Go-to Dishes to Bring for Summer Cookouts

So I'm that guest at the summer cookout who does NOT try to cook any dishes beforehand, but I'll bring dishes that have already been cooked and I definitely bring with me some adult beverages to your cookout. I figured that some of my readers may feel the same way so I wanted to share with you my go-to dishes to bring for summer cookouts.

To me, it's really about the presentation in any dish that you decide to bring. As you can see in the image above, I purchased a pan of pasta and tomato sauce from my local grocery store, added some parmesan cheese on top and served it in a white ceramic dish......GENIUS!

Here's a few tips on things you need to check before you decide on what dishes to bring:

Make sure that no guests are allergic to any ingredients in your dish (ex., peanuts, shellfish, etc.).

Consider bringing dishes that our beloved vegan guests can enjoy as well.

Bring foods in dishes that you can easily discard afterwards or volunteer to help with cleaning the dishes if you plan to take your dishes back home (don't just wash your dishes out lol).

Ask the host or hostess what dish do they prefer that you bring?

Now of course you can make this such an easy to do type of thing, by bringing chips and dips or salsa and just putting them on cute dishes once you arrive, such as in the image below. If you are in charge of bringing beverages such as lemonade or sweet tea, you can do just as I did here in the image below and purchase your tea, sangria or lemonade and pour it into a pitcher and BOOM that's it!

I love to bring any pasta dishes to cookout's because they are so easy to heat up in the oven once you arrive if needed and a joy if you can serve them cold. This dish in the image below cost me about $8 (it was on sale). Depending on your where you live, it can be too hot indoors to cook for long periods of time so again, any pasta dish is a go-to dish for me to bring to summer cookouts.

See the slideshow below of all of the dishes I bring to a summer cookout:

If you decide you want to bring a dish that you can easily "make" and place on a serving dish or tray, then I highly suggest creating a cheese tray. All you need is about three or four varieties of blocks of cheese, cut them in bite size squares and place a small cup in the center with toothpicks in it and it's ready to be served.

Here are a list of other dishes that are cooked or made already for you that you can consider bringing to your next summer cookout:

Buffalo wings tray with ranch dressing (about $16.99)


Potato salad

Whole slab of smoked ribs (about $10)

Veggie tray about $20 but cheaper if you buy veggies separately and cut yourself

Fruit tray about $20 but cheaper if you buy fruits separately and cut yourself

You can never go wrong with bringing desserts as a dish to a summer cookout. I love purchasing pre-sliced cakes and pies to provide a variety of desserts for guests, instead of just buying one cake or pie. You can even use some of the fruit that you have and use it for toppings.

Summer cookouts are meant to be fun and enjoyable. You shouldn't be stressing over cooking or spending too much time deciding on what dishes to bring to a summer cookout. You are a guest who should be enjoying your time and not burnt out from cooking an elaborate dish or two. I hope these tips helped you and let me know in the comments if you have any other tips or your go-to dishes to bring to a summer cookout.