My Favorite Potluck Recipes

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We hosted our dinner club, and to make it easy, I served a potluck. Here are some of my favorite potluck recipes.

How do you serve a potluck for a dinner party? Since most of my time was spent setting up the table in our backyard, I knew my cooking time was limited. So I made the two main dishes, and everyone else brought the rest. My guests even asked if I could provide them with my favorite weekend potluck recipes to prepare.

Summer Fun Dinner Party
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Potluck Recipes and Dinner Ideas

Summer Fun Dinner Party

Potluck. I am sure you all know what the meaning of a potluck is. I was surprised to learn that “Potluck meaning” is a huge Google search term. I guess that people google it when they are trying to decide if the potluck item they want to bring has to be homemade. Hehe.




  1. used in reference to a situation in which one must take a chance that whatever is available will prove to be good or acceptable.
    “he could take potluck in a town not noted for its hotels”
      a meal or party to which each of the guests contributes a dish.
      plural noun: potlucks
      “a potluck supper”

As far as I can tell, “a dish” doesn’t specify if the item has to be homemade. Actually, “a dish” doesn’t stipulate if there should be food in it, but I think we can all assume potluck means “a dish with food”.

Our kitchen island in our white kitchen with three rattan counter stools.

Tips for a Potluck Dinner

Over the years, I have figured out how to make Potluck dinners work well. The key is to help your guests by giving them as much information as possible regarding what they should bring.

Most of the time, I send out suggestions to my guests about what they can bring. I always tell them what main entrees I will be cooking first. Then I send out a list that could look something like, “We need three salads, potatoes or rice, two appetizers, and a dessert.” Each guest picks one item, and it is easy!

Sometimes, I might suggest that someone bring a specific recipe if they have made it before. But I usually only do that if they request it.

Occasionally, I pick a cookbook and ask everyone to bring “a dish” using a recipe from that particular cookbook. The two times I have done this, I included a copy of the cookbook with the invitation.

My girlfriend told me about a time when one of her guests was supposed to bring a fruit salad. Instead, the guest left a bag of green apples on the front porch. I must say that I think that was not what was intended! What do you think?

Summer Fun Flower Arrangement

Check out my blog post here if you want to learn more about this dinner party and how I arranged these flowers.

Please don’t be disappointed, but I didn’t take many pictures of the food. It is almost impossible to take many photos while cooking and having dinner guests at home. Fortunately, I took some of the prep while cooking (but did not take any of the buffets with the food).

Usually, I am so focused on getting the food on the buffet that I forget to take any photos. Oops.

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Potluck Recipes

The Potluck Menu

  • Charcuterie Board
  • Fresh Shrimp
  • Napa Cabbage Salad
  • Cous Cous Salad
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Sea Bass with ginger Glaze and Ginger Butter Sauce
  • Marinated Grilled Flank Steak
  • Chocolate Fudge Cake

The menu for our Dinner Club is listed above. I made two main entrees: Sea Bass with Soy Glaze, Ginger Butter Sauce, and Marinated Flank Steak. The other couples brought the appetizers, potluck side dishes, and dessert.

This sea bass recipe is out of this world. I know Chilean Sea Bass is expensive, so I usually only serve it on special occasions. You can replace the Sea Bass with Halibut, which is also expensive. I will try it with Salmon soon, as I think it would be delicious and much more affordable.

The Potluck Recipes

Sea Bass with Soy Glaze and Ginger Butter Sauce

Yield: 12 small servings

Sea Bass with Soy Glaze and Ginger Butter Sauce

Dinner with Friends Main Entree Sea Bass and Chicken

When I need to impress my guests, I serve this sea bass. It really is that good!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes


  • 6 tablespoon Soy Sauce
  • 3 tablespoon Honey
  • 3 teaspoon Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 1 ½ teaspoon Cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons of water
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • ⅓ cup chopped shallots
  • ⅓ cup chopped fresh ginger
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 4 6-to-7 ounce sea bass fillets
  • 4 tablespoon chilled butter, cut into small pieces


Soy Glaze

  1. Mix together soy sauce, honey and rice wine vinegar in a small saucepan over low heat.
  2. In a small bowl, mix water and cornstarch until smooth. Add water/cornstarch mixture to saucepan.
  3. Stir mixture over medium to high heat until the glaze is thickened slightly, about 2 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and cool mixture to room temperature. Glaze can be prepared 1 day ahead. If making ahead, cover and refrigerate. 

Ginger Butter Sauce

  1. Combine wine, shallots and ginger in small saucepan over high heat.
  2. Boil until liquid is reduced ¼ cup, about 5 minutes. Add cream and boil until liquid is reduced by half, about 3 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat. Sauce can be prepared 1 day ahead. If making ahead, cover and refrigerate. 

Sea Bass

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Cover baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange fish on baking sheet.
  3. If glaze has been refrigerated, bring to room temperature.
  4. Brush glaze onto fish and bake until opaque in center, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven. 
  5. While fish is baking, bring ginger butter sauce to simmer. Remove from heat and add butter to sauce pain whisking until melted.
  6. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon over baked fish and serve.

Marinated Grilled Flank Steak

Marinated and Grilled Flank Steak

Marinated and Grilled Flank Steak
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Additional Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 23 minutes


  • one large flank steak
  • 2 TBL garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Combine the marinade ingredients. Place the flank steak in a ziplock bag and add the marinade. Chill and marinate for at least 4 hours, or best it marinate overnight.

Turn the grill on high heat. Remove the steak from the marinade and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on hot grill and sear for about one minute on each side.
Turn the grill on low and cook until the doneness you want is ready. I highly recommend you use a grill thermometer and take the steak off the grill at 120 to 125°F for rare, 130-140°F for medium rare, and 145°F for medium.
Cover the steak for about five minutes to rest and then slice it across the grain.

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I hope you will find my potluck recipes helpful and delicious. I loved making these two recipes so much!

Saffron Israel Couscous with Corn and Sugar Snap Pea Salad

My friend Ann brought this salad and it’s the second time she has made it.

We both have the Malibu Farm Cookbook, which has this recipe and a lot more amazing recipes, too. It’s confusing because this recipe has been published many times, and I am just not sure who made it first. Ha!

I am grateful that Ann introduced me to this recipe. You have to make it – it’s just that good!

Saffron Israel Couscous with Corn and Sugar Snap Pea Salad

CousCous Green Salad

This salad is delicious and healthy and a huge hit every time it is served.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes


  • 1 box couscous
  • 6 cups stock
  • Saffron, a pinch
  • 3 ears of Sweet corn kernels, sliced from the cob
  • 2 Tbls butter
  • 2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • 2 cups Sugar snap peas, flash blanched (15-30 seconds in boiling water then rinsed in cold water and drained) and sliced thin
  • 1 bunch, parsley, chopped


Cook the large-grain couscous in stock or water and a pinch of saffron, per the package instructions.

Cook the corn in butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil for a few minutes, until it is just beginning to brown. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Transfer the couscous to a bowl and season with the 3 tablespoons of olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and zest, and additional salt and pepper. Stir in the cooked corn, blanched sugar snap peas, and parsley.

Taste for seasoning and add more lemon juice if needed, because there is no such thing as too much lemon. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Napa Cabbage Salad

My friend Lori made this amazing salad, and I even ate some for dessert (I don’t eat dessert and learned that salad is a good replacement). Lori told me that you can buy all of the ingredients for the salad at Trader Joe’s, which makes it incredibly easy! This salad is another one of my favorites. I love it!

Napa Cabbage Salad

Napa Cabbage Salad Potluck Recipes

This salad is so delicious that you can't make it too often.

Prep Time 25 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes


  • Ingredients
  • 1 head Napa cabbage, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 1 (3 ounce) package ramen noodles (do NOT use season packets --- put noodles in a Ziploc and break up noodles to smaller pieces.)
  • 1.5 T sesame seeds
  • 3/4 cup slivered almonds
  • Dressing
  • 1/8 cup rice vinegar
  • 3/8 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 T white sugar
  • 1 tablespoons soy sauce


1. Cut the whole cabbage in half lengthwise, then cut each half three times lengthwise, then slice it across in about ½-inch slices. Combine the green onions and cabbage in a large bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

2. Make the crunchies: Mix the ramen noodles, sesame seeds and almonds into pan. Cook on Med-High heat. Keep stirring until toasted, brown, about 10 minutes. Cook until they are crunchy and brownish.

3. Make the dressing: In a small saucepan, heat vinegar, oil, sugar, and soy sauce. Bring the mixture to a boil, let boil for 1 minute. Remove the pan from heat and let cool.

4.Combine dressing and cabbage immediately before serving. Then add the crunchies. Serve right away or the crunchies will get soggy.

Balsamic Air Fried Brussel Sprouts

I made these as a last-minute addition when I realized the dinner menu needed some vegetables. They are so easy to make, and they are so delicious.

Air Fried Brussel Sprouts

Air Fryer Brussel Sprouts
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes


  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar



Heat an air fryer to 375ºF. Meanwhile, trim 1 pound Brussels sprouts and halve any that are larger than an inch wide. Transfer to a medium bowl, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and toss to combine.
Add the Brussels sprouts to the air fryer and shake into a single layer. cook, at the air fryer setting, pausing to shake the basket every few minutes, for 15 minutes total.
When done, place cooked Brussels sprouts in a bowl and toss with the balsamic vinegar. Serve immediately.

Unfortunately, I could not get the recipe for the chocolate fudge cake, which came from a bakery. You will have to trust me when I say everyone loved it!

I wish I could better explain how incredible this evening was. It was amazing.

Summer Fun Dinner at Night

Frequently Asked Questions


What exactly does potluck mean?
Potluck is defined as “a meal or party to which each of the guests contributes a dish”. It does not specify that your “dish” has to be homemade, so take it with a grain of salt. I think you can take whatever you want.

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Potluck dinner in the backyard with a wood table, place settings with copper chargers and floral plates and copper accents.

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  1. Thanks for sharing your table setting and potluck recipes! It all looked magical and I can’t wait to try the recipes!

  2. It sounds like a great time! I have a suggestion about getting pictures of these events. Give your phone or camera to one of the guests and ask that they get a few shots for you. Many times when invited to events or parties I’m a little shy or feel awkward. I will offer to bring my DSLR to take pictures for the host because I’m still part of the event but feel better behind the camera. I’m a former yearbook photographer so I’m very comfortable with my work and most often the hostess is thrilled to have someone volunteer to help in this way.

  3. I’m excited to try out your recipes! I also loved your idea of including a cookbook with your invitation to a Pot Luck Dinner, what a fun idea! I host Pot Luck Dinners all the time, sometimes I let my guests just choose what they want to bring and sometimes I ask for something specific. For the last 10 years we have hosted a Summer Kickoff Party at our Lake House – they’re are about 40ish families that attend (give or take). It’s A LOT of people to feed – I don’t make assignments, I just ask everyone to bring something to share and we get what we get. It always turns out great and believe me, there’s no lack of great food, no one goes home hungry for sure 🤗

  4. I did not receive your Wednesday blog’ Is there anyway you can email a copy? Heidi I follow you everyday

  5. These recipes sound scrumptious and thank you for including the actual recipes instead of links. And your photos are beautiful and inspiring!

  6. Leslie, thanks for these recipes! I share your thoughts regarding suggesting dishes for potlucks. I laughed about the bag of green apples. I know someone who was once asked to bring an apple pie and brought all the ingredients to MAKE the pie!

  7. In the late 70’s my mom and I traveled in Europe by train. I believe we were in Greece at a restaurant and not finding anything that day I was interested in on the menu, I was craving a fruit salad. The waiter said they would be able to make anything I wanted, so we tried explaining what a fruit salad was something along the lines of, “a whole bunch of fruit mixed together”, etc. When my dish arrived, the waiter was all smiles and proudly placed a huge platter in front of me with all sorts of uncut fruit, handed me a knife and fork and exclaimed, “Fruit Salad!” hahaha

  8. I had to laugh at your green apples story. Forty years ago, as a newlywed, I had a Thanksgiving potluck with my husband’s extended family. I made the main courses but had others bring selected sides. One aunt was supposed to bring a side of green beans. When she came in the door she handed me a can of green beans! I put it on the counter and there it stayed!!

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