Oh—and there’s supposedly a football game, too. Cool.
Arguably the biggest sporting and TV event of the year, Super Bowl traditions render this American ritual an official holiday on the calendar. If you’re not hosting a watch party, chances are you’re attending one, and the food and drink will be as central to the event as a strong satellite signal. In fact, the USDA says we eat more food on Super Bowl Sunday than any other day of the year, excluding Thanksgiving. While there’s nothing wrong with making it easy by ordering a bunch of pizzas—after all, Americans ordered around the area of 12.5 million pizzas last Super Bowl—or bringing over chips and dip, you should aspire this year to make your Super Bowl food contributions the Instagram-worthy talk of the town.
The key to get everyone ooh-ing and ahh-ing and snapping pictures is to either create an amazing visual display or devise the most calorie-laden bomb in the world. That being said, it’s not just about making the world’s most loaded nacho tray or going super avant-garde with a mega sushi boat. Your contribution still needs to be football-themed, whether it’s dyeing everything team colors or fashioning foods into stadiums, helmets, or footballs.
Where to start, though? Unsurprisingly, the internet is chock full of photos of football-themed buffets, so much so that you could easily get overwhelmed by the sheer number of choices or get discouraged because you’re just not that artistic. Or have that much free time. Luckily for you, I’ve pulled together a curated sample of the best creations out there to get your imagination going, and provided some time-saving alternative recipes to inspire you to make this the Best. Super Bowl. Party. Ever. Just remember to take a picture before everyone digs in.
Inspiration #1: The Snack Stadium
A mega snack stadium is like the Lombardi Trophy of football food creations, and there are a lot of them out there. This one’s a winner for the sheer height without the need for cardboard retaining walls. It’s especially functional as you can slowly dismantle the stadium wall’s french bread outer layer to eat the guacamole, black bean, and spinach dip inside. Extra points for the ingenious use of cheese for the stadium lights—isn’t the Super Bowl an evening game, after all? If you don’t have the time, money, or energy to build such a behemoth, create a stadium with walls and fans made of anything dippable—bread, baby carrots, whatever—and build it only one layer high. Now you’ve got your local suburban stadium, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Prefer to make your stadium a meal instead of a snack? It’s hard to tell how tall this monster is, but it impressively has more than just chips and dip: Hoagie retaining wall, mini pizzas in the stands, pigs in a blanket, and more. Pity the poor guest who would show up with salsa and a bag of chips to this party.
This may be easier to put together than a food snack stadium, but I hope whoever designed this one has a lot of people at their party or it could get dangerous. Then again, a host could get creative and put non-alcoholic Jell-O in there…or pudding…or cupcakes… hmm, the ideas are endless. Get the recipe.
Does the thought of even attempting one of the above stadiums make you break out in a cold sweat? Then this football stadium is perfect for you, along with the rest of us who have jobs and lives and budgets. With easy assembly materials you can be assured that after your modest party of ten people leave, all of the food will be gone, too. Get the recipe.
Inspiration #2: The Giant Cheese Ball
Nothing says “I hate my arteries” quite like a football-sized ball of cheese. And there are a lot of jumbo cheese balls out there. Cheese is so malleable, when put together the right way it’s easy to mold into a football shape. This one takes the delicious ridiculousness a step further and encrusts the entire thing in pepperoni. And that’s after the cheese is mixed with bacon. It’s like a triple-cheese pepperoni pizza without the crust. If you’ve got guests fighting over whether to get a pepperoni or cheese pizza, this will satisfy them both. The best news? It’s easy to make. Get the recipe.
Have enough savory foods? Go for the dessert cheese ball. Instead of tangy cheese, this one is based in sweeter cream cheese. And since for some reason the cheese can’t be appreciated on its own, this one is also encrusted in a topping: chocolate chips. Nilla wafers serve as utensils. Get the recipe.
Inspiration #3: Anything Else Shaped Like a Football-Related Thing
Truthfully, anything football-shaped will win you at least a pat on the back from your guests for creativity. The recipe for this compact football-shaped dip says you should cut into it with a fork and knife, but go for gluttony gold and just chow down on it like a sandwich. Between the seven layers of crunchy cornmeal, the black beans, refried beans, and more, this will impress your guests and put them into a food coma all in one fell swoop. Their diet can re-start tomorrow. Get the recipe.
If you’re going for a more elegant football theme than just plain gluttony, chocolate-dipped strawberries are a winner. It’s super convenient that the strawberries are already sort of football shaped, so all you need to do is dip and decorate. Get the recipe.
If you’re been making a lot of football-shaped things and are tired of staring at oblong foods, or just want an easier shape, these stadium cookies are for you. Use store-bought shortbread cookies or make your own. You could even go crazy and make a giant cookie with every yard line drawn out. Sprinkles, icing, and square corners: It’s a recipe for success. Get the recipe.
Beer? Pretzels? Beer pretzels? Winner. Amazingly, these nifty looking football-shaped pretzels are only made with four ingredients, and you don’t even have to make the dough from scratch. They’ll take you a bit of time, but it’s a fun hand-held themed food that will impress your guests. Get the recipe.
Okay, fine, I’ll put something healthy in here, though it’s an anathema to Super Bowl traditions. Fill with whatever fruit you like. You’ll need strong carving skills, but the result will be centerpiece worthy. Luckily this recipe has a how-to video to help you along. And hey, at least it’s not shaped like a football. Get the recipe.