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5 game day essentials: Make the best air fryer chicken wings and more

Football is more fun when you add chicken wings.

The big game kicks off on Feb. 7 at 6:30 p.m. ET. Sure, we're skipping the get-togethers this year due to the pandemic, but that doesn't mean we won't still eat socially unacceptable quantities of Buffalo chicken dip and loudly cheer on our respective teams. 

Here's a roundup of our favorite devices for enjoying football's biggest night from home this year. It includes everything from color-changing lights to show off your team's colors to the tastiest air fryer chicken wings. 

Read more: Here's how to stream the game live

You're receiving price alerts for Ninja Air Fryer (4 Qt)


4 quarts





Cooking modes

Air fry, roast, reheat, dehydrate



If you love chicken wings, look no further than the Ninja Air Fryer. My colleague Brian Bennett tested out tons of air fryers for his roundup of the best, but only one model made him write this: "This air fry machine transformed humble frozen wings into something magical. They came out evenly cooked, with crispy skin, and were a real crowd-pleaser. My kids snapped them up in no time." 

But it doesn't only make great wings. It also excels at mozzarella sticks and fries, making it a great option year-round, not just for the big game. Want to learn more about air fryers? Check out Molly Price's explainer on air fryers versus oven baking

Best air fryer of 2021.


Festive lighting doesn't have to be reserved for the holidays. The Z Multicolor Light Strip is a fun living room accompaniment that Lifx claims can produce a whopping 16 million colors. Plus, it's capable of displaying multiple colors at the same time and you can make your own scenes and effects.

That means you're bound to be able to create special combinations that flash your team's colors when they score -- or throughout the big game. We also like that this product is Wi-Fi-enabled, meaning you don't have to pair the strip to a hub or any other clunky hardware to get started. 

Best smart lights of 2021.


We aren't watching the big game from a bar this year, but the Fizzics DraftPour promises to be the next best thing: draft beer at home. Basically, you put a can or bottle of beer in the countertop device, pull the lever and it's supposed to taste like it came from a tap. How, you ask? Science. Fizzics claims the DraftPour works using "patented fluid dynamics and sound technology." 

I don't know about all that, but Andrew Gebhart liked its predecessor, the Fizzics Waytap and said it did make bottled beer "taste more" like a draft. 

Fizzics says the DraftPour works on all types of beer, with any can or bottle. 

Chris Monroe/CNET
You're receiving price alerts for Amazon Echo (2020, Blue)

First introduced in 2014, the Amazon Echo (now in its fourth generation) remains our favorite smart speaker. This latest iteration has a spherical design instead of the classic cylindrical shape of past models, as well as improved sound quality. 

It's a solid addition to your kitchen or living room any time of the year -- play music and podcasts, get weather and traffic updates and control your smart home devices with a simple command. But it's also a great addition to the big game -- ask Alexa for recipe ideas, to play NFL stats and trivia and to keep you updated on the score if you have to step away from the TV.

Best smart speakers of 2021.


$80 at Amazon
$16 at eBay
You're receiving price alerts for Instant Pot

The Instant Pot gets tons of interest for its speedy pressure-cooking ways (which are truly awesome). But the Duo 7-in-1 does a lot more than pressure cook. It can also slow cook, make rice, steam, saute, make yogurt and keep food warm.

It's a handy device to have around all the time, but you can use it to make a variety of different big game staples, like chili, Buffalo chicken dip, beer cheese or those delightful cocktail meatballs. And when you're done cooking, turn on the Instant Pot's warm function to keep your food at the right temperature for hours. 

Best Instant Pots of 2021.


We also have you covered if you don't want to mess with air fryers, beer dispensers and Instant Pots this game day. Here's a list of great food and beverage delivery services for game day and beyond: Plan for the big game: Order your party staples online. Follow along with the rest of our big game coverage, including how to stream it live and much, much more.

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