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What is a guarenteed crowd pleaser?

After reading a thread about potluck etiquette, I was inspired to organize one for the office...thankfully our whole office looooves food so getting everyone on board was no problem.

My only issue now is, what should I bring?! What is one dish that is guarenteed to please and ideally, does not need reheating?

Last time, I brought tri coloured pasta salad with feta cheese, homemade pesto, halved cherry tomatoes and yellow pepper.

Any suggestions would be appreciated!!

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  1. Deviled eggs. They are always gone in a heart beat. You can fix them classic, with shrimp, use avocado instead of mayo, sprinkle bacon or pancetta over them. The sky is the limit.

    1. Pigs in a blanket, bacon wrapped prunes, inari zushi, nori maki, musubi, smoked salmon (pricey), macaroni salad, potato salad, chicken wings (hundreds of ways), carpaccio, ...

      1. What type of people are in the workplace? I ask because I've worked in places where people are obsessed with calorie counting, lots are vegetarian, or in other places where something like sushi or semi-exotic would not go over well at all.

        1 Reply
        1. re: queencru

          no, no definetly no calorie counting in THIS office. we love our food.

        2. We've done more than a few potlucks here at work. One time we had so many people interested in participating that we split it up into a breakfast potluck and a lunch potluck!
          Some things that always went fast:
          baked ham (kept warm in it's ginerale/brownsugar sauce in a crock pot)
          deviled eggs
          viet summer rolls
          fried rice (even nice at room temp)
          fried chicken (served cold)
          swedish meatballs (again, crockpot)
          spinach and swiss quiche (room temp)

          1. Hello Dolly (AKA "magic") Bars with Sweetened condensed milk always seem to be hit around here.

            1. A salad of chickpeas and fava beans, chopped roasted red pepper, minced green onion or Vidalia onion or shallot, and dressed with EVOO. Have salsa verde and a Mexican hot sauce or two (of varying picantness) available on the side.

              Home made falafel balls with tahina and hot sauce on the side for dipping. Pita bread, chopped dill pickle, sliced tomato, chopped onion and fresh cilantro for those who want to build their own sandwiches.

              1 Reply
              1. re: mrbozo

                What a great idea for a pot-luck! I never thought of falafel, yet I love it so. And it definitely works at room temp.

              2. Homemade salsa or guacamole always goes fast in my office. Potato salad seems to please everyone. I also love to bring Ina Garten's Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies. They are SO incredibly rich and fudgy, you will be dissapointed by every other brownie you try after these. Leave the PB out if you prefer. The recipe makes a ton too.

                I just thought of something else. Roasted/grilled asparagus wrapped in prociutto or a good ham.

                1. Caprese Salad either served orginal or on toothpicks with a grape tomoto, square of fresh moz, and a folded basil.

                  Or just a cheese plate in general great cheese.

                  1. I'm going to a july 4th picnic and taking Flavored Baklava as a dessert that I bought at www.sweettillies.com ....It is always a hit but if your looking for an entree, my recipe club did the "best of the best" and everyone love coconut chicken strips and they are good at room temperature!!

                    1. How about spinach and artichoke dip? I don't think I've met anyone who didn't like it.

                      13 Replies
                        1. re: adventuresinbaking

                          Agreed! I couldn't think of anything that was a guaranteed hit until this was mentioned. Especially when done in the traditional hollowed-out loaf of pumpernickel with the hollowed-out bits on the side for dipping.

                          I also make one that's mostly artichoke, cream cheese, garlic, and parmesan which is super super rich and good (can be served the same way), it's always popular.

                          1. re: Manybears

                            i like it made with sour cream and mayo subbing for cream cheese. my next riff will be to add diced water chestnuts, green onions, cilantro and -- ta da -- knorr's spinach vegetable dip and soup mix. maybe some hearts of palm. heaven in a bread bowl, i tell ya!

                            1. re: alkapal

                              Adding the diced water chestnuts to this dip make me jump and dance like a cat around catnip. YOWZA! gotta love that stuff!

                              1. re: moh

                                they're that oh so delicate crunch of ecstasy. problem is, i could eat the entire batch in an afternoon.

                                1. re: alkapal

                                  there is something rather crack-like about that concoction...

                                  (sound of moh doing backflips in the kitchen and yowling like a cat in heat)

                                  1. re: moh

                                    Give it a whirl with chopped banana peppers. You know everything's better with a bit of a kick.

                                    1. re: invinotheresverde

                                      EEEK! Invinotheresverde, are you trying to make me eat more of this stuff?? Like I need the encouragement... Dang, that does sound like it would be an excellent addition to this dip - I adore banana peppers on mayo-based tuna salad. I'm doomed I tell you. And the diet had been going so well...

                                    2. re: moh

                                      i make a "snooty" all-natural/organic-in-a-hollowed-artisan-bread spindip thingy, and sil does a prepared-supermarket-dip-with-soup-packet version (i *love* them both)-- but she serves hers in & with hawaiian sweet bread. boy is it good with the hawaiian sweet bread! had to share that. :)

                                      1. re: soupkitten

                                        Hawaiian Sweet Bread? What is that Soupkitten? Something like Sweet challah comes to mind for me...

                                        (really I shouldn't ask. if it is good, i really should not know about it)

                                        1. re: moh

                                          my niece, flim flam (if she would EVER POST!) loves the king's brand hawaiian bread, and i found a recipe for her on the net. something like this clone recipe: http://www.grouprecipes.com/37231/kin...

                                          she LOVES it.

                                          1. re: alkapal

                                            2 cups of pineapple juice? That's a bit unusual. I'm sure it's still tasty, though.

                                            Moh, Hawaiian sweet bread is like Portuguese sweet bread if you're familiar with that. It is indeed like a challah/potato bread with a hint of sweetness. Really good.

                                            1. re: Miss Needle

                                              I bet the sweetness of the bread would be great with a version of the dip with banana peppers that Invinotheresverde suggested...

                          2. During the winter I have brought in my breadmaker and made fresh bread and it is always a hit.

                            I have also had good luck with Greek salad and kabobs of Italian sausage with onions and peppers. I do them on the grill at home and then warm up in the microwave.

                            1. chocolate buttermilk sheet cake

                              good salsa

                              1. There are two things of which I have never had any leftovers in over 30 years of office potlucks: guacamole and that cheese ball made with cream cheese, chipped beef, & scallions. If there is a name for this thing other than "that cheeseball thingy with the chipped beef", I'd love to know it.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Fydeaux

                                  fydeaux, thingy is correct. i checked my cookbook index. it's right above green jello salad thingy. http://www.recipezaar.com/89469

                                2. Judging from all the posts on the Home Cooking board, Bonnie's Buffalo chicken dip. Personally, I think it's vile -- too vinegary, too gloppy and not enough heat. But almost every single poster on that board gives it huge raves.

                                  Fried dumplings have always been popular. They're good even served cold. Chicken sate (except for very conservative eaters) goes very quickly as well.

                                  And anything chocolate. While I actually am starting to favor fruit flavored desserts, I don't find too many people who dislike chocolate.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Miss Needle

                                    Miss N - I've doctored up a version of this. I use only crumbled, mild blue cheese, no cheddar. I also abhor ranch dressing and only use homemade blue cheese dressing. I also use a few dashes of Texas Pete Super Hot sauce along with Frank's for extra heat. Lastly, crumbled bacon really compliments this dip.

                                  2. Tabbouleh. Made it for my BF's "International Holiday Party" and all he brought home was an empty bowl. I usually serve it with some feta cheese on the side.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: viperlush

                                      so nice and light for summer, too! pita chips to scoop! yeah.....

                                    2. As a counterpoint to some the heavier but tasty dippy type items mentioned already, I have always found a Chinese chicken salad to be greatly welcomed. I use Nappa cabbage since it has more staying power, green onion, cucumber, carrot shreds, shredded chicken of your choice, any other crunchy vegetables you like. Bag it in a few gallon zip lock bags. Dress before serving. Offer crunchy chow mein noodles, crushed roasted peanuts and pickled ginger on the side.

                                      1. If you're looking for something more substantial, you could do mini-wing/drumstick versions of Chicken Marbella. I think the recipe even indicates that it could be served at room temp. Will you fridge space to store the dish in at work?

                                        6 Replies
                                        1. re: littlegreenpea

                                          marbella with prunes, olives and capers? don't mean to be overly-critical, but marbella wings seem like they would be pretty messy, especially in an office environment (greasy fingerprints -- by accident of course -- on all sorts of documents, equipment, etc.)

                                          1. re: alkapal

                                            Ina Garten's Roasted veggies with Orzo is always a hit, and can be kept and eaten at room temp.

                                            I have a roasted corn and black bean salsa recipe (with tomatoes, avacadoes, red onion) that is devoured when I make it. If you would like me to post the recipe, I will be happy to.

                                            1. re: mcel215

                                              the orzo recipe sounds very promising!

                                              can i have it, please? :-)))

                                              p.s. i looove ina garten!

                                                1. re: mcel215

                                                  Can I have your roasted corn and black bean salsa recipe? That sounds great.

                                                  1. re: fickle

                                                    Sure. I got this from a friend who found the original recipe in a Jr. League Cookbook. I have adapted it a bit, with more tomatoes and avacado.

                                                    Here's my version, it makes a ton.

                                                    ~ Roasted Corn and Black Bean Salsa ~

                                                    1 pound package frozen niblet corn thawed
                                                    3 Tblsp oil (I use olive)
                                                    1 Tblsp. salt
                                                    3/4 Tsp cumin powder
                                                    6 Tblsp fresh lime juice
                                                    5 Tblsp oil
                                                    2 Tblsp cider vinegar
                                                    1 cup chopped cilantro (I use 1 large bunch)
                                                    1/2 cup chopped red onion
                                                    4 plum tomatoes chopped
                                                    1 jalapeno peppers chopped (originally it said 2)
                                                    1 red pepper chopped
                                                    4 cloves of galic, minced
                                                    2 15 oz. cans black beans, drained and rinsed
                                                    4 large avacados chopped

                                                    ~ Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Toss corn with 3 T. oil on baking sheet. Bake for 18- 22 minutes until golden brown stirring frequently.(I just shake the baking pan once, half way through cooking)
                                                    ~ Combine salt, cumin, lime juice, oil and vinegar. Shake well in a jar.
                                                    ~ In a large bowl, combine rest of chopped ingredients. Add beans and
                                                    corn. Add avocado, and dressing last and toss gently.
                                                    ~ Refrigerate for up to 6 hours. Serve same day you make it.
                                                    ~ Serves 16 easily!

                                            2. In my experience, potluck dishes that I've never brought home leftovers:
                                              fried chicken
                                              guacamole and pico de gallo with chips
                                              homemade bread with butter
                                              caprese salad when tomatoes are in season and local
                                              any kind of homemade pie
                                              brownies or chocolate cake

                                              If you chose a tomato dish or make salsa, be prepared for questions about your fresh produce. I've overheard a lot of concerns about tomatoes, chiles, and cilantro lately, which is such a shame.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: amyzan

                                                A crockpot full of meatballs with a variety of sauces.... creamy dill or bbq or sweet and sour. Or a crockpot of taquitos, baked that morning then kept warm in the pot.

                                              2. Mexican 7 layer dip. Homemade onion dip with chips.

                                                1. I second or third the deviled eggs suggestion. Always the first dish to go at any potluck or party I've been to.

                                                  Edited to add: oh, and second the suggestion of pigs in a blanket, made with high quality hot dogs. Went to a potluck party recently where someone brought them along so her teenage son who was in attendance would have something on the menu he enjoyed (thinking he might be picky about some of the other offerings) and I am not sure he even got more than one before they disappeared! :-) Of course, there were no deviled eggs at the party: hostess had intended to make some and forgot...

                                                  1. I agree with the deviled eggs, spinach dip in a bowl, pigs in a blanket, guacamole.

                                                    Another one that really goes over here is so simple. Any kind of seafood. I put cream cheese in a glass pie pan, cover with cocktail sauce w/horseradish and top with tiny shrimp and shredded crab. serve w/crackers or mini breads.

                                                    they devour it.

                                                    1. I've been serving this new one: take the tiny mozzarella balls, dump them into some nice fresh bruschetta. Adjust the S&P, add some fresh chopped garlic and herbs. People call it Mozza Balls. It goes in a heartbeat, you can serve it with cut up garlic naan and hummus. You can dip the bread into the sauce as soon as the chunks are gone.

                                                      1. These (Caramel Chip Bars) should be called "Lady, Please Step Away from the Platter" Bars.

                                                        I sprinkle the caramel with a few pinches of kosher salt before adding the top portion of dough, and I use 1/2 cup (or so) of chopped walnuts instead of a chopped Heath bar.


                                                        1. If you have a hot bag, you could do a homemade mac and cheese. Always gets raves and there's never any left. I just made Martha Stewart's version - delish! Could nuke it for a few min before you serve. Most people I know do not care if it's piping hot.

                                                          1. Chilled vichyssoise. For variety, make it with brocolli or spinach, rather than just potatoes. Great in the summer.