Man Food: 5 Bar Appetizers You Can Make at Home

While there’s nothing wrong with the predictable hunger killers — peanuts, pretzels, a piece of fruit — these go-to mini-meals are distinctly uninspired. Our weekly Man Food series will help you fight the scourge of boring snacks.

Is there anything more satisfying than the humble bar snack? Whether you prefer to chow down on potato skins or eat mixed nuts by the handful, these no-fuss foods are the perfect complement to a night at the bar. But what about when happy hour happens at home? Fortunately, staying in for the night doesn’t mean missing out on the tasty snacks you love. These five recipes let you recreate your favorite bar snacks in your own kitchen with minimal effort.

1. Easy Potato Skins

Slicing potatoes, cooking

Source: iStock

Crispy potato skins topped with cheese, sour cream, and bacon pair perfectly with a cold beer. This make-at-home version of the popular bar snack is easy to prepare since it involves slicing the potatoes rather than scooping out the insides after baking. You’ll sacrifice some of that outer layer of crunchy skin, but you’ll also save time and waste less of the potato. Recipe from I Heart Naptime.


  • 4 large baking potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons of kosher salt
  • 1½ to 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 7 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled or ½ cup bacon bits
  • Sour cream

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Cover a baking sheet with foil, coat with non-stick cooking spray, and set aside.

Scrub potatoes clean. Slice off the ends, and discard. Cut the remaining potato into ½-inch slices.

Brush each side of the potato slices with melted butter, then sprinkle with salt. Place the slices on the baking sheet, and cook in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, turning once after 15 minutes, until lightly browned on both sides.

Remove potatoes from the oven, and top with cheese, bacon, and green onions. Bake for another 3 to 5 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve with sour cream.  

2. Beer-Batter Fried Pickles

deep fried pickles

Source: iStock

Crunchy, tangy fried pickles served with a creamy dipping sauce (like the spicy buttermilk ranch featured here) are sure to be a hit at your next get together. Best of all, this southern snack is easy to make — no deep-fryer required. The recipe for these beer-battered pickle chips comes from Southern Living.


  • 2 (16-ounce) jars dill pickle sandwich slices, drained
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 (12-ounce) can beer
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • Vegetable oil

For spicy ranch dipping sauce:

  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons minced green onions
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • ½ teaspoon seasoned salt, plus more for garnish

Directions: To make the dipping sauce, whisk together the buttermilk, mayo, green onions, garlic, hot sauce, and seasoned salt. Garnish, if desired, with more seasoned salt. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator up to two weeks.

Pat pickles dry with paper towels. Whisk together egg and next 3 ingredients in a large bowl; add 1½ cups flour, and whisk until smooth.

Pour oil to a depth of 1½ inches into a large heavy skillet or Dutch oven; heat over medium-high heat to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Dip pickle slices into batter, allowing excess batter to drip off. Fry pickles, in batches, 3 to 4 minutes or until golden. Drain and pat dry on paper towels; serve immediately with dipping sauce.

3. Tamari and Maple-Roasted Almonds

Spiced Almonds

Source: iStock

Nuts may be the most basic of bar snacks, but that doesn’t make them any less tasty and satisfying. This recipe from Delish upgrades an otherwise boring bowl of almonds by combining savory tamari sauce with sweet maple syrup for a delectable snack.


  • 10 ounces whole shelled almonds
  • ¼ cup reduced-sodium tamari
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • Nonstick cooking spray

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread the almonds in a single layer on a baking sheet, and cook for 7 to 8 minutes, until lightly toasted and fragrant.

Mix the tamari and maple syrup in a medium bowl. Add the roasted almonds, and toss until coated. Coat the baking sheet lightly with cooking spray, and spread the almonds in an even layer on the sheet.

Return to the oven, and roast for 15 to 17 minutes, until nuts turn deep brown in color. Remove from oven, and immediately transfer to another baking sheet to cool, being sure to spread the nuts out so they don’t touch. Let cool completely, then serve.

4. Bacon-Wrapped Dates with Goat Cheese

bacon wrapped dates

Source: iStock

Sweet, salty, and cheesy, these baked stuffed dates may just be the perfect snack. Did we mention that they’re wrapped in a layer of delicious crisp bacon? You may want to make a double batch of these snacks (also known as “Devils on Horseback”) if you’re serving a crowd — they’re sure to go fast. Recipe from Pinch of Yum.


  • 8 slices bacon
  • 16 dates
  • 4 ounces goat cheese

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

If your dates have not already been pitted, slice them open lengthwise and remove the pit. Use a small spoon to stuff each date with goat cheese. (Or use blue cheese if you prefer.) Press the sides together to close. Cut the bacon slices in half. Wrap each stuffed date with bacon, and secure with a toothpick.

Lay the dates on a baking sheet with raised edges (this will keep grease from dripping all over your oven). Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, turn dates so that they cook evenly, and return to the oven and let bake for another 5 to 8 minutes. Let dates cool for 5 minutes on a plate lined with paper towels, then serve.

5. Easy Crockpot Sriracha Honey Chicken Wings

sriracha chicken wings

Source: iStock

Yes, you can enjoy spicy savory chicken wings at home with almost no effort. Just toss a handful of ingredients in your slow cooker in the morning, and get ready to savor these sweet-and-spicy snacks a few hours later. Recipe from The Slow Roasted Italian.


  • 4 pounds fresh or frozen chicken wing drumettes
  • ¾ cup sriracha sauce
  • ¾ cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Juice of 1 lime

Directions: Set slow cooker to low, and add the sriracha, honey, butter, and lime juice to the crock, mixing to combine. Add the chicken wings, and stir to coat. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours (if using frozen wings). If using fresh wings, cook for 3 to 4 hours on low or 1 to 2 hours on high.

Remove wings from the crockpot, and place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle any sauce that’s left in the slow cooker over the wings.

Turn oven to broil setting. Place wings in the oven, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until the sauce starts to caramelize. Remove from oven, let cool slightly, then serve.

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