7 Spicy Snack Recipes Heating Up Your NFL Playoff Party

With the NFL playoffs in full swing, things are heating up on the football field — and in your kitchen, thanks to these 7 spicy snacks. From Spicy Sriracha Chicken Wings to Hot and Spicy Stuffed Mushrooms, spice-filled snacks are guaranteed to crank up your game day guests’ playoff excitement. Grab your jalapeños, cayenne pepper, and chili powder — it’s time to add some game day heat to your football fare!

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1. Spicy Italian Meatballs

Crushed red pepper and pepperoncini salad peppers give Better Homes and Gardens’ meatballs a spicy kick. Once you prepare your meatballs and bake them for 30 minutes, you can take a time-out from the kitchen and let your slow cooker do the rest of the work for you. The recipe yields 24 servings.


  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup fine dry bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup finely chopped onion
  • ¼ cup finely chopped bottled pepperoncini salad peppers
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, crushed
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 pound bulk Italian sausage
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • ½ cup finely chopped onion (1 medium)
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl combine egg, bread crumbs, ¼ cup onion, pepperoncini peppers, Italian seasoning, and the 1 clove garlic; mix well. Add ground beef and sausage; mix gently until combined. Shape mixture into twenty-four 2-inch meatballs. Place meatballs in a 15-by-10-by-1-inch baking pan.

Bake for 30 minutes; drain well. Meanwhile, in a 4- to 5-quart slow cooker, combine crushed tomatoes, ½ cup onion, the vinegar, 2 cloves garlic, oregano, and crushed red pepper. Add baked meatballs to slow cooker; stir gently to coat. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 4 to 6 hours or on high-heat setting for 2 to 3 hours. Skim fat from sauce before serving.

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2. Cayenne Pretzels

Football fans will love munching on these Cayenne Pretzels, and you’ll love how easy it is to make them. These pretzels get spicier the longer they sit, so make them a day in advance if you prefer extra-hot snacks. Taste of Home’s recipe yields 16 servings.


  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 envelope ranch salad dressing mix
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 pound (12 cups) pretzel sticks

Directions: Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. In a small bowl, combine the oil, dressing mix, garlic salt, and cayenne. Divide pretzels between two ungreased 15-by-10-by-1-inch baking pans. Pour oil mixture over pretzels; stir to coat. Bake at for 1¼ to 1½ hours or until golden brown, stirring occasionally. Cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

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3. Spicy Sriracha Chicken Wings

Sriracha chile sauce gives these chicken wings their great flavor and extraordinary heat. When you’re preparing Food & Wine’s recipe, which yields 10 servings, make sure you plan ahead; your chicken wings will need to marinate for at least 4 hours. If you’d like a dip to serve with these wings, we suggest making Food Network’s Dirty Steve’s Garlic Ranch Wing Sauce.


  • 10 pounds chicken wings, split
  • ¼ cup coriander seeds, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¾ cup Sriracha chile sauce
  • 1½ sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 3 limes
  • 3 quarts vegetable oil, for frying

Directions: In a very large bowl, toss the wings with the coriander and cumin seeds, cinnamon, kosher salt, and olive oil. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread the wings on 3 large rimmed baking sheets and roast for about 30 minutes, until firm but not cooked through.

Wash out the bowl. Add the Sriracha, butter, cilantro, lime zest, and juice. In a deep fryer or a very large saucepan, heat the vegetable oil to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Fry the wings in 4 or 5 batches until golden and crisp, about 5 minutes per batch; drain, shaking off the excess oil. As each batch is finished, add the wings to the sauce and toss well. Transfer the wings to a platter, leaving the sauce in the bowl for the remaining batches. Serve hot.

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4. Hot and Spicy Stuffed Mushrooms

Football fans will be on their feet cheering after helping themselves to these Hot and Spicy Stuffed Mushrooms via Allrecipes.com. Jalapeños give this snack its spicy kick, while bacon, cheese, and invigorating seasonings create a creamy filling that is irresistible. The recipe yields 15 servings.


  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • ¼ cup minced onion
  • 5 slices cooked bacon, chopped
  • 5 jalapeño peppers, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin, or more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 30 mushrooms, stems removed, or more as needed

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Mix cream cheese, cheddar cheese, onion, bacon, jalapeño peppers, cumin, and garlic powder together in a bowl. Spoon cream cheese mixture into each mushroom. Arrange stuffed mushrooms on the prepared baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven until mushrooms are tender and cheese is melted, 30 to 40 minutes.

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5. Spicy Jalapeño Poppers

In Daisy Brand’s dish via recipe.com, jalapeños are stuffed with a cheesy, bacon filling, covered with a bread crumb mixture, and fried until they’re golden brown. If you’d like to amp up this recipe’s spiciness, dip your poppers in CDKitchen’s Spicy Sour Cream.


  • 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • ⅓ cup crumbled, cooked bacon
  • ⅓ cup finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onions
  • ¼ teaspoon Southwest-type seasoning
  • 6 medium jalapeño peppers, slit down the side, seeded and deveined
  • ½ cup dry breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons finely shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 jumbo egg, well beaten
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • ¾ cup sour cream

Directions: In a small bowl, stir together the cream cheese, bacon, cheddar cheese, green onions, and seasoning; mix well. Fill each jalapeño with about 2 tablespoons of the filling. In a small bowl, stir together the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, cilantro leaves, and butter. Dip each jalapeño in the beaten egg and then roll in the crumb mixture to coat well.

Place the filled and coated jalapeños on a wire rack on a baking pan to air dry for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile in an 8-inch frying pan, heat the vegetable oil to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Fry the poppers 3 at a time. Fry for 1 minute or until first side is golden brown. Turn the popper over and continue frying for an additional 1 or 2 minutes or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining poppers. Serve with the sour cream. Refrigerate leftovers.

Source: iStock

6. Spicy Tortilla Chips

Sometimes, the simplest dishes are the tastiest — and in this case, the spiciest. Martha Stewart’s tortilla chips are coated with chili powder and cayenne pepper, creating a hot and crunchy snack that’s perfect for your game-day party. The recipe yields 8 servings. Be sure to serve your chips with Food.com’s Black Bean Salsa!


  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 12 small flour tortillas
  • 1½ teaspoons coarse salt

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine the oil, chili powder, and cayenne pepper in a small bowl. Brush each tortilla with the oil mixture and stack on top of one another to lightly oil the backside. Cut into wedges, and arrange in a single layer on baking sheets. Sprinkle with salt. Bake until crisp and golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes.

Source: iStock

7. Ultimate Spicy Nachos

If you’re in the mood for loaded nachos that are bursting with bold flavors and spicy ingredients, Food Network has the perfect recipe for you! These nachos are covered in a spicy cheese sauce, which gets its great flavor from jalapeños, mustard, pepper jack cheese, and garlic.


Spicy Cheese Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 4 cups coarsely grated pepper jack
  • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard or whole-grain mustard
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked
  • 1 cup your favorite barbecue sauce
  • 8 cups tortilla chips (about 1 large bag)
  • 1 cup chopped pickled jalapeños
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup sour cream or nonfat Greek yogurt

Directions: For the sauce, in a saucepan over medium heat, add the butter, garlic, and jalapeño. Sauté for 3 minutes, and then sprinkle in the flour. Cook, stirring frequently, until you create a blond roux, about 5 minutes. Add the milk, cheese, and mustard and use a whisk to stir all together. Season with salt and pepper and let cook for 5 minutes on low.

For the nachos, shred the chicken and place into a medium bowl. Pour in the barbecue sauce and mix well to combine. Arrange the tortilla chips on a platter and spread the chicken over the chips. Pour the warm cheese sauce over the top and sprinkle with the jalapeños and cilantro. Garnish with dollops of sour cream.

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