Summer is one of the best times to get together with friends and family, but the last thing we want to do is turn on the stove or oven to prepare a dish for a potluck. Luckily, there are dozens of no-cook options for appetizers, snacks, main dishes, and even desserts that can be made in big batches and shared with some of your favorite people.
Whether it's a cool, creamy lemon icebox cake or an updated three-bean salad made with pearls of Israeli couscous, low-key summer get-togethers have met their no-cook match. Here are 27 good ideas to get you started.
You can bring a main course to the potluck without having to heat up the oven or stove. As it turns out, salad is just the beginning. To avoid having to use the oven, think about great vegetable-focused options, and don't hesitate to let the grocery store do the work for you. Pick up the rotisserie chicken and go for quick-cooking items like pasta and canned beans.
To be fair, these are a bit more time-consuming to make than a big batch of chicken salad, but you'll definitely be in the running for most impressive potluck dish — just as long as you bring enough! Skip having to cook the chicken and pick up a rotisserie chicken instead.
Make extra pearl couscous for dinner and use the leftovers to toss together this herb-laced three-bean salad. It makes a great side dish or vegetarian main dish at a potluck.
Sides and Appetizers
From a chilled bowl of veggies to small bites that you can assemble from the contents of the antipasti bar, it's easy to nail the potluck menu with things you don't have to cook!
This cool, juicy salad with a slightly nutty sesame dressing is the perfect refreshing addition to a plate filled with barbecue.
Yes, this takes a bit of advanced planning, but if you show up to a cookout with a jar of homemade kraut, we guarantee you'll be invited back.
Give your fruit salsa an unexpected spin by making this kiwi version. It's the newest take on salsa verde.
You could stick to plain-Jane fruit salad or spice it up a bit with chaat masala, a spice blend that usually contains green mango powder, cumin, coriander, and ginger.
10. White Gazpacho
Yes, you can bring soup to a summer potluck — just as long as the soup is chilled and you remember to bring plenty of small cups for serving.
11. Pineapple Salsa
What's better than chips and salsa? Homemade pineapple salsa and blue corn chips, of course. This is sure to be gobbled up as soon as you set it out.
Lightly toasted or grilled baguette slices serve as a base for this perfectly salty-sweet combo of flavors. You can't go wrong with these for any meal of the day.
You can serve this simple salad made of pantry staples as a dip with chips or as a side dish alongside your favorite burgers. Just be sure to make it the night before so it has time to chill and let the flavors meld.
Shake up the buffet table with this gourmet citrus and greens salad. The sweetness of the pummelo helps temper the bite of the radishes.
Rethink classic coleslaw with this Asian-inspired version from Bryant Terry. The umami from the miso gives it extra depth of flavor.
Easy to assemble and even easier to eat at a backyard party, the only worry with these caprese skewers is that they will be gone too soon.
18. Three-Bean Salad
It wouldn't be a summer potluck without three-bean salad. The vinegary side dish is a Southern classic, and never fails to please.
Sometimes it's best to go with a crowd-pleaser, and there's no better choice than this restaurant-style salsa. Just be sure to buy the good chips, too.
Upgrade your appetizer game with these stuffed peppers. The sweetness of the peppadews is perfectly complemented by the saltiness of both the salami and the Parmesan.
If you master one dessert technique this summer, let it be the icebox cake. The variations are endless, and they are incredibly easy to assemble.
Not only can you make these ice cream cakes well in advance, but you can also vary the flavors of ice cream, pound cake, and toppings to truly make them your own.
Oatmeal and chocolate no-bake cookies are a summer staple, but we've upgraded this version to include Nutella and peanut butter as well.
This berries and cream icebox cake made with graham crackers is sure to make you the potluck MVP.
The nut and date crust of these tarts requires no time in the oven, and the coconut cream means they are vegan, too.
Think of this as the summery version of cheesecake. It's lighter and fluffier, but just as irresistible.
We might call these energy bars because of the dates that serve as the base, but make no mistake, these bars are a satisfying dessert.