Tips for Hosting a Potluck Party

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Details, delegate, & dish it up

How to plan a potluck you’ll enjoy

What’s better than getting together with your friends and having a grand time with quality eats? Hot take: A potluck. We support all your cooking efforts and maximizing on TikTok recipe finds, but also do what we can to make planning gatherings easier anywhere we can. Because when it comes to hosting, we are all about ease. So pick your food theme, make a list, invite your friends, and delegate out the dishes.

Food Delegation Chart

Sign up form: Potluck Tasks

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what to bring to a potluck

Steps for planning a potluck

1. Pick the theme 

Execute a potluck and make it look effortless when you choose a food genre in advance. This guides your dish choices, as well as adds a level of organization and order (in the best way) to your party.

A few themes to get you inspired:

  • Greek night: The limit to toppings does not exist, IMO.
  • Taco Tuesday
  • Italian dinner
  • Game day: Yes to dipping all things in nacho cheese. It’s my cheese, nacho cheese.
  • DIY Pizza
  • Put it on a stick: Think skewers or tooth picks: satay chicken, fruit kebabs, caprese skewers, etc.
Psst… we have you completely covered for a few of those, don’t miss our theme-specific tips for pizza & tacos below;) 

2. Identify what you’re responsible for as the host

Pick out the dish(es) that you know you want to provide to set the foundation for the meal. If there’s a main course, consider taking on the main meat or protein, pasta noodles, or pizza crust. This way if you know you want a certain flavor or seasoning to find its way into every meal, you get to make that happen.

3. Decide what you can assign out for friends to bring

  • Drinks: Wine, cocktails, mocktails
  • Ice
  • Apps
  • Side dishes
  • Salads: Be it pasta, green, house, caesar, spring mix, fruit, the options abound.
  • Desserts

4. Make your guest list

Don’t overthink this one—in fact, maybe you have your potluck-ready crew set in your mind. Think about which of your friends would be a great mix to add in shared dishes and be reliable to bring what they are assigned. And excited about it too, of course. We love a cheerful cook contributor.

See how to make a guest list. 

5. Invite, plan, and coordinate what to bring

  • Pick your potluck party date
  • Invite your guests, including that potluck dish assignments will be coming upon RSVP!
  • Include RSVP date—so you can split dish assignments by said date
  • Send out Food Delegation Chart (below)
  • Set date for guests to sign up
  • Follow up with guests who lag and remind them the potluck is coming and they’re a key contributor!
Pro Tip: Copy and save this Food Delegation Chart and customize as you need!
how to plan a potluck party

6. Communicate dietary restrictions

Since food sensitivities are common and vital to adhere to, be sure to set some guidelines for your guests bringing food (which ideally is everyone, in a potluck setting). Allergy notes are included in the Food Delegation Chart, so point those out to your guests.

7. Delegate other tasks & supplies

If you have the place settings that you’ve been craving getting out for guests, no time like the potluck present! If you’d rather save the dishwashing and have your guests contribute to the supplying, make note of that as well. 

Sign up form: Potluck Tasks

Pro Tip: Check out our Favorite Biodegradable Options
tips for a potluck

8. Set-up & clean-up

Are you Host McClean yourself, or do you prefer to have your guests join in on this with you? This one isn’t imperative, since you can typically hope guests will organically assist with the clean-up post eating. Still, if you foresee a lot of set-up for a certain theme, some guests would prefer to offer their services rather than cooking and food prep time. So set-up and clean-up is a great replacement for food.

Potluck: The ultimate group bonding experience. Since gathering friends together is all about connection, we love how a potluck automatically weaves this into an atmosphere. Guests get to share what their secret tip was for making the best appetizer dip ever, how they got the supreme crunch in their salad, or what family tradition they used to make theirs happen. Potlucks are here to stay, and we’re happy with that.

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