The best thing about cooking—especially if you’re a novice—is that it isn’t an exacting science.

Sure, you might need a palate to know what tastes good or what flavors come together, but when you’re unsure, you can play around with ingredients and basic techniques and still come up with something pretty delicious.

If you’re still in the throes of figuring out how to perfect some staples, there’s another simple way to achieving results that will trick people into thinking you’ve been cooking for a long time. Dips are incredibly easy to assemble, and is the ultimate example of something thrown together that will always taste good. It corrects flaws in cooking (if your fried stuff’s too greasy, add some lemon and some dip), or adds more oomph to something borderline bland/boring.

We’ve laid out three dip ideas that show you how to achieve maximum flavor when you’re in a pickle, with ingredients anyone might have left over at home.\

Corn Elote Dip

When Mexican trends invaded our restaurant scene, the elote turned into an essential partner to tacos and burritos. Imagine that creaminess in a dip, and have it alongside guacamole or salsa when you’re serving up your own Mexican feast at home. Combine mayonnaise with any creamy white cheese, add canned or shredded corn, a bunch of cilantro, and a little lime. Cover the dip in parmesan cheese, broil it to create a crust, then top with chilli powder and a little more cilantro. This is destined to bring life to ordinary corn chips, or even quesadillas.

Hot Wing Dip

The universal pleasure of chicken wings means that almost every country has their version of the dish. There’s soy garlic or spicy wings in Korea, or ones doused in hot sauce across America. Make a dip that embraces both the heat of barbeque wings, and the coolness of the ranch it’s meant to accompany. Have mayonnaise and cream cheese as your base, then throw in copious amounts of your favorite barbeque sauce, add a little more honey, and drop in some hot sauce, depending on how much you can take. Add scallions, then dip anything from wings to chicken fingers, to ribs in this loaded dip.

Asian Vegetable Dip

This super adaptable dip addresses everyone’s obsession with Modern Asian at the moment, employing a spectrum of flavors from sour to salty to sweet. The base starts with mayonnaise, and any kind of thick Asian marinade you have at home–it can be miso paste, or Korean gochujang–then add a lot of fat and spice to the mix. Crisp up some bacon and add the little bits of porky grease left in the pan, then put any chilli powder you have left to good use. This punchy sauce goes great alongside anything roasted, particularly vegetables.

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