80+ Potluck Ideas – Recipes for Appetizers, Side Dishes, Main Dishes, and Desserts

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Simple and delicious, these are the best Easy Potluck Ideas to feed a crowd. If you are wondering what to bring to a potluck, you’ll find plenty of appetizers, snacks, salad, sides, main dishes, and desserts in this collection. Some are traditional, others are new and creative, but they will all have everyone begging you for the recipes.

collage of macaroni and cheese, baked beans, cole slaw, pasta salad, barbecue meatballs, and chili

Easy Potluck Ideas – the Best Dishes to Feed a Crowd!

Spring and summer are the seasons for backyard barbecues, impromptu picnics, and all sorts of occasions where food is the centerpiece. This doesn’t change in the fall, when people are gathering to watch games and snack on the best tailgating recipes. And come winter, it’s the holiday season when there is always a reason to get together with friends.

So you always need some easy recipes on standby that will impress and feed plenty of people. Make sure you save this collection to come back to any time you are invited to a party and asked to bring a dish to share.

What is a potluck?

A potluck is any kind of dinner party or another gathering where everyone attending brings a dish to share. Sometimes it is called a covered dish party because many people bring something cooked in a casserole dish. This makes party planning easier and shares the costs amongst the group.

In theory, by everyone bringing a dish you have a full menu and a number of different things to try. However, it’s very easy to end up with an imbalance, maybe having too many desserts and not enough side dishes.

One way to manage this is to have people sign up or assign a category to each person or family attending so that you have an even distribution. Another option is for the host to provide the main dish, and everyone else brings appetizers, sides, and desserts.

Potluck Ideas and Tips

The best potluck recipes have to be crowd-pleasing, but there are also practical things to keep in mind:

  • Depending on the size of the crowd, you might want to find recipes that are easy to double or triple.
  • Since the food may get left out for a while, recipes that can stand at room temperature might be a good thing to consider.
  • If you need to keep food cold, check out serving platters on ice.
  • It’s also helpful to bring your own serving utensils, perhaps even disposable serving utensils so you don’t have to worry about getting it back.

How do you keep food warm at a potluck?

  • You can keep potluck food hot in a crockpot, and a slow cooker with a locking lid is helpful for transporting food without spilling. 
  • If the host will have warming racks, in which case you’ll want to have your dish in foil pans to set on the rack.

What is a good dish to bring to a potluck?

  • Appetizers and Snacks – dips, snack mixes, and finger foods like pinwheels and deviled eggs are some great ways to start your potluck meal.
  • Salads – while this might mean a traditional green salad, dishes like potato salad, pasta or macaroni salad, fruit salad, and coleslaw are popular potluck ideas.
  • Side Dishes – for a side dish to feed a crowd, potatoes, baked beans, and other veggie casseroles are great potluck recipes.
  • Main Dish Recipes – classic pasta casseroles such as lasagna, crockpot meats like pulled pork or chicken, and even baked ham, prime rib, or turkey are crowd-pleasers.
  • Dessert Recipes – the best potluck desserts are easy to serve and eat, like cookies, brownies, and bars, or layered desserts to feed a crowd, like a lush, dessert lasagna, or dream dessert.

You’ll find some amazing recipes for all of these courses here:

Key to finding gluten free recipes:

GF – gluten free recipe
GFO – recipe with gluten free option

80+ of the Best Potluck Dishes

All of the best crowd-pleasing recipes to take to a party. Easy to make, transport, and serve, these ideas for appetizers and snacks, salad, side dishes, main course, and desserts will have everyone asking for seconds (and maybe even for the recipe).

Potluck Appetizers and Snacks

Food brings everyone together, especially when the party gets started with delicious dips, fabulous finger foods, and even fun food on a stick.

Potluck Salads

Sometimes you want come cold dishes at your get-togethers. Salads at a potluck party may give you a serving of fruits or vegetables, or give you your fill of carbs. They can range from coleslaw to fruit salad, potato salad to pasta salad, and everything in between.

Potluck Side Dishes

This hot sides and casseroles are true crowd-pleasers.

Potluck Main Dishes

Crowd-pleasing dishes that feed a lot of people, from meats you roast in the oven or cook in a slow cooker to pasta dishes and hearty casseroles and more.

Potluck Desserts

Desserts that you bring to a party also need to feed a crowd. That's why things like cookies and brownies and bars are great because one batch makes a ton and you can pick one up to eat. But icebox cakes and other large batch desserts are also always a hit.

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