You might not be able to make and store tacos beforehand, but a chicken taco casserole is a whole different story. Ian Knauer’s recipe is the best of both worlds, offering the ease of a casserole paired with the aromatic flavor of nachos. It’s comfort food to the extreme.
Pineapple Lime Beer Margaritas
We see your lone bottle of beer and raise you these lime beer margaritas. Half Baked Harvest’s recipe is refreshing and easy to make; just adjust the serving size accordingly, pour into a pitcher or to-go thermos, and store until you’re ready to enjoy.
Garlic Herb Parmesan Pretzel Twists
An upgrade on a classic snack food, these homemade pretzels by What’s Gaby Cooking will take appetizers to the next level. Make ahead of time and either serve as is or pop them in the oven for a couple minutes to eat warm, then serve with your favorite dipping sauce.
Chili is the ultimate winter comfort food, and as football season happens to serendipitously take place during the colder seasons, it’s the perfect dish for game day. Make this turkey chili ahead of time and reheat when you’re ready to serve for a warm, filling meal.
Peanut Butter Fudge Cup Brownies
Classics are classic for a reason, and brownies are quite possibly the best to-go dessert in existence. These fudgy brownies have peanut butter cups (as well as peanut butter swirls) for extra decadence.
Jalapeno Bacon Ranch Cheese Ball
Not for the faint of heart, The Beach House Kitchen’s cheese ball is unlike anything else, chiefly because it is covered in bacon. Serve with crackers and fruit for the most statement-making cheese platter ever.
Turkey Sliders with Red Wine Caramelized Onions and Goat Cheese
We know, these gourmet-looking sliders with caramelized onions don’t seem like the best no-fuss game day recipe to make ahead of time. But you can actually prep the onions beforehand and store them for up to four days leading up to the big game—meaning that all that’s left to do is grill the patties (which take a grand total of around four minutes) and assemble your sliders. Easy.
Black Bean Salsa
For a hearty (and healthy; look at how many colorful veggies there are!) appetizer, try The Blond Cook’s black bean salsa. It makes enough for a big crowd and all you need are your favorite chips for a no-stress dish everyone will love.