Potlucks are one of our favorite ways to get together with friends and family. They help take the financial burden and prep off one person and make it fun for everyone! Use these easy potluck ideas the next time you have one come up!
You know we are all about making connections with our friends and family. We love a good game night, fun party with friends, or an outdoor get together. The only way it could be better is to make it a potluck so it's easier on the hostess. It's always fun to see what dishes everyone will bring and it's a great way to try your loved ones' favorite recipes!
*Note: When you click the links in this post, we may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.
We've rounded up the best main dishes, sides and desserts that won't disappoint. These potluck ideas will help you feed a crowd and are budget-friendly, too! Use our tips to choose the right food and you'll be ready for your next potluck when the time comes! First, let's start with…
HOW TO ASSIGN POTLUCK FOODS
If you're the one throwing the potluck, then it's always a good idea to assign the type of food you'd like each family to bring. While we are ALL about the desserts, you don't want to have one main dish, side, and then a ton of desserts! Okay, would that be the end of the world?? Maybe, maybe not… 😉
Once you know who all is coming, you could easily ask each family to bring a certain type of dish. You could also break it down by last name (or first if you all have the same last name!). For example, families A-H bring a main dish, I-R bring a side and S-Z bring a dessert.
Pro Tip: Make sure the names are broken down evenly! If there are 12 families bringing a main dish and only 3 bringing a dessert, you obviously need to even it out. Focus on making sure there's enough of the right kinds of food to serve everybody!
HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT FOOD
When you're cooking food for a potluck, serve something that won't melt easily. The best foods are those that don't have to be kept ice cold, but can be served cool or warm. Also keep in mind the company that will be eating the foods! Don't make something that's crazy spicy or really out there if the majority of your group doesn't eat that type of food.
Remember, people will be holding their plate in one hand, while serving with the other. So make something that can easily be served with one hand. They don't necessarily have to be finger foods, but it's best if the food is easy to grab or spoon out one-handed.
Pro Tip: Be sure you take whatever serving utensils you need! Don't count on the hostess to provide serving spoons, spatulas, tongs or forks. If you're worried about somebody else walking away with your things on accident, use painter's tape! Write your initials on some and stick it on your dish and utensils.
POTLUCK MAIN DISH IDEAS
Good food and good company is all you need to have a successful potluck! These main courses are pretty darn simple to throw together and they are all delicious. People will be lining up to ask you for the recipe on these bad boys, which is why they're some of our favorite potluck ideas!
- Ham and Cheese Sliders – I Heart Naptime has come up with the most incredible recipe that makes for a great potluck meal!
- Chicken Salad – This is one of the easier potluck ideas that you don't even need a recipe for! Start with some canned or shredded chicken, hard boiled eggs, mayo and relish as a base and work your way up from there. Add in diced fruit, such as apples and grapes, if you like it sweet. Or take it savory and add in chopped nuts (as long as nobody is allergic) and onions.
- Crockpot BBQ Lil Smokies – This one doesn't take many ingredients at all! Line your slow cooker and add in a few packs of lil smokies and your favorite barbecue sauce until they're all coated. That's all it takes! You can also add in some grape jelly for an extra kick, but it's not needed if you're using a sweet barbecue sauce like Sweet Baby Ray's.
- Sweet and Sour Meatballs – Go oriental with these deliciously easy meatballs!
- Enchiladas – This is one of those potluck ideas you can clean out your fridge and pantry for! Grab some tortillas, cheese, beans, veggies, cooked meat and anything else you want to add. Roll them up, put some sauce (enchilada, cheese, salsa verde, etc.), more cheese and bake them until they're warm and gooey. To serve more people, pre-cut them in the dish and cut them in half.
- Sloppy Joe Casserole – Take your favorite Sloppy Joe recipe, add some tater tots and cheese and you've got a casserole that's out of this world and will feed a crowd.
- Pinwheels – Here's another great idea that allows you to basically use what you've got. All you need is tortillas, cream cheese, some seasonings to make it your desired flavor, lunch meat and cheese. Roll it all up in the tortilla, cut them into slices and you've got a great finger food!
- Sausage Cheese Balls – A few ingredients and a few minutes and you've got some potluck favorites right here! We suggest making a lot ahead of time and freezing them until you need them. This will make it easier on you the day of.
- Ham – There's nothing simpler than cooking up a ham in the slow cooker, slicing it up and taking it to a potluck!
- Taco Pasta Salad – Bulk up your pasta salad and turn it into a unique and different main course with this easy recipe.
Pro Tip: If your recipe calls for adding something that needs to stay crispy and not get soggy, like mixing in chips or adding a garnish on top, don't add them until right before the food is served!
BEST POTLUCK SIDES
Give those main dishes a run for their money with these easy potluck side dishes. They all make a ton and are a great way to feed a crowd.
- Scalloped Potatoes – Cheese + potatoes = YES PLEASE. You won't be disappointed with this quick and easy recipe.
- Coleslaw – Shredded cabbage, carrots, seasonings and slaw sauce come together quickly to make an easy and refreshing side dish that goes with just about everything.
- Homemade Salsa – Who doesn't like salsa?! That's why it makes the perfect side dish. Whip up a batch of homemade salsa and take some chips to go along with it. Super easy and everybody will love it.
- Baked Beans – Beans are cheap and are a great way to feed a crowd! Grab a couple of cans from the store or make your favorite from scratch. Either way, everybody will love them!
- Potato Salad – You can't go wrong with a delicious potato salad to feed a crowd!
- Strawberry Spinach Salad – Keep it on the lighter side with this easy and fruity salad. You can make your own dressing or use store-bought, whichever is easier for you!
- 7-Layer Dip – This is one of our favorite potluck ideas to take it south of the border! You can't go wrong with this dip and it feeds so many people.
- Mac and Cheese Cups – Macaroni and cheese is always a great idea for a potluck and you really can't go wrong with it. But if you want to take something that's a little more finger food-friendly (say that 5 times fast!), then make it into hand-held cups using this delicious recipe.
- Tortellini Salad – Now this is a salad we can get behind! You can whip this one up in a breeze and refrigerate until you're ready to serve.
- Twice Baked Potato Casserole – What's better than plain mashed potatoes? Not much, except maybe this twice baked recipe that amps up the flavor by like 1,000!
Pro Tip: If your food needs to stay cold, take it in a cooler full of ice and don't take it out until right before it's time to eat!
EASY POTLUCK DESSERT IDEAS
Okay, let's be honest, these are all what we're really here for! Make it a point to save some room, because you don't wanna miss out on these great potluck ideas.
- Strawberry Oatmeal Bars – Well Plated has created a delicious and healthier fruit dessert that won't disappoint!
- Cool Whip Fruit Salad – Sneak in some goodness in this fruit salad recipe that everybody will love.
- Chocolate Chip Cookies – Get rid of your leftover candy in this crazy easy cookie recipe from yours truly!
- Fruit Cobbler – A cobbler is a great way to feed a crowd and you can make it during all seasons, using whatever fresh fruit is available. You also can't go wrong using canned!
- Brownies with Frosting – If you're a brownie and frosting lover, then this one's for you!
- Chocolate Bundt Cake – A bundt cake is one of our favorite potluck ideas because you can slice it small enough for everybody to get a piece.
- Snickers Apple Salad – This recipe is not only refreshing, but terribly delicious, too!
- Banana Bread – Do you prefer banana bread as a breakfast or dessert? Regardless, it's always a crowd pleaser and it's simple to throw together.
- Regular Brownies – For all you plain brownie lovers, this one's for you!
- Copycat Lofthouse Sugar Cookies – There's always one in the crowd who doesn't like chocolate (yeah, we don't get it, either!). These copycat cookies are a great way to please them, and anyone else, for that matter!
- Pie – These are so easy to throw together and no matter what kind you make, they're always gone in a flash! Fruit pies are probably the easiest to make and you don't have to worry about keeping them cold.
Pro Tip: If there's something you can pre-slice to make it easier, do it! This also keeps people from getting too much. It's totally okay to slice them really small, those who really want more can grab a second piece. This will help cut down on waste and make it easier for people to grab with one hand!
MAKE TIME FOR MORE GATHERINGS
It's so crucial to be around your friends and family to really grow those bonds. Sometimes though, it feels like you have to let your house or priorities in your life go to make that happen. Luckily, that doesn't have to be the case! Productivity Boot Camp is about to solve all your problems and give you the tools you need to have the life of your dreams.
Use this fun online video program to make the most of your life. We only get one, after all! Find the time for the things and people that matter most to you. Plus, use the code FCFBLOG for 10% off at checkout!
Now that you've got some great potluck ideas, you just have to figure out which one you want to make first! What's your favorite dish to take to potlucks? Let us know in the comments!
- Buy your potluck essentials, such as disposable trays and serving utensils at the dollar store! We've got a few more tips on what to buy, and skip, at the dollar store that you don't wanna miss.
- A baked potato bar is the ultimate cheap and easy party food!
- Get the kids in the kitchen and make some desserts together!