The most useful kitchen hacks you can ask Alexa to assist you with

Kevin Farrell

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Learning how to cook has never been easier, thanks to our new robotic overlords, excuse me, I mean virtual assistants. Alexa, Siri, Cortana and Google’s eponymous assistant have each expanded their skill sets mightily in recent years, offering up efficiencies and usefulness in pretty much every room of the house. But nowhere is Alexa more useful than in the kitchen, thanks to Amazon’s deliberate beefing up of its hardware line to include the kitchen counter-sized Echo Dot and video-capable Echo Show. If you’ve got any Alexa-empowered device in your kitchen, these are the tricks you can teach her to make mealtime that much easier.


Find alternative ingredients

When my last egg in the carton met a grizzly end by rolling off the counter onto the floor below last week while making French toast, I nearly had to scrap the whole meal. But Alexa’s Ingredient Sub skill saved the day by offering me a workaround using cornstarch and butter, and breakfast turned out great. When you’re in an ingredient pinch, this skill is a must-have, instantly offering up alternatives you may already have on hand in the middle of preparing a dish.

Properly store produce

If you’ve ever wondered whether or not avocados go in the refrigerator or on the counter, or whether bananas should be kept away from the light in a dark pantry or not, then you need the Fruit Stand skill added to your Alexa, stat. And while you may only need to ask these questions once to learn the proper place to keep your berries and broccoli before you’re ready to eat them, Fruit Stand will come in handy down the line when you pick up a romanesco from the farmers market, or a bag of chestnuts in December.

Set timers for individual dishes

Even Alexa noobs know how to tell the virtual assistant to set a timer in the kitchen. But did you know that you can actually create and set multiple timers at once? And that you can even call them by the name of the dish you’re preparing? Thanksgiving dinner, or any multi-dish meal, has never been easier thanks to this functionality. Simply tell Alexa to “Set a timer for the turkey,” and wait for her to ask you how long it should run. Once the timer is set, create a second one for the potatoes, or the biscuits, or both. As the individual timers hit their mark, Alexa will tell you which dish is ready to roll.

Unit conversions


It doesn’t matter how many times I have Googled how many tablespoons are in a half a cup. I still couldn’t tell you the answer right now. And that goes double for American measurement conversions from the metric system! Never sweat having to put your greasy, buttery, flour-dusted fingers on your keyboard while cooking again. Alexa can tell you how many grams are in a pound, how much a cup of sugar weighs, or how many ounces are in a pint at any point while you are cooking. You don’t even need to download an additional skill!

Wine pairings

While only a select few can brag about being a master sommelier, the rest of us usually struggle with wine pairing knowledge beyond “Serve whites with seafood and reds with steak.” But by simply enabling the Wine Finder app, you’ll be able to fake it until you make it thanks to the app’s knowledge of appropriate pairings with more than 500 foods. And we’re not just talking about broad questions like, “What goes with chicken?” here. Wine Finder gets into the nitty gritty, even offering you wine suggestions for apple pie and pizza.

Bonus: If you have the Alexa app installed on your phone, you can access Wine Finder from the grocery store of liquor shop, too. No need to plan ahead from your kitchen!

Ingredient cooking times

Need to know how long to cook a 20 pound turkey for? Or how long to grill an inch-thick steak? The Epicurious Smart Kitchen Timer Alexa skill has got you covered. Once you’ve enabled the skill, you can ask Alexa cooking temperature and timing questions by weight, approximate size, or even the thickness of the cut. Do bone-in and boneless chicken thighs cook for the same amount of time? The Epicurious app has got you covered. Just say the word.


Kevin Farrell

About Kevin Farrell

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