These 23 Portable Recipes Will Be the Hit of the Potluck

April 17, 2017

This article was originally published earlier this year, but we brought it back because potluck season is upon us.

The only thing better than making a very, very large amount of food to hunker down with yourself: making a very, very large amount of food to pack up and tote to a potluck. Friends! Feelings! The best kind of hodge-podge supper.

Which is why we were so excited when Kristin Donnelly, the author of Modern Potluck, launched a community organizing tool called Potluck Nation—the delightfully simple goal being, in her words, "to create a movement and encourage people to use potlucks to bring communities together." Sign up for the newsletter, for gathering ideas (e.g. a potluck to fundraise for a good cause, or to foster conversation around a challenging topic) and information about real-life potlucks Kristin will be throwing.

And oh, you need some recipe ideas? These potluck-friendly (i.e. will-hold-up-for-the-car-ride-and-ensuing-day-in-the-sun) foods, and some supplies to cart them to-and-fro, will soar at your next event.

dippers to tote in a jar

A sealable vessel for the good stuff, plus a linen bag for bread, chips, and other dippers:

salads that can sit awhile

Large bowl and lid for washed lettuces and a wee dressing container, necessary:

hot, stewy things

...that will still taste delicious at room temperature.

Tote in style

Transportation for your dips and pasta bakes can be tricky. We've discovered the handiest totes—the tough canvas stands up against your heaviest cocottes. And they're available in our Shop! The casserole tote fits dishes of many sizes, including bowls, 9x13s, and pie plates. Slip two bottles of wine (or two baguettes, or one of each!) in the picnic tote and you're well on your way to a spill-free trip to your next potluck.

What are your favorite dishes to bring to a potluck? Tell us in the comments.

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Jennifer
  • Tere
Amanda Sims

Written by: Amanda Sims

Professional trespasser.


Jennifer April 17, 2017
I protest the inclusion of a soup, any soup, no matter how good. I suppose there are some potlucks where a soup may be welcome--but I'm annoyed when someone shows up with an unbidden pot of soup, requiring me to put out a stack of soup bowls/soup spoons along with the plates (among other things, I have fewer bowls than plates, so it gets awkward). If you're invited to bring soup to a potluck, then spot on; but otherwise, don't do it.
Tere August 15, 2019
I came here for some modern takes on potluck recipes and saw your comments on soup. We are soul sisters and in the minority on our soup opinions. How I hate to see anyone carrying in a crockpot of soup at our volunteer functions. They are heavy, need to be plugged in somewhere and you end up babysitting it while the "soup bringer" skips off to enjoy the function. I am well known in our club for my hatred of soup and crockpots in general. So thank you for indulging my soup/crockpot tantrum. I do feel better.