11 Potluck Tips That Will Make Your Party a Success

Try these out for your next food day and avoid #PotluckFail

Everyone loves a good potluck. It's full of surprises, keeps costs low, and makes for an eclectic and memorable meal. But a potluck can also be riddled with some unlucky side effects. That's why we've compiled a list of 11 potluck tips and best practices so you can avoid potluck fails at all costs! Check them out right now and start planning your next potluck today:

1. Assign Guests Categories of Food

This is arguably the most important potluck tip. A potluck is inherently fun due to its spontaneous nature. But when you're planning a full party, you want a full meal, too! That means you don't want repeated foods or missing food groups. At your next potluck, assign guests categories of food to work with so you don't end up with only bags of chips or bakery cookies. Try a simple sign up sheet that you can email around to everyone. Because multiple bags of chips and cookies isn't our idea of a very lucky potluck!

2. Make Sure You Have Enough Drinks

Don't get caught running low on the drink flow at your next potluck! Make sure you have enough booze stocked up by using our party drink calculator to figure out just how much is enough!

Get our Party Drink Calculator. 

3. Bring Food that Travels Easily

Nobody likes sloppy seconds. The last thing you want is a soup sloshing about in the back of your car on the way to your potluck. We recommend opting for transportable meals like casseroles, slow cooker recipes, and the like over messy platter of food. Check out these fall slow cooker recipes and bring one to your next potluck (intact!). TIP: You can always plate individually on-premise when you arrive!

Get the Bacon-Horseradish Dip recipe.

4. Pack Food In Ready-to-Serve Containers

Pack food in containers that can go straight to the buffet table. It can be as simple as using disposable foil trays. That way you're not an imposition to your host, and you don't have to dirty their dishes. Just remember to bring them home with you!

5. Bring the Utensils

Don't make the host supply for everyone. Especially if this is a large potluck. Let the host relax, too! They'll appreciate your extra thoughtfulness and not having to dig around for another set of tongs or large spoons for scooping.

6. Bring a Ready-to-Serve Dish

Don't assume the host has enough oven space for the seven other people who want to warm their food. Avoid this awkwardness by bringing your very own ready-to-serve dish. Try something like a salad that can be served at room temperature. You'll get gold star guest points.

Get the Mexican Chopped Chicken Salad recipe.

7. Be Aware of Dietary Restrictions

If you're hosting, ask guests what their dietary restrictions are. Let everyone know ahead of time so they don't prepare food that could have inflammatory effects! A build-your-own bar is a great way to let guests pick and choose what they want to each. If you have a specific dietary restriction, bring something you know you can eat so you won't go hungry!

Get more buffet-ready recipes. 

8. Label Your Food

Don't make guests guess at what they're eating. Provide a recipe name and any warnings necessary (i.e. contains nuts). Your extra effort will be much appreciated!

9. Gift the Hostess

A small hostess gift is a great way to say thank you. Keep it as simple as a fun bottle of wine or put together a handmade basket filled with breakfast favorites. 

Get our best hostess gifts under $15. 

10. Batched Beverages for the Win

We love batched cocktails for group parties. It saves time and effort and allows the host to actually enjoy the party, too! We recommend a batch cocktail or beverage for make-ahead ease and less stress at the potluck.

Check out these delicious batched drink recipes.

11. Playlist Prep on Fleek

The last thing you want to be doing when your guests arrive is fiddling around with the playlist and trying to get it right. Plan ahead of time by making a rocking playlist in advance. Set the mood for your party. Because there are no awkward silences allowed at your potluck!

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