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Serious Entertaining: Super Bowl Snacks

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[Photograph: Joshua Bousel]

The key to a great game day spread is to make sure that you've got a good mix of dippables, scoopables, finger foods, and full-on edibles to keep your guests satisfied and entertained, all while making sure that enough of them can be made in advance so you don't have to worry about spending the whole game in the kitchen or rushing around like a maniac during half time trying to re-fill party platters.

What this means is variation. When planning a snack-based party, I aim to make just one or two things out of each of four different categories. That way I can plan in advance, have most of my food ready, and spend game day sipping beer and watching people watch football (I've never been into the actual game).

Those categories are: slow-cooker dips and stews, room temperature dips, hot snacks, and room temperature snacks. If you've got yourself a fondue pot or a mini slow cooker, really the only things that need to be cooked to order (or à la minute as the fancy French people say) is the hot snacks. Everything else can be prepared before the game and set out on platters, ready to graze on or pass around.

Hot Dips and Stews

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

These are all recipes that can be made ahead, reheated just before the game, then served out of a fondue pot or slow cooker, made to be dipped into, spooned up into bowls, or slopped into messy sandwiches.

Need more? Here are 15 chili recipes we love and 14 different variations on cheese dip.

Make-Ahead Dips

[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

These dips can be made in advance, pulled out of the fridge, transferred to serving bowls, and served straight up for dipping throughout the game.

For more, check out these 20 Dip Recipes for Game Day!

Make-Ahead Snacks and Sandwiches

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

These snacks can all be made ahead, ready to be pulled out, sliced, and served whenever the buffet empties.

Hot Snacks and Wings

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[Photograph: Marvin Gapultos]

If you're like me, you'd probably rather be spending game day in the kitchen whipping up hot snacks than glued to the set. These are perfect snacks for the host in you, the one who'd rather be left along with their oven and deep fryer.

Need more help? Here are 14 Wing Recipes We Love, spanning from tea-smoked, to traditional buffalo.

And don't forget to check out our Game Day Recipes Guide»

About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Chief Creative Officer of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at @thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.

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