Board Games and snacking go hand in hand, at least around our table, but choosing snacks to feed your group can be a little challenging and here’s why. While having fun playing your favorite (and most likely pricey) board game, the last thing you want is greasy fingers making a mess on the precious game pieces. You want to take care of your game so it can continue providing fun for years and generations to come.
In our experiences, the quickest (and most overlooked) way to ruin a perfectly good board games are messy snacks. Over our many years of hosting game nights, we have come to learn the BEST and the WORST snacks to serve at game night.
Below is our tried and true list of 22 of the Best Game Night Snacks as well as strategies for a clean board gaming experience!
1. Hard Pretzels
The ultimate fan favorite, pre packaged, dump and enjoy snack. You can choose from a variety of styles, shapes and even flavors.
2. Chips & Dips
I know what you’re thinking: “Aren’t chips greasy and dips messy??” You’re right! They can be, but they don’t have to be and let’s face it, who doesn’t love a good chip and dip while playing. Certain brands of chips are less oily and greasy than others. If you have trouble finding the “cleaner” options, you can always keep napkins nearby.
Another way to minimize snack mess when it comes to serving chips is by using “snack bags” or individual portion bowls of chips for your guests. This avoids the dreaded leaning across the board to reach a snack and risking crumbs falling on the play area. When it comes to dips, we like to give each guest their own dip bowl. This snack could definitely be considered a messy one, but with the right strategy it can be done with a clean game board for all!
3. Tortilla Chips & Salsa
Like chips and dips, serve your tortilla chips in individual bowls for each of your players and napkins nearby. We also recommend the “bite sized” tortilla shape when possible. Those can fit in your mouth without have to break or bite the chip (which usually results in crumbs)
When it comes to salsa, the possibilities are endless! Traditional red tomato salsa never disappoints, but feel free to change things up with a salsa verde or even guacamole! Both salsa and guac are served cold so as an added bonus there’s no preparation necessary.
4. Veggie Chips
Remember us mentioning less greasy chips earlier? These are one of them but commonly overlooked. Veggie chips are made to be healthier without sacrificing taste. The ones around here come in chip or stick form, both of which are snackable and less messy on your fingers.
5. Dry or Pre-Popped Popcorn
Popcorn is another fan favorite. Bagged popcorn is preferable for game night because it doesn’t have the messy butter that freshly popped popcorn contains. When choosing a flavor, we recommend skipping the cheesy variety as these tend to make for sticky fingers.
Caramel corn is another option when the weather is cooler but we would skip during the summer when the caramel is at risk of melting and sticking. If you pop your own, just go easy on the butter!
6. Fresh Fruit
Fruit for us is an all around great option. It’s fresh, it’s sweet and it’s also hydrating! Perfect for summer but great all year round. Berries and Grapes are the most “snackable” of fruits, but most fruits can be cut into wedges or made into a mixed salad.
One of our favorite snacks is Fresh Strawberries & 2 Ingredient Fruit Dip. The sweet dip is so addicting and works well with any fruit, but strawberries are our favorite. You can even cut fruits like watermelon, honeydew and pineapple in sticks for easy and fun dipping!
7. Vegetables & Dip
Fresh vegetables are a healthier snack option for game night. Baby carrots, bell pepper slices, cherry tomatoes and cucumber spears are all great finger food options. Serve on a platter alone or in individual bowls or cups with store bought or homemade ranch dip on the side for extra flavor! If creamy ranch isn’t your jam, Hummus is another dipping option that comes in a variety of flavors.
8. Meat, Cheese & Crackers
Thin sliced pepperoni, a piece of sharp cheddar all on top of a crispy cracker, what sounds better than that? There are so many options when it comes to meat and cheese on a cracker. It’s a versatile and delicious finger food that doesn’t make a mess. You can assemble your meat and cheese pairings on a platter or lay them out in a more elegant charcuterie display to please the crowd.
This snack is easy to gear towards your groups likings, but if you need ideas here are our favorite combos:
- Pre-sliced Pepperoni, Sharp Cheddar Cheese and Ritz Crackers
- Thin Sliced Salami, Soft Brie, Club Crackers
- Garlic and Herb Cheese Spread, Pita Chip Crackers
- Common Sliced Cheese Varieties include: Mild Cheddar, Sharp Cheddar, Monterey Jack, and Swiss Cheese
9. Olives, Pickles and Pickled Vegetables
This might sound like an odd snack, but it’s one we enjoy. Place your favorite olives and pickles in their own individual bowls with toothpicks on the side for serving. Using toothpicks means hands stay clean! Our favorite olives and pickles for snacking include:
- Stuffed Green Olives
- Black Olives
- Bread and Butter Slices
- Baby Sweet Gerkins
- Mini Dill Pickles
- Assorted Pickled Vegetables (includes carrots, cauliflower and peppers)
10. Dried Fruit & Meats
Jerky and Dried Fruit can be a little more expensive but it’s mess free, fills you up and is usually a good option for people with food sensitivities. Dried Mango and Beef Jerky are favorites amongst our group.
11. Roasted Nuts & Seeds
When we get together with our family for an afternoon out on the deck, you can usually find us snacking on some roasted peanuts while playing Mexican Train Dominoes. Our family definitely eats the messy kind that you have to crack from the shell. We minimize the mess by having a separate bowl for the empty shells and napkins nearby.
For a more clean version, we suggest grabbing some already shelled and roasted varieties. They come in many varieties of flavors and combos and make for a great grab and go snack when playing board games.
12. Trail or Party Mix
Trail and Party mix is a great way to mix up a bunch of your favorite snacks into one fun assortment. You can use our Full of Flavor Trail Mix Recipe as a guide, or if you don’t feel like mixing your own, you can grab some premade options in the snack aisle of the grocery store.
13. Energy / Granola Bites
Energy and Granola Bites are usually synonymous snack or breakfast options that are easy to make and good for you. We like to serve them when we know we are in for a long night of board gaming. The oats used in these types of snacks are perfect for filling you up while also providing a little dose of energy. Make your own or grab some pre-made bars like these for your next gaming marathon.
14. Packaged Cookies
There’s nothing like a home baked cookie to munch on, but when thinking of mess free cookies, prepackaged crunchy varieties are the way to go. Oreos, Chips Ahoy and Nilla Wafers are amongst the most common. It is also easy to find cookies that meet dietary restrictions when accommodating someone with a gluten or dairy allergy.
Chocolate bars, Chocolate coated candies, Chocolate Kisses, Chocolate covered nuts, Chocolate Dipped Pretzels, it’s all great for game night snacking without the mess.
16. Gummy Snacks
Gummy Snacks like gushers, fruit by the foot and fruit snacks are all mess free and individually packaged for gamers to grab and enjoy. Other Gummy snacks like licorice, twizzlers, gummy bears and sour watermelons are delicious choices while also being allergy friendly.
17. Lollipops & Assorted Hard Candy
Lollipops and hard candies frequent our board game table. They’re mostly hands free, come in a huge variety of flavors and are the perfect sized treat to snack one while playing. They also come individually wrapped for the most part making them a good option to keep on hand that won’t expire or go bad quickly! Our favorites are jolly ranchers, dum dum and tootsie pops, werthers caramel candies and life savers.
18. Individually Wrapped Sweets
Another great option to have stocked for game nights are wrapped sweets such as assorted mini chocolate bars, starbursts, laffy taffy, sweet tarts, skittles and M&M’s. Bonus points and money saved if you can grab a HUGE bag of assorted candies at Costco, online at amazon or your local grocery store! (Hello day after Halloween candy deals) The messiest part about wrapped candies are the wrappers themselves, and they’re a cinch to clean up!
19. Mini Skewers
We like to call these Finger Foods Made Easy and the possibilities are endless! Feeling fancy? Take some mini mozzarella balls, halved cherry tomatoes and fresh basil, put them on a toothpick and drizzle with some balsamic glaze. Feeding a hungrier crowd? Try our Burger n Fries Skewers or Italian Tortellini Skewers! There are so many options for both hot and cold skewers. For more ideas check out our board on pinterest!
20. Pasta Salad
I have a confession to make, I’m obsessed with pasta salad. I don’t know what it is, but pasta salad just always hits the spot. The reason it’s great for game night is that in order to eat it, you need to use a fork which means no messy hands! In the summer you can serve a delicious cold pasta salad like this easy BLT, Italian or Cheddar Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad. In the winter when it’s colder try our Tex Mex Taco, BBQ Chicken or Italian Pesto Pasta Salad.
21. Wraps & Roll Ups
This section is my favorite and the recipes I use the most when I plan on “cooking” for game night. I use parentheses because these recipes are super simple but very delicious! My Pepperoni Pizza Roll Ups are always a crowd favorite along with my BBQ Pulled Pork Biscuit Cups, which can also be made as rolls and using shredded chicken! The concept for making these hot “Roll Ups” is very easy and versatile. Just take packaged croissant or biscuit dough, stuff or roll them with your favorite food items and bake following the package instructions!
For a make ahead cold option, you can make these spinach wrap roll ups, Turkey Club Roll Ups, or Italian wrap roll ups. Again you can modify and change these up with whatever flavors and ingredients you like! I once used our Taco Dip Recipe but instead of making a dip, I spread everything onto a tortilla, rolled them up and cut them into the pinwheels for serving!
22. Finger Sandwiches
Bite sized or mini versions of popular sandwiches are a great option for game night because they are filling, already assembled and dont take much time to eat. That means your guests can chow down on some sandwiches and then get right to game play! We found the best way to make finger sandwiches is either using regular sandwich bread that you cut into 4 or using these kings hawaiian rolls which are already tiny!
Classic options like ham n cheese and turkey, lettuce, tomato are always great options, but you can also get creative when it comes to finger sandwiches. Try making roast beef melts or bbq chicken sandwiches for a hot snack.
Best Game Night Snacks and Food
That’s a wrap! We hope you found some helpful tips and delicious snack ideas for your next game night. We would like to note that although we separated our snack ideas into 22 separate sections, we usually serve a number of options at game night. We like to have a variety of options for not only our guests, but ourselves as well! You can also see from our list that we don’t completely omit a snack option just because it could tend to be a little messier. We find that as long as you remember to keep napkins handy and plan accordingly, some messy foods are just as welcome at our gaming table as neat ones!
As always here at Game Night Gods, we love to hear from our readers! If you have any questions or suggestions please feel free to reach out using the contact page on our website or commenting on our social media! Eat well and Happy Gaming friends!