40+ Recipes to Make for a Fall Potluck
Apple Cinnamon Bread
Besides being simple enough to whip up on a moments notice, as it bakes, this easy apple cinnamon bread puts off the kind of warming, buttery, spiced aromas that usher in all the fall feels. And given just how well a warm slice pairs with a cup of coffee, don’t be surprised if you find yourself making a loaf of apple cinnamon bread on a weekly basis throughout the season. The rich quick bread is incredibly moist, thanks to the apple and sour cream, but the key to ensuring it’s as tender as possible is to avoid over-mixing. In fact, once the final addition of dry ingredients has been added to the batter, it’s helpful to finish incorporating everything together by hand, using a rubber spatula, rather than continuing to whip the batter with an electric mixer. We used Granny Smith apple in testing the recipe, but you can really use any apple variety you have on hand. Feel free to substitute the pecans called for walnuts, or leave the nuts out entirely.
Nacho Sausage Balls
Nothing says PARTY like two of the all-time greatest finger foods uniting as one. And that is exactly what is happening with these Nacho Sausage Balls. Adding chorizo, Mexican cheese, pickled jalapeño, cilantro, and crushed nacho cheese flavored Doritos to the mix gives traditional sausage balls a hit of spicy personality. They’re perfect for tailgating or holiday parties—plus, these next-level sausage balls can be made ahead of time and frozen for up to 1 month. For ease, form the sausage ball and freeze them in a single layer on a baking sheet; once frozen, transfer them to a freezer-safe container. When you’re ready to serve, pop them straight from the freezer to the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes. Serve your nacho sausage balls with favorite nacho condiments, like sour cream, salsa, and guacamole, for dipping.
Easy Butternut Squash Casserole
This delightful twist on sweet potato casserole is sweet, warm, and comforting. If you're short on time, use Whole Foods' canned butternut squash purée instead of roasting your own. Marshmallows are optional, but recommended.
Fair warning: Our editors and test kitchen staff LOVED these gluten-free brownies. Words like "decadent" and "divine" were thrown around liberally.
Instant Pot Green Bean Casserole
This take on green bean casserole removes the add-ins you’d encounter with canned soup and frees up the stove and oven for all the other Thanksgiving dishes. Browning the onions adds so much flavor to the gravy while maintaining a Thanksgiving side that’s still somewhat light—there’s just enough sauce, but plenty of flavor. This casserole is also great reheated, or even chopped up and mixed in to a stir-fry.
Looking for an easy eggplant rollatini recipe? This savory eggplant rollatini is an easy and unexpected party appetizer. Cut each roll-up in half and serve with toothpicks for a pop-in-your-mouth bite.
Million Dollar Dip
Million Dollar Dip is like pimiento cheese, but better. The mixture of cheddar cheese, bacon, almonds, green onions, and mayonnaise will please anyone with a cracker or slice of celery. According to The Vintage Church Cookbook, it originated in the Neiman Marcus department store restaurant in the 1950s and became an instant favorite. This recipe doubles effortlessly, so go ahead and make a bigger batch. If there are any leftovers, you can always use it in a sandwich.
Cauliflower-Goat Cheese Casserole
This simple but hearty casserole has a good balance of sweet-vegetal cauliflower, deeply sweet shallots, and tangy goat cheese, while pine nuts provide some tastiness and textural contrast. Parcooking the cauliflower keeps it from mushing out in the casserole, and using a shortcut like pre-floreted cauliflower helps get this done super fast. Go for a goat cheese log instead of crumbles—it melts much more easily. It’s easy enough for a weeknight, but is tasty and comforting enough for a special occasion.
French Onion Soup Bites
Easy to assemble and perfectly portable, these French Onion Soup bites are the perfect addition to any holiday party spread. They’re like your favorite Trader Joe’s freezer aisle find, but tastier.
BBQ Chicken Bean Dip
Step aside, Buffalo chicken. Move it along, basic bean dip. The game day dip to rule all game day dips has arrived. This bold yet balance BBQ Chicken Bean Dip has so much going for it: It’s easy to make, you likely have most of the necessary ingredients on hand, and most importantly—this cheesy chicken appetizer will be a winner with any crowd. The barbecue sauce used in to make the dip couldn’t be easier to mix up, and it’s one you can come back to again and again for all of your BBQ needs; however, if you want to shave a few minutes off the recipe, you can certainly use your favorite bottled sauce instead. We suggest topping the dip with cheese towards the end of baking in order to prevent the dip from becoming too greasy.
Classic Banana Bread
This healthier take on banana bread uses yogurt instead of butter, but it's just as moist and indulgent as classic recipes. This banana bread recipe isn't just easy. It's also highly customizable and can adapt to a number of flavors and substitute ingredients. Banana bread should form a crack down the center as it bakes--a sign the baking soda is doing its job. Serve toasted with a smear of cream cheese, Greek yogurt, or peanut and top with mixed nuts, if desired. You can even customize your bread with a crunchy streusal topping that the kids will love.
Butternut Squash and Spinach Lasagna
Silky roasted butternut squash stands in for noodles in this more nutritious take on the starchy pasta casserole.
Perfect Roast Turkey
First-time Thanksgiving hosts, don’t fear: We’ve got the perfect simple, yet doable turkey recipe that also happens to be super delicious. The bird comes out moist (Butterball turkeys are pre-brined, saving first-time roasters some serious time and cooking space) with a delectably crispy, brown skin. There’s a bit of butter involved, so wear disposable gloves while you’re rubbing it all over the outside of the bird. The turkey's temperature will rise as it rests, meaning that the entire bird will be at least 165°F by the time it's ready to eat.
Heavenly Taco Pie
This taco pie is a great alternative to a build-your-own taco bar. It can be made ahead of time and baked off right before the party. Just slice it up and set out some traditional toppings, buffet-style so everyone can customize. Be sure to let it stand before serving, as that’s the key to everything holding together.
Ambrosia Fruit Salad
Whether you consider it a salad, side dish, or dessert, ambrosia is a holiday classic. It's quick and easy to make and can sit overnight if you like.
Garlic Knot Chicken Parmesan Sliders
Chicken Parmesan meets a garlicky, buttery roll in this super simple yet impressive recipe. Everything comes together quickly with the help of pizza dough, but you could also use dinner rolls like Hawaiian rolls to skip a step and save time. Dress them up with wine, or dress them down with beer and bring them to a tailgate. These sliders also pair nicely with a salad or chips and dip.
Instant Pot Beef Stew
This recipe was adapted from Cooking Light's wildly popular Classic Slow Cooker Beef Stew to create a simple, speedy version of a comfort food favorite. As the original recipe notes, a nutty dark beer adds richness and depth to the stew, but be careful not to choose a beer that's super-hoppy; it will taste too bitter.
Pimiento Cheese Deviled Eggs
Two appetizer favorites team up for one incredible bite in these pimiento cheese-loaded deviled eggs.
Caramel Apple Blondie Pie
Buttery rich layers of tender cake and caramelized apples add up to one sweet combo. The secret to the crisp, flaky crust? Baking in a cast-iron skillet on a lower oven rack.
Greek Salad Lasagna
Greek salad and lasagna work well as individual entities, and together they meld together in a family friendly, big ol’ plate of food. Sharp flavors from olives, feta, red pepper and red wine vinegar liven up an otherwise classic dish. We used olives from the bar at Whole Foods—if you use brine jarred olives, you may want to reduce the amount so it doesn’t overpower the rest of the dish. Use bell peppers that are the same size so they’ll finish cooking at the same time. You can make this ahead of time and store it in the fridge for up to 4 days—if you cook from cold, you’ll need to increase the cooking time. For nice clean cuts on the lasagna, let it rest for an hour before cutting it.
Ranch Mashed Potatoes
Not to brag, but this is the best version of homemade ranch mashed potatoes around. The fresh herbs really add some zing to this side and beautifully complement sour cream and buttermilk’s tang. For the fluffiest mashed potatoes, place the potatoes back in the pot after draining them and put them on low heat—this will remove any extra and unwanted moisture. This recipe will also work with russet potatoes instead of Yukons or plain yogurt instead of sour cream. Thin out leftover mashed potatoes with a splash of milk or water.
Homemade Dinner Rolls
Soft, tender, pillowy, and buttery. What's not to love? Once you go homemade, it's hard to go back to store-bought dinner rolls.
Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Celery
We can’t decide what we love more about these Buffalo celery bites—the fact that they require zero cooking, come together in about 15 minutes, and are roughly the easiest appetizer ever OR the sheer magnitude of how delicious they are. But then, that’s the beauty of these seriously upgraded stuffed celery sticks, you don’t have to choose between convenience and full-on flavor. Crisp celery sticks are loaded with a creamy Buffalo chicken mixture—made entirely from store-bought staples—and topped off with crumbled blue cheese, making every bite the perfect Buffalo bite. Perfect for game day, these got-it-all snacks are sure to score more than a few devoted fans.
Brussels Sprouts Casserole
This solid casserole is perfect for a winter gathering and would especially be welcome around the holidays. The strong flavors of sharply biting Brussels sprouts and salty bacon are rounded our with creamy, cheesy goodness while buttery breadcrumbs add a nice crunch. It’d make a perfect side for roasted chicken or pot roast, but it’s also a nice addition to a Thanksgiving or Christmas table.
Best Fudgy Brownies
Meet your new go-to recipe for homemade brownies. These decadent treats are extra rich and fudgy, thanks to a double hit of baking chocolate and bittersweet chocolate morsels. They’re incredibly easy to make, plus you probably have most of the ingredients in your pantry already. And while we’re definitely not above boxed brownie mixes, these homemade brownies would certainly steal the show at any party or get-together.
Pimento Cheese Puffs
Classic French gougères with a Southern remix. These airy pimiento cheese puffs make an impressive addition to virtually any party spread. While the choux pastry dough may seem intimidating to make, trust us—success is just a matter of not walking away from the pan. As long as you can stay put and keep stirring (so that your dough doesn’t burn), you can make gougères.
Apple Pie French Toast Casserole
This overnight casserole could be breakfast, but it could also be bread pudding—in short, it’s the perfect thing to serve on a chilly Saturday morning. Cinnamon and comforting, it’s just sweet enough to be eaten as-is, but it’s also nice topped with a little butter and maple syrup. The chopped pecans absorb some of the moisture from the apples, leaving a nice caramelization and crunch. Assembly is super easy: Get everything together the night before, or even the day of—just be sure to let it sit at room temperature for an hour. Serve with your toppings of choice and a cup of coffee.
Lasagna Dip With Pasta Chips
Olive Garden got this one right, folks—lasagna in dip form is all kinds of wonderful, especially served with freshly fried, crisp pasta chips. Trust us, this meaty, cheesy appetizer will be a welcome addition to any party.
Chocolate-and-Peanut Butter Banana Pudding
Hot Bacon, Onion, and Swiss Dip
This ridiculously-good baked cheese dip is one of test kitchen chef Karen Rankin’s all-time favorite dishes to bring to parties and tailgates. It’s the ultimate oozy-gooey cheese appetizer. As Rankin puts it, the way Swiss cheese, savory bacon, and sweet caramelized onions play together is nothing short of divine. Cream cheese and mayo contribute a necessary touch of creaminess, while scallions and fresh thyme offer a added savory flavor intrigue, and a finishing touch of crispy onions on top delivers a pleasant crunch. Serve with pretzel rods, or other dippers of your choosing, and plan on handing the recipe over to anyone who tries it. Trust us, they’re gonna ask.
For breakfast on the go, spin this recipe into individually portioned muffins by dividing the batter among 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray and baking at 375°F for 22 minutes. To freeze muffins, let cool completely, and place in ziplock plastic bags. Reheat in the microwave for 30 seconds.
French Onion Soup Casserole
This hearty, homey take on French onion soup celebrates Georgia-grown Vidalia onions, which typically come into season in late April. Naturally sweet Vidalias are perfect for caramelizing, and this indulgent casserole with layers of bread, onions, and cheese is a terrific way to enjoy them. We didn’t think French onion soup could get any more comforting, but we took the Southern route and made it into an even cozier casserole. This dish amplifies the richness of the classic soup you crave, and it’s ideal to serve as a hearty family dinner or pack up and bring to the church potluck. It takes time to slice and caramelize the onions, but you can do this step a day ahead and store the cooked onions in the refrigerator.
Two-Toned Scalloped Potatoes
Using both sweet potatoes and Yukon gold potatoes gives classic, comforting scalloped potatoes a delicious upgrade. Perfect for family gatherings and holiday dinners at any point in the year, this impressive potato side dish delivers creamy richness, robust savory flavor, and a delightful crunch with a herby panko-pecan topping. You can assemble the dish (minus the topping) ahead of time and refrigerate up to 12 hours before you’re ready to bake.
Taco Mac & Cheese
When taco night meets mac and cheese, magic happens. Melty cheese, hearty ground beef, and a creamy Tex-Mex inspired sauce come together in this taco-mac skillet for a maximum comfort food meal. You can absolutely prep this cheesy dinner bake ahead of time to make for even easier weeknight prep; simply assemble (following the recipe through step 4), then cover tightly and refrigerate until you’re ready to bake (add a few minutes to the bake time if you’re going from the fridge to the oven). You can typically find taco skillet sauce shelved near the dry taco seasoning and tortillas in the supermarket.
Skillet PB&J Monkey Bread
Ooey gooey peanut butter and jelly goodness! Kids and adults alike will go nuts for this sweet and decadent treat, which gets its chewy, light-as-air feeling from store-bought pizza dough.
If you love ramen, you’ll love this casserole. It’s got that rich, comfort-food vibe, all while feeling like an upgraded college microwaveable ramen. The smoke from the pork and nori, combined with rich hits of mushrooms, egg, and bamboo add a lot of depths to instant noodles. You can find smoked pork near ham cubes, which is in the meat section by the chicken, or you can get it prepared in the deli. For an upgrade, grab pulled pork from your favorite barbecue place—it’ll be worth the extra deliciousness.