36 Tempting Potluck Dessert Recipes
Peanut Butter Chip and Jelly Bars
Connie Seigel bakes these bars to take to a Wisconsin library where Karen Grochowski organizes the packing and shipping of these and other cookies. They're sent to soldiers overseas who yearn for a taste of home.
Neapolitan Party Cake
This crowd-pleaser is easier than it looks. (You only make one batter.) Garnish the strawberry-frosted cake with double-dipped berries to hint at the festive stripes hiding inside.
Root Beer Float Cupcakes
These soda-shop-cute cupcakes are inspired by the whimsical treats served at Designer Desserts Bakery in Valparaiso, Indiana.
Berry Easy Cobbler
This warm, crunch-topped cobbler calls for 3 cups of blueberries, but if you'd like a version with extra color and flavor, reduce the blueberries to 2 cups and add 2 cups fresh or frozen tart cherries.
Strawberry Pretzel Salad
This classic potluck dessert includes a crushed pretzel crust, a layer of sweetened cream cheese, and a top layer of strawberry gelatin and strawberries.
Chocolate-Strawberry Shortcake Sliders
Classic strawberry shortcake reveals its dark, chocolatey side with these luscious mini cakes. The recipe makes 18, so they're perfect for parties.
Graham crackers form the base for this bar cookie with layers of marshmallows, brown sugar, almonds and coconut. "I've made these cookies since 1984," says Georgine Simmonds of Genesee, Michigan. "They're one of my family's favorites."
Tropical Ambrosia Shortcake
Classic shortcake meets church-basement standard ambrosia salad in this surprising and crowd-pleasing dessert that's packed with tropical fruit flavor.
Strawberry-Blueberry Cookie Crisp
Prep this easy dessert in just 10 minutes, then bake for 25 minutes. Crumbled pecan shortbread cookies form the topping over a fresh fruit filling.
Peach Upside-Down Cake
The family behind Illinois' Rendleman Orchards has amassed some great peach recipes in 135 years of growing peaches. This cake is no exception. Peach slices and brown sugar form a moist base for the tender, square cake--and when flipped over, that base becomes the topping. We like the cake warm with ice cream.
Co's Candy-Bar Brownies
Combine packaged sweets with homemade frosting for this easy dessert. Top with your favorite chocolate-covered candy bar, chopped, or small chocolate candies.
Caramel and Chocolate Kettle-Corn Crispie Bars
This recipe from Judy Reynolds of Bloomington, Indiana, was the $10,000 winner in our first Best of the Midwest cook-off. Start with a Hoosier staple—popcorn—and stir together these sweet-salty snack bars. Homemade caramel sauce helps makes them a standout.
White Chocolate Brownies
White chocolate and macadamia nuts give traditional brownies a flavor and color makeover.
Danish Pastry Apple Bars
One of the most popular recipes on our website, these bars taste like apple pie in a baking pan. "You can't go wrong with these," writes one of our website reviewers "I've taken them to all kinds of events and they are always the first dessert to go!"
Luscious Lemon Bars
Anyone who loves lemon chess pie will enjoy these bite-size bars from Palmer's Deli and Market in Urbandale, Iowa. The moist bars are topped with powdered sugar.
Orange Cream Pop Cupcakes
For this party-special cupcake, combine white cake mix, orange-flavor gelatin, orange juice, and cheesecake-flavor instant pudding and pie filling mix. Cream cheese frosting gets a flavor punch from orange gelatin and shredded orange peel.
Salted Caramel, Chocolate and Peanut Cracker-Stack Bars
These fantastic potluck bars come from Patrice Hurd of Bemidji, Minnesota. She won the grand prize in our 2012 Best of the Midwest® Recipe Contest. Patrice says they're a twist on her grandmother’s cracker bars. They cut beautifully and brim with salty-sweet-nutty-chocolately flavor.
Peanut Butter-Fudge Pie
This make-ahead dessert is an ice cream/peanut butter/fudge delight created by a Waukesha, Wisconsin, reader, who likes to take it to potlucks. You can double the recipe to fill a 13x9 pan; cut it into squares to feed a crowd.
Linda Roberts of Rapid City, South Dakota, tops her buttery cream cheese, coconut coated cookie with fruit jam. This recipe was a finalist in our first Best of the Midwest cook-off.
Buttermilk Banana Bars
These moist snack bars with creamy frosting taste a lot like banana bread. The recipe is from a Wyoming, Michigan, reader.
Mix buttery pound cake, creamy vanilla pudding, soft cream cheese, and fresh strawberries or blueberries for a rich comfort-food dessert. To trim calories, try making it with angel food cake, fat-free pudding, and low-fat or fat-free cream cheese.
Our Own Dream Cookies
It's not easy satisfying everyone, but this cookie from the Midwest Living® Test Kitchen tries to meet the challenge! It's packed with oatmeal, chocolate, peanut butter and nuts.
Cherry Phosphate Icebox Pie
A humble pie if you ever saw one, this unassuming potluck star has an almondy crust and a yogurt-based filling that mimics the acidic tang of a phosphate. Amaretti (Italian almond cookies) are available at large supermarkets. You can substitute graham cracker crumbs.
Candy Bar Cookies
These bite-size treats feature a creamy mixture of chocolate pieces, butterscotch pieces and peanut butter over a cooked oatmeal-brown sugar layer. The recipe is from a Madison, Wisconsin, reader, who takes the bar cookies to potluck gatherings.
Fruit fillings complement the sweetness of other bar cookie ingredients. Blueberry-Almond Bars was a grand champion award recipe at the Marshall County Fair's annual Blueberry Bake-A-Rama in Plymouth, Indiana. Lori Van Der Weele combined blueberries, butter, white baking pieces and almonds for this winner.
Incredible Turtle Brownies
Lots of chocolate, homemade caramel sauce and toasted pecans create a decadent, hard-to-resist brownie.
Cherry Crumble Pie Bars
Zesty lemon peel adds zing to this fruit bar cookie; almond extract and brown sugar give it extra sweetness.
Blackberry-Pecan Streusel Pie
Precook the juicy, tart blackberry filling before pouring it in the crust. The streusel topping becomes a crunchy sugar-pecan crown.
Raspberry Cheesecake Bars
Hopkins, Minnesota, calls itself America's Raspberry Capital and hosts an annual Raspberry Festival—including a cooking contest. One entry was this recipe for Raspberry Cheesecake Bars, which combines layers of cheesecake and raspberry filling in an almond crust.
Caramel Blonde Brownies
Caramels, oats and milk chocolate pieces blend in these gooey sweets from a West Des Moines, Iowa, reader.
Summer's Best Peach Pie
Just-picked fruit from your farmers market will taste great in this pie, but you can use frozen peach slices if needed.
Prairie State Oatmeal Cake
Rolled oats keep this old-fashioned cake moist. You'll love the gooey coconut-walnut topping.
Double-Cherry Supreme Pie
Dried tart cherries add extra flavor to this classic pie, which was pictured on a cover of Midwest Living®.
Krista's Kitchen Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies
These big cookies—loaded with chocolate chips and nuts—are a customer favorite at Krista's Kitchen Bakery/Cafe in Portage, Wisconsin. The cookie bakes crisp on the outside, cakey inside.
Hunka Chocolate Cookies
This recipe will satisfy chocolate lovers' cravings with semisweet chocolate pieces, unsweetened chocolate, melted white chocolate and melted semisweet chocolate. Just a half a cup of flour goes into this fudgy delight.
Cherry-Brickle Coffee Cake
This coffee cake recipe, one of the winners in a Midwest Living® potluck recipe contest, comes from a Robinson, Illinois, reader. Cherry pie filling stars in the cake.