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5 extremely useful Alexa skills to help you in the kitchen

Maybe you’ve been cooking all your life. Maybe you’re just learning and you want to expand your skillset. You also have an Amazon Alexa device in your kitchen. It’s time to recruit the voice-assistant gadget as your own personal sous chef.

Alexa currently offers over 10,000 skills including add-on programs that do everything from sharing facts about cats to reading you bedtime stories. Amazon has over 400 skills listed in its Alexa “Food & Drink” category alone. Here are some of the best and most useful cooking-related skills to help you get the most out of Alexa when you’re in the kitchen:

1) Allrecipes

You probably know Allrecipes from its massive website. Now you can access 60,000 Allrecipes recipes through your Alexa device. You can ask for recipes for anything from coleslaw dressing to grilled salmon and have the ingredients and methods read out to you. You can also ask for recipes that match ingredients you have on hand, designate favorite recipes, get recipe reviews and have the recipe sent to your phone for easy reference.

Keep in mind that some Echo Show owners aren’t happy with how fast the recipes disappear from the screen. Hopefully, that issue will be resolved in a future update.

2) Save the Food

The Save the Food Alexa skill comes from the Ad Council and the Natural Resources Defense Council. It’s aimed at reducing food waste by helping you use up the food you’ve already bought before it goes bad.

Save the Food can give you tips for proper storage of food so it will last longer and share guidelines on what foods are safe to eat, even if they’ve been hanging out in your refrigerator for some time.

Here’s an example: If you ask Save the Food if your avocados are still good to eat, it will ask you to describe the avocado. Tell Save the Food your avocado is browning and it will tell you to cut away the brown parts and eat the rest.

3) The Bartender

Here’s one for people who are over 21. The Bartender acts as a mixology guide that gives you recipes for popular cocktails. Since it deals with alcoholic beverages, Amazon considers this a skill for mature audiences and will notify you of that when you first enable it.

The Bartender pulls its recipes from the cloud, so there can be some variability in the quality of the recipes and the quantities they make. It’s still a good option for getting a quick refresher on ingredients, proportions, and methods for making everything from a White Russian to a classic martini.

4) Ingredient Sub

You’re excited about preparing a new recipe. You gather your ingredients. Everything is going fine up until the moment you discover you’re missing buttermilk. What to do? Easy. Enable the Ingredient Sub skill and say, “Alexa, ask Ingredient Sub what I can use instead of buttermilk.” You will find you can use yogurt, lemon juice or vinegar and milk to create a buttermilk substitute for your dish.

5) Use Alexa’s built-in skills

Some of Alexa’s best kitchen features don’t require you to activate a new skill. You can add items to your grocery list by saying “Alexa, add hot dogs to my shopping list.” You can then check the Alexa app on your phone to access your shopping list while you’re at the store. Alexa is also a quick way to get conversions. Just ask, “Alexa, how many tablespoons are in a cup?” Alexa will quickly tell you the answer is “16.” Alexa’s named-timers feature will help you manage everything you have cooking. Say, “Alexa, set a pizza timer for 20 minutes.”

Alexa can be a handy kitchen helper. It may not be able to fully replace cookbooks or lavishly illustrated online recipes, but it can do more than just play your favorite food podcasts while you’re sharpening your chef skills.

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