Tips for Hosting a Potluck Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving potluck dishes like gravy and cranberry sauce on a table

Hosting a potluck Thanksgiving makes you the official menu manager, meaning it’s up to you to ensure that all the major food items and accompanying sides make it to the dinner table.

No one wants to cart around a hot turkey or gravy, so as the host, plan on preparing those yourself. You’ll need your guests to complete the meal, so at least a couple of weeks in advance, circulate a list of categories of dishes and allow your guests to dibs the ones they want to bring. Make sure to avoid too many dishes with similar flavor profiles. It’s critical to find out if your guests have dietary restrictions, and pass that information along to those bringing food to share. Once you know your head count, you can relay the appropriate amounts of food for everyone to bring.

For guests who aren’t into cooking, suggest they bring beverages (a signature cocktail, perhaps) and ice. You can also have people sign up to bring serving dishes and utensils, napkins, glassware and flatware.

Bonus: Who doesn’t love Thanksgiving leftovers? Set up a to-go station for guests to fill containers with their favorite foods of the day. Baker’s twine and tags or labels will help prevent accidents as well as keep leftovers looking enticing in the fridge later.