Simple Tailgating Recipes to Make Before the Big Game

I married into a family that takes four things in life quite seriously: Family, Christmas, Trolling Nick Saban, and Tailgating. For more than 20 years, my in-laws have tailgated at LSU, and if you know anything about SEC tailgating, you can imagine that this family does it right. Like they’ve won awards for how great their tailgates are. During the season, my in-laws spend 30-40 hours a week preparing for each tailgate party.

Over the years, I’ve learned a thing (hundreds of things, actually…) from my mother-in-law about how to prepare in advance for a party, as she has done it every fall since 1982. One of her secrets to tailgating success is preparing as much as possible ahead of game day, and these simple recipes make it easier than ever to cook up a memorable tailgate or game watching party!

Pepperoni Roll-Ups

Note: Make up to a week before the tailgate party; store in the refrigerator.


  • 1 box {8 ounces} cream cheese, softened {I use fat-free.}
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 chopped green onion
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3 ounces sliced pepperoni
  • 4 large tortillas
  • 1 jar marinara sauce {for dipping}


In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, cheddar cheese, Italian seasoning, garlic, and green onion. Spread about ½ cup of the mixture over a tortilla. Place about 10 pepperoni on the tortilla. Roll the tortilla tightly and wrap in plastic. Store in the refrigerator at least two hours. When you are ready to serve, remove from plastic and cut into 1-inch slices. Dip in marinara, if that’s your thing. These are so easy and delicious, I’ve been known to serve them for dinner!

Sausage Cheese Balls

Note :: Make several weeks before tailgate party; freeze.


  • 1 pound sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 pound ground pork sausage
  • 3 cups Bisquick


Bring cheese and sausage to room temperature and mix well together with Bisquick. Form into small balls {smaller than a golf ball}. Freeze them at this point if you are making them ahead of time. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes, if preparing from frozen. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes if thawed. Sausage Cheese Balls are always a hit, and work nicely for a breakfast tailgate party!

Parmesan Chex Mix

Note :: Make three days before tailgate party; store in an airtight container.


  • 1 box Chex cereal {you can get original, white, or a white/wheat mix}
  • 1 box Cheez-Its {the new “Duoz” box of sharp cheddar and Parmesan take this recipe to the next level}
  • 3 cups honey wheat pretzel sticks
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ¾ teaspoon Louisiana Hot Sauce
  • 4 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 2 cups grated Parmesan cheese


In a large bowl, mix Chex Cereal, Cheez-Its, and pretzels. Set aside. Combine olive oil, hot sauce, and Italian seasoning and mix well. Pour over the dry ingredients and toss to evenly coat. Sprinkle cheese over the mixture. Store in airtight container. This chex mix is so addicting…prepare yourself. You can also make smaller batches by cutting the recipe in half. But why would you do that when more is better? So much better.

Ooey Gooey

Note :: Make up to four days before tailgate party.


  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 {8 ounce} package cream cheese {I use fat free.}
  • 1 {1 pound} box powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


Mix cake mix, one egg, and butter. Batter will be sticky. Press lightly into a greased 9 x 13 baking dish. Mix remaining ingredients together until smooth and pour on top. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Then lower oven to 300 and bake for another 20 minutes. After it has cooled, cut into squares with a plastic knife {for better consistency} and store until ready to serve. We were this close to having “Ooey Gooey” as the groom’s cake at our wedding. It’s that delicious. Members of our family have been known to fight over the corner pieces, until we bought this pan. Then everyone cooled their jets.

Mexican Corn Dip

Note :: Make two days before tailgate party; store in refrigerator.


  • 2 {11 ounce} cans Mexican corn
  • 2 {4 ounce} cans green chiles, chopped and drained
  • 1 {4 ounce} can jalapeno pepper
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 1 {8 ounce} package cream cheese
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 ¼ cup cheddar cheese, grated


Drain corn. Mix all ingredients together and chill in refrigerator. Serve with Fritos. If the recipe is too spicy for your crowd, leave out the green chiles. This is a really easy recipe that looks as delicious as it tastes! Since it has mayonnaise, it really works best for tailgates in cooler weather. Unless you are hosting an indoor party, then it works anytime of year!

Now … are you ready for some football tailgating? Hopefully these recipes will keep you out of the kitchen for a long period of time so that you can enjoy your friends and family during the Big Game!

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Brittney F
Originally from Louisiana, Brittney has called Houston home for nearly all her life. Brittney graduated from Houston Baptist University where she was a member of Phi Mu and a four-year cheerleader. It didn’t take long after graduation for her to meet her husband Jeremy on the sand volleyball courts at Memorial Park. She jokes that when marrying Jeremy, she also married LSU because she tied the knot with the most passionate Tiger football fan. Many weekends in the fall, they can be found in the shadows of Tiger Stadium at their big family tailgating party. Brittney has a Master's Degree from LSU and works in secondary education as an administrator and a cheerleading coach. Brittney and Jeremy have three boys, Connor {Nov 2012}, Parker {Nov 2014}, and Ryan {May 2018}. Brittney is a big baby-making, food allergy fighting, NICU surviving mom. Though she grew up surrounded by hairbows, pom poms, and lots of pink, Brittney now embraces being a boy mom. She loves raising her three boys and learning all about superheroes, baseball, and the pain of stepping on a lego when barefoot. In her kid-free time she enjoys working on craft projects, getting lost in a good book, and watching Grey's Anatomy.


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