She’ll be the only other cook you’ll want in the kitchen.
Thanksgiving dinner preparation can get seriously hectic. With numerous dishes to make—all requiring a different cook time—limited oven space, a house to clean, family to entertain, and well-meaning cousins asking if there’s anything they can do to help, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. But maybe this time around you have an Alexa-enabled device floating around somewhere in your home. So why not stash it on your kitchen counter and make it your sous chef this Thanksgiving? From special skills to smart-home connected products, here 17 ways your Alexa-enabled device can make your Thanksgiving a whole lot easier.
Straight out of the box, your Alexa device is able to help you navigate your feast in some pretty useful ways.
Earlier this year, Amazon upgraded Alexa’s capabilities to include assigned names for timers, so you can say, “Alexa, set a turkey timer for seven hours,” and “Alexa, set a pie timer,” and she’ll keep both for you—freeing you up from having to do any mental math while baking multiple dishes in the oven. Want to check to see if you have time to run to the store before you need to take the stuffing out of the oven? Just ask “Alexa, how much time is left on the stuffing timer,” and your device will let you know. Also, you can see all active timers within the Alexa app (or on the display, if you’re the proud owner of an Echo Show).
Need to remember to start thawing the turkey the night before? Does your daughter need a reminder to clean the bathroom before Grandma gets to the house? Just say, “Alexa, remind me to take the turkey out at 7 p.m. on Wednesday,” or “Alexa, remind me to clean the bathroom before 11 a.m.” and your device will nudge you when it’s time.
While you could always ask to create a shopping list that can be found on the companion app or synced with apps like Cozi, you now can ask Alexa to keep named lists, too. Just ask Alexa to create a Thanksgiving shopping list and then ask Alexa to add to your Thanksgiving shopping list when ingredients pop into your head.
Need a special seasoning you can’t find at your grocery store? Just realized your pie dish broke last Thanksgiving and forgot to get a new one? Just ask Alexa to order whatever you need and it will be at your door in two days with Prime shipping. Find that you didn’t actually have cinnamon in your spice cabinet like you thought... the night before Thanksgiving? If you’re in a metropolitan area that offers PrimeNow, you can ask Alexa to deliver the goods straight to your door in two hours or less.
If you’re picking up a loved one from the airport, you can have Alexa keep tabs on their flights—just say “Alexa, what’s the status of American Flight 34,” and your device will give you the latest update. Hands too full with dinner prep to pick up your aunt and uncle? Enable the Lyft or Uber skill, and ask Alexa to book a ride to greet them.
Elbows deep in pie dough, but need to call a family member? Alexa can now send voice messages to other Echo devices, call phone numbers in the US, Canada, and Mexico, and even video chat between two Echo Show devices.
Ask conversion questions like “Alexa, how many ounces in a cup,” or other cooking tips like “Alexa, what is the recommended internal temperature for turkey?” Or maybe you need to settle a bet or prove a cousin wrong? Just ask Alexa questions like “What year was Home Alone released?” She’ll search and give you the correct answer in mere seconds.
Have multiple Echo devices in your home? Use them as a hands-free intercom to “drop in,” and let your family know it’s dinnertime.
Want to play some music while you cook? Just ask Alexa to play what you want—it can be as specific as a song (like “Alexa, play Always Something There to Remind Me by Lou Johnson”) or just a general theme (Alexa, play Thanksgiving cooking music). She’ll pull up what you’re looking for on Amazon Music (or if it’s not available, play a sample). Prefer to immerse yourself in a podcast or listen to the book you’re devouring on Audible? Your device can pull that up, too.
Unlike an old dog, Alexa can learn new tricks. Choose from more than 25,000 skills quite easily (all available on the Alexa app). Here, some of our favorites for the holiday:
Save The Food
Love your leftovers? Get the most out of them (and minimize waste) with this skill. Ask about any food, and Alexa can help you figure out how to best store your food, keep track of how long you’ve had an item, and see if those leftovers are still ok to eat. To enable just say “Alexa, ask Save The Food how to store turkey.”
Betty might have been your mom’s go-to help in the kitchen, and when partnered with Alexa, she’s revved up for a new generation. To enable, say “Alexa, talk to Betty Crocker” and the skill can dish out cooking tips like proper cooking time, emergency substitutes, and more.
A must have when prepping for turkey day grocery shopping, this skill is designed to help with two things: figure out how much turkey you should buy, and how long you should cook it for. To enable just say, “Alexa, Ask Turkey Planner.”
You could complete a master bartending course, or you could just say, “Alexa, ask Mister Bartender” to help you figure out what goes in your cocktail shaker. The skill can give you recipes to popular cocktails or tell you what to make with what you have left on your bar cart.
Impress your guests with a stellar wine that perfectly pairs with the Thanksgiving feast. Say, “Alexa, ask wine pairing which wine goes best with turkey” to enable, and the skill will give you a selection of wines that will go best, as well as a specific wine to look for.
Forgot to vacuum the front room? Just ask Alexa to start your Roomba (To buy: $323; amazon.com) and you can keep cooking in the kitchen. Plus, the best thing about having a robot vacuum? It frees up extra (little) hands to help you peel potatoes.
ChefSteps Joule Sous Vide
One of the most difficult puzzles of cooking Thanksgiving dinner is figuring out how to do it all with just one oven. This year, free up space by using a Joule sous vide (To buy: $179; amazon.com) for your side vegetables—or if you’re adventurous, even the whole turkey. Sous vide is a cooking method in which ingredients are placed inside a vacuum-sealed, heat safe bag and submerged in a pot of water simmering at a constant temperature. The Joule is not only connected to an app via Wi-Fi, so you can keep tabs on your meal every step of the way, but it also connects to Alexa, so you can control it with your voice.
WeMo Smart Plug
Why should you have to get up from the table to turn on your coffee maker for dessert? Just plug it in to your WeMo smart plug (To buy: $40; amazon.com), and it can be controlled by a connected app or by simply asking Alexa.