Potlucks can be great for those of us who can’t cook or are too lazy to. They give us an opportunity to take a break from a constant montage of cup noodles and mooch off our friend’s amazing cooking skills. Unfortunately, when it comes to potlucks, you’re probably expected to bring some kind of contribution.

When your cooking skills only extend to making grilled cheese on a hot plate, you know nothing you try to make is going to compare to what other people are going to show up with. You figure that you’ll just bring the paper goods, but you cringe when you think about how you’re going to have to listen to Tiffany recant every detail of the six hour process that went into making her grandmother’s one of a kind pie.

You want to come up with something respectable that you can’t mess up and will keep Janine from Pilates from throwing you sideways looks. Here are twelve ideas, numbered from hardest to easiest, of appropriate potluck options that result in the most bang for your minimum effort.

1.Pasta Salad


Photo by Katherine Richter

Once you’ve cleared the hurdle of boiling pasta, something most functioning college students are capable of, you should be able to whip up a decent pasta salad in ten minutes or so by mixing plain pasta with cheese, veggies, and various leftovers.

2. Slutty Brownies


Photo by Kirby Barth

These brownies taste and look like you spent eternity making them. Make them in under and hour without the use of a single measuring cup.

3. Salted Caramel Brownies


Photo courtesy of lovegrowswild.com

Take a half an hour to whip up some boxed brownies and garnish them with a pre-made caramel sauce and some salt. The sweet and salty brownies make for a deliciously faux gourmet concoction that’ll leave people begging for your recipe.

#Spoon tip: Ghiradelli Triple Brownie Mix is the best pre-made brownie mix currently on the market. Tell people they’re homemade and no one will bat an eye.

4. Sweet Potato Wedges


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Potatoes are so good on their own that they don’t require a lot of energy to prepare. These taste so good that you’ll be hard pressed not to eat them all before you get to the party.

5. Garlic Bread


Photo by Luna Zhang

The first thing to understand about garlic bread is that there can never be too much garlic bread. Remember that you can always  just grab some of the Pillsbury garlic bread sticks and make them a half an hour before you leave for the potluck.

6. Seven-Layer Dip


Photo by Maddy Shannon

A staple of both suburban PTA meetings and Super Bowl parties, seven layer dip is a crowd pleaser that can be made in minutes. Just layer re-fried beans, guacamole, sour cream, guacamole, salsa and shredded cheese in a pan and call it a night.

7. Skewers


Photo courtesy of sparklespandex.com

People, especially Americans, will eat anything if you put it on a stick. Grab a couple of leftover ingredients from the fridge and use your creativity to make all sorts of avante-garde kabobs.

8. Caprese Salad


Photo courtesy of recipeshubs.com

Caprese sounds fancy but is literally just tomatoes and mozzarella. Stack some slices of tomato and mozzarella and sprinkle with basil and balsamic for a mega-easy potluck solution. Lazy has never looked so sophisticated.

9. Tollhouse cookies


Photo by Davana Bolton

Grandmother’s have been taking credit for Toll House cookies for generations. The trick to making them look homemade is to muss up the cookies’ edges a bit while they’re fresh and gooey from the oven.

10. Guacamole


Photo by Amanda Shulman

Avocados have been all the rage of late, and most people are so in love with guacamole that they’re willing to dish out an extra two dollars for it at Chipotle. Just buy some premade guacamole from the grocery store, put it in a cutesy bowl from Homegoods, and claim ownership. To make it extra authentic, mix in some extra spices or a couple spoonfuls of your favorite salsa.

11. Alcohol


Photo by Krysten Dorfman

When you’ve exhausted all your resources, you can always just pick up a cheap bottle of wine. It doesn’t matter what you pick, most people can’t tell the difference. Bring the booze and you’ll be even more popular than the person who brought the garlic bread.

12. Ice


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If you’ve already left the house and realize that you’ve “forgotten” to prepare something, you can just stop at a gas station along the way and grab a bag of ice. It may not impress, but its better than nothing and at this point it’s time to just embrace your laziness as an essential component of your personality.