Voting, renting a car, hosting your first Thanksgiving — these are all important milestones on a path toward adulthood. But that last one is fraught with responsibility. If you burn dinner on any other night, there is always pizza. If you ruin the turkey, well, it’s the only night of the year when the thought of pizza makes us sad.
But fear not, young chef. There is a lot of help in the form of apps, and voice-activated assistants! From planning what to make or picking out the perfect pumpkin to managing your shopping list and finding the right wine, we offer you some help to help ensure everyone you invite this year will want to come back next Thanksgiving, too.
With Out of Milk, you can manage your shopping lists for Thanksgiving whether you’re team Google Home or team Amazon Echo. By creating an account and linking it to your preferred voice assistant, your changes will automatically sync to all of your devices. You’re able to add or remove items, specify the quantity, and have multiple running lists — which the voice assistant can switch between. Any lists created or edited through the voice assistant will also sync to the app, for those last minute additions.
If presentation is extremely important to you this Thanksgiving, Oh She Glows has you covered. With over 95 plant-based recipes, there’s a dish to cater to everyone’s taste-buds. Whether it’s Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Panzanella or Sweet Potato Crumble Casserole, these meals not only sound delicious but look stunning as well. To help make the process easier, the easy-to-use interface allows you to strike out different steps or ingredients as you start cooking, and add your own notes to the recipes if you make any changes while cooking. With an anti-lock feature, you also don’t have to worry about touching your device with dirty hands to unlock your device and find your place again.
Food Network’s In the Kitchen app has over 70,000 recipes to choose from for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. But for Thanksgiving specifically, it has its own section dedicated to all the different ways to cook a turkey along with gravy recipes. The app also includes a roundup of its top 50 Thanksgiving recipes to help make sure you have all the classics covered ranging from stuffing to mashed potatoes. To help make it easier, select recipes also include how-to videos from Food Network chefs themselves so you can follow along.
Google Assistant can help you in a variety of ways this Thanksgiving. Not only can it help you create a shopping list for any last minute grocery store trips, but you can also use its timer to help you while cooking. If you’re looking for recipe inspiration, Google Assistant will provide you with a variety of options to choose from by simply asking for Thanksgiving recipes. It will also be there to help you with any last minute cooking questions, especially those confusing measurement conversions. You can do a lot more with Assistant, so check out our guide for more.
Once you have decided on your basic menu, you can look for interesting takes on your basic green bean casserole. Yummly takes results from all over the Internet, so this search will give you tons of results, but there’s a filter button for a reason. You can omit recipes with ingredients you hate; look by cuisine type; limit by prep time; and indicate whether you prefer something that is spicy, sweet, sour, and so on. If you find something that gets your heart to skip a beat, you can add the ingredients to your Instacart, if you have an account. You will also get nutrition information, which might be useful depending on how you feel about Thanksgiving pants.
If you really, really don’t know what you’re doing, this app might help. SideChef’s creator, Kevin Yu, has described its target audience as the cooking-for-dummies crew. It has big pictures to go along with each step and videos and tips for certain things. Don’t know how to “slice an orange?” There’s a video to show you the technique. Seriously. But some of its other features are meant to appeal to all sorts of cooks, like voice recognition. It will read the directions aloud, then you can tell it to advance to the next step without smearing giblet juice all over your phone. Its filters aren’t as helpful as Yummly’s, but it can walk you through a challenging recipe pretty thoroughly.
If the only time you serve wine is at Thanksgiving, then you might need a little help in this department. Even if you are pretty sure poultry pairs with white, Hello Vino can give you even more details — based on whether you’re smoking, roasting, or barbecuing your bird. For example, it recommends chardonnay (even tells you how to pronounce it) and gives some quick tasting notes — though “buttery flavors and vanilla” might not mean much to non-oenophiles. Then it breaks down its picks into “recommended,” “highly rated,” and “$10 and under.” It’s meant as more of a way to order wines, but it gives you a starting place.
The app is supported by ads, and its scanning feature — which lets you take a picture of a wine label to get details about it — costs money, unlike other free apps like Vivino and Delectable. Still, neither of those had as robust food-pairing suggestions. Don’t forget the perfect-with-pumpkin-pie pouilly-fuissé.
If you have both an Echo, Dot, or another Alexa-enabled device and a new General Electric oven, you can get your voice-activated assistant to do some of the work for you. With the Geneva skill enabled, you can ask Alexa to turn on your oven when it is turkey time. It might be a bit gimmicky, but your guests will probably be impressed. Alternatively, you can also ask Alexa to order some ingredients last minute from Amazon Pantry.
Update: Added Oh She Glows, Google Assistant, Food Network In The Kitchen, and Out of Milk