Friendsgiving Food Ideas: 30 Appetizer, Side Dish, and Dessert Recipes
Attending a potluck Friendsgiving? Use our menu of easy Thanksgiving appetizers and side dish recipes to decide what to bring to your party.
Friendsgiving Food Ideas
A Friendsgiving potluck menu follows very few—if any—rules. While turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes are tried-and-true Thanksgiving staples, Friendsgiving dishes don’t need to follow tradition. Whether you cook a turkey or just rely on stunning appetizers and sides, your Friendsgiving potluck has one simple goal—indulge in delicious food with good friends over cheerful conversation while the drinks keep on flowing. Our party-perfect, stress-free Friendsgiving food ideas will help you plan the ultimate menu from start to finish. Find easy Friendsgiving recipes—from Friendsgiving appetizers and sides to Friendsgiving desserts—that can easily feed and please a crowd.
Kick off your Friendsgiving menu with a mouthwatering spread of crunchy, chewy, salty, and sweet snacks. Our collection of super-simple Friendsgiving appetizers come together quickly and are sure to satisfy a large group. Find bite-sized finger foods, delicious dips, festive cocktails, and more to pique guests’ appetites before the serious feasting starts.
Roasted Carrot Platter
Sumac-spiced pita chips make perfect vehicles for this addictive herbed Greek yogurt dip. Aromatic roasted carrots, toasted hazelnut, and fresh parsley over top adds lends crunch and a splash of color to this zippy app.
Pigs in an Everything Blanket with Cream Cheese Dip
When considering things to make for Friendsgiving, finger foods such as this imaginative riff on pigs in blanket are a surefire pick. Everything bagel seasoning gives this comforting snack a boost of salty, garlicky goodness, while the herbed buttermilk-cream cheese dipping sauce is savory heaven.
Smoky Pumpkin Hummus
While hummus is staple snack at any Friendsgiving potluck, homemade varieties have a way of always feeling special. We give the classic recipe of chickpeas and tahini a seasonal twist by adding a familiar fall ingredient—pumpkin—then kick it up a notch with adobo sauce and hot chile oil.
Spinach and Artichoke Dip
This craveworthy, deliciously cheesy app is an instant crowd pleaser at any gathering. You can mix all the ingredients together in advance—but save the final sprinkling of cheese until right before you’re ready to bake it. Serve with tortilla chips, toasted baguette slices, or pita chips.
Baked Brie Bites
Baked brie may be a go-to potluck dish, but it can be an ooey, gooey (and delicious) mess. Our clever riff reimagines the classic recipe into a handheld snack by using ready-to-fill phyllo pastry shells. Spicy pepper jelly, toasted pecans, and a sea salt garnish balance the richness of the cheese.
Jalapeno Cheese Straws
Add these addictively crunchy cheese straws to your Friendsgiving menu and watch them disappear. Our foolproof recipe can easily be made in advance—store the cheese straws between layers of parchment paper in a sealed plastic container.
Crispy Potato Chips
Homemade potato chips pack an irresistibly salty crunch that will send guests reaching for more. Plus, this craveworthy snack is much easier to make from scratch then most would realize—you can slice the potatoes thinly with a sharp knife, but a mandoline will get the job done faster. Serve with a simple sour cream and onion dip on the side.
Salmon Cucumber Bites
This cooling, creamy smoked salmon snack makes a perfect lighter Friendsgiving appetizer. You can make the crème fraiche mixture and slice the cucumbers ahead of time—just make sure to store cut cukes in a sealed plastic container in the refrigerator to preserve their crispness.
Sangria, a fruity, easy-drinking wine cocktail with Spanish origins, gets a Thanksgiving twist with fresh cranberries. We recommend a fruity red such as beaujolais or zinfandel, but you can also use a Spanish tempranillo or garnacha. If have leftover red wine, enjoy it with the main meal—it’s a perfect match for richer dishes.
Apple Cider Margarita
Margaritas call for a festive celebration, and our fall-inspired riff perfectly fits the bill on any Friendsgiving menu. Here, we give the traditional tequila cocktail a seasonal makeover with fresh apple cider and cinnamon.
Friendsgiving Side Dishes
Delicious, indulgent side dishes are the foundations of your Friendsgiving potluck menu. Choose recipes that can easily feed a crowd, such as creamy green bean casserole, gooey mac and cheese, or a big green salad. You’ll find a mix of traditional favorites and clever riffs, all guaranteed to be to instant hits at your gathering.
Instant Pot Cranberry Sauce
This powerful cranberry-apple sauce carries enough flavors to make it go far. Keep it traditional and serve with turkey, or think outside the box and use a dollop on this Instant Pot Pumpkin Soup. Although it's quick and easy to make, we'd suggest prepping it a few days in advance—this Instant Pot Cranberry Sauce only gets better with time.
Instant Pot Brussels Sprouts and Farro Salad
Hearty and filling, this easy Instant Pot side dish was an instant hit in our test kitchen. For a vegetarian option, omit the bacon, saute the Brussels sprouts in olive oil, and cook the farro in vegetable stock.
Roasted Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes
Because a Friendsgiving potluck menu need not follow tradition, why not give classic mashed potatoes an upgrade with roasted cauliflower? The remaining ingredients—milk, butter, salt, and pepper—you probably have on hand already.
Skillet Green Bean Casserole
Our lighter and speedier green bean casserole is a fresh take on the classic Thanksgiving side. Crisp-tender green beans, fresh mushrooms and a cheesy sauce get a sprinkling of homemade breadcrumbs—then we crisp everything up with the broiler. Not to mention, the cast iron skillet makes for a memorable presentation.
Brussels Sprout and Sweet Potato Salad
If you’re scrambling to think of things to make for Friendsgiving, this speedy and simple autumn veggie salad will save the day. Quick-roasted Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes, which pack a powerful nutrition punch, are brightened with a tangy-sweet vinaigrette of apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, and honey.
Hawaiian Sweet Roll Citrus Stuffing
Savory meets sweet in this heavenly stuffing that’s guaranteed to be a hit at your Friendsgiving potluck. The star ingredient—soft, fluffy Hawaiian sweet rolls—is enlivened by crisp bacon, fresh herbs, and orange zest.
Mac and Cheese with Squash
Cheesy squash purée stands in for traditional French mornay sauce in this lighter take on classic macaroni and cheese. Our recipe calls for cheddar, but gouda, gruyere, and even goat cheese would be delicious.
Cranberry Sauce with Gin
Cranberries simmer with a splash of gin and crushed juniper berries (the main flavor component of gin) for a balanced and bright take on the traditionally tart sauce. It’s as delicious with sides as it is with turkey. Plus, you can use leftover gin to make a plethora of sophisticated cocktails.
Fall Greens and Pear Salad
Balance the richer dishes on your Friendsgiving menu with this crisp green salad, which packs a delicious array of fresh fall flavors. Tender-sweet butter lettuce combine with bitter radicchio leaves, while crisp juicy pears get a boost from creamy goat cheese.
Blueberry Corn Muffins
These blueberry-infused corn muffins bake up quickly and are a perfectly crowd pleasing addition to any Friendsgiving menu. This recipe makes about 12 muffins, but if you’re feeding a large group, try making mini muffins with a 24-cup muffin tin.
After the feast, keep the festive spirit going at the table by serving a mix of bite-sized treats and shareable sweets. Someone is bound to bring a pie no matter what, so we’ve focused on a mix of creatively crowdpleasing Friendsgiving desserts.
Beef Fat Fudge
Make no mistake, a fudge recipe sporting beef fat in place of butter is a treat for the adventurous eater—but this salty-sweet chocolate candy is in no way a “stunt food” not fit for consumption. In fact, the balance of bittersweet chocolate and rich, savory beef fat makes perfect sense on the palate—just take a bite, and you’ll understand. Furthermore, you’ll understand just why this is the perfect homemade treat to gift all of your food enthusiastic friends this holiday season. The final step of whipping your candy mixture creates a stable matrix and gives the fudge volume and a delightfully creamy texture. Given the chocolate candy’s heavier flavor profile, the lighter density works very well.
Instant Pot Salted Caramel-Pecan Cheesecake
Rich, creamy, and smooth, this cheesecake "bakes" surprisingly well right in the Instant Pot. Drizzle your remaining caramel sauce on top after the dessert cools to make this showstopping cake look as amazing as it tastes.
Butternut-Nut Butter Bars
If zucchini and pumpkin can make a name for themselves in the dessert realm—why not butternut squash? These gluten-free cookie bars pack an impressive level of toasty, fall flavor into every bite thanks to a combination of nutty brown butter, roasted butternut squash, nut butter, and a downright addictive creamy cashew butter-cream cheese icing (seriously, you’re gonna wanna spread this on everything—make a double batch) that’s elevated with a crunchy topper of toasted pepitas and cashews. We opt for rice flour over all-purpose because this gluten-free alternative can better absorb moisture from the squash to yield a delightfully tender—not wet or overtly cakey—texture. While roasting fresh squash contributes a depth of caramelized flavor you really don’t want to miss out on, you can find canned butternut squash in some supermarkets and online if you need a speedier swap; in fact, you could even use canned pumpkin in place of the pureed squash. In short, these brown butter butternut blondies will give every bit of convincing you may need need to believe that golden, sweet butternut squash deserves a spot on the holiday dessert table as much as any pumpkin-based treat.
Pecan Pie Bars
Delectable—but messy—pecan pie can be difficult to divvy up for a large crowd. Ensure equal pieces (and prevent fighting over slices) by spinning the classic pie into decadent bar cookies. Don’t skip out on the nutty homemade crust, which uses chopped toasted pecans and plenty of butter.
Spiced Apple Two-Bite Tarts
This pint-sized Friendsgiving dessert packs a powerful punch of fresh apple flavor. Set out a plate for guests at the table to keep conversation going after dinner. The nutty homemade crust adds a special touch but you can substitute store bought mini tart shells if you’re in a hurry.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Acorns
Not everyone has time to make desserts from scratch. Luckily, with the help of a few store bought ingredients, you can pull together this simple but totally creative treat. Store the “acorns” in a large plastic container between layers of parchment paper and transport with care.
Pear & Sour Cherry Crisp with Oat-Hazelnut Topping
Fruit crisp is a crowd pleaser at any occasion, and Friendsgiving is no exception. This easy recipe showcases seasonal pears and sour cherries, which can be bought frozen. The crunchy nutty oat topping uses hazelnuts, but you can swap in pecans, walnuts, or a combination.
Pumpkin Pie Cutout Cookies
These colorful autumn-themed cookies make a perfect parting gift for Friendsgiving guests. Place several cookies in a cellophane bag, secure with a pretty ribbon, and hand out to guests as they leave (just don’t forget to save some for yourself!).
Easy Chocolate Bourbon Fondue
Shareable desserts—such as this decadent, bourbon-spiked chocolate fondue—are always a hit at Friendsgiving potlucks. Our recipe calls for whole strawberries as dippers, but you can also try marshmallows, cubed pineapple, pretzel rods, or sliced bananas.
Ginger Pumpkin Trifle with Vanilla Mascarpone Cream
This decadent trifle makes for a showstopping and shareable finale—simply grab a fork and dive in. With layers of pumpkin, creamy mascarpone cheese, gingersnap cookies, and a rum coffee mixture, this is the ultimate Friendsgiving dessert indulgence.