'Tis the season for fall weather, football, and fabulous finger food. Whether you're watching the big game at home, going to a watch party, or heading to the stadium for a tailgating feast, awesome apps are a must for game-day snacking. No matter who you're cheering for or what the score is, everyone's experience will be enhanced with tasty treats to nibble on throughout the game and maybe even at the post-game party, too.
Not sure where to begin? We've got you covered. Whether you're in charge of putting together an entire football feast or if you just need to prep an app or two, you're sure to score big with these specially selected dishes that are sure to be a big hit with the game-day crowd. The final score may or may not be memorable, but the tasty treats you prepare to share will put you in the running for MVP. Go, team!
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Beer Battered Mozzarella Sticks
Spread some cheesy love to the game day crowd by whipping up a batch (or several) of these easy-to-make-at-home beer-battered mozzarella sticks. You'll just need some mozzarella sticks (string cheese works great) and a few basic pantry staples to create your own homemade cheese sticks that rival — or beat — the ones on the menu of any casual dining or fast food establishment. Whip up a batch of fast marinara sauce for dipping perfection.
Tip: These are best served hot, so prep some just before kickoff and then make more during halftime.
Recipe: Beer Battered Mozzarella Sticks
Deep Fried Dill Pickles
Cheese sticks aren't the only deep-fried delight that deserves a spot in your game day spread. Everyone who gathers to watch the game is sure to be thrilled to discover deep-fried pickles (homemade, no less) served for all to share. Don't be intimidated — this recipe calls for only dill pickles and a basic batter that you can pull together from items that you probably already keep on hand.
Tip: The recipe calls for cooking the pickles in rapeseed oil, which is another term for canola oil. You can actually use any oil that's suitable for frying.
Recipe: Deep Fried Dill Pickles
Sweet And Spicy Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Tenders
If you want to serve up hearty game day fare fit for the hungriest meat-eating guests, you can't go wrong with an appetizer that features both chicken and bacon. These sweet and spicy bacon-wrapped chicken tenders are an awesome alternative to ordinary battered and fried chicken fingers. The unique seasoning combination of brown sugar, three kinds of pepper, onion, and garlic makes this dish an all-pro favorite.
Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeño Poppers
Speaking of bacon, it's the perfect add-on to elevate basic jalapeño poppers to the starting lineup of any game-day gathering. You can make this recipe for grilled, bacon-wrapped jalapeño poppers entirely on a grill, so it's ideal for tailgating on the grounds as well as at-home watch parties.
Tip: Prep the poppers the evening before so there's not much to do on the day of the game. That way, you can just preheat the grill and let them sizzle during the countdown to kickoff.
BBQ Chicken Lollipops
Like the idea of serving chicken on a stick, but don't want all the work of putting together skewers? Pick up some drumsticks at the supermarket and make these BBQ chicken lollipops instead. Don't worry — you don't have to fire up the grill for this meaty app. These chicken lollies are oven-baked, so you can prep them in a casserole dish and cover for easy transport them to wherever you're going to watch the game.
Tip: You can use store-bought sauce or make this dish uniquely yours by making an easy homemade barbecue sauce.
Recipe: BBQ Chicken Lollipops
Firehouse Chicken Wings
Already decided to make the chicken apps above? That's okay, you can add this one to your menu, as well! After all, there's no such thing as too many chicken choices on a game-day buffet. More sweet than spicy, these magnificently seasoned firehouse chicken wings are sure to quickly become a fan favorite. Be warned, though. Once you make these for a football party, you'll probably be asked to prep them for every occasion.
Tip: Make this 4-ingredient dumpling sauce recipe for a surprising, perfectly paired dip for these flavor-packed wings.
Recipe: Firehouse Chicken Wings
Grape Jelly Meatballs
Use your slow cooker and some frozen meatballs to add even more meaty goodness to your football feast. You can either buy a bag of frozen meatballs at the supermarket or use this 20-minute Italian meatballs recipe to make your own. It's amazingly easy to make these old-school grape jelly meatballs. All you need is the meatballs (of course), cocktail sauce, grape jelly, and a splash of hot sauce.
Tip: If you go the DIY route, make the meatballs ahead of time and freeze them so you won't have much to do on game day.
Recipe: Grape Jelly Meatballs
White Queso Dip
No classic game day spread is complete without at least one kind of queso dip. Make our cool (yet spicy, of course) somewhat green version of white queso. It includes salsa verde and a bit of pickled jalapeño stirred into white American cheese with a couple of complementary spices and some half-and-half.
Tip: Serve alongside tortilla chips and/or corn chips, as well as a tray filled with cut-up raw veggies like carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, and celery.
Meaty Rotel Queso Dip
What's even better for a game day feast than queso dip? Why, queso dip with meat. This version of Rotel dip features chorizo paired with Velveeta and Rotel. Rather than prepping the whole dish in a skillet (as the recipe recommends), you can use your slow cooker if you wish. Just move the cooked sausage to your slow cooker and add the other ingredients, then cook for 4 hours on low or 2 on high.
Tip: If you want to vary the flavor, substitute 8 ounces of cream cheese for an equal amount of Velveeta.
Recipe: Meaty Rotel Queso Dip
Dill Onion Dip
The queso dips above have got things covered in the warm dip category, but every football party needs at least one cold dip on the table. This dill onion dip recipe is just the ticket! It's also a great dish to prepare when you're short on time for hands-on cooking because no cooking is required!
Tip: For the best flavor, prep the dip the day before and let it chill in the fridge overnight. This will give the flavors time to meld, and the result will be oh-so-tasty.
Recipe: Dill Onion Dip
Mini Sausage Rolls
Want to make a fancy recipe for a football feast without spending a ton of time? Armed with some puff pastry from the store and our easy mini-sausage roll recipe, you'll be channeling your inner pastry chef in no time at all. Your fellow game-watchers will be so impressed, so don't tell them that you only spent a few minutes prepping them before popping them into the oven for a brief, 20-minute bake.
Tip: For a unique dip pairing, serve your mini sausage rolls with our smoky remoulade.
Recipe: Easy Mini Sausage Rolls
Spinach Artichoke Bites
When it comes to fancy appetizers, puff pastry is your friend. Not only does puff pastry make our mini sausage rolls (above) so easy to make, but it's also the secret weapon behind our spinach artichoke bites. Be warned, though, that once you make these delightful bites, everyone you know will want you to bring them to every party for every occasion. Just smile and agree without giving away your secret.
Tip: To elevate the flavor to be even more, stir in a dash of nutmeg to the filling mixture.
Recipe: Spinach Artichoke Bites
Oven Baked Hamburger Sliders
Who says game day burgers have to be cooked on the grill? When you're in charge of a meaty app and you want to stay indoors, wow your friends and/or family with what just may be the most unique casserole ever — oven-baked hamburger sliders. This just may become your new favorite way to make and eat burgers.
Tip: For a shortcut that won't shortchange the taste, you can substitute store-bought Thousand Island dressing for the sauce part of the recipe.
Recipe: Oven Baked Hamburger Sliders
Hot Roast Beef Sandwiches
If you love the idea of baked sandwiches but someone's already planning to grill hamburgers, turn your attention to our easy hot roast beef sandwich recipe. This version of an oven-baked sandwich recipe is even more simple than the sliders recipe above because you don't need to cook any meat. Instead, just use sliced roast beef from the deli section of your supermarket and build from there.
Tip: For slightly spicier hot roast beef sandwiches, stir a teaspoon of horseradish into the sandwich sauce portion of the recipe. You could make one pan with horseradish and one pan without so guests can choose.
Recipe: Hot Roast Beef Sandwich
Slow Cooked Little Smokies
Nothing says game day better than a slow cooker filled with little smokies simmering in a tangy, tasty sauce. Sure, you could just dump a few packs of tiny sausages into your slow cooker along with a bottle of barbecue sauce, but why stop there? Our easy recipe for slow-cooked little smokies provides step-by-step instructions you can use to take the taste to an all-pro level. We bet you already have all the ingredients in your pantry.
Tip: Be sure to use a slotted spoon for serving so guests don't scoop out too much sauce with their sausage. You may want to provide toothpicks that guests can use to snag individual sausages from their plates.
Recipe: Slow Cooked Little Smokies
Slow Cooker Creamy Chicken Nachos
You'll need your slow cooker to prep these creamy chicken nachos, which is what makes them so perfect for game day. Simply cook a creamy concoction of chicken, black beans, Rotel, cream cheese, and taco seasoning in your slow cooker ahead of time. Then, just before the main event, spoon it over a big pile of tortilla chips on an oven-safe pan, then top with shredded cheese and put the whole thing in the oven for a few minutes. Yum, yum!
Tip: Instead of using an oven for the last step, simply place a slow cooker of queso sauce and a bowl of chips beside the chicken mixture and let guests assemble their own creamy concoction.
Arizona Cheese Crisp
Want to serve something nacho-like but smaller in scale? Our easy Arizona cheese crisp recipe is a tasty treat that's perfect for smallish gatherings of football fans. For this recipe, you'll just need to top flour tortillas with a bit of butter, some shredded cheese, and a bit of diced chile pepper, then bake for a few minutes. Prep a few for people to share; you can always whip up more at halftime.
Tip: Serve alongside salsa and sour cream, or mix equal parts of both for a dip that's both tangy and creamy.
Recipe: Arizona Cheese Crisp
Mini Pretzel Dogs
Feel like doing a bit of scratch baking as part of your pre-game warmup? Our mini pretzel dog recipe is the perfect choice. You'll get to practice your dough-proofing skills and your football-loving friends (as well as those who are just there for the food) will enjoy the fruits of your labor. These tasty apps are sure to make everyone who gets to try them cheer out loud.
Tip: Serve mini pretzel dogs with a bowl of plain yellow mustard for dipping. For a perfect topping, serve up some homemade hot dog relish.
Recipe: Mini Pretzel Dogs
Loaded Baked Potato Totchos
Love the idea of a baked potato bar but really want to prep a one-dish app? Our loaded baked potato totchos recipe is the perfect solution. What are totchos, you ask? They're kind of like nachos but with tater tots as the base rather than corn chips. Simply bake some tater tots on a sheet pan then cover with all of the goodness that makes loaded potatoes taste so great, like cooked bacon, shredded cheese, green onions, and sour cream.
Tip: If you're also making a slow cooker chili recipe, place it near the totchos so guests can easily spoon some on top.
Recipe: Loaded Baked Potato Totchos
Guacamole Deviled Eggs
Looking to make a really cool appetizer for your next football party? These guacamole deviled eggs hit on so many levels. They're meant to be served chilled, so they're cool in that way — but that's not where their coolness factor ends. After all, these aren't your grandma's ordinary yellow deviled eggs sprinkled with paprika. This unique app combines the goodness of deviled eggs with the greatness of guacamole. It doesn't get cooler than that!
Tip: For even more of a green vibe and flavor, sprinkle additional cilantro on top of the finished eggs and garnish the tray with fresh parsley.
Recipe: Guacamole Deviled Eggs
No game day buffet is complete without at least one warm veggie offering. Sure, someone is bound to bring a veggie tray that's great for dipping, but does that really count as an appetizer? Rather than debate such a thing, fill a tray with homemade buffalo cauliflower. You'll just need some fresh cauliflower, a bit of milk, and staple seasonings to make this yummy dish that qualifies as an app without question.
Tip: Serve with blue cheese dressing for dipping. You can buy some at the store or mix your own using our homemade blue cheese dip recipe.
Recipe: Buffalo Cauliflower
Read the original article on Mashed.