Get ready to score big with a Super Bowl party menu that’ll elevate everyone’s viewing experience — even your guests who are only there for the commercials.
Below is a walk-through of the traditional sports-watching foods, factors that influence your party menu, and three sample party menus (with recipe links) for you to consider.
Popular Super Bowl foods
When guests RSVP to a Super Bowl party, they expect three things: food, drinks, and football. And for whatever reason, American football fans have grown accustomed to enjoying their favorite game with indulgent, sometimes spicy pub food. Chicken wings, served with a dipping sauce or two, are at the top of the favorites list. Other classic Super Bowl party foods include:
- Chips and salsa
- Buffalo chicken dip
- Potato skins
- Jalapeno poppers
- Deviled eggs
You probably don’t want to serve all of these — it’ll cost you a pretty penny and keep you chained to the kitchen while your guests are socializing. But how do you narrow the list? Read on to find out.
Super Bowl party menu considerations
A successful Super Bowl party menu considers your guests and their preferences, of course. But it also caters to you — specifically, the time and budget you have to buy, prep, and serve all this food. Below are some pointers to consider as you design the ideal game-day menu for you and your favorite people.
The people you invite will shape the tone of your menu. For example:
- Low-maintenance bachelor types who regularly consume frozen foods as meals don’t need or want anything fancy. Keep the menu simple. Grilled hot dogs or burgers, chips and salsa, and cookies for dessert could do the trick.
- Families with kids will appreciate fun finger foods. Boneless chicken wings could be the centerpiece of your menu. For the kids’ sake, don’t toss the wings in a sauce before serving. Just provide the sauce on the side. Tater tots served with toppings — so your guests can make totchos — are another option.
- Spice-loving football fans: If your crowd likes things hot, add a buffalo dip or jalapeno poppers to the menu.
- Friends with special dietary needs will appreciate at least one dish that suits them. Find out ahead of time who on your guest list might be vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, or allergic to nuts or soy. You might also plan on serving guacamole and salsa with vegan tortilla chips, just in case.
- Foodie friends will love upgraded takes on classic party dishes, such as Chinese meatball sliders or pulled pork nachos.
Your time and effort
Don’t overlook yourself in the throes of party planning. Think about the experience you want to have with your friends and family, as well as your set-up at home. Where do you have space for guests to mingle? If it’s on the patio and the weather permits, structure your menu around grilled favorites. If your kitchen has more space, skip the grill and prep everything inside. You don’t want to feel like you’re in exile while you’re cooking.
Also consider the type of serving dishes you’ll need for your menu items. It’s usually advisable to focus on finger foods you can serve on paper plates. That ensures no inadvertently broken dishes or forks lost in the couch. Clean up will be way easier, too.
Pro tip: Add something unexpected
You can elevate your party menu with one dish that’s outside the box. Dessert is a great place to experiment, too. By the time you pull out the sweets, your guests are already satiated. So the risk of failure is lower.
Try homemade ice cream sandwiches or chocolate brownies spiked with chili powder. Or set out an ice cream sundae bar with fun toppings and let your guests make their own creations.
How much food to make
If you expect fewer than eight people, plan on having one main dish plus three to four side dishes, including dessert. Your side dishes can be simple — chips and salsa or cheese and crackers are easy choices. For every eight additional people, add another main dish or make larger batches of everything.
Use these guidelines to help you plan how many servings to make:
- Serve three to five chicken wings per person.
- Serve two to three sliders per person.
- If you’re serving nachos, 1 lb. of meat and 6 to 7 oz. of chips will feed about six people.
- 10 jalapeno poppers will serve three or four people.
If your menu is extensive, you would adjust these serving sizes lower. The more options you provide, the less of each your guests will eat.
Three complete menu ideas
Now let’s get to the nuts-and-bolts of menu planning. Below are three full menus, with links to recipes where appropriate. Each menu has its own theme, so use whichever suits you best — or mix and match dishes to create something totally new.
1. Family-friendly affair
You have parents and kids on your guest list, so you need dishes that’ll satisfy both.
- Boneless chicken wings with five sauces on the side
- Smoky macaroni and cheese
- Mixed nuts
- Chips, sliced carrots, celery, and ranch dressing
- Peanut butter chocolate chip cookies
2. Grilling and chillin’
If the party’s going to happen outside around the grill, smokey wings are the obvious choice as a main dish. Surround crunchy wings with bright, fresh flavors from corn and mild tomato salsa.
3. The decadent make-ahead menu
A slow cooker is your best friend if you’d rather not be cooking when guests arrive. You can also prep a casserole early and throw it in the oven when the time is right.
- Slow cooker pulled chicken sliders or Italian beef sliders
- Totchos casserole
- Cheese ball served with crackers and veggie sticks
- Assorted fruit on skewers
- Peanut butter chocolate brownies
Your best Super Bowl party
Your best super bowl party menu considers your guests, the effort you want to make, and your intended atmosphere. Consider a mix of options, but don’t feel pressured to overdo it. If you have a couple dishes in mind, you can always surround them with pre-made favorites like chips, crackers, mixed nuts, and cookies. Lean on those pre-made foods as needed to keep your workload reasonable. After all, it is your party and you want to enjoy the big game, too.