While we don't have any formal research to back this up, we’re pretty confident that if you ask anyone with an Amazon Echo smart speaker where they keep it, most will tell you theirs is in the kitchen. After all, it's a central location in the home that gets a lot of traffic—not to mention that Alexa can be quite helpful when you're cooking!
You probably already know that Alexa can help with converting measurements, setting timers, and even displaying recipes if you have an Echo Show or Echo Spot. However, there are dozens of additional skills you can enable to make Alexa even more useful while you’re cooking.
Here are seven skills you should definitely try if your Amazon Echo lives in the kitchen—you can thank us later.
1. Get new meal ideas for your dinner menu
Are you tired of eating the same old meals week after week? Alexa can help you diversify your dinner menu when you enable the Meal Idea skill.
After you set up this skill, simply tell Alexa a few basic ingredients you have on hand, and she'll provide suggestions on what you can make. If you like one of the ideas, Alexa can push the recipe to your smartphone, so you can get right to cooking. Bon appetit!
2. Figure out what you can and can’t recycle
Can you recycle a pizza box? What about a shampoo bottle? We all want to do what we can to help the environment, but to be honest, the rules of recycling can be pretty confusing. Luckily, Alexa is here to help, thanks to the Glad Recycler skill.
This feature makes it easier than ever to figure out what items can and can’t be tossed in the recycling bin. Just say, “Alexa, talk to Glad Recycler,” and you’ll be able to search through a comprehensive database of recyclable items.
For the record, pizza boxes typically can’t be recycled since they have grease and oil on them. On the other hand, most shampoo bottles can be recycled—just rinse them out first.
3. Order your favorite coffee when you’re running late
We all have mornings when things don't go according to plan. Maybe you slept through your alarm, your workout took too long, or your cat puked all over the rug—these unforeseen hold-ups may very well make you late, which means you won't have time to stop for your favorite cup of coffee. No bueno.
Alexa can help with this common dilemma, though! When you enable the Starbucks Reorder skill, you can simply ask her to reorder your latest purchase. That way, you just have to pop to your local store, pick up your drink, and get on your way—no waiting in line! (It's worth noting that you have to have the Starbucks mobile app and an account to use this feature.)
Don't think you're stuck with your last purchase, either. You can ask Alexa to switch between the last five items you ordered, so you get the drink you want every time.
4. Get daily cooking tips
Unless you're Rachael Ray, chances are you don't know everything there is to know about cooking. (If you are Rachael Ray, I'm a huge fan of your work! Let's collab sometime.) For the rest of us, Alexa can help improve our prowess in the kitchen with the help of the America's Test Kitchen Daily Cooking Q&A skill.
All you have to do is ask Alexa for your flash briefing and she'll give you a daily cooking tip on things like ingredients, tools, and techniques. You'll get a new tip every weekday, and if you have an Echo Show, there are videos included as well.
5. Have a daily dose of positivity with your coffee
You can start every day off on a positive note with the highly rated Good Morning, Beautiful skill. As you sip your morning coffee, simply say, “Alexa, good morning.” She’ll respond with the same greeting, as well as a little motivational phrase for you. It may seem silly, but it’s a small way to set yourself up for a good day.
6. Learn how to make any cocktail you desire
If you dabble in the fine art of mixology, you should definitely try out the Mr. Bartender skill. This handy feature will help you expand your repertoire by teaching you how to make different cocktails. You can ask Alexa how to make a Manhattan, a Negroni, a Moscow Mule, and more—you’re sure to impress your guests with your new arsenal of knowledge.
7. Scan barcodes to restock your pantry
This skill only works with the Echo Show, but it's still too cool not to mention. The Echo Show can scan barcodes—all you have to do is say, “Alexa, scan.” Once she recognized the bar code, Alexa will automatically bring up the product on Amazon. You can then quickly and easily reorder the item, keeping your pantry stocked with essentials at all time.