Hosting a Potluck

Potluck Tips

Hosting a Potluck

  • Choose the type of potluck that will work the best for the guests attending. For example: (1) appetizers only, (2) bring your favorite dish, (3) assign each guest to bring an appetizer, main dish, or dessert, or (4) as the host, you will provide the main dish (a turkey, ham, sloppy joe's, etc.) and ask the guest to bring appetizer and side dishes.
  • Be considerate of guests that may be traveling, recommend they bring non perishables (i.e.: cookies, bread, store bought pickles, etc.). If you have oven space, suggest a ready to bake casserole that can be kept cold until they arrive at your home.
  • Unless you are able to seat everyone while they eat, ask guests to bring foods that do not require cutting with a knife.
  • It is the host's responsibility to provide serving utensils, potholders, cups, napkins, condiments, etc.
  • Ask guests to bring their dish in a disposable container to reduce confusion when it is time to clean up, or asks guests to clearly display their name on the container.
  • To prevent being overwhelmed by leftovers, have small disposable containers available so your guests can bring leftovers home.
  • Can I get that recipe? Ask your guests to bring copies of their recipes to share.
  • If you are not planning to provide beverages, be sure to convey that to your guests. If you choose to provide the beverages, be sure to have non-alcoholic drinks available.
  • If you have chosen to provide beverages, fill a large barrel or planter with ice to keep the beverages chilled.
  • If children will be present, keep this in mind when choosing their beverages. A bright red fruit punch could be a disaster.
  • Clean out the refrigerator, you will need the extra storage.
  • Have extension cords available for dishes that need to be kept hot. Choose a safe area in your home for hot foods so the cords do not create a hazard. Use duck tape to secure the cords to the floor.
  • To prevent congestion, separate the food area from the beverage area.
  • To help prevent food from spoiling, set out smaller platters of food and replenish them as needed. When refilling perishable food, replace or wash the platter first to prevent contamination.
  • Prevent allergic reactions to food by asking all guests to list the ingredients of their dish. Display the list with the dish, this is particularly important when you are having a large gathering.
  • Clear clutter so guests are able to put down their drinks. This will help prevent spilling from trying to juggle drinks and food.

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