Everyone loves a good potluck. Especially a potluck that is perfectly balanced, with sufficient main courses, side dishes, and of course, desserts.
I consider myself somewhat of a potluck expert, although humbly. I grew up in rural Minnesota and attended a Lutheran country church in South Dakota. Potlucks were – and still are – common occurrences. In fact, we look for excuses to have potlucks. Because they’re fun and highly anticipated. You never know what dishes will show up.
I decided to compile a list of 50 recipes for a potluck, combing cheap recipes from some of my favorite blogs. These ideas are hand picked for church potlucks, but many of the recipes will also work for office potlucks, friend potlucks, picnics, and other get-togethers where everyone brings a dish. I hope you find something you like – and I hope you enjoy your next potluck!
Cheap Main Dishes
- 3-bean hotdish
- Ring bologna hotdish
- Church supper spaghetti
- Cheesy bacon green bean casserole
- Cheesy scalloped potatoes and ham
- Bacon cheeseburger casserole
- Chili mac casserole
- Homemade mac & cheese
- Chow mein noodle hotdish
Cheap Side Dishes
Dips and Miscellaneous
- Cold vegetable pizza
- Refrigerator pickles
- Savory cheddar cookies
- Seven layer dip
- Layered crab dip
- Pickle rollups
Cheap Salad Recipes
- Cornbread salad
- Chicken spaghetti salad
- Zesty dill pasta salad
- BLT salad
- Potato salad (Japanese-style – try it!)
- Buffalo chicken salad
- Snickers and apple salad (sweet)
- Strawberry pretzel salad (sweet)
- Broccoli and grape salad
- Lentil, Feta, grape, and walnut salad
Cheap Bread and Sandwich Recipes
- Egg salad sandwiches
- Cheesy tomato SPAM-wiches
- Baked ham sandwiches
- Ham salad sandwiches
- Italian-style pull-apart bread
- Open-faced ham, apple, and cheddar sandwiches
- Pimento cheese sandwiches
- Perfect homemade dinner rolls
Cheap Dessert Recipes
- Fruit pizza
- Bite-sized chocolate cupcakes
- Brown butter-almond brownies
- Peanut butter and pretzel cake bars
- Brownie trifle
- Homemade oatmeal creme pies
- 3-ingredient Nutella brownies
- Wild rice cookies
- Yogurt-dipped strawberries
- Easy apple crisp
- Strawberry-rhubarb crumble
- Raspberry Jello cake
- Basic cakes (5 recipes in this post)
- Popcorn cake
5 Potluck Dinner Tips For The Budget Cook
- Bring ready-to-eat foods: Make sure your dish is ready to serve, as things can get crazy in a shared kitchen.
- Bring finger foods: Foods that are easy to grab are great for a potluck. Think finger Jello, a vegetable tray or deviled eggs.
- Your crock pot was made for potluck dinners: Keep foods like baked beans, hotdish or scalloped potatoes warm in a crock pot.
- Use pantry staples: Choose dishes that have a base of beans, pasta, rice or other pantry staples. This will keep the cost of your dish down.
- Know what foods to avoid: Avoid bringing soup, stew or chili – unless you are providing bowls for your guests. Also, avoid messy, sticky, and sloppy dishes. It’s also best to avoid new and exotic, spicy, or unfamiliar dishes. Crowd-pleasing dishes are your best bet.
And there we have it, 50 cheap potluck recipes. Please feel free to add your own favorite potluck ideas below. I would love new inspiration for my next potluck!