14 Super Bowl Party Foods You Shouldn’t Waste Your Money On

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These 14 "crowd favorites" are a costly fumble for your taste buds.
Updated Jan. 23, 2024
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The Super Bowl is almost here, and with it comes plenty of Super Bowl parties.

You may be hosting a big party and planning your menu. But some foods are better than others when it comes to what makes a good Super Bowl party.

So before you run out to get deals or find ways to save money shopping for your gathering, check your shopping list to make sure these items aren’t on there.

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Shrimp cocktail

tilialucida/Adobe shrimp ring with sweet chili sause

Shrimp with cocktail sauce may sound like a fancy appetizer to elevate a party, but a Super Bowl party usually isn’t that fancy.

You also don’t want leftover shrimp sitting around getting warm for four-quarters of football and having to throw it away while your guests eat more traditional football foods like chips.

Kale chips

Brent Hofacker/Adobe homemade green kale chips

Kale is becoming more popular with health-conscious eaters, and everyone likes to eat chips at a football party.

But your guests (and wallet) may penalize you by trying to serve kale in chip form at a Super Bowl party.

Wine

pavel siamionov/Adobe bartender pouring white vine in glass

Wine isn’t technically a food, but your guests will need to wash down all the yummy treats with something to drink.

Beer and soda are great options for your favorite football fans for the big game while being affordable, depending on what you get.

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Pizza

Kiattisak/Adobe pizza with melted cheese on a wooden table and a slicer holding a slice

You may think pizza is a great option to serve your guests for Super Bowl Sunday, and you’re probably right.

But it’s important to factor in how long it will take you to get that pizza and how much it will cost.

Super Bowl Sunday is one of the busiest days of the year for pizza delivery, so make sure you get your order in early, or you’ll be waiting a long time for your pizza to finally arrive while your guests are hungry.

You’ll also want to factor in higher costs for delivery or tips if you decide to order pizza for your guests.

Anything that smells

Sarah Kathleen/Adobe roasted garlic

You may love to roast garlic as a delicious appetizer, or perhaps you want to add some grilled salmon to your menu if you decide to fire up the barbecue.

But remember that your guests will be sitting in your house all day right next to a table of foods that may taste great but are going to reek for hours of football viewing.

They won’t want to eat smelly foods you likely spent good money on.

Cheese platter

Brent Hofacker/Adobe gourmet fancy charcuterie board

Another food that can be expensive and smell bad, but that’s not the only issue.

Factor in potential food safety issues if you decide to have a unique cheese platter sitting out on a table for hours.

Instead, stick with some cheese dip and a bowl of tortilla chips. You won’t spend much, and your guests will love this classic football party treat.

Casserole

minadezhda/Adobe fish casserole dish on table

Casseroles can be good foods to bring to a potluck, but they may be too heavy to serve for a football party.

It also can be harder to eat while watching the game than finger foods like chips, veggies, or pretzels.

Casseroles are cheap options if you’re trying to serve a hearty meal, but they may fall flat at a Super Bowl party.

Super sub sandwich

DenisMArt/Adobe submarine sandwiches with vegetables

You might think buying a 10-foot-long sub is a great idea for a football party, but think again.

It probably means you have to commit to only one kind of sub that will take a large portion of your table. You also might pay more for the novelty of a huge sub over a smaller party platter.

Instead, buy (or make) some smaller trays of subs that will give your guests a variety of choices while you leave extras in the fridge until you need them to prevent food safety issues.

Cocktails

cabecademarmore/Adobe people toasting with drinks at restaurant

You may want to make a signature Super Bowl cocktail for your party, but it could be a miss with guests.

Cocktails, like wine, may not be the best option for a football fest, and you could end up with cocktails made with expensive liquor that guests don’t want to try.

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Nachos

Nelea Reazanteva/Adobe corn chips nachos

Football fans love nachos, and you should have some on your menu for your Super Bowl party.

But it can be a waste of money to buy a tray of nachos at a grocery store, which may charge extra for cutting up ingredients or assembling the nacho toppings in a pack for you.

Save some money by making nachos at home. Chop tomatoes and lettuce, warm up some queso, and cut jalapenos as toppings. It also allows guests to personalize their nachos.

Snack mix

Kurt Holter/Adobe party mix

Guests will love bowls of snack mix scattered throughout your party space, but pre-made snack mix could make you a Super Bowl loser when it comes to your budget.

Find some easy snack mix recipes, or pick up your favorite snacks and mix them before the party. Your guests won’t know you didn’t buy the more expensive pre-packaged option.

Hors d'oeuvres

Jenifoto/Adobe holiday crostini appetizers

Hors d'oeuvres sound like fancy appetizers because that's what they are. Things like brie bites or crostinis are delicious at a fancy party, but they're not for Super Bowl Sunday.

Don't pull out your fancy recipe books with expensive ingredients for your Super Bowl party, and stick with easy finger foods that fit the football feeling, like chicken wings and chips.

Fruit salad

weyo/Adobe mixed tropical fruit salad

A fruit salad might be a hit in the summer for an outdoor barbecue, or you could serve it at a family brunch for a grandparent’s birthday.

But a fruit salad probably won’t be as popular at an afternoon football party and could get expensive as many fruits aren’t in season in February.

Perishable foods

AIGen/Adobe homemade deviled eggs

Food can spoil, start to smell, and be unsafe to eat if it’s still sitting on your table by the fourth quarter.

Instead, keep some food in the fridge until needed and consider a check-in at halftime to put food away that may need to be refrigerated.

It will mean your guests won’t get sick, and you won’t have to throw out spoiled foods by the time they hand out the Lombardi Trophy.

Bottom line

gpointstudio/Adobe american football players celebrating with confetti

There are plenty of ways to save money for your next Super Bowl party, including buying food people will want to eat instead of wasting it on things that sit around.

Remember to check your wallet for the best rewards credit cards to earn extra points and perks on your purchases for your parties.

It’s also a good idea to make a list of what you need before you go to the store so you don’t overspend on food and supplies if you’re throwing a Super Bowl party on a budget.

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Author Details

Jenny Cohen Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.

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