No-Hassle Tailgate Party Foods

When we think of American football, tailgate foods like grilled meats, pizza, wings, and various dips and appetizers generally come to mind.

Those are tried-and-true tailgate foods, but what’s a party without dessert? Whether you’re hosting a get-together in the comfortable confines of your own home or on the road, every occasion needs something sweet to cap it off. In honor of the 100-year anniversary of professional American football, we’ve provided you with three easy, crowd-pleasing recipes to bring to your next tailgate party.

You’ve likely heard of game day savory cheese dips shaped like footballs or basketballs. We elevated this classic from appetizer to dessert with a sweet cheesecake ball that will tempt your guests to swoop in two — or 10 — times for a dip. Instead of using crackers as a scooping vessel, use crushed up Joy Sugar Cones and Joy Waffle Cones for a distinct crunch.

Next, we took the traditional cupcake we all know and love and updated it with a football spin and baked the cupcakes into Joy Jumbo Cups. As you make these, get your football-enthused youngsters involved to help you top the sugary treats with frosting to mimic football laces.

Finally, transform the warm, comforting combination of apples and cinnamon into a portable, handheld treat with our take on apple crisp enJOY-a-Bowls®. This no-hassle apple crisp takes on new heights with our easy, three-ingredient homemade caramel sauce. Pro tip: Take the kids to an apple orchard to pick fresh apples for your dessert!

Football-Shaped Cheesecake Ball

football-shaped cheesecake ball with crushed Joy Sugar Cones and crushed Joy Waffle Cones to use for dipping -- a perfect no-hassle tailgate party food

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup butter
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 package mini chocolate chips
  • Small handful white chocolate chips
  • 1 box Joy Waffle Cones
  • 1 box Joy Sugar Cones

What To Do:

  1. In a medium-sized bowl, beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until fluffy. Add sugar and beat until combined. Stir in ¾ cup mini chocolate chips.
  2. Place two large pieces of plastic wrap on your counter and transfer the cream cheese mixture onto the plastic wrap. Secure the mixture tightly inside the plastic wrap and form into a ball. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  3. Remove the cheesecake ball from the fridge and place the ball (without the plastic it was wrapped in) onto your serving platter.
  4. Place a fresh piece of plastic wrap over the cheesecake ball and, using your hands, work it into a football shape.
  5. Decorate by covering the cheesecake ball with remaining mini chocolate chips. Create the football laces by adding white chocolate chips (point-side down).
  6. Place Joy Waffle Cones and Joy Sugar Cones in a zip-top bag and crush to create bite-size pieces.
  7. Scatter crushed cones around the football cheesecake ball and enjoy!

Jumbo Football Cupcake Cones

Joy Jumbo Cups with chocolate cake baked inside and brown footballs and white laces piped onto the top -- a perfect no-hassle tailgate party food

What You’ll Need

  • Chocolate cake mix – typically requires water, three eggs, and ½ cup of cooking oil
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 ⅓ cups powdered sugar
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ⅓ cup whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 16 Joy Jumbo Cups

What To Do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Prepare the cake mix according to the directions on the box. Once the cake mix is ready, fill the cake cones ⅔ full of cake mix. To bake, place the filled cake cones in a muffin or cupcake tin and gently put in the oven. Bake the cones filled with cake mix in the oven for 18-20 minutes. Remove the cones from the oven and allow to cool.
  2. While the cake-filled cones bake, start on the buttercream frosting. Use the paddle attachment of your stand mixer (if you don’t have a stand mixer, you can easily use an electric hand mixer or even a whisk) to cream the butter on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the powdered sugar, salt, and vanilla extract and beat on high until the frosting is creamy, fluffy, and holds its peaks, about 2 minutes.
  3. Remove ¼ of the frosting and place in a separate bowl. You’ll use the white frosting later for the “laces” on the footballs.
  4. For the chocolate frosting, turn the stand mixer (an electric hand mixer or whisk will also do the trick) to low speed. Add the cocoa powder and slowly drizzle in the milk. Mix until combined, scraping down the sides as needed.
  5. Once the cake cones have cooled, place the chocolate frosting in a pastry bag along with a star tip, or gallon-sized zip-top bag with one corner cut out and star tip inserted inside. If you don’t have a piping tip, your piping will be less detailed but it will work just fine without one. Using a zig-zag motion, pipe the frosting onto the cupcake cones.
  6. Place the white frosting in a separate pastry bag or gallon-sized zip-top bag (again, with the corner cut out). Use the bag to pipe the football “laces,” starting with one long horizontal line and proceeding with four or five small vertical lines.

Apple Crisp enJOY-a-Bowls®

apple crisp scooped into enJOY-a-Bowls® and topped with whipped cream, with a stack of enJOY-a-Bowls®, red apples, and apple crisp baking pan nearby -- a perfect no-hassle tailgate party food

What You’ll Need:

Apple Crisp:

  • 6 apples of your choice (we like Honeycrisp and Pink Lady), peeled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 ¾ teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
  • 1 ½ teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • ¾ cup old fashioned oats
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup cold unsalted butter, diced into small cubes
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 box enJOY-a-Bowls®
  • Whipped cream, optional

Caramel Sauce:

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ½ cup heavy cream

What To Do:

Caramel Sauce:

  1. Combine brown sugar and heavy cream into a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar begins to melt.
  2. Add the butter. Once the butter completely melts, bring mixture to a rolling boil.
  3. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook until the sauce thickens, about 8 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

Apple Crisp Waffle Bowls

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease an 8×8 baking dish with butter or non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, combine apples, granulated sugar, ¾ teaspoon cinnamon, and lemon juice. The lemon juice is important, as it prevents the apples from turning brown.
  3. Mix brown sugar, oats, flour, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and diced cold butter in a separate bowl. Use a fork to mix until it forms a pebble-like mixture.
  4. Transfer the apples to the baking dish and spread the brown sugar mixture evenly on top. Bake until the topping is golden brown and bubbly, about 40-50 minutes. Allow 5-10 minutes to cool slightly.
  5. Fill each enJOY-a-Bowl with a scoop of apple crisp. Drizzle with caramel sauce and top with whipped cream if you like (If you go this route, we like using canned whipped cream). Enjoy immediately after assembling to ensure a crisp enJOY-a-Bowl.

Need more ideas for your next party or gathering? Check out some of our favorite recipes below:

Stay connected with us through our e-newsletter and share your favorite Joy Cone creations with us on Facebook and Instagram at @JoyConeCo and you could be featured on our social media pages!

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