Hosting Potluck Parties

Tips For Hosting Potluck Parties

Here are some tried and true tips for hosting potluck parties that your guests will remember.

Create a theme and/or food style

You may have a Hawaiian Luau with tropical cuisine, or an around the world theme with an international food theme.  It’s your potluck, so make sure to have fun with it!  If you have fun creating the theme, you can rest easy knowing that your guests will have just as much fun when they arrive.  A theme also makes it easier to match dishes that combine harmoniously into appetizing flavors of your choice.  You can also match your music and ambiance to your chosen theme.  Listening to your themed playlist while organizing your potluck can help to spark even more great ideas for your party.


Be Specific with Your Menu

Create your potluck with  This will ensure you don’t get 10 plates of mac and cheese.  You can organize your menu by requesting specific items and assign them to a particular person.  Simply add people to your guest list, assign items to them and then send your invites.  And requesting items is even easier.  Simply mark “request” when you add menu items and anyone that RSVP’s for your potluck can choose to bring any of the requested items.


Consider and Communicate Space

Take a look at your menu and communicate oven space and counter space to your guests.  Certain items may require the use of the oven or stove.  Others may need freezing or a last-minute garnish.  Ensure you have what’s needed, and if not, provide options to potluck guests in advance.  If it is a small crowd and you have two ovens you may tell your guests, “Show up early and cook with us!  We have two ovens.”  Or if you encounter a problem with your fridge, be sure to let your guests know, “My ice maker just stopped working.  Can someone bring a few bags of ice and a cooler?”  These types of considerations and communications in advance keep the party going smoothly and prevent last-minute trips to the store.



You can request guests to bring their own serving trays.  Or, if you want to get fancy, you can let them know that you will be providing serving dishes for some or all items.  Providing a themed serving arrangement can also add a special touch when hosting potluck parties.


Assign Helpers

Add a Helper category to Potluck Buddies signup menu.  Don’t be shy.  Assign tasks such as “set the table”, or “decorate”.  Not all people may be willing to play chef, so having other options available is a good plan.  Some helper tasks are perfect for the kids, allowing them to feel more involved with the party.


Take Home Containers

If you are one of those people with an overflowing refrigerator, it may benefit you to have cheap plastic containers available for guests to pack their take home goodies.  This also helps speed up after-meal clean up and gives your guests a party reminder in the form of a tasty midnight snack of their favorite dish.


Be In the Moment

Remember why you are hosting potluck parties.  Joy is infectious.  Share love and laughter with your friends and family.


photos courtesy of Kenneth Burnett