Time to get crazy, people — March Madness is here! Scream at your players, cry at the lost chances, laugh at the calls, and shout at the ref. It's all part of the game of watching college basketball. You need to balance this insanity with an array of tasty treats. You gotta keep your energy up. After all, they can't do it without you. Check out these ideas for the most delicious ways to get your grub and your game on at the same time.
1. Slam Dunk Cookies
Sugar cookies never looked so athletic. You'll need Reese's peanut butter cups, the white miniature variety, and Candiquik frosting to turn your sugar cookies into a slam dunk. It'll also help to have piping tools and food coloring. These are so cute, you almost won't want to mess them up by eating them. Almost. Get the recipe.
2. Peanut Butter Cup Basketballs
Orange icing turns these Reese's peanut butter cups into edible basketballs! It's so easy. All you need is icing, food coloring, and a piping tool. Your friends and family will love noshing on these treats while watching the ball onscreen. Get the recipe.
3. Turkey and Cheese Basketball Sliders
These savory sandwiches are a slam-dunk with both kids and adults. Buy frozen dinner rolls, orange food coloring spray, and liquid black food coloring to make these basketball buns with blackened turkey, roasted red peppers, caramelized onions, fiery spread, and melty cheese. Get the recipe.
4. Basketball Court Seven Layer Dip
Because refried beans, sour cream, and tomatoes shouldn’t just be just delicious, but adorable, too. Have fun playing with your food, deconstructing traditional seven-layer nachos to arrange it like a basketball court, using olives for the three-point line, sour cream for the key, and tomatoes, green onions, and cheese along the sidelines. The chips? That could be the noisy crowd. Get the recipe.
5. Basketball Mini Cheeseburgers
A little black food coloring and a tiny food-safe paint brush turns a round of cheddar cheese into a basketball — the perfect topping for these juicy sliders. You can use a cookie or biscuit cutter to make the round cheese shape. Also, the bottom bun isn't a bun at all, but a potato round. Get the recipe.
6. Stuffed Fritos
Standard-sized tacos are so 2016. These Fritos Scoops chips are the perfect mini boats to carry the mini toppings, lean ground beef (fattier meat will soak the chips, making them soggy), Southwestern sauce, enchilada sauce, taco seasoning, roasted red pepper, Colby jack cheese, and cilantro. Get the recipe.
7. Buffalo Chicken Meatballs
Juicy, round, and orange-hued—they couldn’t be more appropriate if they tried! And they taste so good and moist, you wouldn't know they're healthy. These buffalo chicken meatballs are made with lean ground chicken blended through the food processor with vegetables so you hardly notice them. A lot of hot sauce and just a bit of blue cheese for pungent creaminess does the trick. Get the recipe.
8. Pepperoni Pizza Dip
A huge bowl of molten cheese and spicy meat is always a good idea! Instead of ordering pizza delivery, make your own, but make it in a way no one has ever seen. In this way, the pizza is deconstructed, separated, rolled into crusty pizza dough sticks, with which you scoop up hot cheesy, meaty gobs. Get our Pepperoni Pizza Dip recipe.
9. BBQ Bacon Wrapped Meatballs
For the carnivore who is sure to frequent your NCAA-viewing party. It's like, what's better than balls of meat? Well, bacon-wrapped meaty balls, of course. Duh. This is a pretty basic recipe, so basic a caveman could do it. Grab a bag of frozen meatballs, bacon, barbecue sauce, and a dry spice rub, and you're ready to begin. Get the recipe.
10. Guacamole Deviled Eggs
Vegetarians need love too, and nothing says love like guacamole deviled eggs. You'll be scooping out the yolk and discarding it after you hard-boil, cool, and peel the eggs, but we hope you think of another use for the yolk instead of just trashing it. Either way, the guac with chile powder, lime, salt, Sriracha, and cilantro make a substitute filling that's a nice surprise from the usual. Get the recipe.
11. Thai Peanut Chicken Wonton Cups
Here's a dish that will drag people's eyes from the game to the platter: hand-held, savory cupcakes with a spicy, peanutty kick! Yes, you read that correctly, savory cupcakes. A traditional Thai peanut chicken dish gets unconventional when scooped into wonton wrappers, pressed into cupcake molds. Get the recipe.
12. Basketball Cupcakes
Nothing but net and smiles with these festive treats! First, you make (or buy) two cupcakes for each dessert. You'll need a waffle cone bowl, pastry tips and bags, and orange, red, white, and chocolate icing. You smush one cupcake upside down in the waffle bowl, paint the second cupcake like a basketball, and smush it on its side, halfway invisible. Then you pipe on the netting, and done. Get the recipe.
13. Loaded Baked Potato Dip
This loaded baked potato dip is creamy, cheesy, and bacon-y. Don’t leave home without it. You start with Neufchatel cheese, which is mild, creamy, dense, and spreadable almost just like cream cheese but with slightly less fat content. It's named after the French town where it was originally made. But that's not all. There's extra sharp cheddar in there too, plus bacon, broccoli, spinach, and onion on top of these russet potatoes. It's a whole meal in a dip. Get the recipe.
14. Smoked Atomic Buffalo Turds
Make these nibbles just because of the name. Come on, we dare you. It should delight your friends and family who haven't lost their juvenile sense of humor (like us). Plus, it's just darn delicious and decadent with all the spicy, cheesy, meaty elements with creamy and crackly textures. The jalapeños stuffed with sausage and cheese, then wrapped in bacon and smoked—the perfect finger food for a crowd. Get the recipe.
15. Basketball Sandwich Cookies
By now, you're familiar with the basketball decoration on top of anything round for March Madness. Hailey from A La Main does it too, but with shortbread sandwich cookies inspired by her grandmother, with a lemony cream cheese filling. Lemony sandwich cookies are the ideal way to end the game, no matter which team wins! Get the recipe.
16. Spicy Jerk Turkey Melts
Avocado, tomatoes, and spicy jerk-rubbed turkey will delight the chile-head in your crew. Oh, and did we not include the melted Colby jack cheese draped atop it all, kept in place by marble rye? Yaaassss. It's like an open-faced sandwich or a patty melt or panini, but not. What is, is scrumptious. Winning flavor and mouthfeel all around. Get the recipe.
— Head Photo: Barbecue Chicken and Coleslaw Potato Skins/Chowhound.
Sarah Spigelman Richter is a New York City–based writer, blogger, and social media manager. She has developed recipes for Tabasco, blogs about her favorite restaurants and recipes at Fritos and Foie Gras, and can be found, most Friday nights, watching "Arrested Development" reruns.
Amy Sowder is the assistant editor at Chowhound in New York City. She loves cheesy things, especially toasties and puns. She's trying to like mushrooms. Her running habit is the excuse for her gelato passion. Or is it the other way around? Follow her on Instagram, Twitter, and her blog, What Do I Eat Now. Learn more at AmySowder.com.