Cooking can be a complicated process, which explains why so many people opt for take-out rather than cooking for themselves. But getting delivery night after night can wreak havoc on not only your wallet but also your health and wellness. Luckily, owners of Alexa-enabled devices have a shortcut in the kitchen. The voice assistant Alexa can guide you through any cooking process, and Alexa has lots of skills dedicated specifically to making life easier for you in the kitchen. The next time you’re trying to make carbonara pasta or stumbling your way through baking an apple pie, use these ten Amazon Alexa hacks to help. Your kitchen rescue is just a voice command away!
1. Use Allrecipes
The cooking website Allrecipes is one of the most popular in the world, thanks to the fact that you can find thousands of delicious recipes in one convenient database. With an Alexa-enabled device, such as the Amazon Echo, there are 60,000 recipes that are just a command away. Tell Alexa what you’re cooking, whether it’s poached salmon, eggs Benedict, or a simple salad, and Alexa will sift through the available recipes to find you the perfect one. Listen as Alexa reads the ingredients list and cooking steps out loud to you, and follow along. You can also specifically request recipes that match the ingredients you already have on hand, which is perfect when you have a bunch of things in the refrigerator but no idea what to cook. If you have an Echo Show device, you’ll be able to look at the screen for instructions as well as listen.
2. Ask Alexa to brew your coffee
If you have a smart coffee brewer, you don’t even have to trudge downstairs in the morning to make your caffeine-filled cup o’ joe. Alexa is capable of connecting to smart devices, and that includes some smart coffee machines either through a skill, a smart hub, or a smart plug controlled by Alexa. In the morning, simply tell Alexa to get the coffee brewing, and Alexa will take care of it for you. You may have to quickly run downstairs to fill up the water and coffee, or you can prepare it the night before to save yourself a trip in the morning. And coffee makers aren’t the only smart kitchen appliances that Alexa can control. If you have a smart slow cooker or precision cooker, Alexa might be able to communicate with those, too, depending on your set up.
3. Monitor your calories
Keeping tabs on your health? It’s always a good idea to know how many calories are going into your body at meal times. Alexa can tell you the nutritional information of pretty much any ingredient. Enable skills like Track by Nutritionix to help you monitor caloric intake. Whether you want to know how many calories are in your favorite Greek yogurt, or how much sugar is in that Pop-Tart you’re about to sneak, ask and you shall receive.
4. Make margaritas
Making the perfect cocktail requires precision, experience, a good amount of training, and a perfect recipe. After all, many bartenders undergo special courses and even schooling to learn how to make these alcoholic drinks. Luckily, Alexa has a skill supplied by The Bartender, which gives users immediate answers to all mixology-related questions. Simply say, “Alexa, ask The Bartender how to make a Sex on the Beach,” and the device will read you the instructions. With approximately 12,000 recipes to choose from, it’s safe to say you’ll probably never run out of new drinks to try. Keep in mind that this skill is categorized as “for mature audiences,” and Alexa will let you know that only users who are 21 years and older can use the skill.
5. Convert measurements
Sure, adults are probably supposed to know that there are 16 tablespoons in a cup. But let’s be honest here: most people forgot that right after 4th grade. Never fear, Alexa is here. Simply ask Alexa, and the not-mathematically-challenged voice assistant will give you any conversion you want. Whether you need to convert tablespoons to milliliters, gallons to teaspoons, or ounces to some other measurement you forgot the conversions for, Alexa is there to provide a quick answer.
6. Find alternative ingredients
You’re having a grand old time cooking in the kitchen, until you realize that — uh-oh — the jambalaya requires bay leaves, and you don’t have that on hand. Or maybe you’re making cookies and realize you only have baking soda but no baking powder. Or perhaps you thought a recipe was vegan, only to discover it actually calls for one egg. There’s no time to run to the grocery store, so what can you do? Consult Alexa, of course. The Ingredient Sub skill will tell you what alternatives you can use for traditional ingredients. For example, in sweet dessert recipes, banana often serves as a great substitute for raw eggs. Yogurt can also provide an alternative option when buttermilk is called for. The options are endless.
7. Create a grocery list
While creating a shopping list on Alexa doesn’t require the activation of a new skill, it’s still pretty darn useful. For example, you’re rummaging through the kitchen and realize you’re out of cilantro. Your hands are dirty so you can’t right it down, but you’re afraid you’ll forget if you don’t. Instead, just say aloud, “Alexa, add cilantro to my shopping list.” Then, when you’re at the grocery store, simply check the Alexa app on your smartphone to see what ingredients you need to pick up this week.
8. Run timers
The problem with that tried-and-true egg timer of yours is that it can only time one thing at a time. What if you’ve got a turkey roasting in the oven, a pie baking in the other oven, and asparagus grilling on the stove? Sounds like a Thanksgiving nightmare if you only have one timer to keep track of it all. Alexa solves that problem because it can run several timers at the same time, and it will tell you by name which timer is up. All you have to do is say, “Alexa, set a pie timer for 30 minutes.” When 30 minutes are up, Alexa will give you an alert that your pie is ready. Easy as pie, right?
9. Quit wasting food
While no one really tries to waste food, the reality is that American families throw out a lot of food every year. According to an American Chemistry Council survey, the average United States family throws out $640 of food each year. Not only is that a big financial waste, it’s also a waste of our planet’s valuable resources. Using the Save the Food skill, Alexa can help you minimize food waste. This skill will give you tips on how to store food in a way that helps it last longer, and you’ll also gain valuable insight into how you can tell if food is still safe to eat. For example, you can ask, “Alexa, ask Save the Food how to store leftovers.”
10. Get Instant Pot tips and tricks
Got an Instant Pot? This popular multi-cooker kitchen appliance can do a whole lot of things in the cooking department, from stewing to steaming to making yogurt. Using the Instant Pot skill, you can find recipes that are specifically catered to an Instant Pot, and Alexa will walk you through the recipe step by step. Many home cooks love the Instant Pot for the set-it-and-forget-it recipes it allows for, so if you’re short on time but still want to eat well at home, this is a great skill to try.