When it’s fall, the weather cools down, leaves start changing and of course, everyone goes back to school. One of the best parts of the season is college football. Whether you’re into the sport or not, the tailgating pregame cannot be missed since it involves lots and lots of tailgating foods.

I decided to do some research and rounded up the best tailgating foods to see what college students really thought of them. Students filled out a survey ranking every food by "Don't Like It," "It's Ok," "I Like it a Lot," and "I LOVE IT." The more "I LOVE IT" and "I Like it a Lot" that a certain food received, the higher it was placed on this list

The people have spoken! Here are the top tailgate foods ranked by college students:

10. Chili

vegetable, meat
Stephanie Cozza

This hearty cool weather food can warm you up when you’re going to be outside for a few hours. You can even make it vegan for your guests. 

9. Ribs


luvsickmedia on Flickr

Ribs might equal sticky fingers and require a ton of napkins and wet wipes, but they are the perfect thing to throw on the grill at a tailgate party. 

8. Hot Dogs

sandwich, bread, tomato, cheese
Zoe Zaiss

Easy to grill these dogs while chilling in some lawn chairs. Make sure you have all the toppings that can please a large crowd. 

7. Beer

Photo by Adam Wilson | Unsplash

fourcolourblack on unsplash

It isn’t much of a tailgate without some good old cerveza fría, if you’re over the legal age of course. From fruited sour beer to IPAs, all the way to the classic Bud Light or Miller High Life, a good mix of options is sure to please the entire tailgate party.

6. Macaroni and Cheese

macaroni, cheese, pasta
Alex Weiner

The ultimate comfort food, mac and cheese is very necessary at a tailgate party. Add some bacon to the mix for an extra little treat. 

5. Buffalo Chicken Wings

chicken, meat, pork, chicken wings
Sarah Strong

Game day and buffalo wings go hand in hand. Bring on the ranch dip and blue cheese dressing. If you can't handle the spice, BBQ wings are also perfectly acceptable. 

4. Nachos

vegetable, sauce, meat, pepper
Victoria Georgetti

Pile on the toppings on this tailgate favorite. Seriously, who doesn’t love cheesy nachos to get game ready? Make sure you have some guacamole at the ready, too!

3. Burgers

Photo by Niklas Rhöse | Unsplash

blitzer on unsplash

College students’ favorite tailgate main course seems to be the classic American burger. Do you want fries with that? If you have a lot of people at the tailgate party, making little burger sliders might be the best way to go. 

2. Mozzarella Sticks

meat, chicken, sweet
Audrey Mirabito

Rounding out at number two, cheesy mozzarella sticks need to be in your tailgate recipe book. Make sure you have plenty of marinara sauce available for dipping purposes. 

1. Dip and chips

spinach, vegetable, cheese
Parisa Soraya

In first place is dip, and by dip, I mean spinach and artichoke, queso, salsa, and everything you can scoop with a chip. Hopefully the food table has at least two kinds (maybe 200?) since we all need more dip in our lives.

As you can see, the number of tailgate foods are endless and everyone has their preference. Maybe this list gave you some ideas on what to make for your next tailgate party.