The Best Potluck Desserts No One Thinks to Bring

Updated: Apr. 11, 2024

Tired of the usual potluck dessert ideas? Step up your game with any of these show stoppers!

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Delight

This is a simple chocolate delight recipe for any type of potluck occasion, and the pan always comes home empty. —Diane Windley, Grace, Idaho

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Chocolate Chip & Pecan Meringue Bars

I've had recipes for chocolate chip cookies and pecan meringues in my collection for a number of years—and I combined them to make these bars! They're a lovely addition to any holiday cookie tray. —Dawn Lowenstein, Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania
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Rhubarb Custard Bars

Once I tried these rich, gooey bars, I just had to have the recipe so I could make them for my family and friends. The shortbread-like crust and the rhubarb and custard layers inspire people to find rhubarb that they can use to fix a batch for themselves. —Shari Roach, South Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Brownie Bourbon Bites

Chocolate and chopped pecans flavor these simple, spirited treats. Make a double batch so you can give some as gifts and savor the rest!—Paula Kirchenbauer, Newton, New Jersey
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Apple Fritter Cake

I was experimenting with a beer bread to make it into a dessert and came up with this delectable apple fritter cake. —Ann Marie Eberhart, Gig Harbor, Washington
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Caramel Snickerdoodle Bars

What did I do when I couldn’t decide between two of my favorite desserts? I combined them! This snickerdoodle-blondie hybrid proved even better with caramel, always a favorite ingredient. —Niki Plourde, Gardner, Massachusetts
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Cannoli Dip

Ricotta is one of my family's favorite ingredients. I made up the cannoli filling and broke up some ice cream waffle shells to use as "chips and dip"—it was an instant hit! It's also good served slightly warm. —Ann Marie Eberhart, Gig Harbor, Washington
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Cranberry Crunch Cake

New Jersey is known for its cranberries, and this cake is a delicious way to use them. The marshmallows melt and seep through the cake, making it moist and very tasty. It’s great for brunch or just with a cup of coffee! —Adelaide Krumm, Manasquan, New Jersey
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Chewy Peanut Butter Pan Squares

With seven of us in our family, including two teenage boys, these peanut butter squares never last long! It's hard to believe how simple they are to prepare. —Deb DeChant, Milan, Ohio
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Peach Cobbler Dump Cake

This is one of the best peach dump cake recipes in the world. It's sweet, tender cake with a beautifully crisp cobbler topping. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side, and dessert's golden. —Keri Sparks, Little Elm, Texas
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Gooey Chocolate-Peanut Bars

These are so easy to make and take no time at all. They’re great to package up for those college kids looking for something from home. Everyone will want this recipe. —Elaine Grimme, Sioux Falls, South Dakota
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Cinnamon Bun Cookies

I love cinnamon rolls, but working with yeast can be scary. These cookies give you the taste of a cinnamon roll in cookie form—no yeast required! They look like flattened cinnamon rolls and feel special enough to serve around the holidays. —Erin Raatjes, New Lenox, Illinois
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Strawberry Shortcake Puffs

When my wonderful friend Kelly brought me a pint of strawberries, I didn’t want to just eat them straight (tempting as it was). I decided to make strawberry shortcake with my own pretty, elegant spin. These light and airy puff pastry stacks let the fruit shine. —Jenny Dubinsky, Inwood, West Virginia
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Chocolate-Raspberry Whoopie Pies

I’ve saved this jam-filled whoopie pie recipe for years after cutting it out of a newspaper. It’s one of my grandson's personal favorites. —Nancy Foust, Stoneboro, Pennsylvania
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Apple Snickerdoodle Dump Cake

With an apple farm just down the road, I'm always looking for creative ways to use up those bushels. We love this cozy apple snickerdoodle dump cake with caramel drizzle and a scoop of vanilla or cinnamon ice cream. —Rachel Garcia, Honolulu, Hawaii
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Easy Mexican Brownies

I was hosting a fun Mexican-themed cocktail party and needed a quick dessert. Dressing up an ordinary boxed brownie mix made life easy and delicious! —Susan Stetzel, Gainesville, New York
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Blueberry-Lemon Upside-Down Cake

I was young when I married, so I watched my mother-in-law to learn baking. This cake with fresh blueberries is one of her beauties. —Bonnie Roberts, Newaygo, Michigan
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Behr Track Cookie Bars

The holidays are the perfect time to indulge in these ooey-gooey, salty-sweet peanut butter bars. A lot of people comment that the pretzels in the filling are a pleasant surprise. Just make sure to cut cookie bars small—they're super rich. —Megan Behr, Marion, Iowa
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Pineapple Orange Cake

This is one of my favorite cakes. It’s moist and light yet so satisfying. I’ve been adapting it for years and now it’s almost guilt-free. —Pam Sjolund, Columbia, South Carolina
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Strawberry Shortcake Cookies

Strawberry shortcake is one of my favorite desserts. I thought it would be great to capture all that wonderful flavor, so I made these strawberry shortcake cookies topped with pink strawberry frosting. —Allison Anderson, Avondale, Arizona
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Root Beer Float Cake

I add root beer to both the cake batter and fluffy frosting of this summery dessert to get that great root beer float taste. Serve this moist cake to a bunch of hungry kids and watch it disappear! —Kat Thompson, Prineville, Oregon
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Easy Pecan Pie Bars

I'm always searching for fast and easy recipes to take to the teachers lounge. The staff goes nuts for these shortcut pecan pie bars. —Kathro Yoder, Defiance, Ohio
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Cream Cheese Cookie Cups

Need a quick dessert? Try these yummy cookie bites. For a pretty look, use an icing bag to pipe the filling into the cups, then top each with mini M&M's. —Rachel Blackston, Mauk, Georgia
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Apple-Spice Angel Food Cake

I dressed up an angel food cake mix with some nuts, spice and applesauce to make an easy and light dessert. I serve it with a dollop of whipped topping mixed with a half cup of sour cream. —Joan Buehnerkemper, Teutopolis, Illinois
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Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Blondies

I converted these blondies to be gluten free so that my family could enjoy a comforting dessert. We were craving brownies one night, and these cakelike treats hit the spot. They are a fantastic spin on gluten-free peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. —Becky Klope, Loudonville, New York
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South Dakota Frito Treats

Yep, they’re made with corn chips, but don’t let that fool you. These salty sweets were a staple after meetings at the quilt guild I once belonged to. —Carol Tramp, Wynot, Nebraska
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Triple-Layer Cookie Bars

My family just loves these chewy chocolate and peanutty bars. They're perfect for dessert and snacks. I make them whenever I get a craving for something sweet and special. —Diane Bradley, Sparta, Michigan
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Coconut Poppy Seed Cake

This moist coconut cake is definitely one of my most-requested desserts. Use different cake mixes and pudding flavors for variety. —Gail Cayce, Wautoma, Wisconsin
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Cherry Dream Cake

I serve this cherry cake for holidays because it’s so festive and easy. No one will know your secret is adding a package of cherry gelatin to a boxed cake mix! —Margaret McNeil, Germantown, Tennessee. Looking for more easy recipes? Try these potluck desserts that can be made with packaged cookies.
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Salted Pecan Shortbread Squares

My shortbread squares are the ultimate go-to for cookie trays and gift-giving. The buttery caramel and toasted nuts make it tough to eat just one. —Diana Ashcraft, Monmouth, Oregon
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Saltine Toffee Bark

Everyone loves these salty-sweet treasures—their flavor is simply irresistible. The bark is like brittle, but better. Get ready for a new family favorite! —Laura Cox, Brewster, Massachusetts
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Pina Colada Tube Cake

We named this a “pina colada” cake because it has coconut, pineapple and rum. It’s a soothing finish at the end of a big spread. —Debra Keil, Owasso, Oklahoma