HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Football Buffet Ideas

With playoffs just around the corner, I'm starting planning for our Super Bowl party. I'm looking for some great food ideas, and fun party foods...some homemade, some not. I estimate there will be 35-45 people attending.

Any suggestions are very much appreciated!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
    1. re: monavano

      +1 for the buffalo chicken dip, goes oh-so-well with football games!

      1. re: Val

        +2. on the buffalo chicken dip.

        We are a big football house. People seem to go for easy things. We do little tamales, buy really good fried spring rolls (from Costco - they are really good - but greasy - I think they are in a green box) and we make a couple sauces for them. Queso dip, chili cheese dip (with canned chile, velveeta and cream cheese - I know - don't say it). Big veggie platter, big meat and cheese platter with little rolls and condiments. Sometimes we do chili and stuff to go on it. We put it in a crockpot. Sometimes we stuff mushrooms with cheese, bacon and spinach or with breadcrumbs and sausage. Sometimes a gumbo instead of chili. Shrimp cocktail...

        People (at least our friends) do not like Superbowl food to be mucked with. No pate with figs and toasts. They give you the evil eye. Sometimes if the weather works we grill at half time and just have apps on the pool table and spread around the room. I like that option. Far less game time work. We grill fish or prebaked ribs, burgers, dogs, steak... fast and easy.

    2. I'm doing the same, but probably for only 15-20 people.
      This year, I want to do an Asian riff on hot wings. (I recently ran across a Nina Symonds recipe that looked promising.) Also cold (flash-roasted) shrimp with different sauces: remoulade, aioli w/chives, something w/sesame oil and soy sauce. I'm going to set up a small table with all the fixings for mini po-boys (which could also work well for a large group). My husband always asks me to make baby back ribs; if I do that this year, I'm going to ask the butcher to cut them in half so they're more manageable as finger food. If I were to buy anything, I'd get a platter of mini muffulettas, which are always popular.
      Hot spinach-artichoke dip is always a hit; served w/tortilla chips, it goes a long way so is great for a big group.

      I always like to put out some cold veggies--asparagus, green beans, cherry tomatoes on skewers--that can be dipped. A big bowl of edamame pods sprinkled w/pink, red, or black salt is really pretty. It's a healthy, filling alternative that always gets eaten.

      1. two favorites that always finish:
        - asian glazed drummettes (you can make them in the morning and heat them later)
        - chicken taco bar

        For the chicken, I marinate chicken cutlets in two or three different marinades. I grill the cutlets in a grill pan and slice into strips. They're good warm or at room temperature. Arrange the chicken on a large platter lined with shreded cabbage. Set out small bowls of toppings- guacamole, salsa, bbq sauce, chopped chipotles, jalapenos, sour cream. I put our warm platters of wrapped flour and corn tortillas and taco shells. Everyone loves it.. and it's the kind of thing that can stay out for a while and still be appetizing.

        The main course is always chili- served at haltime. Appetizers (wings, tacos, salad, crudite) are on the table from 4pm when friends start arriving. One year I did a chip and dip theme which worked out pretty well. I did hummus, olive tapenade, guacamole, salsa, eggplant caviar, roasted pepper dip, and onion dip. All were in matching small serving dishes arranged on a large wood tray. On large platters I put out rows of vegetables- celery, carrots, blanched broccoli and asparagus, romaine hearts, snow peas. On another platter I arranged homemade pita chips (plain, zaatar, cumin), and homemade baked tortilla chips (habanero/lime, flour, multigrain, corn). Oh.. and I made chicken strips for dipping also.

        Hope this helps!

        4 Replies
        1. re: cheesecake17

          I love the idea of a taco bar. Definitely investigating some options!

          1. re: FoodChic

            Happy you like the idea! You could also serve grilled steak alongside the chicken... I didn't though b/c we're not big meat eaters and the chili had meat.

            Another idea- one year I did turkey burger sliders. I made several batches, each flavored differently. Was a big hit with the guys.

          2. re: cheesecake17

            At the Super Bowl party I'd go to with my ex every year, the hosts would have a huge pot of chili on the stove, with accompaniments along-side, and bowls to ladle it into. Everyone else brought what they wanted to eat and drink, and no one went away hungry!

            1. re: tracylee

              That's a great idea! My problem is that I love to prepare the appetizers and everything else- I won't let anyone else bring anything!!

          3. It's going to sound silly, but meatballs in the grape jelly and chili sauce are always well received at parties I go to (I don't make them, but I do enjoy eating them!) You could buy frozen meatballs and just dump them into a crock pot to heat up in the sauce.

            Pulled Pork on mini-hamburger buns would be easy, again, make, heat and serve in a crockpot. With a bowl of coleslaw alongside to top the pulled pork. :-)

            Crabby Bites are a great app if you can find the Olde English cheese spread. You can prep them ahead of time and freeze them, then just pop them into the oven to heat up after a quick defrost. http://southernfood.about.com/od/seaf...

            Orange-Spiced Nuts: http://www.chow.com/recipes/25611-ora...

            Roasted Red Pepper Dip with pita chips, various versions of wings, and Sausage Wontons are also great finger food: http://www.food.com/recipe/sausage-wo...

            2 Replies
              1. re: nomadchowwoman

                They are seriously addictive. You could just put them in bowls around the TV viewing area for snicky-snacks without getting up from the TV. :-D

            1. i vote for waiting to see who makes it in and then making dishes indicative of the city. like clam chowder for the pats!

              6 Replies
              1. re: hotoynoodle

                Jambalaya or gumbo for the Saints! :-)

                Who Dat?!?

                  1. re: nomadchowwoman

                    we'll just see who-all comes marchin' in, yo!

                    1. re: hotoynoodle

                      We could both end up there, hotoynoodle . . .

                      1. re: nomadchowwoman

                        w00t! i feel pretty darn good about the pats, i must say. good luck with your saints!

                        1. re: hotoynoodle

                          LOL! I liked this little exchange - now THAT would be a good game with the Pats and Saints! (GO PATS!)


              2. A buddy and I used to set up game grub based on food from the city the team our team was playing. New Orleans offers tons of choices. Cal Mex for San Diego, Cioppino and sour dough for San Fran, etc.

                Always a lot of fun, and took a little of the sting out of being Redskins fans.

                1. My husband wanted me to mention Philly Cheese Steak samiches (cut thinly from prime rib) - and he wants the cooks to know men like Kielbasa and all manner of sausages for that matter. And that men could live without dip unless it involves cheese or meat.

                  7 Replies
                    1. re: Sal Vanilla

                      Meat. It's good for what ails ya. ;-) Glad I gave plenty of meat options above for the OP! LOL

                      But I'll say it's a safe bet that it won't just be ALL men at this large Super Bowl Party. Women like football as well, and perhaps they'll go for meat dishes, but perhaps they also want sides and dips. :-)

                      1. re: LindaWhit

                        maybe at sal's house, the women are barefoot in the kitchen? ;) I KIID!! i will totally have everything prepped and ready for the big screen and my fabulous brady, whelker, mccourty, et al on superbowl sunday. oh, yeah! i said it! pats are soooooooooooooooooo in!

                        1. re: hotoynoodle

                          LOL! I'm right there with ya, hotoynoodle! And if anyone says they want something, you can just point and they can get it their owndamnselves! ;-) Go Brady, Woodhead, Gronkowski, Welker, Green-Ellis, Wilfork, and the rest of them!

                          1. re: LindaWhit

                            I have a feeling that things could get ugly ; )

                    2. things i have done / may do this year...

                      Buffalo Chicken Dip never has leftovers. Ever. No matter how much is made.

                      A riff on the Asian drummetes, i do a teriyaki and scallion drummettes variation.

                      Crockpot Sloppy Joe innards with potato rolls

                      Stuffed Tater Skins

                      Pretzels (hard or soft) with honey mustard beer dipping sauce


                      Mini tacos

                      Fruit - surprisingly this always goes, even with boys

                      Cookies, Brownies, Bars, and Cookies

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: Emme

                        Interested in recipe for asian drummettes!

                        1. re: drewb123

                          it's sort of rough, but...for like 3 1/2 - 4 lbs of drummettes...

                          salt and pepper chicken and spread on baking sheet and let bake til skin is crispy...
                          in the mean time, combine in a saucepan the following and reduce until thickened:
                          1 cup low-sodium soy sauce (if you have regular, cut it with water)
                          1/3 cup pineapple juice
                          1/3 cup orange juice
                          1/3 cup grapefruit juice
                          1/4 - 1/2 cup hoisin sauce
                          1/4 cup ketchup
                          3 tbsp seasoned rice wine vinegar
                          1/4-1/2 cup brown sugar
                          6 cloves of garlic, smashed
                          bunch of scallions chopped
                          chili flakes to taste
                          small piece fresh ginger

                          toss with chicken, and spread back on a baking sheet, reserve extra sauce, then return to broiler to crisp. serve drizzled with more sauce and sesame seeds.


                        2. re: Emme

                          I like the soft pretzel idea. You can pound out a hundred of those in no time. AND you could sneak in a few bagels for the morning of since you will be doing the same sort of process.

                          My old neighbor used to make these little filled pretzel sandwiches. They had ground meat and other goodies in them. Sometimes lamb, sometimes pork. They were so freaking good. Maybe someone here is familiar with the name and how to make them. That would be amazing for a buffet. People could grab and go and not create a log jam with topping and saucing fussiness.

                          1. re: Sal Vanilla

                            Sal, were they stuffed pretzels, or were they sandwiches made with Bavarian pretzel rolls?

                        3. I like to make "Football Cheese balls" (Google search will produce a million recipe ideas for these) but not the huge center piece variety. I think they're more fun when they're made in miniature so that each person can hold and enjoy it without having to repeatedly return to a central location.

                          1. Buffalo style guacamole. Make a standard guacamole, Add blue cheese, some Frank's Hot Sauce to taste. The acidity of the hot sauce also helps keep the avocado from browning so quickly. I don't puree, but do a coarse mash.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: sbp

                              While this may be good, I'd be thrown out of the state of Texas for doing this to guacamole.

                            2. For Superbowl my bet is that it is going to be Patriots v Saints! Woot! Go Saints!

                              You could do a chowdahlobstahroll v gumbolaya throwdown.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                LOL! I'm loving reading the SB predictions - especially since I'm a Pats fan! I was thrilled for the Saints' win last year, but this year, if it's Us vs. Them - the Saints are SO going down. ;-)

                                1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                  If the Saints are in again this year, my entire menu will be all New Orleans themed.

                                2. An idea for all, this time or next; a pan each of Italian beef, pulled pork, and buffalo-style chicken breasts with a big basket of breads and a condiment table is always a nice make-ahead option that lets people eat their main when they want, or all day long if they want. We've also done carving stations (do-it-yourself) that have worked out really well.
                                  One of my biggest appetizer hits was drumettes of chicken formed into "lollipops" and marinated on ponzu sauce; then rolled in sesame seeds and oven-baked. Teriyaki would work as well.

                                  7 Replies
                                  1. re: mamachef

                                    Mama - funny you were the last one on the list thus far - because I was going to chime in telling FoodChic that I was planning on making your pulled chicken sandwiches this year! I will have to dig up that recipe - I know I saved it.

                                    FoodChic - Another hit with the guys - is ChiliCheese dip - I know they don't like dips - but that one is a winner - and so easy - velveeta, chopped onion, hormel chili (no beans) - and a hit or two of your favorite spicey sauce - in the micro to mix and melt - chips of course - no veggies for real men!

                                    Another hit every year - is franks in bourbon.

                                    1. re: smilingal

                                      Ohhoho, smilingal. I want to know everything you know about those franks in bourbon!! That's one of those foods that's so wrong....it's right. I must needs have this information, please!

                                      1. re: mamachef

                                        sure thing - it's part of my post NY's party this week as well - I use Hebrew National Franks - because I like their flavor the best - for 5 lbs of franks - cut into bite size pieces - cook sauce first for about 45 minutes then add franks till they plump - sauce is 1 cup brown sugar - 14 oz ketchup and 1 cup bourbon. Always a hit! Don't cook with cover. Also best made day of.

                                        and in return - I wish I wasn't so tired to hunt up my old thread with several questions regarding your fried raviolis - unless I missed your reply - I think I got lost in your shuffle! :(

                                        1. re: smilingal

                                          I don't know how to post the thread, but the search term was "help me with a bar snacks menu" on home cooking. : ) but the ANSWERS came from you, the questions were from me until we got the sauce thing settled and then it was dialogue city.

                                          1. re: mamachef

                                            copy the address from the bar at the top of the page, and paste it into your reply ;)


                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                              thanks goodhealthgourmet - yes, the last post was mine asking the questions of mamachef!

                                    2. re: mamachef

                                      Mamachef, I like this idea...a lot. I can easily do the sandwich buffet with prep the day before.
                                      Thanks for this!

                                    3. oh also a big hit is baked salami - slathered with honey and mustard and maybe something else(can't really remember) - and baked for like 2 1/2 hours - this year I think I am switching it up to make baked sopressata and dried salami instead - to be like little cracklins

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: smilingal

                                        I saw a great simple recipe for baking paper-thin salami into "chips" and it sounded rich and delicious.

                                        1. re: mamachef

                                          right - that was probably the same one I used - someone just posted it a few days ago - I tried it and it was delicious.

                                      2. I have the Nordic Stadium Bundt cake pan (Sur La Table, Williams Sonoma) and I make a Stadium Cake every year for our Superbowl party. Guests absolutely love it and it's a lot of fun to decorate. I use a basic coffee cake recipe and decorate from there. Chocolate rock candies make good "heads" for the crowd/players. ...You can get as creative as you want, but it always gets attention...for tastiness and looks!

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: rmurphy

                                          OMG, take a picture of it this year to post here, rmurphy! I love this idea (I won't do it, but I do love the idea! LOL)

                                        2. So this is what I've come up with for menus:

                                          Beef Poboy and Pulled Pork Sandwiches
                                          Buffalo Chicken Dip
                                          Potato Salad
                                          Veggie tray
                                          Fruit tray
                                          Shrimp tray
                                          Chips w/ Dips – Guac, pico, queso
                                          Cupcake Cakes

                                          Yea or nay?

                                          1 Reply