Throwing a Japanese-themed potluck party? Here, we’ve gathered 15 mouthwatering Japanese potluck recipes that are perfect to serve a crowd.
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!
Japanese Potluck Dishes to Serve a Crowd
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.
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.
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.
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 Year’s celebration, nishime is a simmered dish that includes root vegetables, starchy potatoes, konnyaku (konjac), kombu, deep-fried tofu, sometimes chicken, and fish cake. It’s a classic representation of a Japanese home-cooked meal. Because it’s cooked in one pot and holds 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 it along to your potluck.
Typically enjoyed as an appetizer with a western-style meal in Japan, this sublime seafood salad will surely bring out one’s 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 is perfect to make a few nights before.
Everybody loves chicken wings and teriyaki, and here you have the winning potluck dish—teriyaki wings! 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.
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!
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!
9. Kani Salad
This light and colorful salad is a celebration of sunny days.
10. Temari Sushi
These sushi balls are a showstopper! Not only are they gorgeous to look at, but they are also fun and simple to make. Feel free to use any ingredients you have on hand. Try smoked salmon, cooked shrimp, avocado, grilled vegetables, or fresh shiso leaves.
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.
Tossed with wakame seaweed and imitation crab meat, this sweet and tangy Japanese Cucumber Salad pairs well with any Asian-themed dishes.
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?
11. Fruit Jelly
These fruit jellies are simple and light, and they showcase summer in the best ways—a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.
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?