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12 Japanese Potluck Dishes to Serve a Crowd

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    Throwing a Japanese themed potluck party this summer? Here we’ve gathered 12 mouthwatering Japanese potluck dishes that are perfect to serve a crowd. 

    Japanese potluck recipe ideas to serve a crowd

    Hello, Summer! We’re finally entering the season devoted to outdoor entertaining, and potluck is surely a favorite way to celebrate. It makes things easy on the host, and everyone gets to contribute to the meal and sample each other’s creations. Here, we’ve pulled together a spread of delicious ideas for your Japanese themed potluck. The recipes range from popular Japanese grilled meat on the sticks to one pot vegetable dish to refreshing noodle salad to make-ahead desserts – every single one perfect for entertaining a big group of family and friends!

    12 Japanese Potluck Dishes to Serve a Crowd

    Japanese Chicken Meatballs (Tsukune) | Easy Japanese Recipes at

    1. Tsukune (Japanese Chicken Meatball Skewers)

    You can never go wrong with grilled meat on the sticks for any summer cookout. Called the Tsukune, these Japanese chicken meatball skewers are really moist and flavorful. Prepare them ahead and keep in the foil pan to bring to your potluck. Everyone can help themselves with the grilling over the hot charcoal.

    Yakitori | Easy Japanese Recipes at

    2. Yakitori 

    Marinade in a savory sweet sauce, these chicken and scallion skewers (yakitori) are hard to resist! It’s great for grilling outdoors as the delicious sweet grill smell is going to make everyone hungry. They are especially delicious after a little too much of some cold beer.

    A black dish containing miso flavored Yaki Onigiri (Grilled Rice Balls) garnished with shiso leaves.

    3. Yaki Onigiri (Grilled Rice Balls) or Miso Yaki Onigiri

    For any potluck get-together, there should be a carb dish that can fill some really hungry stomachs. With a crispy crust on the outside and soft sticky rice on the inside, these grilled rice balls are not only delicious but also so fun to eat! You can make them with or without fillings, or with a savory soy sauce or umami-packed miso sauce. As cooks rotate skewers of yakitori or tsukune over the grill, you can just throw the ready-shaped onigiri on the charcoal, basting them with the delicious sauce until they are golden crisp. 

    A blue Japanese bowl containing Nishime, simmered vegetables and chicken.

    4. Nishime (One-Pot Vegetable Stew)

    Looking for something healthy and homey to contribute to the table? Try this colorful dish called Nishime! Commonly served in Osechi for the Japanese New Years celebration, Nishime is a simmered dish which includes root vegetables, starchy potatoes, konnyaku (konjac), kombu, deep-fried tofu, sometimes chicken, and fish cake. It’s a classic representation of Japanese home-cooked meal. Because it’s cooked in one pot and hold well at room temperature, we’re seeing more Japanese Americans (especially in Hawaii) bringing nishime to their potluck parties. To save time, you can cook the stew in an Instant Pot and bring along to your potluck.

    Seafood salad with vinaigrette in the white baking dish.

    5. Seafood Salad with Vinaigrette

    Typically enjoyed as an appetizer with a western-style meal in Japan, this sublime seafood salad will sure bring out ones appetite. Soaked up in a delicious marinade, it is composed of succulent shrimp, delicate octopus, and colorful vegetables. You can also make a vegetarian version by skipping the seafood. It takes less than 30 minutes to put together, and perfect to make a few nights before.

    Teriyaki wings served on a white plate garnished with lemon, tomatoes and green lettuce.

    6. Teriyaki Wings

    Everybody loves chicken wings and teriyaki, and here you have the winning potluck dish – Teriyaki Wings! The best thing about this recipe is the wings are cooked in advance in a cast iron pot until the glaze is cooked down. Once they are done, you can transfer them to a foil pan and give the wings a final warm-up over the grill until they are sticky and finger-licking delicious.

    Pressure Cooker Japanese Potato Salad | Easy Japanese Recipes at

    7. Instant Pot Japanese Potato Salad

    No potluck would be complete without a potato salad, right? The Japanese potato salad includes colorful vegetables and it’s seasoned with Japanese mayonnaise for extra tang. Adults love it and kids love it too. You can prepare the potato salad over the stovetop or make it with your Instant Pot!

    Chicken Karaage 鶏の唐揚げ | Easy Japanese Recipes at

    8. Karaage (Japanese Fried Chicken)

    Karaage is one of the best fried chickens you could bring to a potluck! They come in small bite-size pieces, with a light crisp texture on the outside. Crunchy, juicy, and packed with garlicky flavor, you can’t ask for anything more. Serve the karaage with extra lemon wedges!

    Harusame Salad (Japanese Glass Noodle Salad) on a blue and white plate.

    9. Japanese Glass Noodle Salad (Harusame Salad)

    Light, refreshing, low calorie and so flavorful with a savory and tangy sesame soy vinaigrette, this Japanese glass noodle salad (harusame salad) adds a different texture to the potluck plate. You can easily customize the salad without the use of ham or eggs for a vegetarian or vegan version. It’s delicious even at room temperature.

    Beautiful matcha marble pound cake slices showing the swirl.

    10. Matcha Marble Pound Cake

    If dessert is your specialty, you want to bring this Matcha Marble Pound Cake to the potluck party. It’s buttery, tender and bursting with a unique green tea flavor. The striking emerald swirls make it a showstopper too. Pound cake itself is sturdy for travel and can even be made many weeks ahead of time. What’s not to love?

    Fruit Jelly | Easy Japanese Recipes at

    11. Fruit Jelly

    These fruit jellies are simple and light, and they showcase summer in the best ways – a guaranteed crowd pleaser.

    Steamed Cake (Mushi-pan) 蒸しパン | Easy Japanese Recipes at

    12. Japanese Steamed Cake (Mushi-pan)

    These Japanese steamed cakes (mushi-pan) are soft, light, and spongy. Your guests can enjoy them without feeling weighed down. The steamed cakes require only the most basic ingredients and are surprisingly easy to make too. Choose savory or sweet based on the ingredients you use.

    We hope you enjoy these mouthwatering Japanese potluck dishes with your friends and families. What are some of your favorite Japanese Dishes to serve a crowd? 

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