Best Potluck Ideas

Let’s be real, no gathering is complete without food. The idea of feeding a hungry crowd by yourself is daunting, but it doesn’t have to be – insert potluck! Potlucks get everybody involved and bring a mix of unique recipes to the table. Potlucks are great for family get-togethers, football games, work gatherings, vacations with friends and everything in between.

Prep Work

  • Share a sign-up method with everybody who wants to bring a dish. This could be a sheet posted in the breakroom, a shared Google Doc, or whatever works to keep you organized and keep everybody on the same page about who’s bringing what.
  • Know your audience! Are any of your guests’ vegan or vegetarian? Do they have food allergies? These are important things to keep note of. Keep a running list of any known dietary restrictions and be sure to ask all attendees beforehand of any dietary needs.


You want to make it easy for all involved. Where do you start? Having a themed potluck can help refine recipes. Consider one of these ideas:

  • Chili Cookoff – Include prizes for winners in different categories (homestyle, Chili Verde, traditional red chili, veggie chili, green chili, etc.)
  • Breakfast – Who doesn’t love breakfast items like sausage, eggs, pancakes, bacon, French toast and hash browns?
  • Salad Bar – This is a great idea for the warmer weather. A few ideas to get the buzz going – antipasto salad, fruit salad, chicken salad, egg salad, Caesar salad, and potato salad.
  • Desserts – It’s everybody’s favorite part of the meal, so why not make it the focal point? Cut out the other courses and enjoy! Whip up this delicious Oreo four-layer recipe –
  • Appetizers – From bite sized foods to chips and dip, have everybody bring their favorite pre-main course meals.
  • Delicious Dips – Buffalo chicken, guacamole, sour cream and onion, queso, bean dip – the possibilities are endless! Try this recipe for hot cheese dip –
  • Sandwiches and Wraps – When there is a crowd, these make an easy meal! Perfect for lunchtime office gatherings.
  • Childhood Favorites – Have everyone bring in their favorite dish from when they were growing up, or it can be a grown-up rendition of the recipe. Take everybody back to their childhood with this cheesy mac and cheese recipe –
  • Pies – Obviously you don’t want JUST a bunch of sweet pies, so encourage varieties like chicken or turkey pot pie, quiche, etc. Try this recipe for chocolate chess pie –

  • Soups Only – Perfect for the cooler fall and winter months. Encourage variety so there are lots of options! If you are looking for a healthy option, you can find inspiration here –
  • Holiday Themed – Plan one around every holiday get-together, from Halloween to Christmas to Easter, and everything in between!
  • Slow Cooker Meals – A great idea to warm up during those cold weather months is to host an office slow cooker cookoff!
  • Comfort Foods – Meatloaf, chicken and dumplings, tomato soup or plain old cheese sandwiches. Have everybody bring their favorite comfort food recipe!
  • Mexican Fiesta – Participants bring their favorite Mexican dishes – from salsa to burritos. You can even incorporate a taco bar. Pass the guacamole please! Consider this tamale pie for your contribution –

  • Italian Favorites – Spaghetti and meatballs, ravioli, and breadsticks… Yes please!
  • BBQ – Don’t forget the brisket and be sure to try this recipe for beef barbecue
  • Comforting Casseroles – There is just something about a casserole! Try one of these tried and true recipes×9-casseroles/
  • Seasonal Favorites – Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall. Celebrate the time of year with a get together and seasonally inspired dishes.
  • Alma Mater Dishes – Include foods that represent your alma matter. Show your school spirit! Consider a sweet treat like these red velvet cookies –
  • Challenge Ingredient – Pick an ingredient that each person must include in their dish.
  • Southern Fare – Grandma’s famous biscuits, fried chicken and collard greens – enjoy y’all!
  • Country Cuisine – Bring dishes from different counties
  • Campout Cuisine – Bring food that you can make easily while camping. These campfire nachos are sure to be a crowd pleaser!
  • Picnic Party – Bring your favorite items from your picnic basket!
  • Diner Dishes – Hamburgers, malts, French fries and all your other favorite diner classics

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