In my apartment, the Super Bowl is regarded as the biggest holiday of the year. Not because my roommates and I are particularly keen on football, but because we’re particularly keen on Super Bowl snacks. If I were to list my passions, Super Bowl food would be among them—mostly because it’s an excuse to eat all the cheese, carbs and red meat I can get my hands on.
One of the first things I did when I became a Real Adult (you know, the kind who no longer lives at home or in a college dorm) was host a Super Bowl party. It was small, but it expanded year after year. My annual Super Bowl party is now in its fifth iteration, and I’ve gained a deep understanding of what it takes to craft a truly perfect Super Bowl menu, even if things are more laid-back now due to social distancing rules.
I know which Super Bowl snacks are a must, and which are worth foregoing. I can sense when the menu is skewing too cheese-heavy, too red meat-heavy, too carb-heavy—and I can correct for each of those extremes. I know which dishes to make ahead, which to pop in the oven day of and which to delegate to guests. Because after all, aren’t feasts at their most fun when everyone’s had a hand in them?
Before we go any further, I think a couple things are worth clarifying: I’m not a professional chef, and I know very little about football. There are a handful of articles you could turn to that surely sourced their Super Bowl menus from people who are experts in either (or maybe even both) of those subjects, but what I am offering you is a novice’s way in. Nothing on my Super Bowl menu will be too hard for you to tackle, because it isn’t too hard for me to tackle. You won’t lose yourself in punny Super Bowl dishes that are based on some kind of niche football joke none of us fair-weather fans understand. You won’t find yourself up to your elbows in gourmet ingredients trying to craft some kind of dish that looked really good on Pinterest but is actually really confusing to make.
My Super Bowl menu isn’t hard, or overwhelming, or expensive—or too specific in humor. It’s really just the product of my weirdly immense passion for yummy food—and my commitment to taking advantage of any opportunity to make that food, and to share it with others.
If there’s one thing I know about making food for a crowd it’s this: let your air fryer do all the work. These roasted cashew nuts are the perfect set-it-and-forget-it side order to start off an afternoon full of snacking.
This snack contains two of my favorite things: beer and cheese. Making everything by hand may seem daunting, but the entire recipe only takes an hour and a half. My tip? Make the pretzels the night before.
These game day nachos only take 10 minutes of prep work, so they’re great to make when you’re running a little behind. You’ll also want to put the cumin-lime crema everything you make from now on, it’s that good.
Because I need to create some semblance of balance on game day, I’ll be making these pulled pork lettuce wraps as a *healthy snacking alternative*. The coleslaw also goes with almost everything else you’re making, too, so it’s a great double-duty recipe to have on hand.
These ain’t your nonna’s meatballs. They’re made with pork instead of beef—which means they’ll be extra tender and juicy—and are served in a yummy BBQ sauce. I still love my traditional game day meals, but these are a new favorite.
As Hannah Montana once, said: “you get the best of both worlds.” She wasn’t specifically talking about this creamy, cheesy dip, but the sentiment applies nonetheless. The combo of caramelized onions and gooey cheese is, well, the best.
These cute AF sliders are a match made in food heaven: burgers and fries, all in one bite! The pint-sized patties cook in minutes and you can set up a toppings bar so your friends can all make their own versions (AKA: you can actually sit back and relax while they make their plates).
These are just like those pizza rolls you had as a kid, except way more tasty. For starters, there’s no microwave involved. Second, they’re made using store-bought pizza dough, so you won’t have to spend all day in the kitchen. They’re so good, you’ll want to eat them all before your guests even arrive.
Say hello to to the snackable version of everyone’s favorite game day sandwich: the Philly Cheesesteak. This recipe calls for 10 jalapeno peppers, but feel free to add more (or less) depending on your crowd’s love of spice. Serve them with hot sauce if you really wanna go all-out.
So, your friend invited you over and you don’t want to show up empty-handed. This baked dip comes together in under an hour and includes all of my favorite things: salami, parmesan cheese and warm crostini. You’ll be voted the MVG (Most Valued Guest) by a landslide.
It’s not Super Bowl Sunday without chili, and this unexpected iteration is surprisingly delicious. Salty olives replace the beans in this recipe, which makes for just the right amount of salt to cut through all that creaminess.
If you don’t have crawfish readily available, swap ’em out for shrimp or crab for an equally-delicious dip that will comfort even the most devastated of football fans. This is best served right out of the oven, so let it be the only thing that you make in real-time—it’ll be worth it.
Here’s another sandwich makeover for you, because finger foods are just more fun when your focus is on the game. Who doesn’t love a snack that you can dip in sauerkraut made from bacon and beer?! I’ll have ten, thx.
Satisfy your vegan friends out with this quick and easy salad that tastes as good as it looks. Don’t let the long ingredient list scare you off—a food processor does all of the heavy-lifting for you. We love to see it!
I can’t believe it took me this long to add a veggie platter to this list, but here we are. This dip is flavored with fresh herbs and spices for an updated (and homemade!) version of the usual selection you buy at the grocery store.
Also, I can’t believe I almost missed out on a hot wings recipe. These are made in everyone’s favorite appliance, the air fryer, which means you’ll spend less time worrying about all that hot oil and more time actually watching the game.
I’m a sucker for mini versions of my favorite childhood meals. Use Hawaiian rolls over your normal sesame seed buns because A) They’re already smaller and B) They pack more sweet flavor to contrast the savory filling. Yum.
You’ve probably had a lot of BBQ pork ribs in your day, but these are certified delicious. Sure, they take an hour to bake, but all the work happens in the oven so you will (almost) forget about them while you’re doing everything else. Don’t actually forget to take them out, though.
Here’s another vegan recipe, because it’s important to have options, right? These nachos are *technically* healthy, so you’ll feel a little better having them as part of your culinary lineup. The combo of sweet and spicy is so good, you won’t even notice that they don’t contain any meat.
I’m making the case to splurge on at least one dish this year. The use of Old Bay seasoning—a Super Bowl classic—makes this fancy-sounding dish a little more approachable. Plus, mushrooms are also slightly healthier than, say, puff pastry (and they taste a heck of a lot better, in my humble opinion).