Grandma’s Church Potluck Desserts

Updated: May 17, 2024

Need a praiseworthy recipe idea for an upcoming church potluck? Try any one of Grandma's tried-and-true desserts.

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Old-Fashioned Chocolate Pudding

One of the nice things about this easy pudding is you don’t have to stand and stir it. It’s a must for my family year-round! I also make it into a pie with a graham cracker crust that our grandchildren love. —Amber Sampson, Somonauk, Illinois

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Chocolate Truffle Pie

I discovered a fast recipe for a delectable chocolate mousse some years ago and thought it might make a good filling for a pie. The chocolate lovers in our family endorse this scrumptious dessert, saying that it “melts in your mouth”! —Keri Scofield Lawson, Fullerton, California
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Blueberry Turnovers

While you can make them a little in advance, these blueberry turnovers are best served the day they’re made. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

As a dairy farmer’s wife, I have experience making cheesecake. In fact, most anything containing milk products is tasty in my book. If I’m out of cream cheese, it’s time to go to the grocery store! —Wendy Barkman, Breezewood, Pennsylvania
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Mini Blueberry Bundt Cakes

These pretty berry cakes from Cathy Isaak of Rivers, Manitoba are topped with a yummy lemon-flavored glaze.
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Cheesecake Crowns

These elegant dessert pastries are so easy to make, but no one will believe it! I’ve served the fruit-filled crowns at brunch as well as after dinner.
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Grandma Pruit's Vinegar Pie

This historic pie has been in our family for many generations and is always served at our get-togethers.—Suzette Pruit, Houston, Texas
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Chocolate Maple Bars

My family runs a maple syrup operation, and I'm always looking for new ways to incorporate maple syrup into my cooking and baking. These bars are delicious! —Cathy Schumacher, Alto, Michigan
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Tillie's Ginger Crumb Cake

This recipe goes back at least as far as my grandmother, who was born in the early 1900s. Our sons and I enjoy eating it in a bowl with milk poured on it—much to the dismay of my husband, who prefers it plain! —Kathy Nienow Clark, Byron, Michigan
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Spiced Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

I often bake this beautiful cake in my large cast-iron skillet and turn it out onto a pizza pan. —Jennifer Sergesketter, Newburgh, Indiana
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Grandma's Carrot Cake

My grandma was very special to me. She had a big country kitchen that was full of wonderful aromas any time we visited. This was one of her prized cake recipes, and it continues to be a favorite from generation to generation. —Denise Strasz, Detroit, Michigan
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Orange Buttermilk Cupcakes

Simple and delicious, this is our all-time favorite low-fat dessert. You'll be surprised how well the citrus flavor comes through in every bite.
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Frosted Oatmeal Cookies

A woman in my small Iowa hometown sold these cookies. When my grandmother asked her for the recipe, the woman agreed to give it to her if she promised not to make them until the woman was too old to sell them. Grandmother kept her promise, and this special recipe has been a family favorite for years. —B. Capper-Eckstein, Osseo, Minnesota
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Milk Cake

This is a simple recipe—and especially easy in a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet. The result is a deliciously light, airy cake. —Suzanne Coelman, Rabun Gap, Georgia
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Chocolate Malt Cheesecake

My mother-in-law loved chocolate malts—and cheesecakes, too. Can you guess who passed this recipe on to me? Sometimes, I substitute pretzel crumbs for the graham cracker crumbs. They make a surprisingly good crust! —Anita Moffett, Rewey, Wisconsin
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Coconut Washboards

This simple yet satisfying coconut cookie recipe has been around for generations. Pressing a fork into the top gives the look of an old-fashioned washboard. —Tommie Sue Shaw, McAlester, Oklahoma
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Chocolate Buttermilk Squares

Every time I take these squares to a potluck, my pan comes back clean. At home, they vanish as fast as I make them. —Clarice Baker, Stromsburg, Nebraska
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Amish Sugar Cookies

These easy-to-make, old-fashioned Amish sugar cookies simply melt in your mouth! I've passed this recipe around to many friends. After I gave it to my sister, she entered the cookies in a local fair and won best of show. —Sylvia Ford, Kennett, Missouri
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Apple Pie

I remember coming home sullen one day because we'd lost a softball game. Grandma, in her wisdom, suggested that maybe a slice of hot apple pie would make me feel better. She was right. —Maggie Greene, Granite Falls, Washington
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Sour Cream Pound Cake

Because I'm our town's postmaster, I can bake only in my spare time. I especially enjoy making desserts such as this one. It tastes amazing as is, or tuck it under ice cream and chocolate syrup like a hot fudge sundae! —Karen Conrad, East Troy, Wisconsin
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Memaw's Banana Pudding

Creamy and rich, this homemade banana pudding recipe is so easy. Layer it in a trifle bowl for a pretty presentation. —Ruth Kizer, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
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Buttermilk Pound Cake

Now that I've retired from teaching, I have more time to bake. This buttermilk pound cake is the one I make most often. It is a truly southern recipe, and one I think can't be topped—once people taste it, they won't go back to their other recipes with buttermilk. —Gracie Hanchey, De Ridder, Louisiana
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Sugar Cream Pie

I absolutely love Indiana sugar cream pie; especially the one that my grandma made for me. Here, we serve it warm or chilled and call it "Hoosier" sugar cream pie. —Laura Kipper, Westfield, Indiana
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Old-Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies

My mother insisted that my grandmother write down one recipe for her when Mom got married in 1942: the how to make peanut butter cookies from scratch recipe. That was a real effort because Grandma was a traditional pioneer-type cook who used a little of this or that until it felt right. This treasured recipe is the only one she ever wrote down! —Janet Hall, Clinton, Wisconsin
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Lemon Chiffon Cake

This moist, airy lemon chiffon cake was my dad's favorite. Mom revamped the original recipe to include lemons. I'm not much of a baker, but whenever I make this dessert my family is thrilled! —Trisha Kammers, Clarkston, Washington
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Fudge Nut Brownies

There's no brownie recipe or mix I've ever tried that's better than this! And it's so easy—you can mix it in one bowl in just a few minutes. My husband's grandmother passed the recipe on; now our son makes these brownies for after-school snacks. —Becky Albright, Norwalk, Ohio
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Buttermilk Cake with Caramel Icing

This fabulous cake and caramel frosting are so tender, it melts in your mouth. It's been a family favorite since the '70s and it goes over really well at church potluck meals. —Anna Jean Allen, West Liberty, Kentucky
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Cookie Jar Gingersnaps

My grandma kept two cookie jars in her pantry. One of the jars, which I now have, always had these crisp and chewy gingersnaps in it. They're still my favorite cookies. My daughter used this recipe for a 4-H fair and won a blue ribbon. —Deb Handy, Pomona, Kansas
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Butter Pecan Layer Cake

Pecans and butter give this cake the same irresistible flavor as the popular butter pecan ice cream flavor. —Becky Miller, Tallahassee, Florida
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Oatmeal Date Bars

In no time at all, these oatmeal date bars will be ready for your family. They'll be surprised at how light and tasty these treats are. —Helen Cluts, Eden Prairie, Minnesota
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Sour Cream-Lemon Pie

I first tasted this pie at a local restaurant and hunted around until I found a similar recipe—now it's my husband's favorite. —Martha Sorensen, Fallon, Nevada
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Best Red Velvet Cake

It's just not Christmas at our house until this festive cake appears. This is different from other red velvet cake recipes I’ve had; the icing is as light as snow. —Kathryn Davison, Charlotte, North Carolina
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Mom's Buttermilk Cookies

I treasure my mother’s recipe for these comforting cookie pillows. The tender treats are topped with thick frosting and a sprinkling of chopped walnuts. —Jane Darling, Simi Valley, California
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Maple Walnut Cake

This maple-flavored cake with candied walnuts honors beloved my grandpa, who made maple syrup when I was a child. It honors his memory and has proven to be a favorite with family and friends throughout the years. —Lori Fee, Middlesex, New York
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Turtle Praline Tart

This rich dessert is my own creation, and I'm very proud of it. It's easy enough to make for everyday meals but special enough to serve guests or take to a potluck. —Kathy Specht, Clinton, Montana
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Chewy Pecan Pie Bars

This treat is one of my husband's favorites. I've been making these bars for many years, and we still can't get enough. I never mind making this recipe—it's about as easy as baking can be! —Judy Taylor, Shreveport, Louisiana
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Caramel Pecan Cheesecake

I created this creamy cheesecake using two of my favorites—caramel and pecans. It is a stunning cake and rivals any I've tasted. —Deidre Sizer, Cedarville, Ohio
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Iced Orange Cookies

I usually make these bite-size orange cookies at Christmastime, when Florida citrus is plentiful, but they're delicious any time of year. Every time I sniff their wonderful aroma, I remember my grandmother, who shared the recipe. —Lori DiPietro, New Port Richey, Florida
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Vanilla Cream Puff Dessert

Inspired by classic cream puffs, this recipe is a wonderful treat. I've served it at holidays, birthday parties and Cub Scout banquets. I'm a regular baker, and this dessert is one of my all-time favorites. —Denise Wahl, Homer Glen, Illinois
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Chocolate Almond Cake

Fluffy white homemade frosting tops this rich chocolate almond cake. Sliced toasted almonds on top add a little crunch. —Sherri Gentry, Dallas, Oregon
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Marvelous Marble Cake

Pound cake and chocolate make the best marble cake. — Ellen Riley, Birmingham, Alabama
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Irresistible Coconut Cream Pie

My husband and I grow 500 acres of wheat on the farm his family homesteaded in 1889. I grind my own flour and love to use it in this recipe. The easy, pat-in crust has a rich grain flavor. It’s irresistible filled with old-fashioned coconut cream and topped with a fluffy meringue. —Roberta Foster, Kingfisher, Oklahoma
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Cranberry Nut Swirls

This recipe originated with my sister-in-law. It gets used a lot over the holidays when we want to pull a fast one on the guys in our family. They claim they don't like cranberries in any shape or form, but everyone enjoys these. —Carla Hodenfield, Ray, North Dakota
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Orange Chocolate Ricotta Pie

The orange and chocolate flavors make a classic pairing in this traditional Italian dessert. I serve it during the holidays and for special occasions. —Trisha Kruse, Eagle, Idaho
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Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake

I’ve baked this cake every spring for many years, and my family loves it! Use your own fresh rhubarb, hit up a farmers market or find a neighbor who will trade stalks for the recipe! —Helen Breman, Mattydale, New York
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Cream Cheese-Pineapple Pie

I've made this pie many times for friends, relatives, guests, church suppers and bazaars, and I'm always getting requests for the recipe. I've lived on farms all my life—we used to have a potato farm on Long Island, and now my son farms his own land and manages mine here in Delaware, growing soybeans and wheat. —Elizabeth Brown, Clayton, Delaware
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Black Walnut Cookies

Black walnuts, which have a more distinctive flavor than traditional English walnuts, have a short shelf life. It's best to store them in the freezer. —Doug Black, Conover, North Carolina
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Strawberry Shortcake

I grew up helping my mom make a lot in our farmhouse kitchen; strawberry shortcakes, roasts, soups and pies. This sunny strawberry shortcake recipe brings back memories of family summers on the farm. —Janet Becker, Anacortes, Washington
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Chocolate Pound Cake

You'll find that this cake goes well with ice cream, but it's also delicate enough to serve in small pieces with tea. —Ann Perry, Sierra Vista, Arizona
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Cranberry-Orange Crumb Tart

After my sister took the family to the local cranberry festival, my mom bet me that I couldn't make a holiday pie out of cranberries and oranges. Considering the pie was gone before the holidays arrived, I think I won! —Heather Cunningham, Whitman, Massachusetts
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Roasted Banana & Pecan Cheesecake

We always keep bananas on hand, but with just two of us in the house, they usually ripen faster than we can eat them. That makes them perfect for roasting and baking into this cheesecake with a nutty crust. —Patricia Harmon, Baden, Pennsylvania
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Glazed Chocolate Angel Food Cake

A drizzling of rich chocolate glaze lends an elegant touch and will keep guests wanting more. With only 3g of fat per slice, this is one treat you'll want to see year after year! —Mary Relyea, Canastota, New York
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Old-World Ricotta Cheesecake

I reconstructed this dessert based on an old recipe that had been in the family for years but was never written down. The subtle cinnamon flavor of the zwieback crust and the dense texture of the ricotta cheese are reminiscent of the cheesecake I enjoyed as a child. —Mary Beth Jung, Hendersonville, North Carolina
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Shoofly Pie

My grandmother made the best shoofly pie in the tradition of the Pennsylvania Dutch. Shoofly pie is to the Pennsylvania Dutch as pecan pie is to a Southerner. —Mark Morgan, Waterford, Wisconsin
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Spiced Devil's Food Cake

One of my mom's friends gave her this recipe when I was a child, and it has been a family favorite ever since. When your chocolate sweet tooth acts up, this really hits the spot! —Linda Yeamans, Ashland, Oregon
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Honey Pear Cheesecake

We grow pear trees, so I’m always dabbling in pear desserts. In this cheesecake, I sometimes add ¼ cup crystalized ginger for zing. —Nancy Zimmerman, Cape May Court House, New Jersey
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Banana Bread Pudding

When I visited my grandmother in summer, I always looked forward to the comforting banana bread pudding she'd make. With its crusty golden top, custard-like inside and smooth vanilla sauce, this pudding is a real homespun dessert. Now I make it for my grandchildren. —Mary Detweiler, Middlefield, Ohio
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Aunt Murna's Jam Cake

I remember Aunt Murna telling me that she created her jam cake recipe as a young girl. She made improvements over the years, such as soaking the raisins in crushed pineapple. This cake is a favorite at our annual family reunions. —Mrs. Eddie Robinson, Lawrenceburg, Kentucky
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Apple and Squash Crisp

Someone brought this crisp to a parish dinner at my church. I asked for the recipe, and now I take this yummy dessert to every potluck I attend. —Therese Butler, Ijamsville, Maryland
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Great-Grandma's Oatmeal Cookies

This yummy cookie—a favorite of my husband's—goes back to my great-grandmother. At Christmastime, we use colored sugar for a festive touch. —Mary Ann Konechne, Kimball, South Dakota
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Fig & Almond Cookies

In our family, holiday cookies—like these nutty fig ones—are a big deal. I'm so proud to be passing on this Italian tradition to my two boys. —Angela Lemoine, Howell, New Jersey
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Cherry Coconut Treats

My great-grandmother created this recipe more than 100 years ago, so these tasty bites have appeared at many family parties. If you're preparing these for the holidays, make them festive by using both red and green maraschino cherries. —Anne Mullen, Windsor, Ontario
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Baki's Old-World Cookies

My uncles have always called these "cupcake cookies" because of the unique, pretty way they're baked. My maternal grandmother mixed many batches. —Marilyn Louise Riggenbach, Ravenna, Ohio
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Figgy Apple Brie Tart

Our holiday gatherings often included baked Brie. I transformed it into a dessert that’s savory and sweet. It makes a wonderful appetizer, too. —Kristie Schley, Severna Park, Maryland
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Raisin Pecan Pie

I remember my Grandmother Voltie and Great-Aunt Ophelia making this southern-style pie for Thanksgiving. It was always one of the many cakes and pies lined up for dessert. —Angie Price, Bradford, Tennessee
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Grandma Pietz's Cranberry Cake Pudding

For generations, our family has handed down this cake recipe starring cranberries. Simple and unusual, it remains a treasured family heirloom. —Lisa Potter, Camp Douglas, Wisconsin
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Pear Cake with Sour Cream Topping

This is a great way to combine bread and fruit for an all-in-one breakfast. The cake is very tasty and the unique topping is simply delicious.
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Blackberry Peekaboo Cookies

My grandmother bakes this recipe every year for the holidays. She uses homemade blackberry jam that she makes fresh every summer. These cookies are so delicious! —Jacquie Franklin, Hot Springs, Montana
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Old-Time Buttermilk Pie

My mother and grandmother made this pie with buttermilk and eggs from our farm and set it on the tables at church meetings and social gatherings. I did the same, and now our children make it too! —Kate Mathews, Shreveport, Louisiana
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Icebox Cookie Cheesecake

Cookie lovers will come back for seconds when you serve this tempting treat. —Perlene Hoekema, Lynden, Washington
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Rich and Creamy Tiramisu

Tiramisu is Italian for pick-me-up, and this one is definitely true to its name! My version of the classic Tuscan trifle has both coffee and espresso for layers of java flavor. —Lauren Knoelke, Milwaukee, Wisconsin