17 Last-Minute Potluck Ideas That Feed a Crowd in No Time Flat

It's never too late: You can still whip something up!

August 18, 2019

It’s almost the weekend and you're excited to get to that picnic, barbecue, or cookout your friends invited you to. But as you look back at the invitation (or scroll to the bottom of the email) for the get-together, you realize that it says “potluck.”

...Wait, what? Oh no. You definitely didn’t see that before. You most certainly are not prepared.

But never fear. Food52 is here to save you with some effortless recipes fit for a crowd. Wow your friends with rich chocolate cake or spicy salsa.

Psst: They never have to know that you pulled it together just moments before arriving. 

17 Quick & Tasty Potluck Recipes

1. Kimchi, Shrimp & Soba Salad 

This extra-easy shrimp and soba noodle salad gets a punch of flavor thanks to kimchi, and can easily be batched up to feed a crowd.

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2. Mango Cucumber Chile Salad

Clocking in at just six ingredients (not counting salt), this tangy-spicy chile salad is ready to go in just a few minutes.

3. Sriracha-Lime Corn Salad

Ready in just under 20 minutes and a handful of ingredients, this zesty corn salad is a potluck dream—plus, it travels well. 

4. Tomato Salad with Corn, Summer Squash & Roasted Onions

This recipe calls for simple ingredients and transforms them into something totally delicious with a bit of roasting and sweet-tangy dressing.

Tomato Salad on Food52
It's Hot to Be Cool Thai-Inspired Cucumber Salad

This crunchy cucumber salad with creamy coconut dressing is exactly what you want to eat on a hot summer day, perhaps at a family BBQ or trip to the beach. 

6. Freekeh Salad with Fennel and Mint 

Freekeh, a supergrain made from green wheat, stars in this smoky salad along with fennel, orange juice-based dressing, and salty feta cheese.

7. Southwestern Quinoa Salad by Way of the Pantry

This totally riffable recipe makes use of things you probably already having around in your pantry (like quinoa, black beans, and spices), making it a great last-minute option.

8. Roberto Santibañez' Classic Guacamole

This much-loved Genius guac has been reviewed over 70 times, with one Food52er calling it "the best quacamole hands down.

Guacamole on Food52
9. Roasted Baby Turnips with Dijon-Shallot Vinaigrette & Tarragon 

Your friends will never know that you threw these roasted baby turnips together at the last minute. Why? The Dijon-shallot vinaigrette with herbs is a showstopper.

Roasted Baby Turnips on Food52

Watch: One-Pot Kale & Quinoa Pilaf

10. Burmese Chicken Salad

The ingredients in this five-star chicken salad might not look like much, but they work together to create something aromatic, refreshing, and totally craveable. 

11. Patricia Well's Green Lentil Salad

This green lentil salad is another example of: simple on the outside, unexpectedly flavorful on the inside. The secret: giving the lentils time to soak up the dressing. 

Green Lentil Salad on Food52

12. Summer Pasta alla Caprese

This surefire winner of a pasta combines three things practically everybody loves during the summertime: ripe tomatoes, basil, and fresh mozarella. 

Summer Pasta on Food52

13. Crunchy Celery, Radish & Turnip Salad-Slaw in Blue Cheese Sauce

This crunchy, vegetable-packed salad makes a tasty addition to tacos or even hotdogs, but it also tastes great in its own right as a salad.

Salad-Slaw on Food52

14. Cooked Green Salsa (Salsa Verde)

Everyone at the potluck won't be able to stop dipping chips and the like in this bright, smooth green salsa that goes with just about anything. 

Green Salsa on Food52

15. Alice Waters' Ratatouille

This well-worn classic gets a few Genius-approved updates, like red chile flakes and a basil bouquet, that takes it over the top.

Ratatouille on Food52

16. Cook's Illustrated's Blondies

Makes these blondies once, become known for them among your friends and family, and bring them to every potluck you get invited to from now until forever.

Blondies on Food52

17. Margaret Fox's Amazon Chocolate Cake

This light, quick cake is set to be your go-to for anything from birthdays and dinner parties to late night snacks and, of course, potlucks. 

Amazon Chocolate Cake on Food52

What's your favorite potluck recipe? Share it with us in the comments below!

This article was originally published in 2014. When we saw you wanted summer potluck ideas, we spruced it up and returned it to the homepage for 2019.

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Breelynne
  • Donna Hayes
    Donna Hayes
I put chocolate chips in 95% of the things I make and am a strong proponent for lunch dessert.


Breelynne December 22, 2016
Who the heck all this just lying around their house?
Donna H. July 15, 2016
Maybe I'm not much of a cook,mi wouldn't have 1/4 of those ingredients in my pantry unless I specialty shopped on a regular basis. ?