Things to Bring to a Potluck Dinner

When deciding what dish to bring to a potluck, keep in mind the location of the gathering and the tastes of the people who are attending. It wouldn't do to make a pot of hot soup in the middle of summer or bring turkey meatloaf to a potluck for vegetarians. Once you have the event's details, start thinking about which one of your recipes you feel comfortable making for a large group of people.

  1. Hot Food

    • Dishes like lasagna, sloppy joes, chili, pulled pork sandwiches and casseroles are perfect for feeding a crowd. However, hot food can become unappetizing as it cools. Check with the potluck coordinator to find out if there are outlets available for slow cookers and electric roasters to keep your food hot. Consider using chafing dishes to keep the food warm if you are outside or in a building without outlets.

    Cold Food

    • Salads, cold pasta dishes, fresh fruit and vegetables, dips and salsas are just a few of the many dishes you can take to a potluck. Because these dishes don't require a heat source and can be easy to make, cold food is a popular potluck option. Ask the party coordinator or other people attending what they are planning to bring to avoid making the same food. Fill large pans or bowls with ice to keep cold food from spoiling during summer parties or locations without refrigeration.


    • Individually sized desserts, like cookies or cupcakes, are easy for people to grab, since they don't have to pry a piece out of the pan. Frosted sheet cakes and brownies are easy to make and can feed a lot of people. Precutting cakes and pies before the party will save time, especially if the event is outside and there isn't a knife available. Remember to bring serving utensils for pies, cakes and other desserts that need to be served from the pan.

    Other Items

    • Bring paper products and plastic utensils if you can't bring a dish-to-pass.
      Bring paper products and plastic utensils if you can't bring a dish-to-pass.

      If you don't feel comfortable with your cooking, find other items to bring to the potluck. Ask the potluck coordinator if you can be responsible for supplying the paper products. Plates, cups, napkins and eating utensils will be a necessity, especially for potlucks that are held outside or in locations without kitchen facilities. Beverages like juice, punch or soda are another potluck option for those who don't want to cook.

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