Cooking conundrums, begone! Here are just a few ways smart devices like Amazon’s Alexa can help you turn every meal into a winner, with no bumps along the way.

By Andrea Beck
August 08, 2019

Smart devices are taking over every corner of our homes—you can equip your front door with a smart doorbell, put a smart thermostat in charge of the temperature, and even control your lights from your phone. In some cases, you can connect your smart devices to one central helper—like Amazon’s Alexa—which can extend smart tech throughout your whole house, including the kitchen. If you’re new to smart devices but want some assistance cooking, Alexa is a helper you can count on (and she won’t sneak a taste of cookie dough while your back is turned). Here are just a few of the ways she can make your cooking, baking, and meal-prepping easier.

1. Convert Recipes and Answer Cooking Questions

Don’t sweat the math next time you’re halving a recipe—Alexa can answer all kinds of cooking questions, including how many teaspoons are in a tablespoon (three), and converting metric measurements to U.S. measurements. But measurements aren’t Alexa’s only skill; she can tackle all kinds of other common cooking questions, like how to know when your fish is done, how long to boil chicken, what pan to use for brownies, and more. Just ask, and she’ll give you the answer!

Buy It: Echo Plus, $149.99, Amazon

2. Set a Hands-Free Timer

Sometimes, when you’re trying to multi-task, little things like remembering to set a timer for your recipe can fall by the wayside. Luckily, Alexa can set a timer for you even while your hands are full. As you’re sliding a cookie sheet into the oven or leaving a bowl of bread dough to rise, just ask Alexa to set a timer for the amount of time your recipe calls for. She’ll let you know when it’s time to transfer those cookies to a cooling rack.

3. Brainstorm Recipe Ideas

Even the best of us need help finding recipe ideas, especially when trying to think of a speedy, healthy dinner for a jam-packed Tuesday night. While you can ask Alexa to look up specific recipes, she can also help you out with ideas using some of her special skills (some of which you can enable for free). One skill, called Meal Idea, can give you easy, basic recipe ideas upon request using common kitchen ingredients you might already have on hand. At the very least, it can help you get a few ideas rolling for dinner—and if you like one of the recipe suggestions, Alexa can send the details to your phone. Allrecipes has a similar skill that you can pair with Alexa; it will look up recipes for you on Allrecipes' website (one of our sister sites), then walk you through how to make them step-by-step. It's a great option for messier recipes because you can follow the instructions hands-free.

Buy It: Echo Dot Smart Speaker with Alexa, $49.99, Amazon

4. Control Your Appliances

Upgrading your kitchen with other smart appliances? Use Alexa to control them. While some smart appliances require a bit of an investment, like smart refrigerators and smart microwaves, other items like Alexa-compatible slow cookers are more affordable than some larger appliances. If you have appliances compatible with Alexa, you can tell her to do things like pop popcorn in your smart microwave or to get started brewing a cup of coffee.

5. Manage Your Grocery List

Forgotten grocery lists are a thing of the past. If you use up the last of your flour while you’re making a recipe, Alexa can remind you to buy more by adding it to your shopping list. You can use the AnyList app (which is free to download and compatible with Alexa) and ask Alexa to add grocery items to your list. Then, the next time you’re at the store, pull up the list on your phone—and you’ll never forget flour again. You can also use Alexa to order groceries and supplies directly through Amazon—if you realize you’re low on paper towels midway through cooking, you can ask Alexa to add some to your cart.

If you’re just starting to experiment with smart technology in your home, a digital assistant like Alexa can be an easy way to incorporate a little more tech into your daily life. Echo and Echo Dot systems are pretty affordable on Amazon, and you can usually hook them up in any room of your house. Trust us, you’ll love how much more smoothly they can help you get weeknight dinners on the table!

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