Here's How to Up Your Dip Game

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The right dip recipe can get you through anything. The kids surprised you with a houseful of small-but-hungry friends? Bring out the chips and dip — vats of the stuff. A friend's going through a breakup? There's no better method for sopping up their tears than doing so over a bowl of guacamole. Perhaps most importantly, however, a solid dip recipe can help hit your cookout or picnic out of the park, especially this time of year. Before you peel open a tub of sorry store-bought dip, witness how these dip giants can come together in a flash, especially with a little how-to help.

Cracking open a jar of store-bought salsa may be enough for chip dipping on an off day, but this sweet and spicy alternative will turn you into a make-your-own believer. Fix bright mango salsa ahead to allow all the diced juicy fruit, onion, jalapeno and mint to meld together with the lime juice. Give Alton Brown's mango-cutting method a try while you're at it. Here's how to make mango salsa.

Keeping with the trend, sweet corn taken straight off the cob is the perfect base for summer salsa. Count on the kernels themselves to give corn salsa that pop of juicy texture, but rely on red bell pepper, jalapeno, cilantro, red onion and lime for a punch of flavor. See how to make your own.

Affectionately nicknamed "guac," guacamole is difficult to screw up — especially when a ripe avocado is so velvety delicious on its own. Learn how to pick a perfectly ripe avocado, and be sure to fold (rather than mash) the necessary white onion, serrano pepper and more into the avocado to avoid overworking. Just follow these simple steps.

Especially in the heat, a dip that cools you off is as integral as an ice-cold drink. Homemade tzatziki, a classic Greek spread made with yogurt, cucumber and fresh herbs, does wonders with pita or alongside grilled meat as a condiment. This dip is easy, but not as simple as chopping up your ingredients and mixing them together. Learn the ins and outs here.

Sure, it's easy to make onion dip from the little flavor packet or pick it up from the grocery shelf. But real homemade French onion dip requires sauteing onions till soft, sweet and caramelized before combining with sour cream. Before readying a bag of salty potato chips, check out this how-to.

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