How to Host a Totally Make-Ahead Dinner Party, from Drinks to Dessert

You love hosting. But let’s face it: Your schedule is packed, and you don’t have a full day to shop for groceries, cook and still somehow manage to stay awake long enough for your friends to arrive. We hear you—here’s how to throw a totally make-ahead dinner party, so you can cook and prep a little bit at a time. (And best of all: On party day, your friends will be so impressed by how chill you are.)

25 Low-Maintenance Summer Dinner Party Recipes

Meyer Lemon Gimlet With Thyme Simple Syrup

Make this tasty “lemonade for adults” up to a day in advance, then take it out of the fridge and start pouring when your guests arrive.

Italian Bruschetta Bar

Keep everything in separate containers in the refrigerator, then assemble right before the party. Invite guests to help themselves (extra burrata encouraged).

Prosciutto And Fig Salad Board

Part dinner, part work of art—best of all, it’ll stay gorgeous in the fridge all day.

Cheesy Polenta Bites With Brussels Sprouts And Pancetta

Cook ’em the night before, then serve at room temperature.

Roasted Cauliflower Macaroni And Cheese

Our favorite veggie makes this dish surprisingly light. (And you can keep it in the fridge unbaked for a few days before you pop it in the oven.)

Ruby Red Grapefruit Panna Cotta

Store these cute little guys up to a day ahead in the fridge, then pull them out when you’re ready to impress.

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Freelance Editor

From 2015-2020 Lindsay Champion held the role of Food and Wellness Director. She continues to write for PureWow as a Freelance Editor.