When I set up my new Amazon Echo in my kitchen a few years ago, I was mostly just excited to have an easy way to listen to music while I worked! I knew that Amazon’s virtual assistant Alexa was the primary feature of the Echo, but I wasn’t sure if I’d use it much other than to play music.
But over time I found myself interacting with Alexa more and more, particularly when I had my hands full while cooking. I’ve actually found Alexa to be so useful that these days, I’m convinced that nearly everyone could benefit from having her help in the kitchen too! :-)
To help explain why, today I’ll be sharing 9 specific ways that Alexa can come in handy in the kitchen and help make cooking easier. But before we dive in, I wanted to briefly explore the various Alexa-enabled speakers that Amazon offers. (There are quite a few of them now, so it can feel a little confusing!)
A Brief Overview Of Alexa-Enabled Devices
Amazon offers many different kinds of Alexa-enabled speakers and devices. For the sake of brevity, I’m limiting this overview to the various models of the Echo, Amazon’s flagship smart speaker. They vary in size, features, speaker quality, and price, so it’s good to know your options!
- Amazon Echo – The original Alexa-enabled wireless speaker.
- Echo Dot – A smaller version of the original Echo. Some use Echo Dots to extend the range of their larger Echo into other rooms throughout the house.
- Echo Show – Has a screen that can be used to play videos, display song lyrics, and even make video calls. (Amazon also recently debuted the Echo Show 5, an updated model with a more compact screen.)
- Echo Spot – Also has a screen, and has many of the same capabilities as the Echo Show, but it’s round and quite a bit smaller.
So now that you know a bit more about the devices that can bring Alexa into your kitchen, let’s talk about why you’d want to such a thing in the first place! Without further ado, here are 9 ways you can use Alexa in the kitchen to help make cooking easier.
9 Helpful Ways To Use Alexa In The Kitchen
1. Find A Recipe
The recipe site Allrecipes.com has a useful Alexa Skill that can help you find the perfect recipe! (An Alexa “skill” is like an app you use on your phone.) Just download the Allrecipes Skill using the Alexa app and gain access to a database of over 60,000 recipes.
You can ask Alexa to search recipes by ingredient, dish name, and more. You can also ask Alexa for step-by-step instructions, whether you want to follow along or could just use a little reminder!
2. Ring The Dinner Bell
Who needs a dinner bell when you have Alexa? It’s easy to broadcast an announcement to all the connected Echo speakers throughout your house. Just say, “Alexa, announce that dinner is ready!” It’s actually a pretty fun way to call the family to eat.
3. Set The Mood
You can use Alexa to create a dinnertime Routine that triggers certain functions and/or smart home devices. For instance, you could say “Alexa, it’s time to start dinner” to start a Routine that turns on your kitchen lights, starts your favorite cooking playlist, and sends an announcement that dinner will be ready soon.
You can learn more about how to set up your own custom Routines here.
4. Convert Measurements
Alexa makes it easy to convert measurements without having to stop whatever you’re doing in the kitchen. Just ask, “Alexa, how many tablespoons are in a quarter cup?” You can also ask more complex conversion questions, like “Alexa, how much does one cup of flour weigh?”
5. Get The Facts
Curious about the nutrition facts for something you’re cooking or eating? Ask, “Alexa, how many calories are in a medium-sized apple?”
6. Make A Shopping List
You can use Alexa to add items to your grocery shopping list. I love this feature, because I used to think “Oh, I’ll just add that to my list later,” if I thought of something I needed while I was cooking, but then I would nearly always forget about it.
Now I can just say “Alexa, add bread to my shopping list!” You can access or edit your shopping list anytime using the Alexa app. If you like to break down your grocery list by sections (like produce, dairy, meat, etc.) you can create several lists.
7. Set A Timer (Or Several!)
Not only can you set a cooking timer with Alexa, you can even set multiple overlapping timers! You can say “Alexa, start an oven timer for 15 minutes,” then add “Alexa, start a rice timer for 25 minutes.” (And don’t worry—when a timer goes off, Alexa will remind you which timer it is.)
8. Find Cook Times
Cook times for larger cuts of meat often depend on the weight of the cut. You can ask Alexa for a cook time for whatever you’re trying to cook! For instance, if you’re getting ready to cook your Thanksgiving turkey, you could say “Alexa, how long should I cook a 20-pound turkey?”
9. Control Kitchen Appliances
You can use Alexa to control other smart appliances in your kitchen by downloading certain Skills. Both Anova and Joule precision cookers offer Alexa-integration via Skills. There are also Alexa Skills for certain smart appliance models from Whirlpool, LG, and Samsung.
Even if you don’t have smart appliances, you still have options for using them with Alexa! You can plug nearly any appliance into an Alexa-enabled smart plug to be able to turn it on or off with voice commands.
Do you use any technology or gadgets that make cooking easier?