The Super Bowl is one of the most watched televised programs annually, and the 2023 season is gearing up to be an exciting one. Whether you are there to cheer on your team, watch the halftime show, enjoy the commercials, or pass the night with friends, food, and alcohol, throwing a Super Bowl shindig is a foolproof way to make game day even more fun. You can throw a party at home or, if you manage a food establishment, turn it into a sports bar for the night.
There’s a lot that goes into planning a Super Bowl party: the decor, the viewing experience, the set-up, and most importantly, the food. Hosting a successful Super Bowl party can take some creative thinking and organizing. Here are some tips to make this season a memorable one.
Set the Scene
Football decor is a great way to set the scene. It doesn’t have to be expensive either. You can cut DIY football banners and pendants out of pieces of paper. If you have a favorite team, why not spice up the room with the team colors. Also, make sure you have a large viewing screen and enough cozy seating for all.
Football is only one of the main events at a Super Bowl party. The other is the food. You can deck out the table with a football-themed tablecloth and plasticware from any local party store. Novelty football glassware and servingware are other welcome additions.
One fun way to spice up the buffet is with a snack stadium. A snack stadium is a centerpiece food buffet, designed like an actual football stadium, that showcases the food everyone loves. There are numerous ways to design and create a snack stadium, many of which feature creative uses of aluminum foil, foil pans, wax paper and other food safe materials. A snack stadium may feature a football field cake in the middle, or some other type of centerpiece, often depicting a football field. There are many different ways to assemble a snack stadium, with lots of easy-to-follow “how to” guides available online.
Another fun set up idea is to take toothpicks and glue mini football pennants on them. Then insert the toothpicks into desserts and finger foods. There are many ways to set the scene for a football party. Don’t be scared to get creative.
Keep Guests Refreshed
What’s a football party without beer? Drinks are an essential component of a game-day bash. In addition to beer, make sure your Super Bowl party is well-stocked with cold drinks. Consider adding some fresh cocktails to your game-day offerings, and keep non-alcoholic drinks on hand as well.
- Beer: The Super Bowl is an American tradition, and pairs well with American-style lagers. To keep the beer cold, consider going for a cooler or a mini-fridge.
- Mixed drinks are another fun addition to a Super Bowl party. You want drinks that don’t take themselves too seriously, that go well with finger food and wings. Spiked punch, apple cider, and spiked lemonade pair well with classic tailgate dishes. Make it self-serve with a punch bowl and ladle.
- In addition to alcoholic drinks, keep your table stocked with non-boozy offerings. Classic Colas and other soda flavors are a game day expectation.
Keep Tables Well-Stocked with Food
Food is arguably the most important part of the Super Bowl viewing experience. Your Super Bowl menu should include the following:
Healthy options: Sure, stuffing yourself on game day is an American tradition. But, it helps to start the Super Bowl party with a strategy. Open with healthier options — cut up veggies served with dips — and bring out the more traditional snacks as the night goes on. This helps guests pace themselves. Serving the food in stages also helps keep the buffet interesting and fresh throughout the game. Using an oval-shaped platter and adding some pepper strips as cross-stitching to the middle is an easy trick to make your vegetable tray football shaped. To cut down on prep time for game day, a mandoline slicer can make slicing up vegetables for a veggie spread easier and faster.
Chips and dips: Chips and dips are another surefire way to kick-off a Super Bowl party, and nobody really minds if they stay on the table throughout the night. Actually chips are a great way to fill up your snack stadium too.When it comes to the dips, there’s really no way to go wrong, but guests will probably expect some of the classics like:
- Guacamole and avocado dips
- Salsa and spicy dips
- Ranch dressing (for your vegetables and wings)
- Cheesy dips
Sandwiches and sliders: This food category is sure to leave your guests satisfied. Sandwiches and sliders have two key ingredients: the meaty filling inside and the carby one outside. This means that you can get creative with your sandwich menu. Make deli subs cut into slider-sized bites (use a bread slicer to keep the cuts even). Fry up taco meat and load the toppings into tortillas. Put together some hamburger and cheeseburger classics. Pigs in a blanket are another classic appetizer game day attraction.
Wings and meatballs: What’s sports without the wings? Buffalo and barbeque are the most popular wing flavorings, but none of your guests will complain if you decide to get creative with other flavors in addition to providing the classics. Wings can be deep-fried, baked, or broiled. But a good compromise is to use an air-fryer. This way you get the crispy taste of a fried wing without the added health price tag. Serve your wings with ranch and blue cheese dressing, and make sure to have plenty of napkins on hand.
Guests will also enjoy snacking on sweet meatballs, another messy finger food. Meatballs are also a host-favorite since they are easy and quick to prepare. Throw them in a slow-cooker with some grape jelly, ketchup, and spices to taste and serve them on a platter with toothpicks.
Something fried: Your guests’ diets can be put on hold for one day of the year. After all, it is the Super Bowl – America’s excuse to enjoy their favorite bold flavors and comfort foods. So, go ahead and cut up some potatoes with a French fry cutter and throw them in the deep fryer (don’t forget the salt). Serve up some breaded fried onion rings too. Actually, if you aren’t afraid to overdo it on the calories, you’ll have no trouble finding a whole slew of fried hor d’oeuvres and sides to elevate game day to the next level.
Desserts: The excitement doesn’t end even after the halftime show does. Arguably, the fourth quarter is the most thrilling part of the game, bringing the competition down to the wire. You can also make it culinarily thrilling by bringing out the dessert buffet as the third quarter winds down.When it comes to classic Super Bowl dessert options, you can cut into your snack stadium cake and offer all your guests a slice of the field. Fruit platters are a great option, since guests might not have room for heavy desserts after stuffing themselves with sliders and wings. Here are some other dessert ideas:
- Decorate cupcakes with team colors or mini football field.
- Cut a tray of brownies into oval shapes and add football lacing decor to the middle. Serve on lace or cupcake tins.
- Popcorn is a great game day snack. You can pop it caramel corn style and serve it in a bowl with candies and nuts for dessert. Or you can set up a countertop popcorn machine to keep the buttery snack warm all night long.
“Tackling” the logistics of a Super Bowl party doesn’t have to be overwhelming. The key is to not let stress get in the way of enjoying yourself as you plan this celebration. If you remember to take your time with the preparations, create an enjoyable atmosphere for your guests, and come up with some yummy snacks, you’re sure to be successful! Let’s go team!
Making a Football Cake
Dessert is the most fun part of the meal. This exciting and delicious cake can be your fourth-quarter, game-winning drive.
Step One: Make the Chocolate Cake
Save yourself some time in the kitchen by using a ready-made cake mix for the chocolate cake. One box, approximately 15-19 oz., will be enough to make (2) 9” round cakes. Follow directions on the box to prepare two round cakes and set aside to cool.
Step Two: Make the Frostings
- 1 pound (4 sticks) of room temperature butter
- 8 cups of confectioners’ sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon of fine salt
- 1 tablespoon of vanilla
- 6 tablespoons of milk
- 3/4 cups of cocoa powder
- Using a mixer, beat together the sugar, butter, and salt. Once these ingredients have been well-mixed, add the vanilla.
- With the mixer on medium-high speed, add milk gradually, as needed, to adjust the consistency of the frosting, until it is at the proper, spreadable, thickness.
- Divide the frosting in half and move into a different bowl.
- Add cocoa powder to the remaining frosting in the mixing bowl. Beat on low, until the cocoa powder is mixed in, and then adjust the speed to medium-high until the consistency is smooth.
- Move the brown frosting to a pastry bag.
Step Three: Decorate the Cakes
Now it’s time to give the cakes a football shape and design. You will need a ruler, a knife, cakes, steady hands, green food coloring and coconut flakes.
- Use a ruler. Measure a strip that is two-inches wide, along the center of one cake.
- Cut out the strip, so that you have two half circle cakes, and a two inch strip of cake.
- Repeat with the second cake. You will now have four half circles, and two cutout strips.
- Put the strips in a bowl. Take two of the half circles and place them on a sheet of parchment paper. Push them together to form an ovalish football shape.
- Smooth down the top, and move any trimmings to the bowl that has the cake strips.
- Using a spatula, cover the ovalish shaped cake with the white frosting (remember to save a third for the football lace and stripes).
- Put the remaining two half circles of cake on top of the white frosting. Push them together to make another ovalish football shape.
- Cover the top and sides of the cake with the chocolate frosting (set aside about a ¼ cup for later). Chill for 30 minutes.
- While the frosting is setting, crumble the cake pieces in the bowl with the strips. Add the ¼ cup of chocolate frosting to the crumbs and mix well.
- Mix the coconut and the green food coloring in a bowl until well-combined (this will be the grass).
- Put the brown, chocolate-frosted cake crumbles on a cake stand in a circle shape that is about 1/4 inch thick (this will be the dirt). Press the grass in on top of the dirt and put the cake stand aside to chill for 30 minutes.
- Take the chilled football cake out. Add white frosting in the shape of laces and stripes on the top and sides of the football.
- Place the football cake on top of the dirt and grass mixture on the cake stand.
- Serve and enjoy!