Crowd-pleasing potluck dishes for bringing and sharing at your next gathering! Try these 47 Perfect Potluck Ideas, from the best sharing mains and party appetizers, to easy side dishes and potluck desserts.
From the office to the church hall, to your neighbor’s backyard, we’ve rounded up a delicious list of dishes to carry along to any potluck. These are often informal affairs, and this goes for food choice. Potluck dishes are simple and hearty, comforting and filling, and made for sharing. Never underestimate the power of a good casserole!
No one wants to show up to a potluck where everyone has brought along a packet of chips, and nothing else. This list of easy recipes is here to ensure there’s loads of variety at your next get-together.
What is a potluck party?
A potluck party, or potluck supper, is a gathering where each guest contributes a dish to round out the meal. The food brought to a potluck is usually homemade, and everyone brings something different to share. Sort of like a buffet where everyone is the chef, or variety show where the acts are edible!
Potlucks are a fabulous way to celebrate a special occasion or holiday. It’s a way for the whole party to get involved, from appetizers, snacks, and mains, right down to desserts.
What does “potluck” mean?
The term “potluck” is actually a 16th century word that used to refer to food that was provided to a late or unexpected guest. In fact, the dictionary still defines a potluck as a “meal available to a guest for whom no special preparations have been made.” In this case, the guest in question is provided with the “luck of the pot,” or whatever is left on hand.
In later times, a potluck would be a one-pot meal where everyone would bring an ingredient to add. However, it’s likely that the modern-day concept of bringing a dish to share came about during the Great Depression, when guests would bring food to share in communal meals. The potluck tradition has withstood the good times and the hard times, and it’s always a way to bring people together.
Best Potluck Mains and Appetizers
First up, easy potluck main dishes and filling finger foods! Baked casseroles, one-pot wonders, snack-able appetizers, and more tasty plates for sharing.
Tater Tot Casserole
An easy crowd-pleasing main that’s loved by kids as much as adults! Crispy tater tots bring all sorts of nostalgic feels to this cheesy cowboy casserole made with savory ground beef.
Chicken Pot Pie Casserole
This chicken pot pie casserole is made for sharing! Protein-filled and brimming with crisp veggies and a creamy, saucy filling underneath a flaky pie crust.
Twice Baked Potato Casserole
Bring all the wholesome, home-cooked flavors of a loaded baked potato to the party with this twice baked potato casserole!
Baked Ziti Recipe
The ultimate shareable comfort food, this simple yet delicious recipe for cheesy baked ziti is a must at your next potluck! This classic pasta casserole comes together in a few easy layers of rich homemade sauce, ribbons of melty cheese, and tender cooked noodles, baked to golden perfection.
Patti Labelle’s Mac and Cheese Recipe
The definition of soul food, inspired by the soul legend herself! This famous, ooey-gooey baked macaroni and cheese recipe is made with four (yes, four!) types of cheese for a truly unmatched casserole.
Marinated Chicken Wings
This easy recipe for savory marinated chicken wings cooks up in the air fryer in just 30 minutes. The best crispy, snack-able appetizer!
Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese (Vegan)
Butternut squash sweetens things up in this creamy, flavorful vegan mac and “cheese”! Topped with crispy Panko crumbs and seasoned to perfection.
Vegan Quinoa Casserole
An easy vegan riff on broccoli and cheese casserole, bursting with chopped broccoli florets and fluffy, nutritious quinoa in a rich cashew cream sauce. This dish doubles as a main or a side – and really, anything goes at a potluck!
Crispy Hot Honey Old Bay Wings
Switch up your usual buffalo wings with this recipe for easy, crispy homemade chicken wings tossed in Old Bay seasoning and a sticky honey hot sauce. The perfect finger-licking finger food.
Philly Cheesesteak Sliders
These Philly cheesesteak sliders are like little handfuls of deliciousness, piled with shredded beef alongside caramelized peppers and onions. Perfect for pulling apart, rewarded with satisfying strings of melted cheese!
Ham and Swiss Cheese Sliders
An easy recipe for hot ham and cheese sliders, made with layers of deli ham and melted cheese between two fluffy rolls. Topped with honey Dijon for a flavor-packed bite.
Bacon Ranch Chicken Crescent Rolls
Tender shredded chicken and crispy bacon mingle with cheese and creamy ranch dressing, rolled up inside flaky crescent dough in this easy appetizer idea.
Ask anyone from the South: it’s not a potluck until deviled eggs make an appearance! This classic party finger food is easy to make in minutes, and ready for customizing.
Instant Pot Baby Back Ribs
Make juicy, fall-off-the-bone BBQ ribs that taste like they’ve been braising for hours, in a fraction of the time thanks to the Instant Pot! These babies are perfect for plucking from a platter and dipping.
Crack Chicken Dip
A game day and potluck staple, this baked dip recipe inspired by crack chicken is full of tangy cream cheese and sour cream, shredded meat, smoky bacon and ranch seasoning.
Beer Cheese Dip with Bacon
Have your dippers at the ready (I see you, crusty bread slices!) and brace for a flavor bomb of pub food proportions with this homemade beer cheese dip.
Easy Grape Jelly Meatballs
Name a more classic potluck dish than a batch of saucy grape jelly meatballs. Make this 3-ingredient recipe in the crockpot for even easier hot-and-ready serving!
Bacon Wrapped Smokies (3 ways!)
Everyone’s favorite cocktail weenies, dressed up three ways! Easy variations of bacon wrapped smokies that cater from the traditional, to something a little more sweet or spicy.
Baked Shrimp Dip
Hot appetizers don’t get more cheesy, creamy, and delicious than this baked and bubbly shrimp dip! Garlicky and delicious, and easy to bring along as it’s served in the same dish it’s baked in.
Air Fryer Cauliflower
A vegetarian answer to chicken wings, or an easy appetizer in their own right! Air fryer cauliflower bites are a healthy snack or side that doesn’t fall short on flavor. Pair these perfectly seasoned cauliflower florets with your favorite dips!
Potluck Side Dish Ideas
Now, let’s talk sides. These potluck side dish ideas feature easy-to-serve salads, breads, and other plate-fillers to round out a meal.
Macaroni Salad with Ham and Cheese
What would a potluck be without a good old fashioned macaroni salad? With this recipe, you won’t need to find out. Made with traditional elbow macaroni noodles, chunks of diced ham and cheese, and crisp green peas.
Creamy Potluck Potatoes
You don’t earn a name like potluck potatoes by missing out on the party! This creamy, savory potatoes recipe is pure comfort food, and the ideal casserole side dish to satisfy a crowd.
Homemade Mexican Rice
This Spanish rice recipe is a savory, scoopable side filled with garlic and onions, tomatoes, Mexican-style spices and hot sauce. Hearty and flavorful, and easy to pull together for your next party.
Classic Potato Salad
Complete your potluck salad spread with a tried and true favorite: homemade potato salad filled with crunchy celery, creamy mayo, chives and chopped eggs.
Red Potato Salad
Redskin potatoes are tossed in a tangy lightened-up dressing, along with crisp celery, peppers, cilantro and zesty red onions in this tasty potato salad recipe.
Creamy Broccoli Salad Recipe with Chicken, Bacon, and Cheddar Cheese
Broccoli salad is one of the best make ahead side dishes there is, making it a great option for potlucks! This salad recipe is made extra hearty with chicken and bacon.
Old Fashioned Cornbread with Cheddar Cheese
A slice of classic and cheesy homemade cornbread is just what your potluck plate needs! Whether you’re hosting a winter or summer affair, there aren’t many occasions where tender, rustic cornbread doesn’t fit seamlessly into a meal.
Three Bean Salad
This homemade three bean salad is crunchy, zesty, and all-around a winner to bring along to potlucks, picnics, you name it! Made with a satisfying and healthy medley of green beans, chickpeas, and kidney beans.
Cranberry Apple Coleslaw
This creamy coleslaw recipe loaded with craisins and apples is a crunchy, sweet and easy side dish that never fails.
Bowtie Pasta Salad with Peas, Lemon and Basil
Bright lemon, peppery basil and sweet green peas bring a pop of freshness to this easy-to-make bowtie pasta salad. All the ingredients are folded into a tangy combo of Dijon mustard, olive oil dressing, and Asiago cheese for the perfect zesty bite.
Easy Fruit Salad with Honey Lime Dressing
For a light and easy side dish, this fruit salad tossed in a simple honey lime dressing is second to none! This recipe is full of flavor and easy to customize with seasonal ingredients.
Classic Italian Pasta Salad Recipe
Bring some Italian-inspired flair to the potluck table with this healthy pasta salad brimming with antipasto goodies! Made with salami, fresh tomatoes and cucumbers, mozzarella pearls and olives tossed with rotini pasta.
BEST Baked Beans
Especially if there’s BBQ in the mix, these smoky baked beans aren’t to be missed! Be the star of your next potluck or BYO cookout with the best baked beans recipe around.
Shareable desserts are the name of the game here, from chewy cookie bars to sliceable sheet cakes, and other easy ideas for potluck desserts.
Irresistible Zucchini Brownies
Zucchini is one of the quintessential summer veggies, so what’s more perfect than irresistible zucchini brownies? These tender brownies are topped with a quick fudge frosting and are so good you’ll never know they have veggies in them!
S’mores Rice Krispies Treats
The perfect sharing dessert that will leave everyone craving s’more. Made with crisp rice cereal, sticky marshmallows, chocolate chunks and crumbly Graham crackers.
A quick and easy dessert that no guest can refuse, these crunchy butterscotch haystacks come together easily with chow mein noodles and melted butterscotch candy.
What’s better than a fudgy chocolate brownie? A brownie with Oreos, obviously. This simple brownie recipe gets a sugary jolt of cookies and cream for a chewy, chocolatey delight.
M&M Cookie Bars
Brightly colored M&Ms put a festive spin on these easy cookie bars. Baked in a sheet pan for the perfectly portable potluck dessert!
Oatmeal Jammy Lemon Bar Recipe
A hearty twist on a lemon bar recipe featuring tangy lemon curd topped with a crumbly layer of oatmeal and granola.
Raspberry Pretzel Salad
Possibly the pinnacle of retro desserts is a fruity strawberry pretzel salad. This recipe made with raspberry Jell-O is a fun twist on the classic version, complete with the crunchy pretzel crust and creamy filling.
Vegan Chocolate Sheet Cake
Sheet cakes are ideal for feeding a crowd, and this vegan chocolate cake recipe is the ultimate fudgy dessert! Full of rich cocoa flavor and frosted with creamy vegan icing.
Check out the recipe finder for even more delicious recipes for any and all occasions, from potlucks, to parties, and more.