summer

32 Easy Ideas for Summer Potlucks

updated Jun 16, 2022
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: CC Buckley/Kitchn

Summer is one of the best times to get together with friends and family and that means cookouts and potlucks galore. But what to bring? Summer potlucks seem so simple but sometimes deciding what to make can feel kinda tricky, right?! We’re here to help you out and make it easier.

The best summer potluck ideas should check at least one of the following boxes (but the more, the better). They should be make-ahead friendly, easy to transport, easy to serve, and able to sit out for a while. Bonus points for summer potluck recipes that are made in big batches to feed a crowd (hello, pesto pasta salad and sheet pan lemon tart!) and don’t need to be cooked at all (go for the carrot tahini salad!).

Whether you’re going for finger foods, a side that’s super easy, a dish that’s guaranteed to impress, or something you can make without heating up the kitchen, we have you covered with 32 summer potluck ideas.

Summer Potluck Finger Foods

Any time you want to bring something other than a salad or dessert, an app or easy finger food is always a welcome addition.

1 / 6
Halloumi and Melon Skewers
Cubes of cantaloupe, watermelon, and briny halloumi are charred on the grill, then brushed with a honey-lime glaze.
Go to Recipe
2 / 6
Peach and Prosciutto Bruschetta
This savory-sweet appetizer is the perfect way to put juicy, ripe peaches to work.
Go to Recipe
3 / 6
Veggie Nori Rolls
These bite-size rolls are crunchy, cool, and refreshing.
Go to Recipe
4 / 6
Tomato & Mozzarella Caprese Skewers
Tomato-mozzarella salad epitomizes summer living, Italian-style, and putting it on a stick is simply an easier way for a crowd to enjoy it. It also ensures a perfect ration of cheese to tomato to basil.
Go to Recipe
5 / 6
Stuffed Peppadews with Parmesan & Salami
These super-simple app never fails to impress.
Go to Recipe
6 / 6
3-Cheese Tomato Tart
No one resist puff pastry, summer tomatoes, and three types of cheese.
Go to Recipe

Easy Summer Potluck Ideas

When you want something super simple that everyone is sure to love, go for a tangy slaw, cucumber salad, or no-bake icebox cake.

1 / 10
Zucchini Noodles with Tomatoes and Corn
Instead of thinking of this like a pasta replacement, think of these zucchini noodles as a hearty salad. We recommend cutting the noodles a bit shorter to make them easier to eat.
Go to Recipe
2 / 10
Sandwich for a Crowd
If your potluck is a picnic in the park for a moderately sized crowd, make this sandwich to share. You can go with a caprese version, this Italian mix, or turkey and cheddar.
Go to Recipe
3 / 10
3-Bean Israeli Couscous Salad
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.
Go to Recipe
4 / 10
Chilled Cucumber Noodles with Sesame Dressing
This cool, juicy salad with a slightly nutty sesame dressing is the perfect refreshing addition to a plate filled with barbecue.
Go to Recipe
5 / 10
Lemon Cream Icebox Cake
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.
Go to Recipe
6 / 10
Pesto Pasta Salad
Nothing says summer like tendrils of pasta, fresh mozzarella pearls, juicy tomatoes, and crunchy cucumber dressed in a basil pesto sauce. Keep it extra-easy by using your favorite store-bought pesto.
Go to Recipe
7 / 10
Tangy Carrot Slaw
This slaw keeps getting better the longer it sits in the bowl.
Go to Recipe
8 / 10
Sweet and Salty Watermelon Fruit Salad
Made with blackberries, sliced cucumber, lime juice, and feta, this watermelon fruit salad is equal parts sweet, salty, and savory.
Go to Recipe
9 / 10
No-Bake Strawberry Icebox Cake
This berries and cream icebox cake made with graham crackers is sure to make you the potluck MVP.
Go to Recipe
10 / 10
Tangy Cucumber Salad
This light, fresh salad of quick-pickled cucumbers and chopped fresh chives is perfect for your next potluck or barbecue.
Go to Recipe

Potluck Dishes That Will Impress

This lineup is guaranteed to have people asking you for the recipe. And best of all most of these are quick and easy to pull together without every turning on the oven.

1 / 8
No-Bake Sheet Pan Lemon Yogurt Tart
An easy no-bake lemon yogurt tart that feeds a crowd and is perfect for potlucks and parties.
Go to Recipe
2 / 8
The Ultimate Grilled Zucchini Salad
Zucchini is grilled until smoky, then tossed with a lemon vinaigrette, feta, and mint.
Go to Recipe
3 / 8
Avocado Tomato Salad
This avocado tomato salad is the perfect 10-minute dish to round out any and all summer dinners.
Go to Recipe
4 / 8
Summer Peach and Tahini Tart
This easy peach tart is bright, fresh, and not-to-sweet, making it the perfect end to any summer meal.
Go to Recipe
5 / 8
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.
Go to Recipe
6 / 8
Mini Ice Cream Cakes
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.
Go to Recipe
7 / 8
Napa Cabbage and Kale Coleslaw with Creamy Miso-Ginger Dressing
Rethink classic coleslaw with this Asian-inspired version from Bryant Terry. The umami from the miso gives it extra depth of flavor.
Go to Recipe
8 / 8
Seasonal Fruit Chaat
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.
Go to Recipe

No-Cook Potluck Ideas

From salad to slaws to no-bake cookies to Rice Krispies treats, there’s no shortage of winning ideas to make without turning on the oven.

1 / 8
Easy Lemon-Marinated Bean and Vegetable Salad
Creamy white beans and crunchy vegetables marinated in a honey-lemon vinaigrette is guaranteed crowd-pleaser.
Go to Recipe
2 / 8
No-Bake Cookies
No-bake cookies — the kind made with oats, peanut butter, and chocolate _ are a classic dessert.
Go to Recipe
3 / 8
Firecracker Rice Krispies Treats
Rice Krispies treats are always a hit, and this version gets an extra kick from a sprinkle of Pop Rocks.
Go to Recipe
4 / 8
Carrot Tahini Salad with Spiced Chickpeas
To keep the prep work to a minimum start with bagged pre-shredded carrots.
Go to Recipe
5 / 8
Watermelon Salad with Feta & Mint
Just wait and see, this salad will get gobbles up in no time.
Go to Recipe
6 / 8
Corn Salad
This fresh corn salad is mixed with juicy tomatoes, sweet basil, and salty feta for a simple, refreshing salad that tastes like summer.
Go to Recipe
7 / 8
Easy No-Bake Cheesecake
This no-bake cheesecake is impossibly smooth without a hint of graininess, perfectly creamy and tangy, and complete with a buttery graham cracker crust.
Go to Recipe
8 / 8
Lemon-Garlic Whipped Feta with Pesto
A swirl of pesto over the top makes this dip feel especially fancy.
Go to Recipe