No true fan can summon the concentration to do complicated party foods for game-watching night, whether that involves the NFL, NBA, or MLB (honestly, these even work for movie night—any laid-back get-together that demands good, unfussy food you don’t have to spend a ton of time making).
Starting with the best and easiest Crock Pot chicken wings you’ll ever taste, these easy party dishes represent the best starting lineup in snackville.
A little shopping, some advance prep, and a winning attitude, and you’ll be freed up to stress about the fourth quarter on game night. (Adjust metaphor accordingly depending on your particular party’s raison d’être. All that really matters is that this is good, easy food.)
There are many paths to winning wings: air fryer, deep fryer, oven. But slow cooker wings are a favorite for obvious reasons: totally tender, deeply flavorful meat that you don’t have to think about for several hours—though for the best of both worlds, you do crisp them up in the oven for 30 minutes at the end. Get our Crock Pot Hot Wings recipe.
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If you want to capture the flavor of your favorite wings but do even less work, this spicy, creamy, savory, cheesy, chicken-packed buffalo dip is perfect. Celery sticks and carrots are great for scooping it up of course, but so are potato chips. If you stick to the veggie dippers, though, this one is suitable for keto eaters. And if you use a store-bought rotisserie chicken, you stress even less. Get our Buffalo Chicken Dip recipe.
Look, dip is de rigueur at parties, and for good reason: It’s easy to make, easy to eat, fun, filling, and everyone loves it. This one is like the lazy person’s version of a classic salad, minus the distraction of greens. Serve it with celery sticks if you want to feign healthiness, but it’s better with buttery crackers or crunchy chips. Get our Cobb Salad Dip recipe.
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Or don’t even hint at health—just set out a bowl of this gooey pepperoni pizza dip with cheesy garlic breadsticks. Bonus: You cut out the pizza delivery middleman. Get our Pepperoni Pizza Dip recipe.
Right at home on game day, this southern classic perfectly balances tang, sweetness, umami savor, and spice and will be welcome at literally any other party too (see: dip). Get our Pimiento Cheese Spread recipe.
The Silk Road Chinese Five Spice Blend, $10 on Amazon
This five spice blend actually includes six: star anise, fennel, cinnamon, Sichuan peppercorns, cloves, and ginger.
Meatloaf can be a finger food when you make it in muffin tins—and this chicken parm version is stuffed with melted mozzarella cheese, which makes it even better; ditto the crisp panko and tomato sauce topping. You can make the mixture and form the mini loaves in advance, then hold in the fridge until you’re ready to top them and bake just before serving. Get our Chicken Parmesan Meatloaf Muffins recipe.
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Our stromboli filling calls for marinara, shredded mozzarella, ham, and fresh chiles, but don’t be shy about freestyling with this lazy version that calls for store-bought pizza dough and a once-over rolling technique. Get our Easy Stromboli recipe.
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Popcorn is underrated, but if you’re going off the faux-butter microwave stuff, that’s understandable. Get everybody’s hands in the bowl with this savory snack, which starts with totally plain popcorn, drizzles it with spicy butter, coats it with lots of finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese, and bakes it in the oven for half an hour so it’s perfectly crisp and every bite is super cheesy. Get our Cheesy Popcorn recipe.
Yes, this involves cooking on the night of, but dude, don’t stress. You can season the steak the day before, as well as mix the cheeses, and dice the jalapeños. Then assemble the quesadillas at the grill, when there are plenty of guests around to help. Or make them in a skillet if that’s easier. Get our Grilled Steak Quesadillas recipe.
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They just work. These homemade pigs in blankets class it up a little with store-bought puff pastry instead of the usual biscuit or crescent roll dough. They’re even sort of delicate thanks to that flaky, all-butter wrapping, but still great dipped in yellow mustard. Get our Pigs in a Blanket recipe.