The tumor suppressor protein p53 plays a central role in preventing cancer through interaction with DNA response elements (REs) to regulate target gene expression in cells. Due to its significance in cancer biology, relentless efforts have been directed toward understanding p53-DNA interactions for the development of cancer therapeutics and diagnostics. In this paper, we report a rapid, label-free and versatile colorimetric assay to detect wildtype p53 DNA-binding function in complex solutions. The assay design is based on a concept that alters interparticle-distances between RE-AuNPs from a crosslinking effect induced through tetramerization of wildtype p53 protein (p53-WT) upon binding to canonical DNA motifs modified on gold nanoparticles (RE-AuNPs). This leads to a visible solution color change from red to blue, which is quantifiable by the UV- visible absorption spectra with a detection limit of 5 nM. Contrastingly, no color change was observed for the binding-deficient p53 mutants and non-specific proteins due to their inability to crosslink RE-AuNPs. Based on this sensing principle, we further demonstrate its utility for fast detection of drug-induced DNA binding function to cancer-associated Y220C mutant p53 protein using well-established reactivating compounds. By exploiting the dominant-negative property of mutant p53 over p53-WT and interactions with RE-AuNPs, this assay is configurable to detect low numbers of mutant p53 expressing cells in miniscule sample fractions obtained from typical core needle biopsy-sized tissues without signal attrition, alluding to the potential for biopsy sampling in cancer diagnostics or for defining cancer margins. This nanogold enabled colorimetric assay provides a facile yet robust method for studying important parameters influencing p53-DNA interactions with great promises for clinically pertinent applications.