25 Easy Tailgating Recipes Made in a Slow Cooker

Tailgating made easy: Skip the fuss and use the slow cooker!

I don’t know how many tailgate parties I’ve been to where the food consisted of heavy cheese sauce, cheese-stuffed, bacon-wrapped jalapeño poppers, and fat-filled beefy chili. None of those things are bad – in fact, they’re all so delicious that I often overindulge. The next day, I always find myself wracked with guilt from my poor choices, but then I just hit the repeat button the next week. It’s time to break the cycle with these easy tailgating recipes made in a slow cooker (including a killer fried chicken recipe!).

The slow cooker not only makes it easier to whip together my tailgate food, but it also helps me make healthier choices. This collection of skinny recipes doesn’t skimp on the flavor, but it will help you keep your waistline trim and stick to your diet plan. No one at the party will know you brought healthy food – everything tastes that delicious! It’s time to take back chili, cheese dip, meatballs, sandwiches, and tacos by making healthy ingredient choices.

1. Slow Cooker Fried Chicken

Who doesn’t love fried chicken? Well, maybe those of us who are actually trying to stick to our diet plans! That’s what makes this is the ultimate skinny fried chicken recipe. It tastes just as good as the deep-fried variety, but we make it in the slow cooker instead. You’ll still get a crispy piece of chicken but it’s so much healthier without all that extra oil. Sounds like a win-win situation to me!

2. Crock Pot Taco Chili

This recipe from LaaLoosh absolutely nails two of my favorite easy tailgating recipes made in a slow cooker: chili and tacos. Chili is a sure-fire way to easily feed a crowd (and, make them happy, too). This recipe is packed full of vegetables like corn and tomatoes, and she keeps things lean by using chicken instead of beef.

3. Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Dip

Everyone loves a good dip at a tailgating party, and this Buffalo Chicken Dip from Gimme Some Oven is almost guaranteed to satisfy. It’s cheesy, it’s flavorful, and it’s protein-packed! It only takes about 90 minutes in the slow cooker, too, so you won’t have to cook it all night to get it party-ready.

4. Slow Cooker Sriracha Meatballs

Meatballs are one of my favorite tailgate foods. They can be eaten on their own as an appetizer, or you can stuff them inside a sandwich. I thought barbecue-flavored meatballs were my tailgating favorite until I tried these Sriracha Meatballs from Foodie Crush. They’re so good, you can’t just eat one!

5. Crock Pot 3-Ingredient Balsamic Chicken

This is one of the most popular recipes on our site! It’s sweet, it’s savory, and it only takes three ingredients to pull it together. This tender chicken will have so much flavor, no one will guess it’s just a bottle of salsa, some balsamic vinegar, and a few boneless skinless chicken breasts. It makes the perfect shredded chicken for sliders!

6. Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

Speaking of making sandwiches, this LaaLoosh recipe for Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches will satisfy everyone’s chicken wing cravings. Instead of consuming all the unhealthy fats found in the skin on chicken wings, switch things up and use chicken breasts instead. And, since this can be made in the slow cooker, it’s quick and easy to whip up, too!

7. Slow Cooker Chex Mix

Snack healthily with this slow cooker recipe from Gimme Some Oven. Who needs store-bought snacks, filled with extra sodium and unpronounceable ingredients, when you can easily make this recipe at home? This may be one of your new favorite easy tailgating recipes made in a slow cooker.

8. Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches

These Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches are not only tasty and filling, but they’re a great way to serve a crowd on a budget! Cooking Classy’s recipe uses a chuck roast, which is always inexpensive at the butcher counter. Toss it in the slow cooker and a few hours later it’ll be tender and shreddable.

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Chef Lindsay

Lindsay D. Mattison is a professional chef, recipe developer, and food writer. After graduating from Cascade Culinary School, Lindsay worked as the executive chef of a farm-to-table restaurant in Bend, Oregon. She is passionate about using local, organic ingredients and loves teaching home cooks how to incorporate seasonal food into their diet. While she spends most of her time writing these days, she still exercises her culinary muscles on the regular, taking any opportunity to create beautiful meals for her family. She lives with her husband in Colorado, where she enjoys the trials and errors of gardening.

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