Traditional college tailgates comprise music and chanting, red Solo cups, and tents full of enough food and drink to satisfy a crowd of rowdy football fans. But, optimal tailgating food has its standards. Tailgating food typically lies on the spectrums of greasy, cheesy, salty, or super sweet. Forks and plates are optional, as one hand is likely preoccupied with a beverage of choice.

Meeting expectations to create the perfect tailgating dish may seem overwhelming, but sometimes success can be achieved through the simplest plays. Here are a few two-ingredient tailgating recipes to try (with optional variations) that require minimal effort, meaning you’ll be ready for kick-off with time to spare.

1. Glazed Patties: Glazed Doughnut + Burger 

doughnut, sweet, pastry, chocolate, dough, candy
Megan Prendergast

Known by many names, including the Luther Burger or doughnut burger, this sandwich combines a meaty game day classic with deep fried dough and sugar. Cut glazed doughnuts horizontally into halves, and let the flat sides of each half grill alongside the burgers. Grill the dough "buns" until the bottoms are slightly crisp and golden. Then, slide hamburger patties in between.

Add cheese if you're feeling bold, along with any preferred toppings. Either way, the unique mix of sweet and savory will make mouths water and cardiologists squirm.

2. Pigskin Smokies: Bacon + Mini Hotdogs

pork, meat, barbecue, bacon, beef, sauce, sausage, chicken
Spoon University

This tailgating favorite consists of strips of bacon with maple-flavored mini hot dogs. Wrap one miniature hot dog with half a strip of bacon. Fit as many as you can onto a baking pan, and pop them in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Turn the pan halfway through to cook evenly.

Using maple-flavored hot dogs and/or bacon strips contrasts smoky with sweet and packs all that flavor into bite-sized pieces. You may choose to top your Smokies with a layer of brown sugar to enhance sweetness and add a little more caramelization.

3. Nutella Cinnamon Roll Waffles: Cinnamon Roll Dough + Nutella

chocolate, sweet, pastry, waffle, cream, cake, candy
Phoebe Melnick

All you need for this tailgating recipe are refrigerated packages of cinnamon roll dough (with icing included) and everyone’s favorite chocolate-hazelnut spread. Start by laying the dough flat, then dollop a small amount of Nutella into the center of each circle. Make sure the dough can cover the Nutella completely, and then carefully roll the dough into balls about the size of Ping-Pong balls.

Coat a waffle iron with butter, oil, or non-stick spray, and place the balls far enough apart so that they don’t touch when pressed. Press until golden brown (three to four minutes). While they’re still hot, coat each waffle with the icing. You now have easy-to-eat cinnamon rolls with a delicious surprise inside.

4. Cheesy Pretzel Bites: Pretzel Dough + Instant Mac-n-Cheese

Natsuko Mazany

Take original pretzels with cheese to a new level. Start by making your instant, microwaveable mac-n-cheese as you normally would. Once you’ve made your desired amount, let it chill in the fridge for an hour.

Spray a mini cupcake tin with non-stick spray and line the wells with pretzel dough. Take your chilled mac-n-cheese and scoop small amounts into each cup. Stretch the dough over the filling to pinch it close. Put it in the oven at 400 degrees, and in fifteen to twenty minutes you'll have addicting bites of mac-n-cheese that only require greedy fingers.

5. Red Velvet Cheesecake Truffles: Red Velvet Oreos + Cream Cheese Icing

chocolate, cream, sweet, cake, pastry, cookie
Maia Vernacchia

Step up traditional Oreo balls with the sophisticated taste of red velvet. Pulse red velvet Oreos in a food processor until there are no large chunks and mix in the cream cheese icing with your hands until fully combined. The mix should not be dry, and should have enough icing so that it’s malleable, which is about a one-to-one ratio. Roll about two tablespoons of the mixture into one ball and repeat.

The best part about this tailgating recipe (besides eating it) is that there's no baking required. If you serve them immediately, they may get a little melty, so I recommend chilling them for at least a couple hours before kick-off.

6. Peach Tea Popsicles: Peach Slices + Sweet Tea

grass, apple, sweet, juice, vegetable
Claire Waggoner

Turn a refreshing drink into frozen popsicles with aesthetic appeal. Cut a peach into thin slices and throw them into a popsicle mold. Fill the mold with sweet tea and freeze until solid.

If you don't have a popsicle mold, try using a disposable cups, deep ice cube trays, or even large cupcake tins. Freeze the pops for an hour before adding popsicle sticks, and then continue freezing. 

7. Frozen Salted Watermelon: Watermelon + Sea Salt

watermelon, melon, vegetable, sweet
Tess Wei

This frozen treat is healthy, while also satisfying sweet cravings. Adding salt is a Southern trick that will confuse your taste buds, stirring up a salty vs. sweet rivalry.

You only need to sprinkle a small amount of coarse sea salt on each large watermelon wedge (about ½ a teaspoon per slice), and let them freeze overnight.

8. Flourless Nutella Pie: Nutella + Egg

chocolate, jam, sweet, honey, milk
Hailey Maher

Nutella comes in strong yet again with this no-bake pie. For one pie, beat 4 eggs for five to six minutes. Then, beat in 8 1/2 cups of softened Nutella until well combined. Line a pie pan or springform pan with parchment and fill with your mix. Let it bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for fifteen to twenty minutes.

Because this two-ingredient recipe is so low maintenance and cost effective, it begs for a graham cracker crust and whipped topping (just a suggestion). It’s one of the easiest pies you can make, yet remains a tailgating crowd-pleaser.

9. Boozy Bears: Vodka + Gummy Bears

candy, sweet, gelatin, jelly, sweetmeat
Kristine Auble

This college classic is perfect for that tailgating buzz. Fill a container with gummy bears and soak them overnight in your vodka of choice. Easier to make (and cuter) than Jello shots, but please consume these bears responsibly.

10. Ranch Popcorn: Popcorn + Ranch Packet

popcorn, corn, cereal, salt, kettle corn, caramel, butter, sweet
Spoon University

Add flare to microwave popcorn with ranch seasoning. Buttered popcorn works best, because the seasoning can easily attach to the oils on the popcorn, and it adds more flavor. 

For each full-sized bag of popcorn, add a one-ounce packet of a dried ranch seasoning. Shake it up while it’s in the bag, and then pour into your serving bowl.

11. Cheesy Guacamole: Pre-made Guac + Feta Cheese

guacamole, vegetable, herb, avocado
Spoon University

Every tailgate needs a dip for snacking, and this one gets extra points for standing out. You can usually find fresh, prepared guacamole from most grocers (especially during football season), but you may also use mashed avocados.

Feta makes for a creamy, cheesy base without overpowering the avocado. Stir in crumbled feta cheese with the guac until it's well incorporated, and sprinkle some on top as well.

12. Mozzarella Sticks: Wonton Paper + Mozzarella String Cheese

pastry, sweet, bread, dough
Jessica Chu

These are just as crowd-pleasing as traditional deep-fried sticks, but they're simpler to make. You can choose to fry them in hot oil, or you can make them a little healthier by baking them.

Lay out square wonton wrappers and roll mozzarella string cheese inside. Dip your finger in water to line and seal the edges of each wrap. Once you've rolled them into small cylinders, fold the two edges on each side in like a present. 

If you're frying, place them in hot oil for three to four minutes. Otherwise, bake them in the oven for ten to twelve minutes at 400 degrees. Serve with marina for dipping.

13. Oreo Bark: Oreos + White Chocolate Chips

sweet, berry, caviar, blackberry
Katie Elliott

Fans can enjoy this homemade version of a cookies and cream candy bar. Fill a resealable plastic bag with Oreos and crush them into large, coarse pieces. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the pieces evenly about the surface. It's okay to have gaps, because the next step is to pour melted white chocolate chips over the entire pan. Freeze the pan until the bark is completely solid and cut into large pieces.

14. Vegan Cookies: Mashed Bananas + Rolled Oats

peanut, butter, peanut butter, granola, caramel
Maia Vernacchia

Even if you're not vegan, these healthy cookies are a nice treat for snacking. Plus, there's only two healthy ingredients, so you won't feel guilty having more than a few. 

Blend oats in a food processor until you get a flour-like consistency (or just buy oat flour). Then, combine with mashed banana. You should use one cup of oats for every one banana. 

Roll into golf ball-sized balls and drop them on to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake cookies for ten to twelve minutes at 350 degrees, and that's it.

You can add anything from chocolate chips, dried fruit, nuts, maple syrup, peanut butter, vanilla extract, and more. Make a few batches of different variations to appeal to different tastes.