Growing up, Thanksgiving was always at my grandparents’ house. They would take care of the turkey, stuffing, and a few other sides, and my mom and aunts would bring everything else for the big meal. I had one aunt that would always bring store-bought, stale sugar cookies. Another aunt would make sweet potato casserole that was eerily similar to baby food. With cups of sugar dumped into it. Needless to say, those dishes were always a bit of a disappointment.

When I got a little older, my mom took over hosting. She’s a major control freak and did all the cooking to make sure everything was up to standard. Now I host Thanksgiving and, well, the apple doesn’t far fall from the tree. I do all the cooking and have pretty strict guidelines on what I’m serving. But every year, I also end up going to a potluck Friendsgiving.

I tend to get a little nervous that people will forget about the event and pick up something gross at the last minute or choose to make a recipe that doesn’t travel well. To help avoid Friendsgiving food faux pas this year, I’ve rounded up the most crowd-pleasing, potluck-friendly recipes broken out by course.

Scroll on for the recipes, and forward this as a PSA to all your friends!

image by ashleigh amoroso

Main Course

In most cases, the main course (the turkey!) will be taken care of by the host. But I’ve been to a few Friendsgivings where the host doesn’t necessarily want to host 10 people, shell out $40 on a turkey, and take on the responsibility of actually cooking the bird. Luckily, there are plenty of turkey and fall-inspired main courses that can perfectly replace a whole roasted bird. Note: if you’re not the host, but you’re bringing a main, I recommend finishing these recipes off at the host’s house.


Skillet Pot Pie from Sally’s Baking Addiction

Sausage, Cherry, and Sage-Stuffed Turkey Breast from Camille Styles

Turkey and Stuffing Meatballs from Blenditarian


Pumpkin Stuffed Shells from Damn Delicious

Pumpkin Polenta from PureWow

Brown Butter Pumpkin Pasta from Camille Styles

Side Dishes

A good potluck side dish is one that you can transport in a single dish and easily make ahead of time or finish off at the host’s house. One of the benefits of a Thanksgiving potluck is the freedom to put your own twist on classic recipes. Maybe this year you could bring croissant stuffing instead of traditional stuffing or make potato gratin stacks instead of mashed potatoes.

Fall Salad with Kale, Brussels Sprouts, and Delicata Squash from Amanda Frederickson

Honey Maple Roasted Carrots from The Café Sucre Farine

Herby Mushroom Croissant Stuffing from Half Baked Harvest

Potato Gratin Stacks from Delish

Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Radishes, Bacon, & Dates from Camille Styles

Melting Sweet Potatoes from Feel Good Foodie


For reasons I’ll never understand, most people request “just a little bit” of whatever dessert is offered on Thanksgiving. So it’s important to bring desserts with easily adjusted serving sizes or to make dishes that taste great as leftovers.

No-Bake Pumpkin Mascarpone Pie from Camille Styles

The Easiest Apple Crumble from Camille Styles

No-Bake S’mores Pie from Brown Eyed Baker

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Cobbler from The Gunny Sack

Chocolate Pecan Slab Pie from Camille Styles

No-Bake Caramel Apple Pudding with Gingersnap Crust


If someone else is bringing wine or your group isn’t full of wine drinkers, the best next option is a fall cocktail. The below recipes are either batch cocktails you can make ahead of time or super simple cocktails that only require three or four ingredients. You don’t want the guests working too hard to make a drink!

Apple Brandy Harvest Punch from Camille Styles

Thanksgiving Rum Punch from Southern Living

The Campfire Sour from Camille Styles

Fall Spritz from Bon Appetit

Fall Sangria from Pretty Plain Janes

Slow Cooker Apple Cider from Number 2 Pencil



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Comments (4)
  1. 1
    Cathy, your Poor Little It Girl November 5, 2019 at 8:56 am

    Those stuffed shells look SO GOOD!

    Cathy, your Poor Little It Girl

  2. 2
    Harini November 5, 2019 at 1:51 pm

    Hi, the stuffed shells looks delish but its not vegetarian unfortunately. the recipe has ground chicken and ground sausage in the sauce! 🙁

    • Rachelle Shuttlesworth November 5, 2019 at 2:02 pm

      oh no! Updated with an equally yummy looking pumpkin stuffed shells recipe that’s actually vegetarian!

  3. 3
    Melanie November 14, 2019 at 10:37 am

    This is perfect, I’m heading to a Friendsgiving in a couple weeks and was trying to decide what to bring! These all look delish.