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10 Tips for a successful and fun filled Food Potluck Party

I must say, life in the US is very different for me from what it was in India. In India, it was mostly going to work, spending time with my family. But here , it is more fun. Mainly because I quit and I am enjoying my life as a full time homemaker! But there is more to it. Here in US, there is a lot of get together.

Photo by Seamus Murray

Even Yesterday we had a small gathering at my place for dinner. Though not a potluck, we had called his colleagues for dinner (5 of them) and I prepared some of my favorites. Here is the menu for you,

Vada for appetizer
Main course - Bisibelabath, Rasam, Curd rice
Side dishes - Avial, Potato fry, Papads
Dessert - Carrot Kheer

Just wanted to share it with you. I will be posting few of the recipes soon.

The main advantage of Potluck Party is, it is enough if you prepare 1 or 2 recipes and the rest is taken care by others. Potluck means undoubtedly 'Variety'. You will have so much of variety that your tummy will get full just by looking at the food.

What if you are host of the Potluck Party? There are few pointers to be considered for a successful and fun filled potluck parties. Below are the 10 tips that I consider worthy to be shared.

1.Plan well ahead. Maybe 2 weeks before. This gives you lot of time to be creative and make the party a success.

2.Maintain a group list of all the members you are inviting to the party. By this way, you can make sure that each one is informed about the party details. You can also make sure that the items (recipes) don't duplicate by confirming the items with each person and letting others know through group mails.

3.If you are inviting more than 10, make sure you have enough space for the party. If you have a big house, then no worries. But if you live in an apartment, consider hosting it in a clubhouse or a big hall. This way, you can avoid your potluck party look too crowded and the kids will have room to play and run around.

4.Use Paper plates, Plastic Tumblers etc for the party so that you can just use and throw it. This avoids a lot of after party work.

5.To avoid the food becoming cold, make sure you start the party on time. This should not be a problem as you would have already contacted all your party members through the group mail. Also eat first. You can enjoy later. Eating first gives you lot of energy to participate and mingle with the crowd.

6.Share the leftovers. Many a times, potluck dinner/lunch ends with a lot of leftovers. Do not throw it. I bet you won’t. Instead, take them home. Make it a point to take a dish that you have not cooked for the party. By this way, you can eat food cooked by someone else for a change and by commenting the next day about their food, you build a great friendship.

7.For the menu, make sure you have at least 2 in appetizers, main course, Side dish etc. One for vegetarians and one for Non-vegetarians so that you don’t make anyone feel left out. You can check my recipe index for ideas.

8.If you are going to the party with newborns or Toddlers, make sure you have their food and their favorite toy to avoid crying at the party.

9.Not every kid loves these parties. To make it interesting for kids, have some contests or activities. This is why we need to plan (point 1). Few fun activities for kids of age 5 and above,

a.Memory Game – Place say around 20 to 30 things on a table. It can be watch, pen, pencil etc. Make the kids see it for 1 min and then cover them with a cloth. Now ask them to write down the names of the things they remember. The kid with most of the things correct is the winner.

b.Imagination Game – You can show a thing to the kids and ask them to imagine it as something different and write about it. The most creative person is the winner.

10.Plan for mementos. Make the party memorable for your friends. Give them some surprise gifts. You need not spend a lot on this. You can find lots of cheap yet cute gifts in shops.

Have you hosted a potluck party? Though I have attended many Potlucks, I have had a chance to host only once. How many times have you hosted a potluck at your place? Any other interesting tip that you want to share for a successful and fun potluck party? I may have left out some major tips. Please pour in your thoughts!


nice tips on pot luck party .. I agree with u .. there is much more socializing in the US

This is a very good list Sangeeth. Great job on putting it together. I have been a part of and hosted many potluck parties..

Make sure to tell the chefs how many people are expected so that enough quantity is prepared..

If there are many big kids, we order in Pizza too.

We warm the food in the oven/microwave before we eat..

When I host the potluck parties, I just ask the people to mention what course they will bring for (they tell me curry / dessert / Rice or appetizer something like that.. ).. So they have more liberty as to what they want to make at the same time ensuring we have enough in each category..

We tend to have a lot of appetizers.. so that people can munch and "break ice".. Some drinks/Fruit punch etc., to go with them.

Some people usually stay a little longer and help the host with cleanup of their house after the party.

BTW, Great "Pot Luck" picture :)

Pallavi, Thanks for the tips you added :) I really appreciate it!

Hi Sangeeth,
Good points listed do visit me for some articles on Potluck parties

I have attended many but never really hosted a pot luck party. I hope to do so sometime in future, sounds like fun. Thanks for the ideas.