Potluck Desserts

Devils Food Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing on a tray.

What makes for a great potluck dessert? I think it’s all about small treats that look great on a dessert table and can be easily eaten with little fuss or mess. You’ll need treats that are easily packaged and transported, and are crowd pleasers. I put together a list of my favorite potluck desserts, from classics like bars and cookies, to some options that are a little more adventurous but still simple and easy to bring to your next big event.

Looking for more dessert ideas for large gatherings? Try my collection of desserts for a crowd.

Perfect Potluck Desserts

Delicate and brittle on the outside with rich buttercream or ganache in the middle, macarons are not as difficult as you think. You can color them for any occasion and they're just beautiful, delicious and fun. Note: This recipe does require a scale, otherwise there is too much variability in the measurements to come out well.
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I adore carrot cake. It’s one of my favorite desserts. This carrot cupcakes recipe is delicate and less hippie than my go to, so it was fun to try Melissa’s sophisticated take on the classic from The Minimalist Kitchen.
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This Devil's Food Cake from Zoe Bakes Cakes is the best chocolate cake recipe I have ever tried and believe me, over the past 20+ years, I've tried them all. The dark chocolate cake has a texture that is smooth and rich. The flavor is not overly sweet, because of the intensity of the coffee (you don't actually taste the coffee, it just cuts the sweet) and the rum (the Devil in "Devil's Food cupcakes" perhaps?), which make it a great match for cream cheese frosting sweetened with Lyle's Golden Syrup (honey works, too, if you're in a pinch).
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These are the brownies I made for a care package for my son, Charlie, and his roommates at college. I made four different kinds because each of the boys wanted their favorite brownie. It's an easy way to please a crowd!
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Chocolate Fudge
5
This is a simple and rich fudge that is sure to be a hit with everyone in your house. It's wonderful on its own, or can be topped or mixed with nuts or your other favorite goodies.
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These vegan triple chocolate cupcakes have a rich cake with a moist, but not dense, crumb. You won't miss the eggs or dairy in the recipe because of the decadent, chocolatey results. The recipe is from New Vegetarian by Robin Asbell
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These chocolate chip cookies are the result of what I learned making countless batches for decades. I also explain what the ingredients do to a cookie and how baking can change them. You can tweak your cookies to be just how you like them using my cookie guide towards the bottom of the post.
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I know pumpkin can be a divisive flavor, even inside families. Grandma may love it. Uncle Bob may hate it. But pumpkin is sure to end up on most Thanksgiving tables. I love these bars as a pumpkin compromise because they are a great way to ease into the Thanksgiving essential, and give a loving gesture to those who adore pumpkin.
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These raspberry cheesecake streusel bars are rustic in their beauty, but magnificent in flavor. They are easy to make, and are one of the absolute hits of every gathering I bring them to.
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These peanut butter cup meringue cookies are a delight and hit the flavor and texture profiles just right. They are just the right balance of sweet and salty, like a peanut butter cup candy, but with the ethereal quality I love about meringue. This recipe was graciously shared by Rebecca Firth from her book The Cookie Book!
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What's a more classic treat than peanut butter cookies? This easy recipe is full of tasty peanut butter and has the look, taste and feel we have all come to love from a peanut butter cookie.
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Linzer Tortes are little jam biscuits fit for a royal wedding. The rich, buttery hazelnut cookie dough is a tasty exterior to the sweet raspberry jam inside. These are a mini version that come in perfect bite sizes.
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This chocolate zucchini bundt cake recipe is from my book Zoë Bakes Cakes! It's moist and sweet, but not overly so, and intensely chocolate.
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This lemon Bundt cake is perfect. It is the most delicate texture and rich flavor. I had rather small lemons and wanted it to be an intense flavor, so I added more zest. I also had a chunk of ginger on hand, so I added it to the lemon soaking syrup, but otherwise the recipe is all Sarabeth. 
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This is a super simple and quick chocolate mousse recipe you can whip up at the last minute. The bit of crunch in the middle is fantastic and the mousse is rich and delicious, with a perfectly torched toasted meringue topping.
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