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 fourth iteration, and I’ve gained a deep understanding of what it takes to craft a truly perfect Super Bowl menu. 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.
1. Deviled Eggs
A lot of cooking needs to happen on Super Bowl Sunday—and sometimes, that cooking keeps going until the very last minute. Having no-cook appetizers, like deviled eggs, is a great way to keep your guests from starving while your slow cooker works its magic.
2. Slow-Cooker Taco Queso
My roommate makes this slow-cooker taco queso for every single Super Bowl, and honestly, I’m not sure I could live without it at this point. It’s super decadent, which makes it the perfect treat for the most indulgent holiday of the year.
3. A Killer Charcuterie Spread
I mean—does this truly incredible-looking charcuterie spread even require justification? The more you can get on the table that doesn’t need to be cooked, the better.
4. Bacon Brown Sugar Sausages
As much as we’d like the day to be about cheese and carbs, we probably need to work some heartier options in there, too. These brown sugar- and bacon-coated sausages should do the trick, right? (And yes, you can make them in your slow cooker.)
5. Super Creamy Mac and Cheese
The Super Bowl is an abject American holiday. And what’s an American holiday without macaroni and cheese?
6. Honey Garlic Chicken Wings
Because if you’re throwing a Super Bowl party, I’m pretty sure you’re obligated to have chicken wings there.
7. A Veggie Tray
Just, you know, trying to keep things vaguely balanced.
8. Chocolate Chip Cookies
Oh yeah, desserts are totally on the menu.
9. Sausage Balls
These sausage balls are my roommate’s specialty—and they’re gluten-free. Top that.
Surprised it took me this long to mention an absolute must: chips and guac.
11. Slow-Cooker BBQ Cocktail Meatballs
Cocktail meatballs offer everything you could want in a Super Bowl party food: They’re delicate enough to eat with a toothpick, but hearty enough to keep you super satisfied.
12. Spinach Artichoke Dip
Honestly, if an opportunity to eat spinach artichoke dip presents itself, I’m taking it.
Because one dessert simply isn’t enough.
14. Sliders for a Crowd
Grilling out is way too intense. A) It’s still winter, and no one wants to hang out in the cold—not even for a burger. B) You and your guests will probably be thoroughly stuffed from the rest of your feast to down a normal-sized hamburger. The solution? Big-batch sliders.
15. Buffalo Chicken Dip
Super Bowl chili is 100 percent a thing.
17. Themed Jell-O Shots