Tips for making a killer Super Bowl spread

Stephanie Faris

A winning Super Bowl spread starts with choosing the right table theme.

Super Bowl Sunday is an exciting day. It brings fans across the country together as they cheer on America's top two football teams. Whether you're a sports fan or not, one of the best things about the day is the chance to enjoy the game with friends and family.

The foundation of every successful Super Bowl party is the refreshments. Sure, you'll likely have plenty of beer on hand, but in the end, it's all about the food. As you sit down to plan out your own Super Bowl party spread, it can help to have a few basics in mind. Thankfully, you don't need to be a skilled chef to pull off a great party.

1. For the chef

Whether you've graduated from culinary school or you just enjoy honing your amateur chef skills, you can give the traditional "sports bar" theme a gourmet twist. Just keep in mind that utensils are an unwelcome complication when the big game is on and stick with finger foods.

Pork sliders. All the fancy restaurants in town will be serving them. Spice up traditional pork sliders with cilantro and lime for a touchdown treat.

DIY taco bar. Some assembly required on this option. Cook up a generous batch of seasoned steak, chicken, and pork, along with some tofu for your vegetarian friends. Guests just choose their shells, filling, and toppings and enjoy!

Gourmet dips. Dips are a huge part of any Super Bowl party, and quite a few parties will rely heavily on onion soup mix and queso. As a chef, you can take it a step further with crab or spinach dips.

Specialty pizzas. For this, you'll need a pizza oven. If you're lucky enough to have one, this is a great way to make delicious snacks. They're more affordable than you think, too.

Sriracha chicken wings. Chicken wings are a staple of Super Bowl parties everywhere. Take it up a notch with gourmet sriracha or honey barbecue wings, garnished with chives.

2. For the non-chef

Spending little time in the kitchen doesn't have to stop you from planning a Super Bowl party. There are plenty of items you can buy to feed a happy crowd. Before you do that, though, consider asking that each invitee to bring a snack. You may be able to supplement their items with your own.

Dips. You don't need to go gourmet to make a delicious dip. Buy some sour cream and soup mix, stir, and you're done. There are also pre-mixed dips you can buy at the grocery store, as well as jarred quesos and salsas. Ask your guests to bring veggies, chips, and crackers, and you'll have a great start.

Chocolate-dipped fruit. You can't go wrong with chocolate and fruit, whether you buy it pre-dipped or purchase separate dipping sauces. For extra fun, consider investing in a chocolate fountain. Everyone will have a blast, and preparation is simply a matter of melting chocolate and setting out some fruit.

Deli and veggie trays. Grocery stores often have prepared deli trays you can order for large groups. It will likely even include dip.

Cocktail shrimp. Cocktail shrimp is all in the sauce. You can make your own or buy it premade. Just add some cooked shrimp, preferably deveined without shells, set up, and serve.

3. Preparing the spread

Once you have all your food lined up, it's time to think about your Super Bowl party décor. Little touches like tablecloths can go a long way toward setting the mood. You can even purchase party favors to hand out as guests arrive to kick things off the right way, especially if kids will be participating.

A large part of the experience will be the food presentation. Set up your table to be attractive and festive, but also keep it as easy as possible for party guests to load up their plates and rush to the TV. If you plan to be glued to the TV as soon as kickoff happens, have a way to keep your food warm and accessible for those guests who want to go back for seconds.

4. Your Super Bowl shopping list

The exact items will depend on the types of foods you're making, but here are a few essentials you'll likely need, no matter what you're serving.

Themed tableware. In addition to a tablecloth, pick up paper plates, napkins, and cups with a Super Bowl theme.

Serving bowls. Take inventory of your kitchen and make sure you have serving bowls and utensils so you can purchase what you need in advance, if need be. We like this value-rich offer from Dowan.

Condiments. No matter what you're serving, you'll need condiments. In addition to basics like ketchup and mustard, include ranch and blue cheese dressings for dips, if you plan to use them.

Drinks and ice. Your guests will forgive plenty, as long as they have cold beverages to drink. Make sure you have ample beverages, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, and ice to keep them cool.


Stephanie Faris is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

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