The Shop

19 Hosting Essentials for the Big Game

From aluminum baking sheets to small-batch hot sauce, our Shop has everything you need to host on game day.

January 20, 2023
Photo by James Ransom

Heads up: Food52 earns a commission on qualifying purchases of the products we link to.

Let's face it: Whether you're a football fan or just at the party to hang around the snack table, game days can almost be like mini holidays. People crowd into one room, every nearby surface is overflowing with hors d'oeuvres or drinks placed on mismatched coasters and napkins, and you're quickly reminded of just how much seating you have in your home. The differentiating factor between a non-sports-related holiday and a game day is the sound of your go-to playlist is replaced by the sound of cheers (or groans, depending on who's winning) filling the rooms as the teams play.

With the biggest game on the football calendar quickly approaching, the game-day parties and tailgates from earlier in the season feel like a necessary warmup. Hosts across the country are preparing to roll out their favorite appetizers and desserts, set up their at-home bar, and rearrange their living rooms to get the space just right to watch the teams play for the coveted championship title. If you're hosting this year's Big Game, we've got you covered with 19 essentials from our Shop.

For the kitchen

Photo by Ty Mecham

1. Natural Aluminum Baking Sheets, $24+

Whether you’re lining the trays with pigs in a blanket, flatbreads, or cookies for the dessert table, this baking sheet set is versatile enough to meet all of your game day needs.

Photo by Rocky Luten

2. A Reclaimed Wood Rolling Pin, $56+

The dough isn’t going to roll itself. Instead of using a nearby wine bottle (I’ve been guilty of this) and hoping for precision, opt for this gently tapered rolling pin made from sustainably sourced wood.

Photo by Ty Mecham

3.A Silicone Nonstick Baking Mat, $26.25+

If you’re looking for an alternative to parchment paper, swap in these silicone nonstick baking mats. Able to withstand up to 3,000 uses, they’re an easy (and more environmentally friendly) solution that’ll help you avoid ripping off sheets for every tray that goes into the oven.

Photo by Rocky Luten

4. Nested Mixing Bowls $75+

Keep counter clutter to a minimum by prepping with these nested mixing bowls. Perfect for mixing together cake batter or the breading for these KFC Chicken Wings, they’re a kitchen staple. Want a set that’s really special? The Rosti Nordic Green hue is exclusive to our Shop.

Photo by Ty Mecham

5. A Stackable Cooling Rack, $34

This nonstick rack is fridge-and-freezer-friendly, making it a lifesaver on a game day. Rely on them for their intended use (cooling off your favorite fresh-from-the-oven bites) or let it double as a serving dish and take advantage of its space-saving design on the snack table.

Photo by Ty Mecham

6.A Le Creuset Baking Dish, $125

Versatile pieces like this are ideal for any party’s cook. Safe for oven, broiler, freezer, microwave, and dishwasher use (not to mention, with a lid that doubles as a serving plate), this nonstick dish is a dream come true for almost any menu item.

For the table

Photo by Ty Mecham

7. A Recycled Chip & Dip Bowl, $30

You’ll want a place to put your favorite chips and dips (maybe a spinach artichoke dip with feta or a spicy and smokey vegan chorizo) and this three-bowl dish ticks every box.

Photo by Rocky Luten

8. Sustainabily Sourced Serving Boards, $74+

If you’re looking for a way to serve charcuterie, deviled eggs, or other hors d'oeuvres, try these French oak serving boards. Made from wood taken only from mature oak trees, they even come stamped with its vintage, specifying the wood’s origin and year of manufacture, so you know exactly where it came from.

Photo by Ty Mecham

9. An Italian Butter Spreader, $65

Any charcuterie board needs silverware to help spread your favorite cheeses, jams, and mustards. These butter knives from the Italian tableware brand Mepra are just the spreaders you’ll want to rely on.

Photo by Ty Mecham

10. A set of silicone trivets, $40

Don’t worry about leaving scuffs or burn marks on your table thanks to this set of heat-resistant silicone trivets. Now you can drop dishes down with ease.

Photo by James Ransom

11. A gold-dipped pinch bowl, $62+

These gold-dipped ceramic pinch bowls are perfect for smaller snacks (think: nuts and olives) or garnishes you only want a pinch of (maybe salt, diced chives, or bits of bacon).

Photo by MJ Kroeger

12. A small-batch hot sauce set, $20

If your game day menu includes chicken wings, you'll want these vinegar-based hot sauces on your table. Thanks to the datil peppers used to make them, Zab's sauces are known for their sweet and slow-burning twist and will give anything you dash them on just enough heat.

Photo by Rocky Luten

13. An organic mustard trio, $22

You won't want to be without mustard and this California-made sampler trio will hit the mark for anyone looking to add some classic, sweet and hot, or jalapeño mustard to their pigs in a blanket, deviled eggs, sliders, or charcuterie-board picks.

For the bar

Photo by James Ransom

14. Buckets to keep the bottles cold

Keep these French Champagne buckets on hand to help out anyone who's looking to drink a chilled or sparkling wine as they cheer on their team.

Photo by Bobbi Lin

15. A tray you can't go without, $48+

Running out of ice is often a worry bouncing around in any host's head. Stock up on a few of these trays as a backup for when the ice bags your guests bring eventually become empty. The tray's flexible silicone makes popping the frozen cubes out quickly easy and the lid helps the sink-to-freezer journey happen without spills—you can thank us later.

Photo by Rocky Luten

16. A four-piece cocktail set, $120

There might not be a designated bartender at your Big Game party, but that doesn't mean people should stray from making themselves cocktails. This full bar set—including a Boston shaker, two-ounce jigger, Hawthorne strainer, and a muddler—will give your guests everything they need to make their drink of choice.

Photo by Rocky Luten

17. A simple glassware set, $32+

If you're wanting to avoid relying on plastic or paper cups, stock up on these durable (but still lightweight) tumbler glasses. Choose a la carte from four different sizes or buy as a complete six-piece set and your glassware cabinet will be set.

Photo by Rocky Luten

18. Glasses perfect for any pint, $64

Are you planning to have a keg or serve a variety of beers on game day? This 12-piece set of pint glasses will hit the mark, whether you're drinking a Belgian ale, stout, or IPA.

Photo by Rocky Luten

19. A non-alcoholic alternative, $39+

Make sure there's something for everyone by providing non-alcoholic options for any guest who's not drinking (or maybe extending their Damp January). Choose from "Livener" (a fresh and fiery combo with watermelon, guava, and ginger), "Social" (an herbal, full-body blend starring lion’s mane mushroom, yerba mate, and damiana), or "Nightcap" (a slow sipper with flavors like lemon balm and mellow aromatics like vanilla and hazelnut). Can't decide? You can buy the complete three-piece set.

Are you tuning in for the Big Game? Let us know in the comments below!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

Julia is a Senior Editor here at Food52 and a freelance writer. She has written for Grub Street, Eater, PUNCH, Edible Brooklyn, and more. She is based in Brooklyn, NY.