Cooking With Alexa

**UPDATED 11/22/16** By now most Echo owners know about the Campbell’s Kitchen skill and an Allrecipes skill has also been announced (but is not yet available as of this writing, on 11/22/16). There’s much more Alexa can do to help you out. Cooking with Alexa is easier and more fun than going it alone in the kitchen.


Image credit: PaperChase


Get Alexa To Read Recipes With Full Audio Playback Controls (like pause!)
This tip comes from Amazon Discussions member Jim Hart:

I set up a microphone on my desktop computer and read off a recipe, saving the sound file as an .MP3 file. I then uploaded it to my Amazon Music Library. When I ask the Echo to play “Baked Chicken” it plays the recipe. Since I can access the Echo from my kitchen I can have it pause while I finish a step and then continue when I’m ready to…um…continue. Doesn’t help look up new recipes, of course, but it does help me remember how to prepare dishes that we’ve tried and liked and want to make again – I only have to read the recipe off once, upload it with a discernible name, and we’re good to go.

Note that another Echo owner suggested you can also use an app to make your recordings on your phone (the one linked below is currently free in Amazon’s US App Store), then upload the file to your Amazon Music Library.



If you don’t want to bother with recording the recipes yourself, you can always do an internet search for “audio recipes”. The search will turn up plenty of sites with audio recordings of recipes you can download for free, then upload to your Amazon Music Library so Alexa can play them for you.

Personal use of this sort is generally allowed by the sites, but be sure to read the sites’ Terms of Use. Some sites will limit the number of downloads allowed per day, week or month, and some will limit rights for doing things like editing the downloaded files. It’s safe bet that using such files to create an Alexa skill for public distribution won’t be permitted.


Alexa Can Set Multiple Timers
At launch Alexa could only run one timer at a time, and at some point it was increased to two, but now it’s at least five. I’ve tested by setting five timers myself, which is the most I think I could ever need (even on Thanksgiving), but go ahead and try setting more if you like.

Once set, you can cancel any timer and customize timer volume and alarm tone in the Alexa app. You can cancel by voice also, but if you have more than just a couple timers set it gets to be unwieldy because Alexa has to list the active timers and ask you which one to cancel.


Get The Skinny On Ingredients
Did you know Alexa can tell you about the caloric content in many foods? The catalog of available facts of this sort is limited, but you’ll find most of the common foods and brands. Try queries like:

“[wake word], how many calories are there in a can of Coke?”

“[wake word], how many calories are there in a potato?”
Pretty verbose reply, covers many different types of potatoes.

“[wake word], how many calories are there in a McDonald’s Big Mac?”

“[wake word], how many calories are there in an egg?”

Carbohydrate values are also available for some foods, but coverage of brands and ingredients is spotty.


When All Else Fails, Order In
Now that Yelp business information has been integrated (both US and UK!), when dinner at home’s a bust you can ask things about businesses local to whatever zip code you’ve entered in the Alexa app, like:

“[wake word], what’s the phone number for Domino’s Pizza?”
The street address will be included in the reply.

“[wake word], is Olive Garden open?”
The street address and closing time will be included in the reply.

“[wake word], where’s the nearest Chili’s?”
Distance, street address and closing time will be included in the reply.


She can’t baste or stir for you, but Alexa’s still pretty handy in the kitchen!


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