Potluck dinners are a great idea and can be a resounding success if managed well. But remember: if not planned properly, they can become a mess.

Here, we’ve gathered a few pointers from IKEA on how to host a great potluck dinner.

Team effort

Potluck dinners are by their very nature a team effort. This essentially means that you hold the planning reins quite loose.

It is not generally considered good taste to tell people what they need to bring. Instead, create an Excel spreadsheet on a shared platform such as Google Drive where guests can fill in their plans.

You could broadly classify what is required by listing out fields such as “soup”, “main dish”, “starters”, and “desserts”. A good idea is to include details of the dietary requirements of your guests, if any, such as “vegan”, or “gluten-free”.

The spread

If possible, try to have at least two dishes for each course. This way, if someone dislikes one dish, there is an alternative.

Choose from IKEA’s wide range of serveware and tableware so you can ensure there’s enough containers, bowls and trays for everything.

Ensure that you have enough food. If you have 20 guests over, make sure each dish serves ten people at least. That way, you’ll never run out.


At a potluck, people rarely eat an entire portion as they are usually eager to try out all the dishes. This means that, unfortunately, there will be leftovers that you will need to store or dispose of.

Tell your guests to bring some containers, with the understanding that they will be carrying back some remaining food. IKEA has a broad variety of storage containers you can check out for this.

Table settings

If your potluck dinner is only for a small group, there is no need to plan elaborate table settings. If it is a large group of people though, some planning is needed.

Try to have separate spaces for each variety of food. For instance, it might be better to have all vegetarian dishes grouped together to avoid confusion. Or, it could be on the basis of starters, main dishes, and desserts.

Have pens and tags ready if you want dishes to be labelled to make them easier to choose.

Remember that as the host, you are responsible for providing cutlery, water and perhaps beverages.

With these tips, your next potluck should be a blast! Have fun!


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