“Hey Google, how many tablespoons are in a cup?"
My husband and I are borderline obsessed with our Amazon Alexa smart speaker—we play Jeopardy with her, ask her to play music, and drive our dog nuts by having her play cat noises (I promise, we have friends).
But it turns out your Amazon Alexa or Google Home can also make your life a lot easier when it comes to cooking for a crowd this holiday season. We asked our editors how they use their smart home devices in the kitchen. Here’s what they said.
Add groceries to your shopping list.
If you’re like me and jot down your grocery list, only to leave it at home, you need this hack. Just ask Alexa or Google add things like eggs, milk, or whole-wheat bread to your shopping list, and access your list on your app when you’re at the store. Now, if your child adds 3 gallons of chocolate ice cream, that’s not our (or Alexa’s) fault.
Set as many timers as you need with your Google Home or Alexa—you can even name them. Translation? No more guessing how long the pumpkin pie has left, because you accidentally only set a timer for the mashed potatoes.
Set the mood.
Holiday cooking is a marathon, not a sprint. Ask your smart home device to crank up the music (you can create playlists, ask them to play a single artist, or shout out song requests as you go—turns out, our editors all like to DJ in the kitchen differently). Music helps the time pass quickly. Plus, it helps cooking feel fun, not like a chore. Not into music? Ask your device to recommend a podcast, or get a Flash Briefing of daily news.
Distract your family.
Keep kids or relatives busy (read: out of the kitchen) with games like Jeopardy, “Name That Song”, or Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. Browse your app for plenty of other game options—if you have younger kids, Amazon's "The Magic Door" is a big hit among 8-year-olds.
We’ve all had to Google, “how many tablespoons are in a cup?” with flour-covered fingers at some point. Thankfully, your smart home device can convert measurements in no time—all you have to do is ask.
Save your turkey.
Butterball has an app available for most smart home devices. You can ask it questions like: How much turkey should I buy? How long will it take to thaw my turkey? How do I roast my turkey? Or even: How do I know when my turkey is done? Even seasoned pros need help with their holiday bird, and this app is truly a life—and meal—saver.
It’s truly amazing what smart home devices can do. You can do everything from make coffee to start your slow cooker or sous vide machine—all you need to do is program your smart plug (you can do this through a command phrase, or synching it through If This, Then That).
Ask for calorie counts and recipes.
Want to know how to make chicken noodle soup, or many calories are in your Greek yogurt? Ask Alexa or Google Home. They’re not programmed to know every single recipe or calorie count, but they’ve got the basics covered.
Announce that dinner is ready.
This is a newer feature, and one that’s super silly and fun to try. Just say, “Hey Alexa/Google, tell everyone dinner’s ready,” and see what happens next.
Meditate or relax.
Holiday cooking can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. Just ask Alexa or Google to help you relax. They can play white noise, ocean sounds, fireplace crackles, sleep sounds, etc. Plus, there are meditation apps you can download for an extra boost of zen