How to Throw a “Friendsgiving” Potluck for Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving is not too far away, and that means it’s time to start menu prep and nailing down your guest lists. This holiday season, we’re leaning more towards a collaborative feast – one that brings together your friends, your friends-of-friends or even your colleagues to share the joys of the season and, of course, some great food. What we like to call a “Friendsgiving” is a really special occasion, made even more so when it’s done potluck-style. Everyone brings their specialty dish or favorite beverage and basks in the holiday glory with the best meal of the year.
But just so that you’re amply prepared, we also have sample menu items that will make everyone “satisfyingly stuffed” this Thanksgiving. This sample menu of sides and desserts (best dishes to bring along to potlucks) provides traditional Thanksgiving fare, but sprinkles in a few variations for good measure. We also threw in a couple appetizers and beverage ideas to round out the menu. We’re strong believers each table should include the classic items, but there’s definitely room for creativity!
- Happy Dipping – Pumpkin Spice Fluff Dip: This sweet dip will hold guests over until it’s time to dig into the feast. Pair with graham crackers, ginger snaps or other seasonal crackers.
- Everything’s Better in a Shell? – Deviled Eggs: This popular appetizer is given a fun twist by spooning the egg filling into mini phyllo shells.
- Easy Peasy Mashed Potatoes – Traditional Mashed Potatoes: There’s no need to peel potatoes. Fresh potatoes, real butter, whole milk and half & half for a creamy homemade taste straight from the dairy aisle to your microwave and dinner table.
- Vegetables with a Twist – Asparagus Green Bean Casserole: The traditional dish with a trendy twist from the incorporation of asparagus.
- Simple Stuffing – Shortcut Sausage Stuffing: So quick and easy to make and bring along to the feast, you’ll hardly remember you were in the kitchen!
- Cheesy Goodness – Mac and Daisy Muffins: Some serve mac & cheese during Thanksgiving, but when dining potluck-style, these mini muffin versions are perfect… and did we mention adorable?!
- Crazy for Cranberries – Cranberry Sauce with Orange Juice: The quintessential side dish doesn’t have to be time-consuming or difficult to make. Use frozen cranberries and throw in some fun additions (pecans, oranges or even raisins), and you’re all set!
- Necessary Rolls – Cheesy Garlic Crescents: Every Thanksgiving table needs some form of bread, but instead of an average roll, serve buttery and cheesy crescents to sop up all that gravy.
- Mini Desserts – Pumpkin Pie Shooters: Best for last-minute creations, these adorable shooters take five minutes to assemble but taste out of this world!
- Fruity Delight Apple Pie with Cinnamon Ice Cream: Pass off this frozen pie as homemade and guests will never know the difference. In addition to the cinnamon ice cream, add on a dollop of whipped cream for a little more decadence!
- Harvest Treats: Cranberry Walnut Crostadas: This mini dessert just screams fall and can be customized with your favorite topping.
- Traditional Twist Blueberry Cobbler à la Mode: Instead of a pie, throw together a cobbler that is easily portable in a large dish and have ice cream at-the-ready for topping.
- Spice up your Apple Cider – Sparkling Spiced Apple Cider: Turn ordinary apple cider into extraordinary with the addition of orange juice and even more spices.
- Kid-Friendly – Sparkling Pumpkin Pie Punch: Serve this seasonal punch in martini glasses with dollops of whipped cream for extra flare!
To get you even more in the spirit of “Friendsgiving,” we’ve outlined some much needed tips for the hosts of the shindig, as well as the guests. Check them out below!
- Delegate: A huge perk of a potluck is that you don’t have to be stuck making the entire meal. Pick the part of the meal that you’d like to make, and pass along the others to attendees.
- Cover the basics: Ensure the Thanksgiving basics are covered (we’re talking mashed potatoes, cranberries and pumpkin pie). That way, all will have the freedom to contribute their special, creative concoction to the occasion.
- Headcount: Try and get the most realistic headcount in advance, so the size of the turkey can be confirmed and you aren’t left with endless leftovers. But even if you are, you can send everyone home with goodie bags!
- Creativity and flexibility: Get creative with seating, and be flexible on how the food is served. Depending on the location and number of guests, things may get quite tight.
- Be a kitchen timer: Think through all of the meal components and how long each has to cook, and remember to check if any can be served room temperature. Then time things accordingly.
- Talk it out: Raise your hand if you want to bring your personal specialty, and allow the host to meal plan, making sure no one else brings the same dish.
- Think big: Scale recipes accordingly, but always factor in a few more people—you never know who might show up!
- Make it a moveable feast: The entire essence of a potluck is that everyone brings a dish, so the food must be portable and easily transported.
- Don’t be an early bird or a late one: The early ones stress out the host, while the late ones might lose out on first round of food.
- If you can’t live without it, make it: Family tradition- check! Vegetarian or vegan- check! If you have a traditional item you always like to eat or have dietary restrictions, make sure to assign yourself that dish to bring along.
With all this in mind, you will surely be the best guest or host around. Happy Friendsgiving!