Simple Show-Stopping Potluck Ideas
Taking food to a party? Before you hit the road, find out which foods make the perfect to-go potluck dishes.
These potluck show-stoppers are tried-and-true potluck power players! They will fly off of the table and earn you a spot in the Potluck Hall of Fame! Home cooks have tried and tested these recipes at potlucks all across America. Check out the reviews for their tips on preparation and serving. After you've spied your perfect potluck recipe, check below for some prep and transport advice so your dish arrives at the potluck in pristine condition.
Perfect To-Go Potluck Dishes
But first, let's take a quick look at some types of recipes that travel best:
- Pre-baked casseroles held together with cheese or eggs
- Slow-cooked dishes that travel in the crock
- Salads with separate dressing to be mixed in just before serving
- Pasta salads
- Savory pies and tarts
- Dishes frozen ahead of time to be defrosted and/or baked at the destination
- Dishes that need no reheating
Pro Tip: Before choosing a dish to bring, you might ask the host if she has any requests -- she might need dishes to fill out the spread. Also, find out whether or not there will be space in the oven, stove, or refrigerator.
"I am continuously asked to bring this dip for parties and family get-togethers," says SUE CASE. "People gather around the platter until it's gone."
Spinach artichoke dip is a potluck mainstay. Here it gets a piquant kick from pico de gallo. "Never would have thought to put pico de gallo in spinach dip," says bd.weld, "but I must say it works. Great recipe. Excellent hot or cold."
"This creamy fruit dip is wonderful," says Kathleen Berkheiser. "So easy to make, and once it is left to chill in the frig for a while, the flavors really come together. I made this for a potluck and set big beautiful whole strawberries on a large plate and put the dip in a clear bowl in the center. It looked like a big strawberry wreath. Beautiful and oh so tasty!"
"Wow, what an amazing recipe," raves HETEIS31. "I took it to a potluck at work and it was by far and away the hit of the day. Had to make copies of the recipe for every woman I worked with."
Check out our collection of Appetizer Recipes.
"A refreshing light pasta salad with a delicious Asian flair," says ohines. "Great for a summer cookout or picnic. Tastes great right away, and even better if you can allow it to marinate for a while."
"This recipe is so rich and creamy, which makes it stand above most ziti recipes," says GROOVBUNNY. "Perfect for potlucks or parties since it travels well and can be prepared ahead. It's so easy to make and the flavors are even better the next day."
"Made this for a party and it was a huge hit!," raves sarahann. "Getting ready to make it to take to another get together today. Great flavor. Definitely a more 'grown up' version of the dish with a little bit of spice."
"This is so simple and easy to make," says Sarah Kelly. "I brought it as a dish to share at a potluck, and everyone LOVED it!"
"Whether it's sitting next to some smoky ribs or just a humble hot dog, this deli-style macaroni salad will always be a crowd favorite," says Chef John."
"Best potatoes you will ever make, guaranteed!" says Barbi. "This recipe feeds a lot of people. I took it to a potluck and the pan came home licked clean, literally! People were going back for seconds and thirds and disappointed when it was all gone. This is a totally addictive potato recipe."
"Not only is this a delicious alternative to regular mashed potato recipes, but it's a very user-friendly way to serve your potato side dish," says Chef John. "They're really decadent: not too rich, but just rich enough, and perfect for any special occasion."
"I just made this today before church for a potluck, and it was a sMASHING hit. So many people asked me how I made it. I skipped the jalepeno and I doubled the garlic. Also, I didn't mash the corn w/ the potato and carrots. I stirred that in with the cheese at the end, and it added a nice bit of a crunch. This is the perfect potluck recipe for someone who's cutting impaired!"
Check out our collection of Potato Casserole Recipes.
Full of Beans
This will be your new go-to bean recipe for potlucks! "A sensational, hearty recipe for a 3-bean hot dish. It's really tasty," says MrsWifey/Mommy. "Perfect for potlucks."
"This has quickly become a favorite," says Lisa Ramos. "It is great at potlucks and with barbecue. Not only does it contain the perfect combination of flavors, but it is attractive with all its colors, too."
"Great recipe," says Shelly Jimenez. "I would give this more stars if I could. I make this for the company picnic every year, and every year the entire 6qt pot is eaten."
Check out our collection of Bean Salad Recipes.
"A delicious mix of light and bright flavors," says Jessica Anderson Knauss. "I also enjoyed the various textures."
"LOVED it," says notyouraveragegranny. "My husband also. Will definitly make it again. Would be perfect for a summer barbeque side dish. Oh yea- I also used just one can of black beans- seemed the perfect ratio to me."
"I LOVED this dish," says Patti Bornes. "I was so excited to find this recipe because I'd had it years ago at a Memorial Day picnic and loved it then."
Check out our collection of Grain Side Dishes.
"Fantastic flavor combinations," says VIRGINIA57. "Nice salad to accompany a large variety of main dishes. Very attractive for a buffet or potluck table."
"Wonderful recipe," says Jessica New Alford. "I don't care for "common" coleslaw, so the bit of sweetness was awesome! I took this dish to a potluck and it was a hit."
"I do not like broccoli, but I love this salad," says Karen Dean Covington. The only problem is every potluck we go to everyone asks me to bring 'my' (your) broccoli salad, I never get to bring anything else."
Check out our collection of Salad Recipes.
Savory Pies and Tarts
"Absolutely phenomenal," raves bakermom. "This chicken pot pie may have been the best thing I have EVER cooked. It took a while, as everything is from scratch, but was worth every minute. Next time I'll make a double batch so I can freeze one."
"This was super easy," says NatalieG. "I made it for the first time today to bring to a friend's house for brunch. It was a huge hit! I used pre-made pie shells to save on time."
"I have made this many times for family and potluck parties," says Allison Lansky. "It always disappears. I substitute ground turkey for the beef. So easy, so inexpensive, and so good."
Check out our collection of
"This is delicious and just what I was looking for," says THEEVOYS. "I had had this salad in the past and was craving it. Turned out perfectly. Pretty salad or dessert... great for company, a picnic, or potluck!"
"These are delicious!" raves nookfan. "Super rich and very easy to make. I did not frost them (my family likes unfrosted brownies), but I think I will frost them for the next potluck."
"This pie is excellent!" raves GARLICKE. "Everyone loved it! I even got rave reviews from my in-laws and was asked to make it for a party they are having next weekend."
Check out our collection of Potluck Dessert Recipes.
Prepping for the Trip
Before you start cooking, find a container for your dish. Consider how it needs to be padded, heated, cooled, or otherwise altered in order to arrive safely:
- Wrap the dish so it is solidly set into the container. Use plastic wrap and aluminum foil generously to ensure the dish is airtight.
- Consider freezing the dish in advance and baking it at your destination.
- Label the dish with your name, the name of the dish, and serving directions.
- Bring a serving utensil and any condiments you want to serve with the dish. Label these items with your name.
- Secure the dish in the car so it can handle the ride, especially if the dish is hidden from sight in a cooler or a heat bag.
Check out our complete collection of Potluck Recipes.