Going to a potluck in college is one of the many ways friends will gather together, and when you go to one, I don’t want you to be that friend who neglects to bring a dish (seriously whoever has the audacity to do that will never get invited again) and a dish that is good. One that won’t stress you out and one that you won’t have to spend hours slaving away making or shopping for.
I chose dishes that are pretty straightforward to make, (I am looking out for anyone who isn’t super confident in their cooking abilities) can serve many people, and dishes that are easy on the wallet. Being a college student myself, I always thinking of those things when food is involved. I hope this list gives you an idea or inspiration of what you can bring to the next potluck you go to!
A classic dish. You can make a lot of it and it is hard to mess up. You can also make Alfredo, but in case someone is lactose intolerant, spaghetti is a good way to go. You should ask how many people will be attending the potluck in advance so you can prepare how much you are going to buy and cook. One of the lovely things about spaghetti is that you can make a lot of it for lots of people, or make just enough for one person each time you cook. Also this recipe includes meat, feel free to omit that and any other ingredients to suit any dietary restrictions of those attending the potluck.
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 25 minutes
Servings: 10 servings
- 1 pound 85% lean ground beef
- 1 yellow onion chopped
- 4 stalks celery chopped
- 4 garlic cloves minced or pressed
- 1 29- ounce can diced tomatoes
- 1 29- ounce can tomato sauce
- 1 6- ounce can tomato paste
- 2 7- ounce cans sliced mushrooms
- 1 cup red wine
- 1 15- ounce can beef broth
- 5-6 whole cloves
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or 4 teaspoons dried
- 1 teaspoon basil
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound dried spaghetti noodles
- grated Parmesan cheese
In a large pot over medium high heat, cook the ground beef until browned, about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain the fat and put the ground beef back into pot.
Add the chopped onion, celery and garlic and cook until the vegetables soften, about 5-7 more minutes.
Add the rest of the ingredients (except the spaghetti noodles and Parmesan), stir, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer, stir and cover with a lid, and cook for at least three hours on medium low heat, stirring occasionally.
Cook the spaghetti according to the package directions in generously salted water. Drain and mix into the spaghetti sauce.
Serve with grated or ground Parmesan cheese and chopped fresh green onions if desired.
Cacio e Pepe
I love this dish so much and it’s my personal favorite out of everything on this list. One time I overcooked the noodles and it look more like rice because they were quite mushy… Pay attention to your noodles when making this dish!
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Total time: 25 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
- 1 pound bucatini pasta (I’ve found any pasta except angel hair works)
- 4 tablespoons salted butter
- 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
- 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup fresh grated pecorino cheese (optional in my opinion, parm does a good job alone)
- couple handfuls baby arugula
- fresh basil and lemon zest, for serving
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Just before draining, reserve 3/4 cup of the pasta cooking water, you’ll use it later to help the parm stick to the noodles. Drain.
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the pepper and cook 30 second to 1 minute, until toasted.
Add the reserved pasta water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add the pasta and remaining butter. Reduce the heat to low and add the parmesan and pecorino, tossing until melted. Remove from the heat, add the arugula, toss until the greens are wilted and the sauce coats the pasta, adding in more pasta water if needed to thin the sauce. Transfer to a bowl and serve topped with fresh basil and lemon zest. Enjoy!
When my bestie made this four years ago for a potluck, I was like… What? Cheese and rice… That’s such a weird combo and I’d never thought of mixing the two together. It tastes good, is super easy to make, and can feed a lot of people. I recommend using real cheese so it tastes better, but you can use any cheese slices, shredded cheese, or blocks of cheese! Feel free to add any vegetables or meat to it to spice it up.
Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total Cook Time: 15 mins
Servings: 6 servings
- 2 cups Rice
- 2 cups Water
- 8 slices any Cheese
Bring water to boil over medium heat. Stir in rice and cheese slices.
Cook and stir until cheese slices are melted; cover.
Remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes. Stir. Enjoy!
This dish takes longer than most of the other dishes, so keep that in mind. It’s a great potluck dish though because similar to casserole dishes, people can just take from the pan it’s in and choose to come back for more or not. You can add or take away any vegetables mentioned in this dish, but I feel they add flavor to it!
Prep Time: 20 minute
Cook Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
- 2lbs / 1kg Beef Mince
- 1 large White Onion, finely diced
- 1 1/2 cups / 150g Mushrooms, finely diced
- 2 medium Carrots, peeled & finely diced
- 2 cloves of Garlic, finely diced
- 1 small glass of Red Wine
- 4 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
- 2 cups / 500ml cups Beef Stock
- 2 tbsp Gravy Granules
- 1 tsp dried Thyme
- 1 tsp dried Rosemary
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 1 tbsp Tomato Puree
- Salt & Black Pepper
- Olive Oil
Mashed Potato Layer:
- 4.4lbs / 2kg White Potatoes peeled
- 3-4 heaped tbsp Butter
- 1/4-1/2 tsp Ground Nutmeg
- 2 large handfuls Cheddar Cheese, grated
- Generous helpings of Salt & Pepper
- Cream or Milk, as needed (approx 1/2cup / 125ml)
In a suitably sized pot/pan, saute your Onions, Garlic, Carrot and Mushrooms in Olive Oil over medium heat until they begin to soften. Add your Mince, break it up and continue to fry over medium heat until brown all the way through.
Now it’s wine time. Pour in your Red Wine and leave to simmer for around 5 minutes to burn off the alcohol and allow the Mince to soak up the flavor.
After, add your Beef Stock, Gravy Granules, Worcestershire Sauce, Tomato Puree, Thyme, Rosemary, Bay Leaf, Salt & Pepper (to taste) and leave to simmer over low heat for a good 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally. At this point it will look like you’ve got way too much liquid but it will naturally thicken, so fear not.
Whilst your Mince is simmering, get started on the mash. Whack your peeled potatoes in a pot of salted boiling water for around 15mins or until soft enough to comfortably slice. Drain (don’t rinse) and place back in the pot. Mash with your Butter, half your Cheese, Nutmeg and generous helpings of Salt & Pepper until a smooth but fluffy texture. Add cream/milk until desired texture. Leave to one side and preheat oven to 220c (430f).
In a tin or baking dish, firstly pour in your Mince (removing Bay Leaf), top the Mince with your mash and finish with a layer of Cheese. Pop in the oven for around 20mins or until golden and crispy on top. Leave to sit for a few minutes to retain shape and then serve.
If you make this, you’re also going to have to bring something to dip into the sauce! You can bring vegetables or chips, our choice. You know the potluck attendees better than I do, so keep that in mind.
1 cup mayo
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
4 tablespoons sriracha (a little more if you like it spicier)
Mix all that together and you’re good to go! Make as much or as little as you want to for the potluck and feel free to add any other ingredients if you want.
Loaded Baked Potato Salad
I love potato salad. I love loaded baked potato salad even more because every bite is like eating a loaded baked potato, but in the beautiful form of potato salad. This is a great potluck dish because you can make a lot of it in a short amount of time so no one will miss out on it. It’s also delicious and easy to transport which is great for a potluck. Feel free to add or take away any ingredients as you wish!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
- 3 lbs baby heirloom potatoes
- 12 oz bacon cooked and chopped
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup green onions chopped
- 1 cup cheddar cheese shredded
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise optional
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup water for cooking in Instant Pot
Add oil to instant pot and turn on to saute. Add in the potatoes and roast them for 6-8 minutes, stirring on and off to ensure all the potatoes are lightly roasted.
Remove potatoes and place them in a steamer basket.
Add 1 cup of water to the Instant Pot inner pot and then place the steamer basket with the potatoes in the pot.
Close the lid on the pressure cooker and turn the valve to sealing position.
Set to a manual high time for 7 minutes. When the cooking time has finished, do a quick pressure release.
Transfer potatoes to the refrigerator to cool quickly. When they are cool to the touch, half and quarter the potatoes depending on the size of the potato.
In a large bowl, mix potatoes together with remaining ingredients.
Season with salt and pepper.