These Summer Potluck Recipes Are Made for Sharing
A BLT with fat slices of juicy ripe tomatoes is something we look forward to each and every summer. Think of this summer potluck salad like a deconstructed variation on the theme. To make it, simply layer crunchy bacon, garlic focaccia croutons, fresh spinach, romaine, and chopped heirloom tomatoes, then serve with a big bowl of our DIY Dilled Avocado Dressing so guests can drizzle as desired.
Southern Pork Tenderloin Salad
For a salad that eats like a meal, add some spice-rubbed grilled pork tenderloin! Along with the fiber-rich black-eyed peas and veggies, a bonus protein boost from hard-boiled eggs, and purely delicious corn bread croutons, this is one of the absolute best dishes for summer potluck menus. Plus it serves eight to 10 hungry adults. Not big into pork? You could also try the same base with grilled chicken, steak, shrimp, or salmon.
Cream Pie Whoopie Pies
Ice cream sandwiches might be what you’re used to as a seasonal sweet. But when melting is a concern, we prefer this summer potluck idea that won’t melt in your hand. This cookie sandwich recipe is particularly clever for crowds, since it comes with a mix of flavor options you can select from so everyone has a combo they like. We have a tough time picking a favorite from Lemon Cream, Banana Cream, Coconut Cream, Double-Chocolate Cream, and Strawberry Cream, so we often make a mix.
Banh Mi Sandwiches
Sandwiches are among the best dishes for summer potlucks. But why not go beyond the basic deli hoagie? We bet no one will predict that you’d bring this Asian-inspired recipe, and we’d also be willing to wager the sriracha mayo-topped pork and veggie sandwiches will be among the first items to disappear.
Blueberry Lemonade Poke Cake
A pitcher of lemonade is often one of the MVP recipes for outdoor potlucks. This fruity sheet cake takes those sweet-tart flavors and transforms them into a serves-24 dessert. The cake batter itself gets a punch from lemon zest and almond extract, then once it’s baked, the poke part comes in. Using the handle of a wooden spoon, press holes into the cake, drizzle with thawed frozen lemonade concentrate, and slather on a fresh blueberry sauce and lemon curd whipped cream. So refreshing!
Hummus 4 Ways
A make-ahead dip like this can act as a cure for any possible snack attacks while the main dish finishes cooking or if playtime gets intense and refueling is required. This easy summer potluck dish is colorful, customizable, and a subtle way to sneak in some nutrition from chickpeas and veggies. Try any or all of our renditions: Lime-Avocado, Roasted Squash, Roasted Beet, or Bell Pepper. Add a platter of crudités and some crackers and you’ll have a cool and quick nosh.
Beer-Soaked Brisket Sandwiches
Farro and Fruit Salad
Fruit salad has never been so trendy or hearty, thanks to heart-healthy pistachios and whole grains like farro. A tart and tangy DIY dressing garnishes the make-ahead summer potluck recipe. Simply layer all the dressing ingredients in a Mason jar and refrigerate. When you’re ready to serve, shake things up, pour the dressing over the salad, grab some forks, and devour.
Easy Monster Cookie Bars
Admit it—you love monster cookies just as much as the kiddos do. (We do too!) This five-ingredient summer potluck recipe lets you skip the scooping of cookies and put one pan straight in the oven. It’s one of the best big-batch dessert ideas, bar none.
Caprese Watermelon Salad
A bowl of plain ol’ watermelon is so last summer. But the super-hydrating melon is still amazingly refreshing, so don’t skip it entirely. For a fresh spin, give the juicy pink fruit some friends to complete a showy dish: mozzarella, fresh basil, balsamic, and pepper. Double the summer potluck salad for a larger (or especially hungry) crowd.
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Herbed Potato Salad
Switch things up and think beyond standard mayo-laden spud salads. Packed with fresh herb flavor and spicy Dijon, this summer potluck salad doesn't need a heavy dressing. If you're looking for herb inspiration, we love the way plump red potatoes taste with tarragon, dill, or parsley.
Gooey Butter Bars
There's no doubt about it: These moist, almond-infused bars are a guaranteed potluck dessert win. But don’t just take our word for it. One BH&G reader/baker says of this summer potluck recipe: “You have to try these!” The fresh berry topping is tossed with ginger and honey for bursts of sweetly spiced fruit flavor.
Related: 20 Delectable Bar Cookie Recipes
Summer Pasta Salad
No roundup of recipes for outdoor potlucks would be complete without pasta salad. Showcase all your farmers market faves—such as summer squash, tomato, and baby spinach—along with any noodle variety you have around. Toss in some thinly sliced prosciutto and fresh mozzarella and you’ll have one seriously scene-stealing pasta salad.
Cucumber-Honeydew Salad with Feta
Fruit salad and veggie salad need not be mutually exclusive. The light, refreshing combination of melon and cucumber in this recipe for an outdoor potluck gets a tangy twist from dill and feta. Toss it all with a zippy lemon dressing that’s just nutty enough thanks to poppy seeds.
Best-Ever Dill Pickles
Every spread of savory summer potluck items is made better with tangy pickles to cut through the richness. A one-to-one mix of vinegar and water plus 6 tablespoons of dill seeds infuse small cucumbers with a major dose of peppy pickle flavor. Whip up a 36-serving batch up to a week ahead to make party prep less hectic.
Key lime pie meets lemon bars in this sweet-tart summer potluck item that’s a terrific ending to any alfresco meal. Melt-in-your-mouth layers of lemon and lime filling burst with citrus flavor and combine with a buttery crust. Top the easy bar recipe with a dusting of powdered sugar for a final sweet and photo-worthy finish.
Frosty Caramel, Chocolate, and Pecan Torte
Cool off on a scorching day by popping this decadent treat in the freezer 4 to 24 hours before the backyard party begins. Layers of chocolate cookie crust, frozen whipped chocolate, and a surprise creamy caramel-pecan center make a delicious frosty summer potluck recipe that beats the heat.
Mexican-Inspired Mac and Cheese
Skip the boxed mac. This easy summer potluck dish delivers a similar dose of nostalgia, just with more flavor and fewer artificial ingredients. Classic mac and cheese meets zesty pork taco in this creative make-and-take casserole. Top with your favorite taco recipe fixings for a dish that's sure to be an instant crowd favorite.
Spiked Raspberry-Lemonade Cupcakes
When life gives you lemons, we say, “make cupcakes.” Fresh lemon and a dash of raspberry liqueur lend enticing fruity flavor to this fun summer potluck recipe. For a unique twist, try elderflower liqueur (aka St. Germain) in the batter in place of the berry-flavored spirit.
Root Veggie Chips with Sea Salt
Potato chips and dip? Not this time. For this summer potluck idea, bake a colorful batch of your own using beets, parsnips, and rutabagas. And remember: A little sea salt goes a long way.
Sweet and Tangy Four-Bean Salad
Tomatoes and sugar add the sweetness while a homemade Dijon-and-cider vinaigrette adds tanginess to this flavorful twist on traditional bean salad. Make it up to two days ahead of time, then add the green beans just before serving.
Deviled Egg Salad
Talk about a brilliant summer mash-up recipe! This irresistible summer potluck salad travels beautifully. Simply toss together a mixture of lettuces, peppers, bacon, and onion with these easy-to-make deviled eggs. A splash of dill vinaigrette adds fresh flavor.