Hosting a potluck is such a fun experience, but it can be quite the challenge if you’re not prepared. A lot goes into planning a potluck, from deciding on the dishes to coordinating with your guests. But with a little preparation and a few helpful tips, your next dinner party is sure to be the talk of the town. To learn how to throw a bangin’ potluck, here are seven tips to get you started:
Pick a theme.
Before you send out invitations, consider a theme for your potluck so that guests can prepare dishes accordingly. You could select a theme based on a specific cuisine such as Chinese or Mexican. Or to make it interesting, you could base it on a particular ingredient, too. For example, cheese or chocolate are popular ingredients that you can use to create savory or sweet dishes.
TV shows or movies also make great themes where guests have to bring inspired dishes. And if you choose a specific color as your theme, you can encourage your guests to bring dishes that match it.
Create a sign-up sheet.
To ensure your potluck goes according to plan, make a sign-up sheet for your guests to refer to when deciding on a dish to bring. To do this, create a list of categories — i.e. appetizers, entrees, sides, desserts, and drinks — that everyone can pick from. For an even more orderly potluck, you can also ask your guests to write down the dish they plan to bring next to their name. This can help prevent others from bringing the same dish while allowing for more diversity in food selection.
Consider any food allergies.
Food allergies are a big deal. In fact, they can become fatal if you’re not cautious when preparing and serving food. To protect your guests from harm, ask them to divulge any food allergies when signing up for the potluck. If someone in your party has a food allergy, let the other guests know so they can prepare accordingly. This way, you and your guests can avoid any potential health risks.
Is there anything worse than showing up to a party that’s run out of food? To avoid this mishap, let your guests know exactly how much food they should bring to the party. For example, you could note servings by asking partygoers to bring enough for however many people you’re expecting. You could also be specific by asking them to bring two dozen cookies or three bags of chips and two jars of salsa.
Stock up on supplies.
No potluck is complete without supplies to eat with. So make sure you have plenty of plates, cutlery, napkins, and serving utensils on hand when your guests arrive. If you plan to serve beverages yourself, remember to set up a beverage station with cups, ice, and straws.
Designate serving areas.
To create an attractive display, you can make use of tables or kitchen islands to organize your spread. You could label each dish using a small card, grouping them by category to make your potluck look more put together. This way, when your guests arrive, they know where to place their dishes.
Clean up together.
Hosting a potluck is a lot of work. And by the time it’s over, the last thing you want to do is spend another two hours cleaning. To lighten your load, enlist the help of a few guests to assist with putting away leftovers, washing dirty dishes, or taking out the trash. This way, you can spend less time worrying about cleaning at the end of the party.
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by Stephanie Taylor | February 3, 2023
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