Get Your Own Cooking Assistant With Alexa in the Kitchen
Maybe you love cooking. Maybe you dread it. In any case, having Alexa in the kitchen can make it easier — or at least more tolerable.
It’s rare to hear someone say “your wish is my command,” and actually mean it, and that’s why virtual assistants like Amazon’s Alexa seem simple in theory, but have the potential to be revolutionary. They don’t forget, they don’t flake, and they’re not going to tell you to watch your tone when you ask them for a favor (because maybe it’s been one of those days).
Whether you have an Echo, Echo Dot, or Echo Show, if you’re ready to unlock the power of Alexa, the kitchen is a great place to start.
Make a shopping list
Even if you’re not an ultra-powerful businessperson with your very own frantic, underpaid assistant, don’t be afraid to ask Alexa to take a note for you. Just used the last bit of sugar in your morning coffee? Tell Alexa to add it to your grocery list just as the thought leaves your mind forever. No need to stop what you’re doing to write it down—just tell Alexa and forget about it.
There are also a few Alexa shopping list skills that can make for a more streamlined experience. You may also want to try some third-party Alexa skills like AnyList and OurGroceries. With only voice commands, you can add and remove items from your lists, view them on your mobile device, and share them through text and email.
Restock your pantry and cleaning supplies through Amazon
If you buy your groceries through Amazon, Prime Pantry or Prime Fresh you can add items directly to your cart and check out using Alexa. If you’re lucky enough to have Prime Now available in your area, you can order groceries from Amazon or Whole Foods using Alexa and have them delivered on the same day.
You don’t even have to remember the brand or product name: use Amazon’s Dash Wand to scan barcodes directly from the products in your pantry or refrigerator.
Set timers and reminders
Forgetting something on the stove or burning the lasagna after an hour of prep time will quickly sour an evening. Join the fight against burnt food and ruined dinners with Alexa timers and reminders.
You can also set multiple timers to run at the same time, giving them each a distinct name.
Make measurement conversions on the fly
Smartphones give us computational superpowers, but we still need to use our fingers. That’s not very convenient when you’re knuckle-deep in a bowl of raw meatloaf, so let Alexa make measurement conversions while you do the real work.
The next time someone asks “what’s for dinner?” tell them to defer all questions to Alexa. While we’re not convinced that browsing recipes using your voice is always the most effective way to decide what’s for dinner, it can at least provide a starting point for inspiration, and if you’re lucky, suggest something you’ll love.
There are a few Alexa recipe skills that are worth trying, but don’t expect them to work perfectly — users report somewhat mixed results:
- AllRecipes: with an impressive catalog of over 60,000 recipes, this skill provides step-by-step instructions.
- Meal Idea: a basic tool that does exactly what it promises.
- Instant Pot: if you thought Instant Pot cooking couldn’t possibly require less effort, you are in for a surprise.
- Dominos Pizza: skip the recipe search entirely and call it a night with delivery.
Recipes are great as long as you understand them, but it can take some time to pick up certain terminology and techniques. Your personal sous chef is ready to help — if you have a question about a certain technique or ingredient, Alexa can answer.
Give it a few months with your new kitchen assistant and soon enough people will be asking how you make your pie dough so flaky (and you’ll casually tell them it’s the fraisage).
When you’re cooking with Alexa, you will still need your hands to stir, chop, and eat, but your assistant can help with everything else.
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