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Popular Christmas Potluck Recipes

Kelli Shiroma |
December 12, 2013 | 2:04 p.m. PST

Food Editor

Scalloped potatoes are a great addition to any potluck (vidalia_11 / Flickr).
Scalloped potatoes are a great addition to any potluck (vidalia_11 / Flickr).
While there are traditional Christmas foods—think eggnog, stolen and apple cider—you’re not necessary limited to these seasonal dishes when it comes to potlucks. Being that the potluck will probably be served buffet-style (with an overabundance of food), think of seasonal flavors and classic comfort foods that can be easily incorporated into your dish.

Here are some sure crowd-pleasers to bring to your next Christmas potluck. Let the merriment begin!


Yield: 8 servings

Just because potatoes are often an accompaniment to steak or glazed ham doesn’t mean they are any less special. This dish features a bubbling casserole comprising melted cheese and creamy, sliced potatoes. 


4 C half-and-half

2 medium garlic cloves, minced

1 T plus 2 tsp kosher salt

½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

½ tsp finely chopped fresh thyme leaves

4 lbs russet potatoes

2 C shredded Gruyere cheese

2 T unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces (plus more for coating the baking dish)


Heat the oven to 350 degrees F and arrange a rack in the upper third. Coat a 13 x 9 inch baking dish with butter; set aside.

Place the half-and-half, garlic, pepper, salt and thyme in a large pot or Dutch oven. Peel and cut the potatoes into 1/8-inch thick slices and add them to the pot. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, gently folding the potatoes into the sauce occasionally, for about 20 minutes total. 

Use a slotted spoon to transfer half of the potatoes to the prepared baking dish and arrange them in an even layer. Evenly sprinkle with half of the cheese. Transfer the remaining potatoes to the dish, arranging them in an even layer. Pour the half-and-half mixture from the pot over the potatoes. Sprinkle with the remaining half of the cheese and scatter the butter pieces on top. 

Bake uncovered until the potatoes are tender and the top of the casserole is dark golden brown and bubbling, about 1 hour (cover the dish with foil if the top starts to get too brown). Remove to a wire rack and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.


Yield: 2 casseroles (12 servings each)

This creamy, comforting casserole dish is a safe bet for a savory home-cooked meal. 


10 C diced cooked chicken

10 C chopped celery

2 C slivered almonds

2 bunches green onions with tops, sliced

2 cans (4 oz. each) chopped green chilies

2 cans sliced ripe olives, drained

5 C shredded cheddar cheese

2 C mayonnaise

2 C sour cream

5 C crushed potato chips


In a large bowl, combine the first six ingredients, then add 2 C cheese. In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise and sour cream; add to chicken mixture and toss to coat.

Transfer to two greased 3-qt. baking dishes. Sprinkle with chips and remaining cheese. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until heated through. 


Yield: 12 servings

This no-fuss, easy-to-make recipe can be enhanced by adding Parmesan and Cheddar cheeses.


4 bacon strips, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

1 can (28 oz.) baked beans

1 can (16 oz.) kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 can (15 oz.) pinto beans, rinsed and drained

½ C packed brown sugar

1/3 C ketchup

2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Parmesan and Cheddar cheeses (optional)


In a large skillet, sauté bacon and onion over medium  heat until bacon is crisp; drain. In a large bowl, combine the beans, brown sugar, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and bacon mixture.

Pour into a shallow, 2-qt. baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until heated through. 


Yield: 10 servings

This hearty, meaty baked pasta is an elegant twist on the traditional lasagna.


1 lb pennette or ditali

¼ C extra virgin olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 lb ground lamb

1 lb ground veal

1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes, drained

1 T tomato paste

2 tsp chopped marjoram

2 T chopped parsley

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 stick unsalted butter

¾ C all-purpose flour

1 quart whole milk 

2 large egg yolks

1 C freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese 


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large pot of boiling water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain well.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the ground lamb and veal and cook, stirring to break up the lumps, until the meat is beginning to brown, 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, marjoram and parsley. Season with salt and pepper.

In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Add the flour and cook over moderate heat, whisking for 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in the milk and cook over moderately high heat, whisking constantly, until the sauce is very thick and boiling, 7-8 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the egg yolks and the Parmigiano-Reggiano. Stir all but 1 ½ C of the sauce into the meat mixture, along with the paste and season with salt and pepper. Spoon the pasta into a 3-quart baking dish. Spread the reserved 1 ½ C of sauce on top.

Bake the pasta in the center of the oven for about 30 minutes, until bubbling. Preheat the broiler. Broil the pasta 8 inches from the heat for about 2 minutes, until the top is browned and bubbling. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Green Bean Casserole is a tasty home-cooked dish that’s perfect for potlucks (lotherington / Flickr).
Green Bean Casserole is a tasty home-cooked dish that’s perfect for potlucks (lotherington / Flickr).

Yield: 8-10 servings

This comfort food dish features a creamy mushroom sauce made from scratch and an onion-panko topping that serves as the perfect complement to the fresh green beans. 


1 ½ C panko

9 T unsalted butter

1 medium onion, diced

2 lbs green beans, ends trimmed and cut into 1 ½-inch pieces

Freshly ground black pepper

12 oz. cremini mushrooms, stems trimmed and cut into small pieces

1/3 C all-purpose flour

4 C whole milk, at room temperature

1 ½ tsp kosher salt, plus more for seasoning


Heat oven to 350 degrees F and arrange a rack in the middle.

Place the panko in a large frying pan over medium heat and toast, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside. 

Wipe out the frying pan with paper towels. Add 3 T butter and melt over medium heat, until foaming. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until just softened and starting to brown, about 15 minutes. 

Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the green beans and cook until they’re bright green and tender, about 3 minutes (they will not be fully cooked). Drain in colander and rinse under cold water until the beans are cooled, then set aside. Reserve the large pot. 

When onions are ready, remove the frying pan from heat. Remove ¼ C of the onions and set aside. Add toasted panko into the pan with the remaining onions, season with salt and pepper and stir to combine. Put the panko-onion mixture back in the small bowl and set aside.

Wipe out the frying pan with paper towels and add the remaining 6 T of butter; melt over high heat until foaming. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and the liquid from the mushrooms is almost all evaporated, about 5-6 minutes.

Reduce heat to medium and add ¼ C onions to the pan. Sprinkle with flour, season with salt and pepper, and stir to coat the vegetables. Cook until the raw taste of the flour is cooked off, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the milk, add the measured salt and bring to a simmer. Continue simmering, stirring often, until the mushroom mixture has thickened slightly, about 1-2 minutes. 

Transfer the mushroom mixture to the large pot and add the green beans. Stir to combine. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Transfer to a 13 x 9 inch baking dish and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the casserole from the oven, evenly sprinkle the panko-onion mixture across the top, and continue baking until the casserole’s bubbling around the edges and heated through, about 10-15 minutes more. Place the pan on a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes before serving. 


This ham, finished with a sweet glaze, can be cooked in either a crock pot or an oven. 


7-10 lb spiral ham

2 T brown Dijon mustard

½ C brown sugar

½ C honey

¼ tsp nutmeg

½ tsp cinnamon

1/3 C water


Spray crock pot with non-stick cooking spray. Place ham in crock pot.

Combine sugar, honey, nutmeg, cinnamon and mustard in a sauce pan on medium heat. Let cook for 2-5 minutes (until ingredients melt and combine) and whisk thoroughly. Remove from heat.

Pour water in the bottom of the crock pot. Pour honey/brown sugar mixture over the ham. 

Cook ham on low for 6-8 hours. Baste the ham with juices in the bottom of the slow cooker once every hour. 

When ham is done, remove it from slow cooker. Pour the juices in the bottom of your slow cooker into a medium saucepan. Mix together 2 T of cornstarch with 1 T of water and pour into saucepan. Cook on medium heat until it starts to thicken. Use that as a glaze over the ham (or even as gravy for potatoes). 

NOTE: Even if you don’t have a slow cooker, you can still bake this ham in your oven. Make a tent with aluminum foil and bake for 15-20 minutes per pound at 350 degrees. Baste the ham once every 30 minutes.

Bread pudding is a decadent way to end any Christmas feast (stu_spivack / Flickr).
Bread pudding is a decadent way to end any Christmas feast (stu_spivack / Flickr).

Yield: Serves 8

This French toast-inspired bread pudding features sweet flavors characteristic of fall. 


Butter (for coating baking dish)

1 (8-oz.) baguette, thinly sliced

2 C half-and-half

2 large eggs

2/3 C pure maple syrup, plus more for serving

¼ tsp pure vanilla extract

¼ tsp salt

½ C pecans, roughly chopped

Heavy cream (optional), for serving


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter a 2-quart baking dish and set aside. Arrange bread on two large-rimmed baking sheets; bake until dry (but not browned), about 15 minutes. Let cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together half-and-half, eggs, syrup, vanilla and salt. Add bread to custard and toss. In prepared dish, stand slices upright in rows, pressing on each row to compact it. Pour any remaining custard in bowl over top and let stand 10 minutes.

Sprinkle bread pudding with pecans and bake until center is hot and most of custard is absorbed, about 30 minutes. Let cool slightly. Serve with maple syrup and cream (optional).

Searching for additional potluck recipes? Find a delicious ensemble here.

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