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Potluck Dinner Ideas: More than 23 Easy Recipes

These easy potluck dinner ideas are super easy to make and delicious. Most of the crowd pleaser dishes have simple ingredients that you can find in most grocery stores. In fact, you might even have everything you need in your pantry and refrigerator.

The best part about a potluck get-together is that it takes the pressure off the host. Instead of one person planning the meal, purchasing all of the ingredients, and standing over the stove for hours on end, he or she can enjoy the participants. You’ll be amazed by all of the creative potluck dinner ideas that the guests come up with.

potluck dinner ideas with pork tenderloin, fruit salad, and deviled eggs

In other words, it’s a great way to have dinner parties without the hassle. After it’s over, encourage everyone to share food to take home.

Potlucks are perfect for special occasions such as the holiday season, birthday parties, a family reunion, or an annual block party.

Easy Potluck Dinner Ideas

The host can cook the main course and ask everyone else to bring side dishes to go with it. If you’re the host, don’t forget to have someone bring munchies. The perfect appetizer can make a huge difference in the success of the gathering.

A potluck party is a fun way to try a variety of different dishes and get to know others. The potluck dishes can be assigned, or you can take a chance and let everyone surprise you with the best things they make.

I’ve always enjoyed church potlucks, and I know I’m not the only one. In fact, potluck meals have been popular with church groups for decades. 

platters and bowls of food on a potluck buffet

Whether you’re a guest or the host of a dinner party, a potluck gives you the most flexibility. You can set a theme or have an open-ended buffet where everyone brings their best dish. 

Since you won’t be spending hours in the kitchen cooking all the food, you’ll have extra time to enjoy your family and guests. In fact, I think it’s one of the best ways to entertain without making yourself crazy.

As the guest of a buffet dinner, you should bring whatever you’re comfortable making. All of the potluck recipes here are easy as well as tried-and-true. 

Preparing for a Potluck Dinner

If you’re hosting a potluck dinner, it’s a good idea to do some planning. Have a basic idea of how you want to set everything up. Even if you have others bringing appetizers, you still might want to offer some munchies.

Here are a few things I like to put on the appetizer table:

Finger foods, such as these zucchini pizza bites or these super easy bacon wrapped jalapeños.

Tortilla chips with a bowl of this yummy homemade salsa.

chips and salsa on the potluck dinner appetizer table

Fresh fruit kabobs with a yogurt based dip.

Platter of fresh veggies or bowl of potato chips with this flavorful sour cream based everything bagel dip.

Deviled eggs that will disappear before you turn around.

platter of deviled eggs

Salad Ideas for Potluck Dinners

It’s always a good idea to offer at least one salad … more if you are able to. If you’re a guest at a potluck, try one of the recipes below.

Here are some of our favorite potluck salad recipes that have been popular at family gatherings and get-togethers with friends:

This bacon, lettuce, and tomato salad can be served with or without the bacon. I prefer it with bacon. Regardless of how you like it, you’ll love the fact that it’s an easy recipe that you can whip up in a matter of minutes.

Southern-style creamy potato salad is always a hit at potluck meals, so you definitely can’t go wrong with this one. In fact, many people consider it a must-have comfort food.

bowls of creamy potato salad on a potluck dinner side dish table

Or you can bring this easy German potato salad from Taste of Home. Keep it warm until time to serve it.

For a colorful, flavorful, and nutritious option, make this yummy broccoli slaw.

We like this delicious creamy cool fruit salad that kids love. Adults like it too, but they’re more likely to consider it dessert.

creamy cool fruit salad in a serving bowl

This classic chicken salad is delicious in a variety of ways, including with crackers, on a bed of lettuce, and with veggies. Whatever you have left over you can serve it the next day between two pieces of bread for a chicken salad sandwich.

Potluck Main Dishes

As the host, you may want to provide at least one main dish. Or if you’re a guest who likes to impress, offer to bring one of these main dishes.

Here are some of our favorite main dish ideas for potluck dinners:

This slow cooker pork tenderloin can be sliced or shredded, depending on how it’s served. 

sliced barbecue pork tenderloin

Ground beef stroganoff is a pasta dish that’s loaded with delicious flavor, and it’s easy to make a large amount for any size buffet.

Barbecue chicken is delicious. You can use this delicious homemade barbecue sauce or vary the recipe a bit and make these yummy honey glazed chicken legs. Chicken in any form is perfect for backyard barbecues and summer picnics, but I also like it during the winter holidays.

Crock Pot lasagna has become one of my favorite main dishes, for home cooked meals and at potluck dinners. Simply toss the ingredients into the slow cooker, turn it on, and come back to a delicious dish everyone will enjoy.

serving of Crock Pot lasagna

Slow cooker chicken pepper pot is delicious served over rice, potatoes, or noodles. You can also add more broth and serve it as soup.

Potluck Side Dishes

It’s common to see quite a few side dishes at buffets where everyone brings something. These side dish potluck dinner ideas will set your food apart from others.

Here are some of our favorite potluck side dishes:

Black beans are super easy to make and very economical. Simply toss them into your Instant Pot with the rest of the ingredients, and they’ll be done in a matter of minutes. Or you can soak them overnight and cook them on the stovetop or slow cooker.

This creamy cheesy Tater Tot casserole will disappear quickly because … well, who doesn’t like Tater Tots? It’s a classic and will quickly become a go-to dish you’ll want to bring to all potluck gatherings.

If you want to have the most popular comfort food on the buffet table, make this yummy classic baked mac and cheese casserole. It won’t last long.

mac and cheese casserole on a potluck dinner side dish table

A traditional green bean casserole is always welcome at any buffet table. In fact, it has become a must-have at many holiday spreads.

Desserts for Potlucks

This is where a lot of people like to show off. Remember that best recipes are also super easy. 

Here are some potluck desserts we enjoy:

My best chocolate cake recipe only has 2 ingredients. You’ll be amazed by how delicious this is for so little effort.

serving of 2-ingredient cherry chocolate cake

Another of my favorite recipes is for this chocolate peanut butter moose munch. If you make this one, be sure to have enough for everyone!

Many adults enjoy these yummy no-bake rum balls. They’re melt-in-your-mouth delicious!

If you like cookies, then try these tasty butterscotch pecan cookies. Start with a cake mix and add a few ingredients to make something that tastes out of this world!

platter of butterscotch pecan cookies

Anyone who enjoys dipping fruit or small pieces of pound cake will love this chocolate chip fluff dip.

Potluck Recipe Box

One of the things I like to do is have a handful of go-to recipes that are potluck successes. You can use any kind of recipe box for this, including a virtual one that you store in a file on your computer.

Divide them into categories, such as salads, main dishes, side dishes, and desserts. When someone asks you for a specific type of food, simply go to that group and pull what you need. 

So all you have to do when you’re invited to a potluck gathering, all you have to do is flip through your recipes to find the perfect one. The more you do this the easier the process becomes.

potluck dinner ideas: cookies, fruit salad, and lasagna

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