Cooking in groups can be a raucous fun-fest — or a nightmarish exercise in stress management: When one person (let's call him the confident expert), grabs the reins and everyone else skulks in the background, the ring leader can end up feeling resentful and overworked, the skulkers dejected and useless.

But let's not forget the first option: the raucous fun-fest! Cooking in groups provides plenty of opportunity to...

1. Take on a project you might not be so eager to embark on as an individual: Timpano, dumplings, baked Alaska. Assign different members of your groups certain tasks. Then be each other's helpers!

2. Start a dish that you might make by yourself but that will be made so much easier by the help of others to chop, husk, mince, or mash.

3. Accommodate preferences by making something customizable, so that your fellow group members can leave out what they don't like (and add more of what they do like).

4. Bond with friends!

Inspired by hchambers86's Hotline question, here are ideas for wrangling lots of people into a particular a cooking project (and a few suggestions for how to make sure it all runs smoothly!).

Ready, set, teamwork!

First up, snacks! Start by making a snack mix you can eat by the handful if dinner takes longer to prepare than you anticipated:

How to make snack mix without a recipe, savory or sweet

(James Ransom/Courtesy Food52)

Make enough dough for multiple grilled pizzas, then make a toppings bar so that your friends can choose their own:

Speedy Romeo's grilled pizza with marinated tomatoes and ricotta

(Mark Weinberg/Courtesy Food52)

Take turns layering:

Vegetarian lasagna

(Mark Weinberg/Courtesy Food52)

Some of you roll + wrap, some of you fry + drain. All of you eat + enjoy:

Beef flautas

(James Ransom/Courtesy Food52)

The people who make the sauce get to drink wine while the other people do the assembly:


(James Ransom/Courtesy Food52)

Some divide the dough; some make the dough balls into logs; and some shape the logs into twisted loops:


(Bobbi Lin/Courtesy Food52)

Dumplings — gnocchi, included — require all hands on deck:

Sweet and spicy sesame dumplings

(Bobbi Lin/Courtesy Food52)

Baked ricotta and smoked salmon dumplings in gyoza skin

(James Ransom/Courtesy Food52)

How to make dumplings without a recipe

(Bobbi Lin/Courtesy Food52)

Baked gnocchi alla Romana (gnocchi alla Joanie)

(James Ransom/Courtesy Food52)

Grandma DiLaura's Italian ricotta gnocchi

(Courtesy Food52)

Put some people on enchilada sauce duty, some people on filling duty, and some on assembly duty:

Enchiladas suiza

(James Ransom/Courtesy Food52)

Have filling (and dipping) options on hand — as well as multiple types of cheese, why not! — so that everyone can have the sandwich he or she prefers:

Ruth Reichl's diva of a grilled cheese

(James Ransom/Courtesy Food52)

Anything that needs to be dredged creates the possibility for an assembly line (and if you serve the fried chicken on biscuits, you can put a small task force on the job of baking them):

Buttermilk fried chicken

(Courtesy Food52)

Plenty of easy-to-divide responsibilities here: There's pie dough to mix, apples to prep, and caramel sauce to melt:

Apple dumplings

(Bobbi Lin/Courtesy Food52)

A taco is a blank corn or flour canvas! Split into groups and tackle different fillings, then come together to mix and match:

Skillet-grilled fish tacos with cilantro-lime crema

(Alexandra Stafford/Courtesy Food52)

Mushroom-lentil tacos with tahini yogurt sauce

(James Ransom/Courtesy Food52)

California chicken tacos with corn and red cabbage slaw

(James Ransom/Courtesy Food52)

Diana Kennedy's scrambled ricotta

(James Ransom/Courtesy Food52)

Multiple ice cream cakes are probably necessary, right? Different flavors for different folks:

How to make ice cream cake without a recipe

(Mark Weinberg and James Ransom/Courtesy Food52)

Or, make a big batch of doughnuts and let group members decorate his or her own (just don't make it a competition):

Cake doughnuts 101: the completist's guide to shaping, glazing, frying, (and baking!) your own

(Bobbi Lin/Courtesy Food52)

This story was originally published on 21 recipes to cook with a large group without losing your gosh darn mind