15 Easy Game Day Recipes with a Kick

Mix and match Eddie Jackson’s favorite crowd-pleasing finger foods for the ultimate football party.

We're kicking off football season with our resident football fanatic and former NFL player, Eddie Jackson. Eddie admits he has a love affair for everything food related and anything sports. His game day party plan is always to do most of the prep work ahead of time so he can hang out with friends and family come game time. Here are some of his favorite kicked-up recipes to get you out of the kitchen and back to the party.

Eddie puts out these simple, spiced nuts out while his friends are waiting for kickoff. Use your favorite barbecue rub and a touch of maple syrup.

Eddie kicks up the flavor in these wings by adding chili oil to the pesto sauce. The pesto sauce can be made a week in advance and then tossed with the baked wings just before serving.

Eddie uses a can of diced tomatoes with chiles to add a spicy bite to this easy guacamole without having to chop tomatoes and chiles.

This meat for Eddie’s favorite sandwich of all time can be prepped a week ahead of time. The sandwiches can be assembled and pressed just before the guests arrive.

“You can’t have game day without nachos,” says Eddie. Again, almost everything for these hearty nachos can be made ahead of time and then tossed together right before serving.

Eddie Jackson's Buffalo Chicken Chili recipe shot for Food Network, Game-Day Playbook Season 300.

Photo by: Lucy Schaeffer

Lucy Schaeffer

Eddie says that chili is the perfect game day food because it can be easily transported and it warms up all of the tailgaters. Plus, it can be made a few days ahead of time. Eddie’s infuses this chicken chili with all the classic flavors of Buffalo wings including a cool blue cheese topping.

“Beer, chocolate, meat - these are all the things you want in a chili,” says Eddie. He uses three types of chiles to infuse great flavor into this all-meat chili.

These sweet and spicy wings are one of Eddie’s go-to game day recipes. Habanero peppers add the perfect counterpoint to the sweet, rum-spiked sauce.

Eddie’s creamy, tangy Cheeseburger Dip is the perfect make-ahead game day food. Plus, everyone can dive in at their leisure.

Buffalo chicken and macaroni and cheese should have been married a long time ago, says Eddie. He bakes chicken thighs with butter and hot sauce and, after shredding, adds to his four-cheese mac and cheese. He tops the whole thing with crispy breadcrumbs, blue cheese and celery leaves.

Bacon-Cheese Pizza Bombs

“When you have a game day party you’ve always got to leave one hand free because you’ve got to have a cold beverage,” says Eddie. These pizza dumplings are one-handed flavor bombs.

This dip can be made two days in advance and then packed into a bread bowl on game day and baked with a topping of cheese, roasted peppers and jalapenos right before serving.

Tortilla chips add addictive crunch to these, but the homemade spicy ranch dipping sauce makes them a homerun.

Eddie bakes an extra pretzel into each brownie square for the ultimate sweet-salty bite on game day.

“At half time you want to have something sweet,” says Edde. This boozy shake will give your guests the sweet boost they need, plus it can be made before the game comes back on. “Even if your team is losing, you’ll definitely be winning with these milkshakes,” says Eddie.

Don't Miss

Next Up

Win Game Day with Football-Shaped Foods

Cheer for your favorite team while noshing on these fun picks at your own risk — they're good enough to distract even the most-loyal fans from the big game!

50 Nachos

We piled on the toppings to make the ultimate game-day snack.

12 Must-Have Tools to Host the Ultimate Tailgate, According to a Caterer

We've got you covered from pre-kickoff coffee to clean-up.

Recipe of the Day: Pat's Beer Can Grilled Chicken

Even if you've already tried Beer Can chicken, now you can try it with Pat Neely's famous dry rub. Get the recipe.

These Easy Recipes Will Make Your Next Pool Party a Breeze

Everything will go just swimmingly with these creative ideas!

What to Watch: A Weekend of Parties, Game-Day Food and More

Watch all new episodes this weekend on Food Network from Paula, Trisha, Ina, Giada, Ree and Guy. Watch the competition on Rachael vs. Guy and Iron Chef America.

15 Winning Game Day Snacks

Try these healthier spins on football party foods.

Fun Ideas for the Easiest Labor Day Party Ever

Try these great ideas for a super simple Labor Day bash.