With the Super Bowl fast approaching, it’s time to start drafting your snack plans. The food playbook for the big game is different from all other games: You can’t duck away in a commercial break to throw something together, because the commercials are half the fun. You can’t cook something up during halftime — what’s the Super Bowl without halftime? Missing any of the game is obviously not an option. So what do you do? You break out your slow cooker. And you have your friends bring over their crockpots. You get them set up in the morning and settle in for hours of snacking and game-watching without the pressure of having to keep the food coming as it runs out. Your crockpot gets to worry about that. Game on.
Dips for days
1. You can’t have a party without dips. For a traditional game day dip, turn to A Kitchen Addiction’s Crock Pot Buffalo Chicken Dip. It’s simple, melty, bubbly, and easy to make with a store-bought rotisserie chicken or, if you really want to get into it, chicken cooked overnight in the same crock you’ll assemble the dip in. This will take about 1½ hours, so start it at 4:45 p.m. to have it ready for kick-off or at kick-off for halftime.
2. For another easy, hearty dip, brown the meat and shred the cheese ahead of time. Then dump the other 5 layers into the crockpot along with them for The Magical Slow Cooker’s 7 Layer Dip. For a last-minute eighth layer, top with guacamole. This takes just shy of 2 hours from start to finish, so start browning the meat no later than 4:30 p.m. for kickoff, or 6 p.m. for halftime.
3. This Corn and Jalapeño dip from Damn Delicious is a perfect starter to ramp up to heartier rounds as the game goes on, so it’s a great one to have for the pre-game or at kickoff. While it’s definitely cheesy, it’s not too heavy. For a vegetarian version, simply omit the bacon. It takes 2 hours and 15 minutes, so start this one no later than 4 p.m.
Game day must-haves
4. There are a couple of party dishes that you have to have at any self-respecting gathering, like Chex mix. This Slow Cooker Chex Mix recipe from Gimme Some Oven is so easy and so good. It takes a little more than 3 hours, so toss everything in by 3 p.m., and you’ll be ready to go at game time.
5. What kind of football party is it without some stick-to-your-ribs chili? This one uses steak rather than ground beef for melt-in-your-mouth chunks of goodness. Natalie from Perry’s Plate calls this the best chili she’s ever made or eaten. It takes about 7 hours, so start this no later than 11 a.m.
Bring on the meat
6. With a pile of pulled pork and a bowl of coleslaw, fellow fans can make sandwiches, sliders, nachos, or bread-free bowls throughout the game. This no-fuss Easy Slow Cooker Pulled Pork just requires a quick spice rub, no searing. Put out some rolls, pickles, and extra sauce for a make-your-own station and let them decide when they’ll get off the couch to feed themselves. This dish also takes close to 7 hours, so it should also be started around 11 a.m.
7. And for the ultimate game day snack, we present Crock Pot Buffalo Wings. Though the recipe is for traditional buffalo wings, you could adapt it for teriyaki, Southern-style BBQ, Korean BBQ, or any other sauce your heart (and taste buds) desire.
8. Vegetarians like football, too! Make some Vegetarian Gumbo from Oh My Veggies for some rib-sticking goodness. If you love okra, great. If you hate it, leave it out. The recipe is already inauthentic without andouille and seafood anyway, so run wild! Start this at noon for kick-off gumbo.
9. Oh My Veggies has another vegetarian slow-cooker recipe too good to pass up: Bourbon Mango Baked Beans. They’re perfectly sticky and salty and sweet and don’t miss that ham hock at all. The mango is particularly great for folks who don’t have easy access to real maple syrup. To be safe, start this one at 10 a.m. You don’t want soupy baked beans.
1o. Slow cooking is a great way to prepare tofu, as Susan from Fat Free Vegan points out. It’s basically a long, warm marinade, so the tofu in this Chinese Barbecued Tofu With Vegetables dish ends up super flavorful. This will take just over 3 hours, so start it right around 3 p.m.
11. For an easy, veggie-heavy bowl of something comforting (maybe your team didn’t make it and you need some hand-holding), make this Quinoa and Corn Chowder from Savvy Vegetarian. Start at noon for kick-off.
Special snacks for special diets
12. Food restrictions and diets and sensitivities aren’t necessarily more prevalent this year, we’re just getting better at being sensitive to the plight of the gluten- and dairy-free. This Slow Cooker Chicken Chili is gluten-free and dairy-free and paleo and, if you make it with a sugar-free salsa, suitable for the Whole30 diet. Cook on low starting at noon or on high starting at 3 p.m.
13. Throw whatever vegetables you have in the fridge into your crockpot or follow this recipe from Honey, Ghee, and Me exactly. Either way, this Slow Cooked Asian-Style Beef Short Ribs dish offers Gluten Free and Whole30 patches to make this dish a hit with all your party guests. Cook this on low for 8 hours, starting at 10 a.m., for ultimate fall-apart short ribs.
14. Most of the yams in the grocery store are actually sweet potatoes, so we’re going to go ahead and call a yam a sweet potato — especially because true yams are way starchier than sweet potatoes and that’s a no-go for paleo diets. This dish of Chorizo Mash Sweet Potatoes from Rubies and Radishes still requires a double-check with your Super Bowl party guests, as some paleo-dieters stay away from sweet potatoes, too. If you get a green light, though, go ahead and make this asap, because it’s absolutely delicious. Start it at 2 p.m. for kick-off or 4-ish for the second half.
Gimme some sugar
15. The Super Bowl is absolutely the time for satisfying a sweet tooth, and it’s wicked easy in a crockpot. For the easiest dessert fix during the game, pick up a fruit platter and mix up either this Butterscotch Fondue or Dark Chocolate Fondue and set out some skewers. Start at kick-off.
16. This Healthy Crock Pot Apple Crisp recipe from The Realistic Nutritionist was adapted from Weight Watchers and has “healthy” right in the name, so it’s bound to be ok to eat in massive, game-day quantities. Right? Start at 4 p.m.
17. Have you ever thought about making a cake in a crockpot? Maybe you should. Maybe you should then decide to make this Slow Cooker Berry Cobbler from Chef in Training and serve with some vanilla ice cream. Start it at kick-off. What a way to end the game!