Discover easy potluck ideas for your next gathering. From appetizers to desserts, find delicious and crowd-pleasing recipes to impress your guests.

collage of easy potluck dishes

These easy potluck ideas include some of my favorite recipes for cookouts, picnics, and BBQs. With summer here we’ve got Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day parties coming up and if you’re like me you’re always looking for new ideas for what to bring to a potluck.

These simple potluck recipes are easy to make and can be served cold or at room temperature so you don’t have to worry about keeping anything warm.

They also travel well. All you need is a tightly sealed container and you’re good to go!

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What is a Potluck?

A potluck is a gathering where guests contribute a dish to share with others. It’s a delightful dining experience where everyone brings a homemade or store-bought dish to be enjoyed by all.

From appetizers to desserts, potlucks offer a diverse array of foods and flavors. It’s a great way to try all sorts of new dishes and enjoy some of your old favorites.

Whether it’s a casual get-together or a special occasion, potlucks promote community, sharing, and the celebration of good food. So grab a plate and dig in!

How to Host a Potluck

Hosting a potluck can be be a really fun way to get together with friends and family. With a little planning, it always makes hosting a big group of people much easier since you don’t have to do all the cooking yourself!

Here are tips on hosting a potluck.

Plan and Set the Date: Decide on a date, time, and location for the potluck. Consider the size of your space and the number of guests you can accommodate comfortably. Avoid scheduling conflicts by checking with potential participants in advance.

Create a Food Sign-Up Sheet: Create a food sign-up sheet using a physical sheet of paper or online tools like Google Sheets or Share the sheet with potential guests, allowing them to sign up for the dish they plan to bring. Encourage diversity by suggesting categories like appetizers, main dishes, side dishes, desserts, and beverages.

Provide Basic Supplies & Beverages: Gather necessary supplies such as plates, bowls, utensils, napkins, cups, and trash bags. Offer a variety of beverages to accompany the meal. This can include water, soft drinks, and perhaps some non-alcoholic options. Consider having a separate area for drinks with cups and ice available.

Prepare Your Space: Arrange your space to accommodate the potluck. Set up tables or countertop surfaces for guests to place their dishes, along with plates, napkins, utensils, and cups. Consider designating an area for drinks and a separate area for desserts.

Create designated serving stations for each food category. Place labels or small signs near each dish, indicating the name of the dish and any notable ingredients or allergens. Arrange the food stations in a logical order, starting with appetizers and ending with desserts. This helps guests navigate the buffet line smoothly and prevents congestion.

Welcome and Direct Guests: As guests arrive, warmly welcome them and direct them to the designated area for their dishes. Provide instructions for where to set up their food and any specific guidelines, such as keeping hot dishes warm or labeling allergens.

Clean Up and Leftovers: After the potluck, thank your guests for their participation and assistance. Encourage guests to take home any leftovers they brought or provide storage containers for them to pack leftovers. Clean up the space, ensuring proper disposal of trash and recycling.

Remember, the key to hosting a successful potluck is good communication and organization. Once the food has arrived you can grab a plate and enjoy yourself!

Easy Potluck Ideas

Simple Salads

Salads like coleslaw, cowboy caviar, and ramen salad are classic potluck recipes that bring a refreshing and vibrant element to the table. These salads are crowd-pleasers, offering a variety of textures and flavors that complement a wide range of main dishes.

Southern Coleslaw on a plate
Homemade Coleslaw
This traditional Southern coleslaw recipe is a sweet and tangy, creamy coleslaw that is sure to be the hit of your next backyard BBQ!
Check out this recipe

This is a classic coleslaw to get your started but if you want to change things up give our avocado keto coleslaw, apple coleslaw, and spicy jalapeno coleslaw a try.

bowl with Cowboy Caviar and a spoon in bowl
Easy Cowboy Caviar
This easy Cowboy Caviar is a colorful bean salad made with a mix of black beans, black-eyed peas, fresh veggies, and a tangy lime dressing.
Check out this recipe
Three Bean salad made with green beans, wax beans, and kidney beans in a black bowl.
Easy Three Bean Salad
Three Bean Salad is a classic summer potluck recipe made with green beans, wax beans, and kidney beans tossed in a sweet and sour dressing.
Check out this recipe
Ramen Noodle Salad in a bowl
Ramen Noodle Salad
Crunchy Ramen Noodle Salad is an easy recipe for summer parties and potlucks. This simple side dish is made with crunchy noodles, fresh veggies, and a delicious dressing that brings all the flavors together.


Beans are a classic potluck recipe that never fails to please a crowd. Whether it’s comforting baked beans, flavorful chili, or fresh bean salads, beans are versatile and satisfying. Their hearty nature and ability to be prepared in large quantities make them a staple dish at potlucks, providing a delicious and filling option for everyone to enjoy.

how to make the best Instant Pot Baked Beans
Instant Pot Boston Baked Beans
Instant Pot Boston Baked Beans are made with dried beans, no soaking required, and cooked in a sweet sauce, made with molasses, and salt pork, for that traditional Boston baked bean flavor you love!
Check out this recipe
a bowl of Instant Pot Black Beans
Instant Pot Black Beans
This Instant Pot black beans recipe is an easy side dish made in just a fraction of the stove top version. No soaking required!
Check out this recipe
Instant Pot Pinto Beans with bacon
Instant Pot Pinto Beans
Instant Pot pinto beans cut out soaking and long cook times to make a wholesome side or main in a fraction of the time.
Check out this recipe
Mediterranean Chickpea Salad in a bowl
Mediterranean Chickpea Salad {Salada de Grao de Bico}
Salada de Grao de Bico is a Portuguese Chickpea Salad. Chickpeas, bell peppers, onions, and parsley are tossed with oil and vinegar for a delicious salad.
black bowl of Smoky Chipotle Chili topped with shredded cheese
Smoky Chipotle Chili
Smoky chipotle chili recipe uses a peppers and spices combo that makes a chili that has plenty of heat without being mouth-scorching hot.
Check out this recipe

Easy Deviled Eggs

Southern Deviled Eggs on a black platter
Southern Deviled Eggs Recipe
This is the BEST Classic Deviled Eggs recipe with relish, mustard, mayonnaise, and a little paprika on top. A great addition to Easter dinner and summer potlucks!
Check out this recipe
These spicy deviled eggs are a tasty twist on a classic with the zing of Sriracha, the velvety smoothness of avocado, and the saltiness of bacon. Sriracha Bacon and Avocado deviled eggs are low carb and gluten free and make a great party appetizer and Easter dinner and Easter brunch recipe!
Bacon Sriracha Avocado Deviled Eggs
These spicy deviled eggs are a tasty twist on a classic with the zing of Sriracha, the velvety smoothness of avocado, and the saltiness of bacon. Sriracha Bacon and Avocado deviled eggs are low carb and gluten free and make a great party appetizer and Easter dinner and Easter brunch recipe!
Check out this recipe
Mississippi sin dip filled deviled eggs
Mississippi Sin Deviled Eggs
These Mississippi Sin Deviled Eggs turn a classic southern dip into one amazing deviled egg recipe! Creamy egg yolks, ham, and cheese make these deviled eggs an Easter appetizer or summer potluck recipe you don’t want to miss!
Check out this recipe
Close up of shrimp cocktail deviled eggs on a plate
Shrimp Cocktail Deviled Eggs
Shrimp cocktail deviled eggs put a delicious spin on a classic recipe. An amazing appetizer that will impress your guests at any gathering.
Check out this recipe

Pasta Salads

Pasta salads are a classic potluck recipe that never goes out of style. With endless variations, these versatile salads combine cooked pasta with an array of colorful vegetables, protein, and flavorful dressings. From classic Italian pasta salad to Greek-inspired versions, they are a crowd-pleasing option that can be enjoyed as a side dish or even a light main course at potluck gatherings.

Classic Macaroni Salad in a bowl
Classic Macaroni Salad
Classic Macaroni Salad is an easy side dish for potlucks, summer parties, or Easter dinner! Elbow macaroni, veggies, and a creamy tangy sauce make this cold pasta salad perfect for feeding a crowd.
Check out this recipe
Shrimp Pasta Salad in a bowl
Shrimp Pasta Salad
Looking for a delicious and easy summer recipe? Try our tangy shrimp pasta salad with fresh vegetables and flavorful dressing. Perfect for any occasion!
Check out this recipe
black bowl of Chicken Macaroni Salad
Chicken Macaroni Salad
This chicken macaroni salad is creamy, delicious, and perfect for any summer gathering. Made with tender chicken, al dente pasta, and crunchy veggies.
Check out this recipe
Italian Pasta Salad in a white bowl with wooden serving spoons
Italian Pasta Salad
This easy Italian Pasta Salad is a tasty cold pasta salad with mozzarella, salami, peppers, and olives mixed in a tangy Italian dressing. The perfect potluck dish!
Check out this recipe
glass bowl of Greek Spaghetti Salad
Greek Spaghetti Salad
Greek Spaghetti Salad is an easy summer pasta salad recipe that comes together really quick. It is loaded with roasted red peppers, cucumbers, olives, and feta cheese, topped with a homemade Greek vinaigrette. It’s my latest obsession!
Check out this recipe
easy potluck Steak Fajita Pasta Salad
Steak Fajita Pasta Salad
Perfectly cooked fajita steak and vegetables tossed with pasta and topped with a glorious dressing that brings all of the flavors of this Fajita Pasta Salad together.
Check out this recipe
glass bowl will buffalo chicken salad
Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad
Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad is tender pasta tossed in a tangy buffalo wing sauce with shredded chicken, tomatoes, celery. Add a drizzle of ranch dressing and you’re ready for a party!
Check out this recipe
Mexican Pasta Salad | Mutli-colored pasta and bold southwest flavors make this easy Mexican Pasta Salad an awesome pasta salad recipe for Cinco de Mayo. If you’re looking for Cinco de Mayo recipes you can make ahead of time and serve at your Cinco de Mayo party this beautiful southwest pasta salad is it! It makes a delicious summer side dish for summer BBQs and picnics.
Mexican Pasta Salad with Creamy Chipotle Lime Dressing
Mutli-colored pasta and bold southwest flavors make this easy Mexican Pasta Salad an awesome pasta salad recipe for Cinco de Mayo or summer picnics.
Check out this recipe

Meat & Sandwiches

Meat dishes are a classic potluck recipe that brings heartiness and savory flavors to the table. They provide a satisfying protein option that pairs well with a variety of sides, making them a popular choice for potluck gatherings where guests can indulge in the deliciousness of meaty delights.

black plate with Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork and coleslaw
Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork
This easy recipe for slow cooker pulled pork makes delicious, tender, shredded pork that you can toss in your favorite BBQ sauce.
Check out this recipe

You can serve your BBQ pulled pork with slider buns to make BBQ pulled pork sliders, or serve it with soft tacos for delicious pork tacos!

Frozen Meatballs in the Crock Pot with spoon in it
Frozen Meatballs in the Crock Pot
This easy crock pot recipe for frozen meatballs can be paired with different sauces to make dinner for the family or easy appetizer for parties.
Check out this recipe

This is another easy Crock Pot recipe that can be served in several ways. Choose your favorite sauce to make meatballs that can be served all on their own or use a marinara sauce and serve with slider buns and a little mozzrella cheese to sprinkle on top to make easy meatballs sliders.

baked BBQ chicke sliders on a baking sheet
Baked BBQ Chicken Sliders
Chicken, BBQ sauce, and cheese, served on a warm, buttery roll. You will be a hit with everyone when you serve these BBQ chicken sliders!
Check out this recipe

Delicious Dips

Is it really a party if you don’t have dip? These hearty dips could be a meal all on their own. All of the hot dips can be kept warm in a Crock Pot and the 7 layer dip can be served cold. Grab some chips and dig in!

Sausage Cream Cheese Dip on a chip
Sausage Cream Cheese Dip
Made with just three ingredients and ready in minutes, this creamy and flavorful sausage cream cheese dip recipe is perfect for any occasion.
Check out this recipe
make ahead 7 Layer Dip in glass dish
Mexican 7 Layer Dip
Mexican 7 Layer Dip is an easy dip to make for parties. Layers Tex-Mex flavors come together in to make a simple cold dip to serve with tortilla chips.
Check out this recipe
keto Crock Pot Buffalo Chicken Dip with celery
Crock Pot Buffalo Chicken Dip
This spicy Buffalo Chicken Dip in a Crock Pot is a creamy mix of cheese, chicken, and spicy buffalo sauce that is the perfect appetizer for parties!
Check out this recipe
dipping a crostini with Maryland Crab Dip on it
Maryland Crab Dip
Maryland crab dip is a creamy, cheesy, hot crab dip recipe flavored with classic Old Bay seasoning. It’s a must-have appetizer for any party!
Check out this recipe

Desserts Everyone Will Love

Ambrosia Salad no bake dessert
Ambrosia Salad
Light and fluffy Ambrosia Salad is a classic dessert made with Cool Whip and sour cream tossed with fruit, coconut and marshmallows.
Check out this recipe
Watergate Salad in a bowl with a cherry on top
Watergate Salad
Sweet, fluffy, Watergate Salad is a classic recipe made with pistachio pudding, pineapple, marshmallows, chopped nuts, and Cool Whip.
dipping into Cherry Cheesecake Dip
Cherry Cheesecake Dip
Cherry cheesecake dip is a no bake dessert made sweetened cream cheese and delicious cherry pie filling served with your favorite dippers.
Check out this recipe
slice of Banana Split Cake on a plate
Banana Split Cake
This easy banana split cake takes all of the flavors of your favorite ice cream treat and bakes them into a delicious poke cake.
Check out this recipe
slice of Frozen Strawberry Pie on a black plate with fresh strawberries on top
No-Bake Strawberry Pie
This no-bake Strawberry Pie is made with a graham cracker crust, strawberries, and creamy strawberry yogurt then frozen into a delicious summer dessert.
Check out this recipe