There are only a few things that can ruin a Super Bowl party: not having enough space for people to sit, not having a big enough TV and, most importantly, not having good food.
The quality of snacks can mean the difference between your friends still talking about your party four years later, or your friends going home early because their mysterious great uncle is suddenly not feeling well.
With that in mind, we decided to rank the top snack foods for any Super Bowl party. Note that these are all snack foods that you can readily purchase at the supermarket with minimal preparation necessary (foods like chicken wings and nachos are full meals that require some work, not snacks). We will also be staying generic — for instance, we’re not going to debate flavors or brands of chips, they’ll just all be considered chips.
Got it? Alright, let’s eat.
15. Seven-layer dip
Don’t even come in here with that. Why does a dip need seven layers? It doesn’t make any sense. How about this … if you can name all seven layers then you can bring it to the party. Despicable.
14. Fresh fruit
Don’t bring a knife to a gunfight — fresh fruit belongs nowhere near a Super Bowl party. Maybe a fruit cocktail of some kind, but even that’s a bad idea. If people are going to eat something sweet, it’s going to be candy, not fruit. Plus nobody wants to pick up apple cores when the party’s over. Gross.
13. Trail mix
Independently everything in trail mix is good, except for raisins — they’re fruit, except dried and shriveled up … what’s the appeal? There’s no place for raisins at a Super Bowl party, which makes trail mix a poor choice. Also, sitting on the couch for five hours is pretty much the opposite of walking on any sort of trail.
12. Cheese and crackers
On face value cheese and crackers are a perfectly decent snack. But when you consider it logistically, it leads to problems. Putting a cheese cube on a cracker and taking a bite requires two hands (what do you do with your drink?) and inevitably leads to a crumbly mess. Leave the cheese boards at the bistro.
11. Party mix
We’re starting to get into the right realm here, but a bunch of different things in the same bowl is always a difficult proposition. People will sift through taking out the best parts and leaving the gross stuff. Party mix is for party planners who can’t commit to a decision, and the guests are the ones who suffer.
10. Cheese puffs
They’re light and airy while still being crunchy, so that’s nice. But the orange fingers are a serious downside. There are other cheesy options (which we’ll get into later) that are much more appealing.
9. Vegetable platter
Look, everyone knows we need the vegetable tray. You put it out on the table to show that you’re all not total gluttons, and by the end of the night everyone’s eaten their one token carrot or piece of celery. As long as there’s some sort of dip, vegetable platters are a necessary evil. It’s like fight club — the first rule of the vegetable platter is don’t talk about the vegetable platter.
8. Jelly beans
Jelly beans are fantastic, particularly the gourmet version with exotic flavors. But people are very particular about which ones they like, which leads to people digging through the bowl looking for their favorites, leaving the remaining jelly beans tainted by dirty Super Bowl fingers. If you’re going to put out jelly beans, give each person their own individual bowl.
7. Mixed nuts
Boring, yes — but there’s a reason the classics are the classics. It’s like having the Rat Pack in a plastic bowl. People generally don’t sort through mixed nuts because peanuts, almonds, walnuts and pecans are more than acceptable while you save the prized cashews for last.
With all the salty snacks it’s important to have something sweet to balance things out, and you can’t go wrong with chocolate. Whether it’s your favorite fun-size candy bar or a chocolate-covered anything, nobody will complain. Plus it’s a guarantee that someone will have chocolate all over his or her face for the entire party, which is always good for laughs.
5. Cheese crackers
Please don’t confuse this with cheese AND crackers … rookie mistake. We’re talking about those delicious, bite sized cheese-flavored crackers that generally come in little squares or shaped like small fish. They help you get your cheese fix and your salty/crunchy fix all in one bite. Highly underrated.
If you’re going to go sweet, cupcakes are the way to go. They’re self-contained, individually portioned and irresistible. Sure there’s a bit of a mess, but they’re so good that it doesn’t matter. Bring the ones with little football decorations and you can do no wrong for the rest of the party.
We’re getting into the heavy hitters here, so we don’t need as much explanation. Whether they’re sticks or in the traditional pretzel form, nobody finds an uneaten bowl of pretzels at the end of the night.
2. Tortilla chips with salsa and guacamole
Ah, it’s like the Brady-Belichick-Kraft of snack foods — they’re proven winners, and you can’t have one without the others. Chips with salsa and guacamole provide an interactive experience (dipping the chip) and allow an unmatched level of customization — do I want salsa or guacamole? Maybe both? How much of each do I want? The possibilities are endless. The combo of the salty tortilla chips with the spicy salsa and creamy guacamole just can’t be beaten. Well, actually, one thing can beat it …
1. Potato chips
Humans are preconditioned to crave salty, crunchy foods — that’s just science. There’s nothing saltier and crunchier than potato chips. Add in the fact that they come in an infinite number of flavors and that they’re perfect for passing around in a bowl, and you’ve got yourself the No. 1 Super Bowl snack food.