What Are the Best Dishes to Bring to an Office Potluck?

Updated on December 14, 2019
Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

Claudia has been writing recipes online for many years. She enjoys coming up with unique and tasty dishes, especially sweet treats.

Not sure what to bring to your office potluck?  You'll find plenty of ideas here.
Not sure what to bring to your office potluck? You'll find plenty of ideas here. | Source

The Office Potluck: Love It or Hate It

Most people either love or hate the office potluck. On the one hand, they are a fun way to get together with coworkers; on the other, they can be an uncomfortable way to spend an afternoon with people you may not want to socialize with.

Whichever side people come down on, office potlucks are becoming increasingly common. They are a less expensive alternative to catered office parties.

Of course, with a potluck comes a big decision: what to bring. And that's not always an easy question to answer.

Important Considerations

Office potlucks are different than backyard picnics, so the planning is a bit different.

  • Will there be access to a stove or oven?
  • Will there be access to refrigeration?
  • What is the seating like? Will people be walking around holding plates, or will they be able to sit down?
  • Does anyone have any dietary or allergy concerns? This one is tough in a large office, but it's something to think about.
  • What time of day is the party going to be?
  • Does the party have a theme or is it a holiday celebration?

You can't go wrong with fried chicken at a potluck.
You can't go wrong with fried chicken at a potluck. | Source

Here's what you'll find in this article to help you make a decision.

  • Easy Alternatives
  • Cold Foods
  • Hot Foods
  • 10 Best Potluck Dishes
  • Tips for a Successful Dish
  • What Not to Bring

Bring fruit to the party and jazz it up by making it a shaped platter.
Bring fruit to the party and jazz it up by making it a shaped platter. | Source

Easy Alternatives

Not everyone likes, or wants, to cook. If the party planner has a sign-up list, it's usually the no-cook choices that go first.

Here are some easy ideas that you can find in most grocery stores.

  • Chips and dip
  • Vegetable tray and dip
  • Fruit platter
  • Sandwich tray
  • Cheese platter
  • Pizza
  • Fried chicken
  • Cookies
  • Cake
  • Drinks
  • Cutlery/paper products (Usually the office provides these items, but if they don't, it's usually one of the first things to get claimed on the list.)

If you don't have time to cook, pick up a tray of ready-made sandwiches.  They are already cut into small sections.
If you don't have time to cook, pick up a tray of ready-made sandwiches. They are already cut into small sections. | Source

Cold Food Ideas

Cold foods are fairly easy to bring. They don't need to be heated up and, especially if the party is in the summer, people appreciate something cool.

Keep in mind that they need to stay chilled so they don't spoil.

  • Potato Salad—Try to stick to the no-mayonnaise varieties
  • Macaroni Salad—Try to stick to the no-mayonnaise varieties
  • Coleslaw—Try to stick to the no-mayonnaise varieties
  • Deviled Eggs
  • Antipasto tray
  • Relish tray
  • Layered dip
  • Cakes
  • Pies
  • Cookies

Hot Food Ideas

Hot foods are the trickiest thing to bring because they need to be reheated or kept warm. Slow cookers are ideal for these types of dishes.

Just make sure they stay warm so they don't spoil.

  • Meatballs
  • Cheesy Potatoes
  • Warm Dips
  • Ziti
  • Macaroni and Cheese
  • Baked Beans
  • Lunch Meat Sliders
  • Pulled Pork
  • Pierogies
  • Lasagna
  • Sliced Ham

Bite-sized treats like these truffles are perfect for a potluck.
Bite-sized treats like these truffles are perfect for a potluck. | Source

10 Best Office Potluck Dishes

If you want your party contribution to be a sure-fire hit, then one of these ideas is the way to go.

  1. Cheesy Potatoes—Also known as church or funeral potatoes. It's a safe bet that almost everyone has had these at one time or another, and chances are that the dish will be empty before everyone gets through line. This recipe from The Country Cook is a good one.

  2. Italian Pasta Salad—A nice alternative to mayonnaise based salads. Cupcake Diaries has this delicious recipe.
  3. Fried Chicken—It may sound simple, but chicken can be picked up at the store, it's easy to eat, and it tastes good.
  4. Sweet and Sour Meatballs—These are ridiculously easy to make and bring in slow cooker. Bring some toothpicks for people to use. You can't go wrong with this recipe from Life in the Lofthouse.
  5. Seven Layer Dip—Bring a couple of bags of tortilla chips to accompany the dip and you have a hit. The folks over at Dessert Now Dinner Later know how to make this great dip.
  6. Hot Hawaiian Ham and Cheese Sliders—As long as you have a place to heat up the dish, these will be a home run. This recipe from Eating on a Dime is addictive.
  7. Fruit Platter—Whether you buy a ready-made one at the store, or you make your own, the fruit will be gone before you know it. It looks beautiful and it's a refreshing side.
  8. Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars—Everybody loves these and they are easy to bring to the office. Double the recipe so there are plenty to go around.
  9. Buffalo Chicken Dip—Easy to prepare in a slow cooker, this recipe, from The Diary of a Real Housewife, is a crowd-pleaser. Bring tortilla chips, celery, or slices of french bread for dipping.
  10. Vegetable Tray—Another easy option that people love, the veggie tray. You can get it at the store, or step it up and make your own with some interesting vegetables and tasty dip. It's not very original, but the platter is always empty at the end of the party.

Salads are always a hit at the office potluck.
Salads are always a hit at the office potluck. | Source

Tips for Success

The nice thing about office potlucks is that people aren't usually expected to bring their finest dishes. Everyone understands that it's not easy bringing in certain things.

That gives people more flexibility which means that people who bring in store-bought items don't get the evil eye like they do at family picnics. Here are a few things to consider when choosing a dish:

Tips for Making the Meal

Bite-size or small portions
Bring things that are easy to eat when standing up and that don't require cutting.
Light to none on the mayonnaise
While everyone loves salads with mayonnaise, it's nice to have lighter salad options. This is especially true for a summer party. Mayonnaise can spoil quickly so opt for the non-mayo version if possible.
Use slow cookers
The best way to bring in warm dishes to the office is in a slow cooker. Food can be made that morning or the night before, and then heated through the day until the party.
Pre-cut portions
For things like cookie bars or lasagna, pre-cut the portions so people don't have to fuss in the line.
Dessert dips are often found at potlucks.
Dessert dips are often found at potlucks. | Source

What Not to Bring to an Office Potluck

Food Item
I've been to office potlucks where leftovers were brought and they tasted old. If you didn't have time to make anything, just buy a bag of chips. At least you will have brought somethings.
Strong smelling items
Fish can be particularly strong and the smell can linger for days.
Messy items
People may find it difficult to eat without spilling on themselves or getting the sauce all over their hands.
Assemble yourself items
Unless the event is a taco bar, most people don't want to have to assemble food when there is a long line of hungry coworkers behind them.
Unshelled nuts
This is far too much work for a potluck.
While many people like it, more will be turned off by it, especially after it has been sitting on the counter for a while.
Unless it's a soup event, steer clear of it. It's hard to eat and chances are that there won't be any bowls.
Olives with pits
If you are bringing a relish tray, spring for the pitted olives. You don't want anyone to break a tooth, or find the pits around the office for months to come.
Greasy items
We've all seen the casserole that is floating in grease. It's pretty unappealing and it's usually still there at the end of the day.

What kind of potluck dish will you be bringing?

See results

© 2019 Claudia Mitchell


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile imageAUTHOR

      Claudia Mitchell 

      2 months ago

      Thanks for stopping by. Those cheesy potatoes are the best!

    • profile image


      3 months ago

      Believe it or not, I have never eaten Cheesy Potatoes--something similar, but your crispy topping sounds yummy! Need to bookmark your recipes too...always needing that 'potluck' take! Thanks for sharing!

    • Jaden Holley profile image

      Jaden Holley 

      8 months ago

      bleh potluck

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile imageAUTHOR

      Claudia Mitchell 

      16 months ago

      Hi Thelma - You are right, these dishes are good for any kind of gathering. It is definitely tough to come up with good and easy-to-take things to an office potluck. Thanks for stopping by.

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 

      16 months ago from Germany and Philippines

      These are good potluck ideas. The food are not only good for the office potluck but also for any gatherings with friends and family. Looking at the food photos makes me hungry and want to have a picnic with my family. Thanks for sharing this. Have a great day.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile imageAUTHOR

      Claudia Mitchell 

      17 months ago

      Thanks Patricia & Liz! You definitely want a good variety at the office potluck. It's no fun if everyone brings the same thing and unfortunately some things do go bad, but if there is access to refrigerators then it's not such a big problem.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      17 months ago from UK

      There are similarities with bring and share after church lunches. The main thing is ensuring that there is a good variety. In the UK these kind of lunches used to be characterised by a lot of quiches. Thankfully the variety has improved these days. The issue we have now is wastage. What can you do with food that has been standing on a buffet in warm weather conditions for several hours? Sadly, due to food hygiene concerns, often a lot of leftovers get thrown away.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      17 months ago from North Central Florida

      You have offered a plethora of suggestions that will be helpful for potlucks of any kind Considering whether the items need refrigeration or warmth is so important I am marking this to share with friends Angels are on the way this evening ps


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, delishably.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)