40 Tempting Potluck Dessert Recipes
Try our potluck dessert recipes for delicious bar cookies, brownies, cookies, cakes, trifles, cupcakes and more for potlucks, family reunions, summer cabin get-togethers—or just your next backyard dinner.
Peanut Butter-Fudge Pie
Vanilla ice cream, gooey fudge sauce and peanuts sit on a chewy rice-cereal crust. Trust us, it's out of this world-perfect for potlucks or family dinners.
Tres Leches Cake
A Mexican standard and guaranteed backyard crowd-pleaser, our brown-sugar sheet cake is soaked in milky syrup, chilled, then topped with whipped cream and berries.
Pina Colada Cupcakes
Cocktail meets cupcake with the tropical marriage of pineapple preserves, crunchy macaroon bits and toasted coconut. We bet you won't even miss the rum.
Peanut Butter Chip and Jelly Bars
The flavor of these bars from Connie Siegel of Wisconsin will take you right back to your school lunchroom! If you don't like grape jelly, strawberry would work well, too.
Strawberry Shortcake Trifle
Prep time is just 10 minutes for this easy summer mix of strawberries, light frozen whipped topping, prepared strawberry topping and pound cake.
Easy Apple Cranberry Slab Pie
Purchased puff pastry adds to the ease of this dessert recipe, but the real star is the filling the pairing of sweet apples and tart cranberries. Homemade icing rounds out this crowd-pleasing potluck pie.
This rich potluck dessert is made in the slow cooker for a unique twist on classic s'mores. With graham crackers, chocolate pieces and marshmallow creme, it's messy and fun and great for kids.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Chocolate Mocha Gooey Butter Cake
We used a cake mix in the crust for this creamy chocolate dessert from the former Chocolate Cafe and Coffee House in Missouri. The recipe makes a generous 24 bars, so it's perfect for a potluck.
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.
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.
Combine sweetened Brie and cream cheese with fresh blueberries for this no-bake dessert designed for single-serving cups.
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
Sweet and tart, these moist, powdered-sugar-topped dessert bars will disappear fast.
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 a 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.
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.
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.
Apricot Stack Cake
Layering flapjack-like cakes in a springform pan is an easy way to prep this one-of-a-kind dessert. Hints of lime and honey enhance sweet, juicy apricots. Freshly whipped cream tops this potluck star.
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.
The key to a perfect homemade brownie is not overcooking it. Rather than a toothpick test, trust your eyes and nose to tell you when the brownie is set. The center will stay ever-so-slightly moist.
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
Layers of cheesecake, raspberry filling, almonds and coconut form dessert bars perfect for summer picnics and potlucks.
Dollop a mixture of shredded coconut and sweetened condensed milk on brownie batter for a fun flavor variation on traditional fudge brownies.
Prairie State Oatmeal Cake
Rolled oats keep this old-fashioned cake moist. You'll love the gooey coconut-walnut topping.