How to Host the Perfect Big Game Potluck
What's a football party without food?
The Big Game is quickly approaching. For some, that means a really great football game; for others, it means a really great excuse to throw a party. And still yet for others, it means both a really great football game and a really great excuse to throw a party.
If you fall into that last category, you probably don’t want to spend your entire day prepping, cooking and cleaning, but you probably don’t mind dedicating some time to hosting duties — as long as you can relax and enjoy the game, too. Enter, the age-old potluck dinner.
The Big Game is the perfect opportunity to host a potluck. It’s casual but fun, and guests can get creative with their dishes. If you’re unsure how to get started, look no further. I’m breaking down exactly how to host a football potluck — and how to pull it off without a glitch.
1: PICK THE MAIN COURSE
Commit to cooking the main course, and ask guests to fill in sides, appetizers and desserts. Invite friends as early as possible, and send out an online sign-up sheet to avoid duplicate dishes. Be sure to include your main course on the sign-up sheet, so guests can plan accordingly. Consider one of these tasty main course options:
Searching for an easy, low-maintenance main course? Whip up a batch of chili in your slow-cooker, and you’re all set.
Make It: Crock Pot Texas Brisket Chili Recipe
Nothing beats a burger on game day. Make them mini so guests have plenty of room to try all the food.
Meatball Marinara Dippers
This delicious meatball recipe gives you the option of using ground beef, veal or pork, so you can cater the dish to your guests’ preferences.
Make It: Meatball Marinara Dippers
Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches
Rotisserie Chicken Trick
Need to serve your guests protein-packed sandwiches, but don’t have the time or skill set to cook something up from scratch? Pick up a rotisserie chicken from the supermarket; then pull it apart and serve it as barbecue chicken sandwiches or sliders.
Looking to save money and time? Use a rotisserie chicken and store-bought barbecue sauce to create tasty barbecue sandwiches.
Rosemary Smoked Chicken Wings
Fresh rosemary, garlic and lemon juice take these chicken wings to the next level.
Make It: Rosemary Smoked Chicken Wings Recipe
2: SET UP A DRINK STATION
Whether you have a bar, a bar cart or some unused counter space, create a station dedicated to drinks. This is totally customizable depending on your and your guests’ preferences.
Beer is a super-simple option that’s totally appropriate for a football game. Simply fill a large tub with ice and a variety of bottled beer. Set out glasses and garnishes.
3: MAKE A CENTERPIECE
Create your own DIY centerpiece to ensure your dining (or coffee) table feels festive. Try one of these DIY centerpiece ideas:
Cover a small cardboard box in brown cork scrapbook paper, and fill it with artificial wheat grass. Complete your centerpiece with a miniature football and a small chalkboard sign.
Football Terra-Cotta Pot
Use a paint pen and a terra-cotta pot to create football-like centerpieces. Fill with flowers of your choice.
Fill a vintage trophy with paper shred in your team’s colors, and top it with a coordinating spray-painted football.
Team Color Vases
Use balloons in your team’s colors for this project. Cut off the neck of a balloon, and stretch it around the bottom of a small vase. Repeat with each vase, and fill them with your favorite blooms.
Buy or make a football pinata, and display it atop synthetic turf on a cake stand. Accent the pinata with candies or noisemakers in your team’s colors.
4: DECORATE, BUT KEEP IT SIMPLE
Decorate for your potluck with football and team-inspired decor, but aim to keep it simple. Guests will be most interested in your TV, so there’s no need to spend loads of money and time on decorations. Try one of our easy decorating ideas:
Football Field Table Runner
Use green paper and chalk to create a football field-inspired runner for your snack table.
Football-Themed Cups and Plates
Stock Up on Disposable Cups and Plates
Score! These are a great deal. Football 16-ounce plastic cups, $8 for a set of 50, orientaltrading.com; Creative Converting Tail Gate Rush 9"-diameter paper plates, $3.50 for a set of 8, partyatlewis.com
Merko Metzinger/Studio D
Buy disposable cups and plates themed to match the party. This inexpensive option will provide a touch of decor while also making cleanup a breeze.
Penalty Flag Napkins
Put Napkins in a Penalty Flag Bucket
Use 3/4"-wide black electrical tape to make stripes on a white metal bucket. Design a sign on your computer, or print out our template (at hgtv.com/super-bowl-party) on thick paper, and tape it to the bucket. Fill with yellow paper napkins.
Marko Metzinger/Studio D
Make stripes on a white metal bucket with 3/4-inch-wide black electrical tape. Print out our penalty flag sign on thick paper, and tape it to the bucket. Fill with yellow napkins.
Football Paper Lanterns
Buy a pack of football paper lanterns, and attach tissue paper tassels to the bottom. Hang your lanterns anywhere that needs a festive touch.
5: FILL IN ANY MISSING DISHES
A day or two before the party, check the online sign-up sheet to see what guests are bringing. If there are any large gaps in the menu, make a last-minute run to the grocery store, and prepare an extra dish or two. (It’s also a good idea to have easy snacks on hand, just in case food runs out — think pretzels or chips and dip.) Try one of our recipes to complete your menu:
If You're Lacking in Desserts:
Cookie Butter Football Dip 00:57
If You're Lacking in Appetizers:
3 Delicious Tailgate Dips 01:12
Nacho-Stuffed Potato Skins
Pepperoni and Cheese Pizza Hand Pies
We all know that pizza's a crowd-pleasing food that can disappear in seconds. These hearty hand pies are a perfect accompaniment to other bite-size party snacks. And they're simple to make, too. Get the recipe.
For a quick crowd-pleasing food that won't bust the budget or your time, pick up a rotisserie chicken from the supermarket; then pull it apart and serve it as barbecue chicken sandwiches or sliders.
Grab a lager from the pack to flavor bratwursts. Add Dijon mustard and honey, and grill them for a perfect portable treat. Sub a hot dog bun for a freshly-grilled baguette. Get the recipe.
Deviled Eggs, Three Ways
Deviled eggs are a classic party appetizer, but we've taken inspiration from favorite flavor combinations to put a new spin on the expected. BLT? Yup. Pesto? You know it. Get the recipes (three!).
Roasted Pepper and Mozzarella Bites
If you just found out you're hosting the Super Bowl at your house, fear not. Three major ingredients create one delicious and good-looking appetizer in a jiff. Get the recipe.
Creamy Macaroni and Cheese
I don't trust anyone that doesn't like cheese. This bubbling dish calls for a combination of three tasty cheeses — white Cheddar, Gruyère and Swiss — making this mac 'n' cheese a creamy comfort food that's destined to become the center of attention at your next game. Get the recipe.
Coca-Cola Cupcake With Salted Peanut Butter Frosting
Satisfy their sweet tooth during the halftime show with chocolate cupcakes flavored with Coca-Cola and salted peanut butter frosting. Get the recipe.