Potlucks are special, and a typical one involves sharing a communal meal, where everyone cooks and brings a dish or two of their choice. It’s a wholesome event where friends and family unite over buffet-style meals.
The concept of a potluck was developed for practical reasons to ensure that funerals and church dinners had enough food to feed the people at the ceremonies. If you rewind back to old tales from centuries ago, you may even discover that potlucks were initially associated with providing food for unexpected or uninvited guests. It wasn’t always about the group effort as they are now.
Potlucks are a sweet way to host parties. Speaking of sweetness, how about a potluck table laden with desserts?
Scroll down to explore four easy potluck dessert recipes.
A piece of advice you are likely to get from other contributors is to take your favorite dish or a tried-and-true dish that you have mastered over the years. Well, there’s nothing wrong with that; you can take your casserole chicken for the 10th time at a potluck, as long as there’s a demand for it.
But to us, a potluck seems to be an ideal opportunity for one to exhibit one’s cooking skills, if that’s up your sleeve at all. Would you agree that most potlucks are usually filled with spaghetti bolognese, zesty meatballs, sandwiches, roast chicken, and other savory dishes?
Additionally, winding up with leftover dishes at a potluck is disappointing; you may feel that your efforts were in vain. If you’ve made desserts at home before, you know that storing them before the event is always a headache. Even after cooking the perfect cake, you’re wondering how long is cheesecake good for. When selecting dishes to take to a potluck, whether savory or sweet, make sure you take something that you can prepare a day early in case of any mishaps, store it in the refrigerator, and easily carry it to the party.
We’ve got some easy, classic dessert ideas that you can take to your next potluck. We promise you, it’s the best idea ever.
- Chocolate Lasagna
Yes, lasagna for dessert is a real thing, and wait till you taste it for yourself, we bet you’ll never return to cooking any other desserts. Chocolate lasagna is easy to make, and you’ll be receiving ten points for creativity in adding a chocolate lasagna to the potluck spread.
The prep required for this pretty-looking dessert is quite straightforward. Simply get crumbled chocolate cookies, butter, milk, sugar, whipped cream (Cool Whip), and cream cheese for the layers (remember, it is called a lasagna for a reason). And that’s all it takes. Let’s take a detailed look at the list of ingredients, followed by the recipe.
- 1 pack of any type of chocolate sandwich cookies, crushed (Oreos are a great choice for this recipe)
- 6 tablespoons of melted butter
- 8-ounce pack of cream cheese
- 1/4 cup of granulated sugar
- 3 portions of 1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons of cold milk, divided
- 12 ounces of cool whip
- 5.9-ounce pack of instant chocolate pudding
- 1/2 cups chocolate chips, semisweet or milk
- Take a Ziploc plastic bag, and add in 36 cookies. Secure it and crush it with a rolling pin or a meat tenderizer.
- Take the cookie crumbs and pour them into a bowl. Add in the melted butter and gently stir.
- Take a 9” by 13” baking dish and transfer the cookie mixture. Press the crumbs on the dish to flatten it out evenly. Place the baking dish in the refrigerator to chill.
- Take the cream cheese and put lightly fluff it up in a stand mixer. Pour ¼ cup of granulated sugar along with the 2 tablespoons of milk into the mixer. Gently stir in ¼ cup of Cool Whip. Take the mixture and spread it over the cookie layer.
- Take a separate bowl to combine the chocolate pudding mixture. Add 3 portions of ¼ cup of cold milk. Give it a good whisk for a few minutes until the mixture thickens.
- Pour the pudding mixture on the cookie layer and leave it to rest for 5 minutes.
- Take the remaining cool whip and spread it over the top.
- Sprinkle ½ cup of chocolate chips and freeze it for an hour before serving.
- Fudge Cake
An all-time classic dish to impress your potluck crew is a fudge cake. It’s a mess-free dessert dish that anyone can easily make and take to a potluck.
- 4 (1 ounce) squares of baking chocolate (mild sweetness), finely chopped
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup of sifted all-purpose flour
- ¾ cups of granulated sugar
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 1 cup of toasted pecans (roughly chopped)
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- Powdered sugar
- Preheat your oven to 300°F while you prepare the mixture.
- Take a microwave-safe bowl to melt butter and chocolate. Heat it in the microwave for 1 minute on high heat, pausing every 20 seconds to stir the mixture.
- Once done, add the granulated sugar and stir well. Let it cool for 10 minutes.
- Take one egg at a time and mix well until it is completely blended.
- Add salt, vanilla extract, and the sifted flour, and gently fold it in.
- Sprinkle the chopped pecans on top.
- Take a 9” square pan and coat it with cooking spray. Place parchment paper on the bottom and sides of the pan. Leave 4 to 5 inches over the sides. Transfer the cake mixture to the pan.
- Put the pan with the mixture in the preheated oven and bake for 45 to 50 minutes.
- Once done, take a toothpick and insert it in the center to check if it comes out clean.
- Cool the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes.
- Transfer the cake using the additional parchment paper on the sides. Leave it for another 30 minutes before you cut them into squares.
- Dust with powdered sugar and serve.
- Lemon Bars
A popular dessert item for non-chocolate lovers. They are perfect for teas, lunches, desserts, and potlucks.
- 4 large eggs
- 2 ¼ cups of all-purpose flour
- 1 cup of unmelted butter, cut into small cubes
- ½ cup of powdered sugar
- 2 cups of granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon of baking powder
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
⅓ cup fresh lemon juice
- Preheat your oven to 350° F. Take a 13” by 9” baking pan.
- You’ll need parchment paper or aluminum foil to place on the bottom and sides, leaving 4 to 5 inches on the sides of the pan.
- Prepare the pan by coating or greasing the foil or paper lightly.
- Pour 2 cups of all-purpose flour and ½ cup of powdered sugar into a large mixing bowl. Add the small cubes of butter and press until it’s crumbly. Mix well and transfer to the baking pan. Press into the bottom of the pan evenly.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes at 350° F until it is light brown.
- Take a large bowl, and whisk together eggs and granulated sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Add the remaining ¼ cup of flour and baking powder to the mixture. Whisk it all together.
- Pour the mixture over the baked crust while it’s still hot.
- Put it back in the oven for another 25 minutes until the filling is set properly.
- Take it out and let it cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Transfer the lemon bars using the extended paper on the sides of the pan, and leave it for another 30 minutes.
- Remove the parchment paper or foil, cut the cake into square-shaped bars, and sprinkle powdered sugar on top.
- Healthy Pumpkin Spice Cake
A healthy pumpkin dessert dish never fails to please a good old potluck crowd. It’s delicious, perfect to feed a banquet, and very easy to prepare as well.
- Cake Layer
- ⅓ cup of vegetable oil
- 4 large eggs
- ½ cup of granulated sugar
- ¼ cup of whole milk
- ⅓ cup of sour cream
- 16.5 ounces of boxed spice cake mix
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 15 ounces of canned pumpkin (1 pack)
- 1 pack of softened cream cheese (8 ounces)
- ¼ cup of softened butter (unsalted)
- 2 cups of powdered sugar (sifted)
- 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 3 packs of toffee bars (1.4 ounces)
- Firstly, preheat your oven to 350°F while you prepare the cake layer.
- Take a large bowl and add sugar, sour cream, milk, oil, vanilla extract, eggs, pumpkin, and pumpkin pie spice, and mix using an electric mixer until it’s smooth.
- Pour the cake mix into the mixture, and use the mixer once more for an additional 2 minutes. Throw in the toffee bits on top of it, and stir gently.
- Take a greased 13” by 9” baking pan. Sift in some flour on the bottom and side of the pan. Add the cake mixture to the pan.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes. Check by inserting a toothpick in the center, making sure it comes out clean.
- Take it out, and let it cool on a wire rack for an hour.
- For the frosting, beat the cream cheese and butter using an electric mixture until you get a fluffy texture.
- Add the pumpkin pie spice and vanilla extract to the frosting. Beat again on low speed.
- Take the frosting and spread it evenly on the cake.
- Sprinkle with chopped toffee bars, and it’s ready to be served.
Potluck dessert dishes are sure to impress your friends and family, plus they are always a safe choice. For your next upcoming potluck, you can explore many other comfort food dessert recipes such as cookie balls and trifles that are easy to make and take to any party. As a bonus, these dessert dishes are mess-free and portable. All you need is a fork to start the feast, and before you know it, you’ll see everyone gobbling them up and coming back for seconds.