Game Day Appetizer or Healthy Weeknight Dinner for Parties (2023)

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Flamin Hot Cheetos Chicken is such a fun appetizer for game day! Every time I make this recipe it’s the talk of the party! So crispy, full of flavor and people licking their fingers to get every last delicious bite of the Cheetos dust! It can be our secret we made it in the air fryer so its a healthier option!

Game Day Appetizer or Healthy Weeknight Dinner for Parties (1)

With the Superbowl coming up I’ve been working on healthy air fryer recipes that are both filling and taste great. This Cheetos chicken recipe delivers in all the good ways… full of flavor, juicy chicken with a crispy outside and a great conversation piece!

This air fryer chicken is perfect for entertaining for parties because you can make them fresh as your guests want more of them. You can even make them ahead of time and just warm them up as you need them!

My favorite 10-year-old was schooling me on how great Flaming Hot Cheetos were and how everyone always knew she had been eating them with the bright red fingers leftover from the Cheetos dust.

(Video) 8 Impressive & Easy Appetizer Recipes For Your Next Party! Game Day Appetizers Quick & Healthy!

I was also told KFC had a Cheetos chicken sandwich that she had always wanted to try. It sent me on a mission to make a Cheeto coated chicken in the air fryer because well, how delicious does that sound? A crunchy chicken tender, nugget or even chicken wings slathered in a crunchy bright red coating made of flaming hot Cheetos!

And to have it be a little healthier — that’s a win in my book~~

Game Day Appetizer or Healthy Weeknight Dinner for Parties (2)

Cheetos dust has a name!

By the way, Cheetos has recently given a real name to the Cheetos dust and they have called it Cheetle. The rumors are they are going to start selling it, although it’s super easy to ground up in this recipe to make your own!

The Trick to Successful Cheeto Coating

The trick to getting super crunchy coating with the flaming hot Cheetos is to not over grind it. Through dozens of times making this the less it was ground up the better.

Over-processing gives a dust that although it tastes great, it doesn’t get very crispy.

While the spicy hot flavor is still delicious no matter how fine the powder is to get it super crunchy you want to leave some bigger pieces in the cheetle.

Since the goal is to have a fried like crunch I tried doing less and less processing until getting just the right crunch after baking.

Using a food processor worked the easiest but you must pulse it. To pulse it you will turn it on for 1-2 seconds then turn it off. Then repeat until you have some dust and some still bigger crunchier pieces.

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How to Make Cheetos Chicken

  • I like using a skinless chicken breast, or chicken tenders. The best way to get even cooking is to have the chicken cut to the same thickness and similar size.
  • Making a lemon, olive oil and herb mixture to put on the chicken before the Cheetos makes it so the crumbs stick better. (No one wants just plain chicken with all the crispy coating lying next to the chicken.
  • Creating a dipping station in the order you are coating them with the air fryer basket at the end makes for easy assembly. Chicken, liquid mixture, crumb coating then into the basket.
  • The crumb also helps keep the chicken moist during cooking!
  • Pulse the Cheetos so they are mealy, see the photo above.
  • I like to spray the basket so the hot Cheeto powder doesn’t stick when the chicken is ready to be taken out.
  • There is no need to flip the chicken if you are cooking on the grate or basket— but if you are cooking on the bottom of the air fryer and the grate you might need to flip them so both sides are nice and crispy.
  • In the recipe card below I share how long to cook them as a suggestion but ultimately you want to use a thermometer to test the doneness.
  • Chicken is safe to eat at 165°
Game Day Appetizer or Healthy Weeknight Dinner for Parties (9)

Common Questions Asked about Hot Cheetos Chicken

  • We prefer regular Cheetos can I use them in place of the flaming hot Cheetos? Yes! Use regular Cheetos as a one for one swap with no issues whatsoever. This is a great option for people who don’t like spicy foods!
  • Can I use cheese puffs to coat air fried chicken? Cheese puffs turn to complete dust even when pulsing so while you can use them for the flavor, they will not be very crunchy and I don’t recommend them as a substitute.
  • Can I make this recipe with chicken wings? This coating will work great on chicken wings. Dip the wings in the wet mixture, then dip into Cheeto dust and cook in the air fryer. The cooking time will be longer so you will want to brine the chicken for about a half an hour before dipping the wings. Cook for about 15-18 minutes at 390°
  • What can I serve these spicy hot wings with? I like a nice cool dressing like homemade ranch or blue cheese dressing to help tame the heat a little bit!
  • Can I reheat these chicken tenders? You can reheat them easily. Preheat the air fryer to 370° for 5 minutes then reheat them for about 5 minutes to warm throughout.
  • I don’t have an air fryer — what are the baking instructions? Follow the recipe up until cooking. Preheat the oven to 475° and place the coated chicken on a cookie sheet that has been presprayed with oil. Cook for 15 minutes until done.

Looking for more Easy Air Fryer Recipes?

  • Air Fryer Lamb Chops Our Most Popular Air Fryer Recipe– so so easy!
  • Extra Crispy Fried Chicken Wings Recipe
  • Air Fryer Schnitzel
  • Air Fryer Bone in Pork Chops (no bread)
  • Air Fryer Pretzel Bites Perfect Game Day Appetizer!
  • Air Fryer Chicken Parm

Other Recipes you might enjoy for Game Day Entertaining!

  • Beef Back Ribs (complete set it and forget it for easy entertaining!)
  • French Onion Chicken Baked Chicken
  • Asian Meatball Recipe
  • Hot Crab Dip with Cream Cheese
  • Fried Chicken without Buttermilk
  • Grilled Lamb Chops

Hashtag any recipes you make from West Via Midwest #westviamidwestrecipes or tag me @michele_westviamidwest on Instagram to be featured on our stories!

(Video) 15 Game Day Snacks and Appetizers | Football Party Ideas Recipe Compilation | Well Done

Game Day Appetizer or Healthy Weeknight Dinner for Parties (10)

Simple, flavorful cheetos chicken made with flaming hot cheetos for easy appetizers for entertaining. The cheeto dust makes for the best chicken, made in the air fryer (or baked) for a healther option!

Prep Time15 minutes

Cook Time10 minutes

(Video) Easy Game Day Appetizers | SAM THE COOKING GUY 4K

Total Time25 minutes


  • 4 ounces Cheetos
  • 1 pound Skinless, boneless Chicken Breast
  • 1 tablespoon Olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice or
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano (optional)


  1. Cut the chicken breasts into strips making sure they are similar in thickness and size for even cooking (see note 1)
  2. Into a food processor add 1/2 the bag of the flaming hot Cheetos. Close lid and pulse in 2-second increments until mealy. There will be some dust and some larger pieces. (see note 2)
  3. Mix olive oil, lemon juice and oregano and blend well.
  4. Dip chicken in olive oil mixture then coat all sides of chicken with Cheetos coating.
  5. Place on a basket from an air fryer that has been sprayed with oil to prevent sticking.
  6. Once the basket is full, place other tenders on a plate for a second round of cooking.
  7. Preheat Air Fryer to 390°-- for 5 minutes.
  8. Cook for 6-8 minutes until chicken is 165° or when you cut into one the chicken is solid white and no pink remains
  9. Cook in batches until all chicken is cooked.
  10. See notes for baking instructions.
  11. Serve with dipping sauce immediately.


1. You can save time by using chicken tenders if you wish. They are usually thinner so will cook a little faster. Begin checking them at 5 minutes to see if they are done.

2. Do not let the food processor run for longer than 2-3 seconds at a time or the Cheetos will turn to dust. The chicken with taste great, but it won't be as crispy.

3. If you wish to bake them in the oven instead you will preheat the oven to 475° and spray a cookie sheet pan with olive oil lightly. Place the coated chicken pieces on the cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes until 165° or the meat is solid white with no pink when you cut into it.

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Nutrition Information:


6 appetizer servings

Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving:Calories: 251Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 66mgSodium: 235mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 25g

This recipe was calculated using the exact brands and measurements I used to make this recipe. If you are following a strict diet please note changing anything will cause the nutritional info to change. Please calculate your own nutritional information if you want it exact to what you make and use my calculations as a guide only.

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What do you serve at an appetizer party? ›

Planning Your Appetizer Party Menu

Bruschetta, breadsticks, crackers, and rolls are also mainstays. Protein: Serve meat or fish dishes, such as meatballs, chicken wings, or sushi, to give your guests protein. You could also make an egg, cheese, or tofu appetizer.

How many appetizers do I need for a party of 50? ›

If you're hosing 25 -35 guests, plan 3-4 bites per person if a full dinner is to be served afterwards, or 5-7 bites per person if a lighter meal will be served. If you're hosting a party of 50, then you can offer 6 to 9 different items.

How do you calculate appetizers for a party? ›

A good rule of thumb for a dinner party, allow for 6 appetizers per person. For a cocktail party consider making 12 appetizers per person.

How many appetizers do I need for a party of 100? ›

If you're offering catered appetizers, plan for about six portions per guest. For a party of 100 guests, this adds up to roughly 600 appetizer portions. You can also offer light snacks like nuts, fruits and pretzels to give guests something to munch on when they first arrive — stock up on these items in bulk.

How many appetizers do I need for a dinner party? ›

3-4 pieces per person, 30-45 minutes before dinner, cocktail hour. 6-10 pieces per person, 1.5-2 hour event, preceding dinner time. 10-12 pieces per person, 2-4 hours event, heavy hors d'oeuvres. 12-15 pieces per person 4+ hour event, dinner replacement.

How many appetizers do I need for 40 guests? ›

For larger parties, serve 8 appetizers per person. With more people there, you want to have a larger buffet of food to choose from, so a larger variety of 6-8 different appetizers is a good plan. The higher the number, the bigger the array of choices you need. For a party of 40, make at least 320 appetizers.

How much food do you need for 20 guests? ›

The easiest rule is the “One Pound Rule.” Provide one pound of food for each adult guest (not including drinks or dessert).

What are the 5 guidelines in the selection of appetizers? ›

As you sort through appetizer recipes to potentially add to your easy starters menu, consider these six factors for the best blend.
  • Keep it simple. ...
  • Balance the choices. ...
  • Contrast colors and shapes. ...
  • Consider temperature and texture. ...
  • Plan make-ahead selections. ...
  • Avoid repeating flavors.
1 Aug 2022

How many appetizers do I need for a party of 8? ›

The rule of thumb for smaller gatherings is that 3 types of appetizers are suitable for 8 to 10 guests; 4 or 5 types of appetizers for 14 to 16 people.

What snacks to eat between games? ›

9 Easy and Portable Pre-Game Snacks for Athletes
  • Peanut Butter and Honey Sandwiches. It's a simple twist on a modern favorite that will stay fresh in your bag all day long. ...
  • Homemade Trail Mix. ...
  • Sports Nutrition Bar. ...
  • Piece of Fruit with Beef Jerky. ...
  • Coconut Water and Protein Powder. ...
  • Sports Drinks. ...
  • Pretzels. ...
  • Energy Chews.
18 Aug 2014

What are good foods to eat after a game? ›

After the game, athletes should eat a high-protein meal that contains poultry, meats, fish or legumes. “When you compete, you break down muscle. The protein helps repair it,” Sentongo said.

What food is good for a football party? ›

15 Great Ideas for Football Party Food to Make Game Day the Best...
  • PHILADELPHIA Buffalo Chicken Dip. ...
  • Easy Game-Day Meatballs. ...
  • Slow-Cooker Chili. ...
  • Game-Day Football Cake. ...
  • Football Bread Bowl Queso Dip. ...
  • Slow-Cooker Party Wings. ...
  • Crispy Football-Shaped Treats. ...
  • JELL-O® Sports Team JIGGLERS®

What are the simplest appetizer? ›

Easy Appetizers People Love!
  • Buffalo Tater Tot Bites || Family Fresh Meals. ...
  • Pizza Sliders || Family Fresh Meals. ...
  • Crockpot Pizza Dip || Family Fresh Meals. ...
  • Bacon Double Cheese Dip || Recipes That Crock. ...
  • Spinach Artichoke Dip || Family Fresh Meals. ...
  • Italian Stuffed Mushrooms || Betty Crocker.

What do you call the simplest appetizer? ›

7. Fresh Fruits and Vegetables – are the simplest appetizer. Fruits are good appetizers because they give an attractive appearance, fragrance, appealing taste and delicious flavor.

What appetizers are commonly served? ›

  • Bruschetta. Grilled country bread with Roma tomatoes, olive oil, garlic and basil. ...
  • Artichoke and Spinach Dip. Tuscan bread served with a delicious blend of spinach, artichoke, and cream. ...
  • Stuffed Mushrooms. ...
  • Fried Calamari. ...
  • Four Cheese Garlic Bread. ...
  • Shrimp Scampi. ...
  • French Fries.

How do you make appetizers attractively? ›

Place each appetizer on its own small plate for an elegant look. Arrange all of the little dishes on a large serving platter in a circular pattern or a uniform pattern in which all of the plates are spaced the same amount of distance from each other.

How can I make attractive appetizers? ›

Create appealing displays.
  1. Use toothpicks and small plastic skewers to hold small complementary pieces of food together. ...
  2. For appetizers that need to be contained inside small dishes, like pasta salads and fruit salads, choose a non-conventional dish to serve them in. ...
  3. Remember to decorate the platters, as well.

What is finger food appetizer? ›

Finger foods are small, individual portions of food that are eaten out of hand. They are often served at social events. The ideal finger food usually does not create any mess (i.e. no crumbs, drips, or any kind of mess), but this criterion is often overlooked in order to include foods like tacos.

How many appetizers do I need for a party of 30? ›

A general rule here is about 3 different appetizer recipes for 10 people, 5 different appetizer recipes for 30 people and 7 different appetizer recipes for 50 people. Keep on adding 2 more unique recipes for each additional 20 people that will be attending the party.

How many appetizers do I need for 90 guests? ›

Leslie Levin Nilsson, creative director of catering company Bartleby & Sage, says, "We suggest six passed hors d'oeuvres for a wedding of 50-100 guests, seven to eight passed hors d'oeuvres for a wedding of 100-150 guests, and up to ten for very large weddings."

What are considered heavy appetizers? ›

They are full of protein or have a protein component. This could be something like shrimp cocktail, chicken wings, or smoked salmon canapés. The appetizers have some substance or bulk to them. Think of appetizers like mini sliders or puff pastry bites.

What are the 4 parts of an appetizers? ›

Canapés traditionally consist of four main parts:
  • A base of a small piece of bread, pastry or crackers. ...
  • A flavorful spread such as butter, flavored cream cheese or mayonnaise. ...
  • A topping of meat, seafood, vegetable, fruit or whatever. ...
  • A garnish, usually something small, like tiny minced onions, herbs or caviar.
12 Sept 2022

What is the value of appetizers in the meal? ›

An appetizer is meant to stimulate your appetite, making you extra hungry for your meal. This is where the word comes from, literally meaning "something to whet the appetite" or "something to appetize."

How big should an appetizer be? ›

Portion Size: One of the most important distinctions between appetizers and hors d'oeuvres is the portion size. The former tends to be 3-4 bites while the latter are usually 1-2 bites.

What is the cheapest food to serve at a party? ›

Here are some simple party food ideas on a budget:
  • Soup.
  • Loose meat sandwiches.
  • Baked potatoes.
  • Pasta.
  • Tacos.
  • Make-your-own-pizzas.
  • Cheese and crackers.
  • Vegetables and dip.
6 Aug 2019

How can I feed a crowd cheaply? ›

Feed a Large Group for Cheap
  1. Go vegetarian. Not only is it usually cheaper to skip the meat, but you also can make just one meal that will include vegetarians and meat-eaters alike, which makes your life easier.
  2. Grains are your friend. ...
  3. Legumes for the win. ...
  4. Don't make meat the main event. ...
  5. Use cheaper cuts.
13 Oct 2022

What should I serve before a dinner party? ›

Appetizers - A Tease Before Dinner
  • Beet Butter Recipe on Food52. ...
  • Little Smokies Wrapped in Bacon with Brown Sugar - Kitchen Gidget. ...
  • Prosciutto Asparagus Puff Pastry Bundles (appetizer) - Fox and Briar. ...
  • How to Make an Epic Holiday Cheese Board in 10 minutes. ...
  • Feta Spinach Stuffed French Bread. ...
  • Pepperoni Basil Tomato Puffs.

How do you keep appetizers warm at a party? ›

You can set out food in covered dishes (or covered with tin foil), on warming trays or in chafing dishes which will all keep things warm until serving. If you're using disposable or other chafing dishes, be sure to put your food in piping hot. Chafing dishes maintain temperature. They don't heat up food.

How do you serve a starter? ›

Nowadays, the starter is often the first course of a meal, served directly before the main course. Starters come in a wide variety and may be served hot (vol-au-vents, soufflés) or cold (cold cuts, pâtés). However, as part of a formal dinner, they may be served after the soup or the hors d'oeuvres.

What should I bring to a game night party? ›

Top 6 Game Night Snacks
  • Chips and Dip. This classic is perfect for game nights; it's simple, it's convenient, and there's something for everyone. ...
  • A Charcuterie Board. ...
  • Fruit. ...
  • Grilled Cheese. ...
  • Candy! ...
  • Jalapeño Poppers or Other Baked Bite-Sized Snacks. ...
  • Digestif. ...
  • Bonus: Kathleen's Famous Salsa.
10 Sept 2018

What is the best pre-game snack? ›

7 Healthy Pre-Game Snacks
  1. Peanut Butter Sandwich. ...
  2. Fruit and Beef Jerky. ...
  3. Coconut Water and Protein Powder. ...
  4. Yogurt drink, Turkey and Cheese Cubes. ...
  5. Low-fat string Cheese and Pretzels. ...
  6. Fruit Salad and Graham Crackers. ...
  7. Cottage Cheese and a Granola Bar.
14 Jun 2019

What should I eat before an evening game? ›

Aim for 1-3 g of carbohydrate per kilo of body mass with each meal. Carbohydrate based snacks between meals will also top up energy stores. For many amateur footballers, the pre-match meal can be difficult to have on a match day with a late fixture.

What should I eat and drink after party? ›

Yogurt is one of the best options, it also calms and soothes the stomach. Banish bloat with potassium. Potassium counteracts the bloating effects of sodium. Some of the potassium rich foods are beans (soy, kidney beans), banana, spinach, dried apricots, baked potato, baked sweet potato and yogurt.

What kind of food is good after sport? ›

Good post-workout food choices include:
  • Yogurt and fruit.
  • Peanut butter sandwich.
  • Low-fat chocolate milk and pretzels.
  • Post-workout recovery smoothie.
  • Turkey on whole-grain bread with vegetables.

What do you feed the football team after a game? ›

10 team-approved meal ideas:
  1. Pulled BBQ chicken sandwiches.
  2. Tacos.
  3. Lasagna.
  4. Hamburgers.
  5. Chicken Teriyaki.
  6. Sloppy Joes.
  7. Chili.
  8. Spaghetti.
11 Oct 2018

What is the most eaten food at Super Bowl parties? ›

Chicken wings are the food of choice. According to the National Chicken Council — yes, there is a National Chicken Council — Americans consume more than 100 million pounds of chicken wings on Super Bowl Sunday alone. For those playing along at home, that's more than 1.25 BILLION individual wings.

What is the best thing to eat after a football game? ›

Carbohydrates: these replace your glycogen (energy) stores that will have been used during the game. They can be replaced with simple carbohydrates (more sugary carbs, like sports drinks, sweets, fruit) as these are quickly absorbed by the body.

What are the commonly served appetizers? ›

  • Bruschetta. Grilled country bread with Roma tomatoes, olive oil, garlic and basil. ...
  • Artichoke and Spinach Dip. Tuscan bread served with a delicious blend of spinach, artichoke, and cream. ...
  • Stuffed Mushrooms. ...
  • Fried Calamari. ...
  • Four Cheese Garlic Bread. ...
  • Shrimp Scampi. ...
  • French Fries.

What usually consist an appetizer? ›

An appetizer is a small dish of an overall meal. It can also be a drink or multiple drinks containing alcohol. Common examples include: shrimp cocktail, calamari, salad, potato skins, mussels, bruschetta or cheese and crackers. An appetizer may also be very elegant in some restaurants.

What are appetizer give examples? ›

An appetizer is part of a meal that's served before the main course. You might serve your dinner guests an appetizer of crab-stuffed mushrooms when they first arrive for dinner. Usually, an appetizer is a small serving of food — just a few bites — meant to be eaten before an entree, and often shared by several people.

What is considered a simple appetizer? ›

Fresh Fruits and Vegetables – are the simplest appetizer. Fruits are good appetizers because they give an attractive appearance, fragrance, appealing taste and delicious flavor.

What is the most popular party snack? ›

Our 12 Best, Most Reliable Party Snacks
  • Extreme Meat Pizza Dip. ...
  • No-Bake Peanut Butter Snack Bars. ...
  • Candied Pecans and Cranberries Snack Mix. ...
  • Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Pretzels. ...
  • Hummus Cups with Zucchini and Tomato. ...
  • Chocolate Caramel Bacon Popcorn. ...
  • Jalapeño Popper Bread. ...
  • Sweet and Salty Chex™ Mix. Ingredients: 5.
21 Jan 2020

What type of appetizer is best served if most of the guests have arrived? ›

Cold appetizers should be set out before the party actually starts. Hot appetizers should be brought out once most, if not all, of the guests have arrived.

What are 5 things to consider when selecting appetizers? ›

As you sort through appetizer recipes to potentially add to your easy starters menu, consider these six factors for the best blend.
  • Keep it simple. ...
  • Balance the choices. ...
  • Contrast colors and shapes. ...
  • Consider temperature and texture. ...
  • Plan make-ahead selections. ...
  • Avoid repeating flavors.
1 Aug 2022

What is a word for a small appetizer? ›

Canapes. “A small, prepared and usually decorative food, held in the fingers and often eaten in one bite.” Yep, this is just a fancy way of saying hors d'oeuvres and/or appetizers.

What is a tiny appetizer called? ›

Hors d'oeuvres are small items served before dinner, often accompanied by cocktails. They're most commonly found at cocktail parties or during the cocktail hour of a reception or gala. Most of the time, hors d'oeuvres are considered 'finger foods' and can be eaten while standing and mingling.


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