32 Best Potluck Recipes to Bring On-the-Go

Everyone will want your top-secret recipe.

October 21, 2021
Photo by Rocky Luten

Yay! You got invited to a party. But wait...it's a potluck party. That means you have to bring something! Do you go sweet or savory? Do you choose something you can serve at room temperature or a dish that needs to be heated up? Even if you're the Martha Stewart or Amanda Hesser among your friend group, deciding what to cook and serve to family, friends, and possibly some strangers too can be stressful. Let us help steer you in the right direction with more than 30 of our best potluck recipes.

1. Olive Oil Blondies With Salted Caramel

You offered to bring dessert for your friend’s potluck party, but now the day is here and you have no idea what to make. How about these salty-sweet blondies that are crowd-friendly, quick to bake, and easy to transport on the road?

2. Virginia Willis' Deviled Eggs

An Easter brunch, baby shower, or Thanksgiving feast isn’t complete without deviled eggs. This is our go-to, foolproof recipe that travels easily for a potluck party.

3. Fig and Olive Tapenade

For the time when the host insists you don’t have to bring anything, but you obviously don’t listen (rightly so), bring this rich, salty tapenade along with some cheese and grissini for the easiest-ever appetizer.

4. Southern Potato Salad Recipe

Potato salad is a winning potluck recipe for casual summer gatherings. Instead of the usual mayo potato salad, make this extra-creamy, extra-spicy version that calls for Miracle Whip, yellow mustard, and hot sauce.

5. Alice Medrich's Best Cocoa Brownies

Dependable, delicious, and a little decadent too, these extra-fudgy brownies achieve the perfect balance of a shiny, crackly topping and soft interior.

6. White Sangria

If you’re the resident bartender among your family and friends, whip up a tall pitcher of this summery sangria. Fresh peaches and peach nectar, oranges, and strawberries are added to a mixture of white wine, sparkling wine, orange liqueur, and sherry.

7. Apple Cheddar Cheese Straws

For an easy potluck recipe that looks like it required far more work than it actually did, twist and roll these autumnal cheese straws using store-bought puff pastry.

8. Toasted Oat Caramel Monkey Bread (Vegan)

This vegan monkey bread was made for sharing and it’s not just good. It’s not even great. It’s the best. Don’t believe us? Take it from our readers, who voted this recipe their favorite plant-based dessert starring oat milk.

9. Slow-Cooker Bourbon BBQ Chicken Drumsticks

Whether you’re hosting or attending a potluck party, anything cooked in a slow-cooker is a game-changer. It lets you spend less time cooking and more time with your family and friends. Plus if you’re bringing it to the party, you don’t need to feel guilty about taking up precious oven or stove space.

10. Harissa Carrot Dip

“Like hummus, this dip is crowd-pleasing,” says Assigning Editor Rebecca Firkser, who developed this recipe. “‘It’s vegan and gluten-free!’ you can proudly announce when you show up at the barbecue, having been tasked with bringing dip. Great job!”

11. Groovy Chocolate Sheet Cake

No matter what the occasion is, every potluck party calls for dessert. And a sheet cake—make that a chocolate sheet cake—is the most crowd-friendly dessert.

12. Roberto Santibañez' Classic Guacamole

The ingredients for this classic guacamole are pretty traditional, but it’s Roberto Santibañez’s technique that makes it extra good.

13. Pecan Pie Bars

If you’re invited to a Thanksgiving potluck party and want to serve something that’s slightly on the casual side, go for bars rather than a whole nine-inch pie.

14. Caramelized Onion Dip

When caramelized, onions take on a whole new sweet, complex flavor that doesn’t at all resemble the allium in its raw, astringent form.

15. Mimi’s Pan Pizza Dough, Two Ways (The Mimi & The Papa)

Somewhere in between a sheet-pan pizza and the thick Grandma-style is this masterpiece created by Erin Jeanne McDowell. Suddenly, you’ll become everyone’s favorite party guest.

16. Snickerdoodle Shortbread

“Shortbread, meet snickerdoodle. Snickerdoodle, meet shortbread. In this mashup cookie, you get the best of both worlds: a buttery, crumbly, tender shortbread, spiced with cinnamon, and coated in a sparkly cinnamon-sugar crust,” writes Food Editor Emma Laperruque.

17. Garlickiest Garlic Bread

No one, and we mean no one, will turn down garlic bread. Use gluten-free bread or dairy-free Parmesan if you want to make it a safe snack for everyone at the potluck gathering to eat.

18. Blackberry Cobbler

For a crowd-friendly dessert, make a cobbler with summer berries. This one is made with blackberries, but you could just as easily choose raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, or a combination!

19. The Genius Super-Salad

This potluck-ready salad has everything you could ever want: hearty chickpeas and creamy feta, tangy onions and olive oil dressing, plus so much crunchy kale and cabbage. It’s appropriate year-round and goes well with the huge assortment of dishes that will surely appear on the table.

20. Salsa Guille From Andrea Aliseda

We’re so glad Andrea Aliseda dug back into generations of family recipes to find this subtly spicy salsa made predominantly with peanut butter, garlic, and serrano chile peppers. Now you and your loved ones can benefit from her handiwork!

21. Malted White Chocolate Sheet Cake

This massive sheet cake is sweet as can be, thanks to a fabulous flavor combination of vanilla and almond extracts, malted milk powder, and white chocolate. The trick to the cloud-like cake is using cake flour (for a fine crumb), buttermilk (for moistness), and egg whites (for that airy, light texture.

22. Rice Salad With Portobellos, Smashed Cucumbers & Salsa Verde

It’s portable, it’s seasonal, it’s make-ahead, and it’s easy enough to double (or triple!) for a sizable crowd at a potluck party.

23. Milk & Cookies Tart

End the potluck party on a sweet note. “This tart is such fun to make and to eat, and is a total crowd-pleaser. It starts with an easy-to-make press-in cookie crust, speckled with plenty of chocolate chunks,” writes our resident baking expert Erin Jeanne McDowell.

24. Red Wine Sangria

Sangria is the easiest crowd-friendly drink to pull off and it always, always appeals. Recipe developer John deBary chose to add apples, oranges, and Luxardo cherries to a mixture of red wine, cognac, and Grand Marnier but use whatever you have on hand or that is in season.

25. Potato Chip Tortilla Española From Ferran Adrià

Trust us when we say that, whatever rendition you go with, this tortilla española is here for you in a pinch (and fast). It skips the traditional steps required to make a tortilla—no slicing and slow-frying potatoes and onions here, according to our editors.

26. Baked Brie in Puff Pastry With Cranberries, Pistachios & Sumac

For a holiday potluck party, nothing is more elegant than baked brie. To make it, recipe developer Emily C says “Make a quick jam with frozen cranberries, honey, and sumac; spread it over the brie, plus a handful of toasted pistachios, before wrapping in thawed puff pastry; sprinkle a dash of sumac on top; and bake until golden.”

27. Furikake Chex Mix Snack

For the times when the host says “you only need to bring yourself,” but you still want to contribute something, bring this chex mix that has goldfish, mini pretzels, roasted peanuts, Bugles, soy sauce, and cayenne pepper.

28. Coconut Vegan Cheesecake Bars With Nut Crust

If you want to make a dessert that will surely impress—and be suitable for nearly everyone at the party—make these dairy-free cheesecake bars, which are made with rich coconut cream and coconut oil.

29. Coleslaw

For a cookout-style potluck, nothing goes better with burgers and hot dogs and grilled veggies than a classic coleslaw.

30 . Creamiest Baked Mac & Cheese

The best kind of party guest is the one who brings homemade mac and cheese.

31. Orzo With Blistered Green Beans, Burst Tomatoes & Feta

This fresh and fragrant pasta salad is jam-packed with summer vegetables and herbs, making it the perfect dish to bring to a potluck party between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

32. No-Chop Chickpea Salad

Shoot. You have to leave in 15 minutes for your friend’s potluck party and you completely forgot that you offered to make a salad. Rather than haphazardly picking something up from the grocery store, make this “dump salad” with arugula, canned chickpeas, olives, and capers.

What's your favorite thing to bring to a potluck party? Let us know in the comments below!

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Former Food52 Staff Editor