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Recipes Your Grandma Always Took To Church Potlucks

Jul 29, 2023

Would she approve of what's in your casserole carrier?

Mary Alice Russell is a Southern Living fellow who is starting her career in lifestyle journalism. Primarily focused on social media and digital production, Mary Alice is excited to hone her skills and dedicate her professional life to beautiful things, from homes to hearts.

A recent graduate of Washington and Lee University, Mary Alice majored in journalism and art history. At W&L, she was co-editor-in-chief of her school paper, The Ring-tum Phi, with her best friend and interned for The Welcome Home Podcast. Now based in Birmingham, Alabama, Mary Alice is a Virginia native who is proud to hail from the land of ham and peanuts.

For many Southerners, Sundays spent at your grandparent's house consisted of two things: Church and Sunday supper. However, there were occasionally times when these pillars of Grandma's week would converge in the way of a church potluck. While Grandma and Grandpa might have had certain recipes they usually enjoyed on a Sunday like her famous fried chicken, church potlucks brought out a different side (or should we say casserole) from Grandma. It was her time to shine and show the other members of her congregation just what kind of magic she could make in the kitchen. Her recipe box was full of tried-and-true potluck and party staples that you spent your childhood enjoying. If your grandmother is no longer with us or you’ve lost her recipe box, this thoughtfully compiled list of Grandma's favorites is sure to help walk you though your next church potluck. Whether it's your first or you just want to try something other than your usual go-tos, we’ve got a recipe that will be just right. From Classic Deviled Eggs to Strawberry-Pretzel Jello Salad, it's like Grandma is guiding you every step of the way.

Hector Sanchez

Every church has a side that's served at every potluck, and our Shout Hallelujah Potato Salad will truly make people shout if it doesn't become a staple. After just a few bites, folks will be singing the praises of this recipe.

Jennifer Davick

A favorite of Southern Living readers, this recipe has just about everything Grandma likes. It's a little sweet, a little nutty and has some greens thrown in for good measure.

Victor Protasio; Food Stylist: Karen Rankin; Prop Stylist: Claire Spollen

Casseroles and church go hand-in-hand and this classic recipe is perfect for a potluck. It's filling yet fun enough that members of any age might be willing to take a bite.

Antonis Achilleos; Food Stylist: Ruth Blackburn

These little bites are just as delightful as they sound. The fact that they are brushed with butter makes them Grandma approved.


You would be telling a tale if you said someone's grandma didn't make this for you when you were younger. This sweet treat we Southerners call a salad makes an appearance at nearly every celebration and a church potluck is no exception.

We're always talking about biscuits and cornbread, but yeast rolls are an essential part of a potluck, too. If you aren't a fan of too many of the offerings on the table, you always have a warm, delicious roll to make up for it.

A slice of coffee cake and a styrofoam cup of decaf coffee is the standard for church get-togethers, and this classic Cinnamon Coffee Cake is just what Grandma would serve. It's perfect for any time of day.

Grandma loved this sometimes shockingly pink Southern salad, and other members of your church will too. We love sandwiching this ham salad between cheese puffs for the perfect, pretty bite.

The addition of hard boiled eggs in potato salad is one of the most grandmotherly things a Southerner can do, and our Deviled Egg-Potato Salad takes this to a whole other level. You already know that Deviled Eggs and Potato Salad will be on the table, so why not combine the two and make something everyone will be talking about.

Waldorf Salad may get its name from the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City, but it's been claimed by Southerners for generations now. Full of tart Granny Smith apples and other bites of goodness, you cannot go wrong when serving this to a crowd.

It's hard to find to words to explain this three ingredient creation, but it's perfect for breakfast, lunch, dinner and even a snack, so be sure to serve it at the church potluck, too.

As we've already said, Deviled Eggs simply must be served at a church potluck. We're not even sure you can call it a potluck without them. Our Classic Deviled Eggs recipe is as close to Grandma's that we could get.

Antonis Achilleos; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Missie Neville Crawford

Cheddar Cheese Straws are the perfect snack to be served alongside the casseroles and no-lettuce salads. We recommend bringing them in a cookie tin to cue the nostalgia.

We've taken those dry little Ham Biscuits and turned them into something that's worth your attention. These homemade biscuits are served with a slice of ham and a buttery, delicious spread of your choosing.

Fred Hardy II; Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Stylist: Christina Brockman

To please kiddos of all ages, Grandma always had some mac and cheese on hand. Our Classic Baked Macaroni And Cheese will be a hit, week after week.

There's a reason our readers have been making this recipe since we first published it in 1990, and we think you should pack it in your casserole carrier and get ready to serve it at church.

Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox

Topped with crunchy cornflakes, Grandmas everywhere simply cannot get enough of this Hashbrown Casserole. If you don't have her treasured recipe card, try our version.

You might see Old-School Green Bean Casserole on the sideboard for Thanksgiving and Easter, but it's just as likely to make an appearance at a potluck if Grandma has anything to do with it. Southern Grandmas are all about this creamy, cheesy dish.

Chicken-And-Wild Rice Casserole is a recipe that's always dressed in its Sunday best. The wild rice as well as the addition of slivered almonds make this classic casserole look awfully grown up.

Fred Hardy II; Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Stylist: Christina Brockman

Our Old-School Squash Casserole is the most searched for recipe in the South and for good reason. Full of Southern pantry staples and some fresh-off-the-farm veggies, we know this casserole is sure to be a favorite.

Victor Protasio, Food Stylist: Karen Rankin, Prop Stylist: Claire Spollen

For those with Texas Grandmothers, you already know a slice of Texas Sheet Cake With Fudge Icing is basically required at every potluck. Our version includes a little bit of a soft drink like Dr. Pepper to really tickle those Texan taste buds.

Bagwell; Prop Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine; Food Styling: Torie Cox

When we say something is easy in the title, you know that Grandma would be all over it. While Grandma might love a complicated recipe from time to time, her best work was with the simplest of recipes.

Will Dickey

We've included all sorts of casseroles on this list, but cabbage casserole really stands out. Maybe it won't be everyone's favorite, but for some church members, it'll be just what they're expecting.

Will Dickey; Prop Stylist: Julia Bayless; Food Stylist: Ali Ramee

Yes, we love coleslaw, but Grandma might just love this Creamy Broccoli Slaw more. Sweet golden raisins and pre-packaged broccoli slaw mix are transformed with this simple recipe.

Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox

Chocolate lovers rejoice! Our Chocolate Silk Pie is just like Grandma's with a heavy layer of whipped topping. You simply cannot resist taking a slice from the dessert table.

Victor Protasio; Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Stylist: Christina Dailey

Coffee cake and doughnuts are always in the courtyard after the church service, so why not bring both of them to the potluck at the same time? Readers rave over our Glazed Buttermilk Donut Cake, and we think it rivals any store-bought dozen.

We know you've seen this casserole many times before at family reunions and what have you, but the cheesy, squash-covered casserole is always requested by Grandma. It has all the nutrients you need for the day in just one bite.

Corn pudding is a true Southern favorite that feels just a little bit more special than a piece of cornbread. It's not every day that the church gets together to hold a potluck, so make sure to bring the good stuff.

Looking for something that will feed the masses just as well as the loaves and the fishes? Ham And Noodle Casserole is sure to fill up every member of the congregation.

Hot summer days and potlucks seem to line up perfectly in the South, and this Heirloom Tomato-Cracker Salad might be the most delicious thing we have to offer.