Game day party hosts should always be prepared with a menu of easy-to-eat finger foods, whether it's football season or time for the World Series. These 35 satisfying dishes are simple and cheap to make, ranging in price from 50 cents a serving for popcorn or veggie sushi to $4 a serving for sliders and ribs worth cheering for. Mix and match to come up with an ideal party menu without going over budget.
Beans are cheap and filling, which makes this dip a good option for large, hungry crowds. A classic seven-layer bean dip recipe can be adapted to what's on hand and customized to taste. It doesn't even have to be seven layers — a dish of flavorful refried beans with some hot sauce on top does the trick.
Quesadillas are a favorite game-watching snack and can be made with many different flavor combinations. This recipe for a classic cheese quesadilla is made in the oven to minimize hassle and cleanup. Serve with toppings and fillings of your choice.
Recipe: Brit + Co's Snapguide
Guacamole is a favorite at parties, and one of the most nutritious options in a sea of fried and fatty foods. Using larger Dominican avocados, which are a brighter green and have smoother skin than Mexican Hass avocados, cuts costs. Or shop an ethnic market for good prices on Hass avocados a few days before the guac is needed, ensuring they have time to ripen.
MACARONI AND CHEESE BITES
People have long searched for a way to make mac and cheese a finger food. Rolling it into balls and deep-frying is one option, but those who prefer a cheaper, hassle-free option can follow a recipe for mac and cheese "cupcakes" — small, handheld portions baked in a muffin pan.
Recipe: Chef in Training
Bags of pre-made party mix come with a ton of sodium, plus an extra cost for convenience. Serve more mix for less money with this recipe — or go freestyle.
Popcorn, salty and sometimes sweet, is the perfect crunchy food to eat by the handful while watching the big game. Pop super-inexpensive corn the morning of a party and dust with different flavors for a dash of variety.
Recipe: Genius Kitchen
SPINACH ARTICHOKE DIP
Using frozen spinach and artichokes makes this recipe simple and cost-effective. Substitute more spinach and skip the artichokes, or vice versa. The cream-cheese base makes a tangy flavored dish that always disappears fast.
Recipe: Alton Brown
Crunchy chips made from kale are all the rage, and just as satisfying as potato chips. Buying them from the store is costly and often means getting a bag full of preservatives. Follow this recipe to bake easy and inexpensive kale chips at home.
Recipe: Melissa d'Arabian
CHEESE AND CRACKER PLATTER
This classic party platter has stuck around for a reason: It satisfies with minimal effort and cost. A few types of cheese, such as a block of cheddar, a small wheel of queso fresco, and a wedge of brie, along with a box of crackers makes an easy snack centerpiece at any party.
Raw fish can be expensive, intimidating, and potentially dangerous to work with at home, but veggie sushi is fun and easy to make, and costs just pennies per serving. These basic instructions are a good place to start. Make custom specialty rolls and dipping sauces to create a sushi platter as impressive as it is inexpensive.
Rather than order pricey pizza delivery, make pizzas from flatbreads and a variety of toppings. This recipe for a classic Margherita version is a good place to start. Set out bowls of toppings and let people make their own customized pizza.
Recipe: Let the Baking Begin
A plate of fresh grilled cheese sandwiches cut into quarters will disappear quickly at any party. This easy-to-eat finger food can be made simply with bread and a few slices of cheese, or spruced up with fillings from bacon to apple to onion jam.
You can hardly have a sports party without wings, but ordering out adds up. This simple recipe for baked chicken wings makes crispy and tangy wings without fatty frying, and starting with bulk frozen wings is cheap enough to serve guests as many as they want.
Recipe: Bon Appétit
CHICKEN SATAY SKEWERS
Made from inexpensive chicken, these easy dipping skewers are a light option and full of flavor. Marinating the chicken overnight makes it tender and flavorful, so it's not a step to skip, but making the sauce and even grilling can be done ahead of time; just heat up the skewers before serving.
Recipe: Damn Delicious
SAUSAGE AND PEPPER SLIDERS
Hearty mini sandwiches are impressive but can be easy to pull off. This sausage and pepper slider recipe from cuts down on cost by using inexpensive Italian sausage as the meat with more filler from onions and peppers. Cooked in a large batch and assembled on small buns, the process is quick and easy.
Recipe: Taste of Home
Making ribs in the oven is an easy process that fills a kitchen with delicious and tempting aromas. This recipe for baby back ribs takes over four hours to make, but it can be prepared easily ahead of time and kept warm in a low-heat oven. Buy ribs in bulk from a wholesale club for quality meat at low prices and feast on ribs all weekend long.
STUFFED POTATO SKINS
One of the best things about this irresistible party food is its adaptability. This version features broccoli and avocado cream rather than the more typical bacon and sour cream. Don't feel limited by the given ingredients — add favorite seasonal vegetables or whatever is in the refrigerator. Anything from kale and onions to shredded chicken is guaranteed deliciousness when loaded into a potato skin and topped with cheese.
Recipe: Ellie Krieger
Inexpensive to make, cornbread muffins get a kick from jalapeño, offering just a touch of heat to offset the naturally sweet corn. Even though they cost just a fraction of the price of ribs and chicken, these muffins can be just as essential to a game day celebration.
Recipe: Sally's Baking Addiction
Just five ingredients and eight to 10 hands-off hours of slow cooking makes piping-hot and indulgent pulled pork. Serve on slider buns, and you've scored!
Recipe: Southern Living
For friends who like it on the spicy side, these bite-sized hot peppers are sure to liven up the festivities. Black beans, corn, and cheese come together to keep the fall chill at bay with these little poppers.
Recipe: Spicy Southern Kitchen
EASY STUFFED MUSHROOMS
Warm finger foods rich with hearty flavors are a sure-fire way to kick off a party. Pillsbury's take on stuffed mushrooms had one reviewer commenting, "Why have I never thought of this before?!"
RED PEPPER RELISH
Leave it to Martha Stewart to share a recipe that offers an incredibly simple-yet-sophisticated take on basic red peppers. This versatile creation can be served with hearty bread or as a sandwich condiment on game day. A batch will last four days in the fridge.
Recipe: Martha Stewart
PORK AND CABBAGE EGG ROLLS
Egg roll wrappers and cabbage are cheap ingredients. Mixed with other vegetables, pork, and seasonings, they become a satisfying treat. Use ground pork to keep costs low.
Recipe: Genius Kitchen
HEALTHY BAKED CARROT FRIES
Craving french fries? Perhaps you'll settle for carrot "fries" instead. You might once you taste this clever and healthy baked treat that comes together in a total of 30 minutes.
A simple cupcake adds the right amount of indulgence to a party centered on finger foods. This recipe can make regular cupcakes or minis that are easy to pop in your mouth in one bite. Decorate them for the event to be extra festive.
Recipe: Genius Kitchen
These basic sugar cookies make a cheap and easy dessert that can be turned into themed, shaped goodies for any occasion. For instance, use a football-shaped cookie cutter and decorate cookies with icing laces for a football party or a round cookie with white icing and lacing for baseball season.
FROZEN CHOCOLATE-COVERED BANANAS
Ice cream for a crowd can be messy, but make-ahead, chocolate-covered banana bites are a tasty and cheap treat that will be enjoyed just as much.
EDIBLE ICE CREAM BOWLS
Get into the festive mood of the day by upgrading your ice cream sundaes with edible bowls. These easy bowls add that extra touch to lift everyone's spirits, even those rooting for the losing team.
Recipe: All Created