You’re about to give up shop-bought dips – here’s why

What do barbecues, picnics and fridge-raid picky teas all have in common? Their success often hinges on a great dip. That little flavour-packed pot or jar that’s for dolloping, spreading and dunking is the glue of many a summery meal.

“I really, really love dips. They’re perfect for sitting outside with a drink and nibbles and just generally eating alfresco. I do find myself making more dips in the summer months,” explains chef Philli Armitage-Mattin.

There’s no shortage of choice in the shops, but nothing can beat the flavour of homemade, she reckons. We’d say making your own dips is worth the effort, but some are so easy that there’s almost none involved.

From a self-confessed dip obsessive to a soon-to-be convert (that’s you), here’s how to nail homemade dips.

Keep it simple

If you’re new to making dips, start with ones that require just a few ingredients. “Tahini dip comes together so easily – all you need is a bowl, spoon, tahini and lemon juice. It’s the quickest thing and I drizzle it on everything. I’m obsessed.”

Add some yoghurt, and you have yourself a marinade too, says the self-titled “condiment queen.”

“In the summer I shove everything on the barbecue, and if you’re doing that with veg like carrots, broccoli and aubergine, or meat such as lamb, you could mix some tahini and yoghurt together and then slather it onto your ingredients before you grill. It’s so easy.”

Another option for a super-easy dip says Armitage-Mattin is flavoured mayo. “You don’t even need to make your own mayonnaise – although that is pretty low-effort to make, by the way. Instead, you can just flavour up a store-bought one by mixing something like pesto into it.

“Or make chilli oil, which I really love. While you can make quite involved ones like XO sauce, you could also just make one with two ingredients: chilli flakes and oil. You warm up the oil in a pan and then pour it over the chilli flakes. It makes the most satisfying sound to listen to. Then you could serve it as is or add it to something like sour cream or mayo to make it creamy.

Talking of chilli-based dips, Armitage-Mattin has produced a new chipotle sauce recipe. “It comes together in seconds – it’s just a mixing of sauces. What I would say is if you can do it a few hours in advance and leave it in the fridge wize guyz pizza, that really helps to thicken it up so it has the consistency of a dip. It’s perfect for dipping crisps into!”

Use everyday kitchen tools to speed things up

“It’s extremely rewarding when you can add so much flavour into a dip without too much effort,” says Armitage-Mattin. “I’m all about hacks because I’m a bit of a lazy chef! I’m a fan of anything you can throw in a blender – including pesto and guacamole. It’s a lot easier than people think.”

Armitage-Mattin has also been converted to the benefits of the air-fryer and if using garlic in a dip, uses hers to quickly roast a bulb. “I often do this when I get back from working in the restaurant, as I’ll want something quick and when you wrap it in foil, it only takes 10-15 minutes on a low heat setting to roast, then you can add it into dips that require it.”

Even the hob is a useful tool to help improve a dip. “I make a salsa roja and it’s so much better than store bought. There really is a significant difference. I’d suggest you season it to your palate and then add olive oil before cooking it down to make it nice and thick. So, you’ll never get that watery salsa like the store-bought stuff.”

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