Stop Bringing These Bland Foods To Potlucks—Bring These Crowd-Pleasers Instead

Stop Bringing These Bland Foods To Potlucks—Bring These Crowd-Pleasers Instead

Potluck season is right around the corner and that means it’s time to up your A-game! Hundreds of menu options can make one’s head spin, but we’ve narrowed down which potluck dishes you should swap out this season—and which foods you should swap them out for.

1. Pigs in a Blanket

Hang on just a minute! No pigs in a blanket at a potluck? Nothing against the little guys, it’s just that we’ve seen them too often and it’s time for a change. There are too many food options out there to limit ourselves!

Bowl Of Pigs In A BlanketJohnson524 on Wikimedia Commons

2. Pasta Salad

It’s not that pasta salad is a bad option, it’s that the odds of eight other people bringing the same dish are pretty high. Opt for a different choice to stand out and ensure plates are clean by the end of the potluck.

Engin-Akyurt-X4Qcaodtlh0-UnsplashPhoto by engin akyurt on Unsplash

3. Sliced Fruit

Healthy, refreshing, lots of variety—fruit is all well and good but there are ways to take it to the next level. You can toss it in a salad, spear it onto skewers, or make dandy fruit cups. The idea is there, just dare to be bold with it!

Estudio-Bloom-92Hwfhcp-Mq-UnsplashPhoto by Estúdio Bloom on Unsplash

4. Bagged Candy

There’s always one. You can do so much better than bringing bagged candy to a potluck, especially with so many simple and delicious meal options available. Next time you reach for a bag of Halloween candy…maybe just put it back. 

Yes-And-Studio-Xvyz Qeiebw-UnsplashPhoto by Yes and Studio on Unsplash


5. Leftovers

A potluck isn’t the time to unload your leftovers. Even if the meal you had was delicious, we all know leftovers aren’t as good two days down the line. Arrive with something fresh to give guests the best of your culinary prowess. 

Ello-Aeu9Uzstcfs-UnsplashPhoto by Ello on Unsplash

6. Tuna Salad

Tuna salad is often a potluck staple, but it’s also a common dish that can get swapped for something a little different. Not to mention, if you bring a mayonnaise-based dish—especially on a warm day—then you’re just playing with fire.

Day 242- Tuna Salad (8028465782)Sodanie Chea on Wikimedia Commons

7. Trail Mix

Trail mix is a fine thing to snack on but hardly screams potluck favorite. At the end of the day, it’s an option that can easily do more harm than good for people with nut allergies. It’s best to show up with food everyone (or the majority of people) can enjoy.

2021-01-06 12 15 43 Cranberry Trail Mix With Cranberries, Peanuts, Raisins, Walnuts, Almonds, Sunflower Seeds, Pepitas In The Franklin Farm Section Of Oak Hill, Fairfax County, VirginiaFamartin on Wikimedia Commons

8. Store-Bought Chips and Dip

It’s not that chips and dip will put you in the dog house, it’s that you can probably make a better dip at home that everyone will salivate over. Dip also isn’t too hard or time-consuming either, so even if you’re a busy bee you can still try your hand at it.

Tai-S-Captures-6Cgufn39Fku-UnsplashPhoto by Tai's Captures on Unsplash

9. Steamed Vegetables

Done right, vegetables can be the life of the party. But when they’re steamed with no seasoning and left to sweat in a Tupperware container, they’re not the most appetizing. Don’t be afraid to sprinkle some herbs on there and remember that baked or grilled veggies taste far better.

Bozhin-Karaivanov-3Tmhc2Vqupk-UnsplashPhoto by Bozhin Karaivanov on Unsplash

10. Cheese and Crackers

Though a perfect pair, cheese and crackers can sit this one out to make way for dishes with more flavor. That said if cheese and crackers are part of something larger, like a charcuterie board, now we’re cookin’. 

David-Kirchner-Tkztxleba14-UnsplashPhoto by David Kirchner on Unsplash


1. Dessert

No one really expects dessert at a potluck, which is exactly why you should consider it! We know you have a family recipe at home or a dish you’ve been itching to make for friends. Whip up a sweet indulgence and earn that gold star.

Sj-Ydvfndos4Iq-UnsplashPhoto by SJ 📸 on Unsplash

2. Deviled Eggs

We can’t live without deviled eggs at a potluck and it’s a classic dish at least one person should bring. What’s fun about this dish is that it looks bland on the surface, but there are so many ways to make it your own. Add some lemon juice, make them spicy, fry them, or top them with meat—now’s the time to get creative!

Anton-Nikolov-Zmy2S17Cil4-UnsplashPhoto by Anton Nikolov on Unsplash

3. Turkey Pinwheels

If you’re in a rush then turkey pinwheels are a fast, healthy option. Given that they’re little wraps, you also have lots of room to play around with toppings and spreads—and can even make several batches that cater to people’s dietary restrictions or tastes.

Eaters-Collective-Gg5-K-Mjwuq-UnsplashPhoto by Eaters Collective on Unsplash

4. Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Pulled pork calls our name time and again, and we see no reason to exclude them from potlucks! They’re indeed more time-consuming than your average potluck dish, but people will undoubtedly appreciate the effort and taste.

Pulled Pork 008Christian Geischeder on Wikimedia Commons

5. Mac and Cheese

For those in need of a heartier side, mac and cheese can do no wrong. It’s one of those classic dishes that seems simple enough but actually comes with dozens of variations that truly make it unique. 

Hermes-Rivera-4Qzaer Stya-UnsplashPhoto by Hermes Rivera on Unsplash

6. Bruschetta

Bruschetta is a go-to appetizer for a reason. If you’re looking for a last-minute crowd-pleaser, it’s loaded with flavor and surprisingly easy to make. You can also try it with plenty of toppings, such as meats, fruit, or cheeses.

Margarita-Zueva-Spexhfb3Tfi-UnsplashPhoto by Margarita Zueva on Unsplash


7. Burger Sliders

Summer potlucks are incomplete without sliders, so step up and be the hero with a plate of them next time! Even if you make the patties from scratch, it doesn’t take that long and gives you the chance to season them however you like.  

Carnivore-Style-Vioydd -Vya-UnsplashPhoto by Carnivore Style on Unsplash

8. Cheese Garlic Bread

Garlic bread may be hard on breath but it’s easy on stomachs and that’s exactly why it deserves a spot at the potluck. Whipping up your own garlic spread is easier than it sounds and doesn’t take much time either. Melt a little cheese on there and don’t expect any leftovers.

Waldemar-Zevnvcuyijg-UnsplashPhoto by Waldemar on Unsplash

9. Cauliflower Bites

Not everyone’s a fan of cauliflower, but toss them in a little seasoning (or sauce) and stick them in the oven to change people’s minds! Make them spicy or keep things mild, either way, you’re looking at a hit. 

Louis-Hansel-9Iqqvep0Szc-UnsplashPhoto by Louis Hansel on Unsplash

10. Caprese Skewers

Summer potlucks need Caprese (sorry, we don’t make the rules). A Caprese salad is always welcome, but there’s something about skewers that brings out the best of summertime. You don’t need much either: cheese, cherry tomatoes, balsamic drizzle, and fresh basil.

Benjamin-Brunner-Ehfmfjvkmn4-UnsplashPhoto by Benjamin Brunner on Unsplash