November 10, 2021
Last Updated:
November 12, 2021

Easy Potluck Meal Ideas for Friendsgiving

What Is Friendsgiving?

Friendsgiving is a celebration of good friends and good food, in the spirit of Thanksgiving. Unlike traditional Thanksgiving, where the host usually prepares the entire meal, many Friendsgiving feasts represent a coming together of the guests’ culinary contributions.

Friendsgiving is sometimes a replacement for the traditional holiday when you can’t travel home or you find it difficult to be around family this time of year. If you’ve never heard of this holiday, you’re not alone: Merriam-Webster didn’t add Friendsgiving to the dictionary until 2020!

One of the best things about Friendsgiving is that it allows anyone, anywhere, to celebrate the practice of coming together with those they care about – you don’t need to be in the United States to appreciate the sentiment of the holiday.

Preparing for Friendsgiving

As with any party or gathering, preparation is key. If you’re hosting a potluck Friendsgiving, there are a few ways to ensure the celebration is a success.

  1. Communicate! You don’t want four hundred dishes but no drinks or desserts. Make sure you delegate responsibilities to your guests, to ensure there’s enough food, drinks, and tableware for everyone. Email and online spreadsheets are great for staying organized, but there are now many apps (I love using Signup Genius) to take the hassle out of hosting!
  2. While not necessary, a themed dinner can be a fun change of pace. The options are endless and can include anything from having your guests dress up as beloved book or TV characters to going with themed food and decorations.
  3. Make sure to label all dishes, including listing any possible allergies. The most common food sensitivities are to gluten, eggs, milk, nuts, and shellfish, but ask your guests to let you know of any specific restrictions they may have.
  4. Buffet-style dining makes it easy for your guests to serve themselves and keeps the dining area clear for conversation.
  5. Have some extra storage containers on hand, should guests want to take some of the dishes home with them ‒ and for you to keep leftovers, too!

Potluck Meal Ideas for Friendsgiving

While Friendsgiving foods don’t necessarily need to be aligned with what’s traditionally served at Thanksgiving, many people like to keep with the theme of the holiday. Here is a list of delicious recipes that you can use as inspiration for your celebration.


Appetizers set the mood for the entire meal. They can be simple yet delicious!

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  • These Naturally Sweetened Honey Pecans from Cookie + Kate are a sweet, salty, and crunchy addition to your table.
  • A combination of sweet and savory, this Maple Candied Bacon from The Clever Carrot is a delicious bite for your nonvegetarian/nonvegan friends.
  • You can’t go wrong with a themed fall charcuterie board; it has plenty of options for everyone, no matter their dietary preferences.
  • If you don’t have a big board but have small jars, try making some Not only is it a super-fun way to serve up snacks, but it also enables a safer experience during cold and flu season.

Main Dishes

If your guests are all meat eaters, including meat for the main meal is easy and a classic way to center the entire dinner. If some of them follow a vegetarian, vegan, or plant-based diet, make sure guests can bring meat-free options for them to enjoy.

Side Dishes

Some people say that Thanksgiving (or any holiday) isn’t complete without the sides ‒ and I’m inclined to agree!

Grains and More

Along with sides, many Thanksgiving and Friendsgiving tables offer some type of bread, rice, or pastry.


If some of your guests have a sweet tooth, put them in charge of bringing dessert – they probably know best!


Ensure that you have a variety of alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages for your guests to enjoy.

Making New Traditions

With a little planning, Friendsgiving is a celebration that distributes effort and doesn’t put the burden on any one person or household. Whether Friendsgiving is a new tradition you’re starting or one that you’ve been putting together for years, it’s an occasion anyone can make their own in order to celebrate the season. 

Author Biography
Kiran Dodeja Smith
IIN Content Writer

Kiran Dodeja Smith is a health coach, blogger, and marketing expert who has been interested in health and fitness since the age of 16. She has a passion for encouraging healthy eating and living for all.

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