20 No-Heat Summer Potluck Dishes for Everyone

updated Nov 28, 2023
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A plate of coleslaw with a serving bowl of the salad in the background

Who’s ready to keep the oven and stove off in this too-warm spring? It’s Memorial Day and summer is here. Well, you’re in luck — these 20 recipes don’t require one bit of cooking.

In addition to keeping the kitchen just a little bit cooler, no-cook dishes always have a way of offering something for everyone — from vegetarians and vegans to people avoiding gluten, dairy, and nuts. Keep it easy and relaxed with modern broccoli slaw, or a cabbage and ramen salad, and stay cool with strawberry icebox cake and no-cook, no-churn two-ingredient ice cream.

There’s a degree of simplicity that comes with no-heat dishes. I mean, isn’t that what summer is all about? Especially summertime potlucks? You get to keep things easy and relaxed; no rhyme or reason — just a casual affair with a little something for everyone.

From guacamole and a cool dip, to fruit-filled spring rolls and slices of gussied-up watermelon, these are the apps that will please every type of eater in your crowd.


1 / 5
Crostini with Zucchini Squash and Feta

Feta cheese isn’t typically the kind of cheese that can transport you to a deep palatal place, but there’s something terribly effective about the simple combination of that vegetal, green quality of zucchini and such creamy, briny cheese.

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2 / 5
Guacamole Recipe (Easy, With Jalapeño and Lime Juice)

The most important element for guacamole is ripe avocados. They should give easily when squeezed (gently!). Underripe avocados make for bland, chewy guacamole. On the other hand, you shouldn’t feel any air pockets beneath the skin; this usually indicates the avocados are overripe.

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3 / 5
Summer Fruit Spring Rolls

Admittedly, these summer fruit spring rolls are more work than the traditional bite-by-bite way of eating fruit down to its seeds or core, but they’re also way more fun. Along with that, these rolls make it way easier to dip into the sweet and savory sauce.

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4 / 5
Watermelon with Chile, Salt & Lime

Seasoning fruit with chile peppers and salt is common in places like Southeast Asia and Mexico. If you haven’t tried it before, you’re in for a treat! The heat and salt brings out the juicy sweetness of the watermelon, and I also like adding lime zest and juice for extra punch. If you have the misfortune of a lackluster watermelon, this is a great way to give it some life.

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5 / 5
Herbed Greek Yogurt Dip Recipe
This recipe, made entirely with Greek yogurt, is thick and creamy yet simultaneously light and tangy.
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Salad and Mains

1 / 7
Salsa Salad

There was an even more simple affair with delicate multi-colored tomato slices with really good salt and pepper and a touch of oil. And of course there was a panzanella: hunks of crusty bread and tomato with cucumber and capers and all the rest.

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2 / 7
Sour Cream Cucumber Salad with Mustard Seeds

This cucumber salad bridges the cultural divide between Eastern Europe and India: both cultures have creamy, cooling salads with dairy and cucumbers. Here’s my easy fusion version.

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3 / 7
Summer Corn Salad

In the summer I’m always planning meals around what produce is in season at the farmers market. Gone are the days of cheesy casseroles and braised meats or stews — summer’s all about celebrating fresh, colorful produce. And this salad does just that.

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4 / 7
Crunchy Cabbage & Ramen Noodle Salad

There are hundreds of variations of this recipe floating around the internet, but this is the recipe I have whittled down to my fit my preferences. Feel free to experiment with quantities and flavors to your own liking — this recipe is very forgiving. My only real caveat: make double!

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5 / 7
Broccoli Slaw
As a salad base, julienned broccoli stems and other crunchy vegetables stand up to creamy dressings like a dream and stay firm for days.
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6 / 7
Veggie Nori Rolls

It’s their crunchy-meets-creamy texture and the big, bright flavors of carrots, nori, and lemon juice. Another bonus: they are super filling. It’s the kind of midday meal that prevents snacking. And while there is undeniably something health-food-hippie about them, even my husband eats them up.

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7 / 7
Chickpea, Barley and Zucchini Ribbon Salad with Mint and Feta

The contrasting textures are what makes this salad so fun to eat. The zucchini is shredded, salted and left to sit while the rest of the salad is prepped. During that time, it becomes a little softer and less watery as the salt draws the moisture out, leaving zucchini strands that are a little crunchy and a lot more flavorful.

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No-Cook Desserts

1 / 6
No-Bake Strawberry Icebox Cake
Layers of graham crackers, barely sweetened whipped cream, and strawberries magically transform overnight in the fridge into the most delicious no-bake dessert.
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2 / 6
No-Churn Ice Cream
This ice cream is made with only two ingredients, requires no stovetop cooking, and can be made with just a hand mixer. No ice cream machine needed.
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3 / 6
Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream Pie

Blueberry or otherwise, sauce or no-sauce, the fruit topping is best added just before serving so you get the contrast of that soft and juicy fruit with the cold and creamy ice cream.

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4 / 6
Vegan Coconut Almond Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Evaporated cane juice would work just fine, too, as would maple syrup, although I’m not so sure I’d love the darker flavor of the latter in this particular flavor. Let me know if you use something else that you love!

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5 / 6
Mango Coconut Icebox Cake

The creamy layers come by their coconut richness without it, and the top is sprinkled with toasted flakes, which have more in common with nuts than hay. And then there’s the mango — lots and lots of mango.

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6 / 6
Sandrine’s Summer Tiramisu with Mango & Lime

This is a no-cook pudding with only fruit jam to sweeten it and lime to brighten. It was airy and creamy, tangy and sweet.

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