Tailgate preparation doesn’t have to be a hassle. Good food, good drinks, and good company — that’s all I ask of a pre-game celebration. With back-to-school stress ramping up, tailgates serve as a respite from school projects and as an opportunity to gather with your friends. Whether you love hosting tailgates in your own home or right outside the stadium, here is the complete guide to easy tailgating. 


You can’t have a tailgate without that smoky, charred flavor on a burger, steak, kebab, or hot dog. However, grills can be a pain to transport and not everyone has a car that can carry one.

If you want to splurge a little, the Weber Traveler Portable Gas Grill is a great tailgating companion thanks to its easy set-up, fairly large grill area, and prep wing. Plus, the nonstick grate makes grilling a lot easier.

My roommates and I love our Ninja air-fryer, and this Ninja Woodfire Outdoor Grill definitely looks up to standard — and, big shocker, it doubles as an air-fryer. Its small size makes it easy to carry with you wherever your tailgating destination is. One thing to note is that this grill is electric, so it will require access to a generator or other electricity source. Otherwise, having access to an air-fryer on gameday could be a gamechanger.

Lastly, if you’re on a budget, the Weber Go-Anywhere 1-Burner Portable Propane Gas Grill is available on Amazon for less than $100. It’s easy to take with you and has a relatively simple set-up. You can even put some charcoal under the grate for an extra smoky flavor.


A tailgate wouldn’t be official without tons of food, and not all of it has to be grilled. Unlike holiday meal preparations, tailgate appetizers can be simple, easy, and sometimes thrown together at the last minute. These easy recipes are sure to leave your mouth watering and your budget intact.

You won’t want to skip breakfast on tailgate day, so if your party starts early, try these easy bacon and egg muffins. Or, if you’re feeling fancy, this breakfast souffle is less trouble than it sounds but will surely impress your guests. Even if your tailgate isn’t that early in the morning, brunch foods are never a bad idea and most are quite simple to pull together.

Chips and dip is perhaps the most iconic tailgate snack ever. Dips can be prepped the day before and most only require a large bowl and a few simple ingredients. They’re also versatile since you can dip any kind of chip into them. Two top-tier options for tortilla chips are buffalo chicken dip and guacamole. For potato chip lovers, a classic sour cream dip spruced up with bacon is never a bad idea.

Another tailgate classic that warms you to the soul is chili. This black bean and corn chili can be made quickly and then left in a crockpot to develop flavor. Since it’s meatless, it’s great for your budget and any vegetarians at the tailgate.

Sandwiches are another tailgate essential. I’ve seen these Hawaiian roll sandwiches everywhere, and I definitely want to try them. All you need is a pack of Hawaiian rolls, a condiment, meat, and cheese. You can even use the packaging the rolls come in to store them until it’s time to eat, which is both convenient and genius.


Obviously, drinks are a huge part of tailgate culture. While canned drinks can be convenient for tailgates, these homemade drinks might be worth the extra effort. Dehydration is no joke, so why not try the trending gatorade cocktail

And, since football season starts during fall, what could be better than some spiked PSLs? It’s also never too early for a nice cup of cocoa — especially if it’s this boozy peppermint hot chocolate.

As for non-alcoholic tailgate beverages, the possibilities are endless. It might not be a quidditch tailgate, but there can always be butterbeer. I’m also never opposed to homemade punches with sherbet, since they serve a multitude, aren’t complicated, and are dangerously delicious. And, of course, you can always turn your cocktails into mocktails with sparkling water, Sprite, or ginger ale.


Tailgate desserts are a great way to either celebrate your team’s victory, or cheer yourself up after a heartbreaking defeat. Whatever the outcome is, any tailgate needs something sweet to round the party off. Presentation can be everything sometimes, so why not have your cheesecake dip in the shape of a football?

Chocolate and peanut butter is a heavenly combination almost everyone enjoys, and these no-bake bars only require a microwave and five ingredients. These chocolate chip caramel peanut butter bars are gooey, chewy, and unbelievably easy to bake.

Sometimes, box mixes are the most convenient way to bake — and that’s okay! However, there are several ways you can transform those mixes into a scrumptious dessert nobody will believe came from a box.

At the end of the day, the main focus of a tailgate is celebrating your team with friends and family. Grilling the main proteins can be less of a hassle with portable grills, and supplying the other food doesn’t need to be stressful — because nobody is looking for an elegant five-star meal at a tailgate. Instead, opt for simple but delicious recipes that taste like home and get you hyped up for the big game. Go team!