The best thing about having an Amazon Echo in your kitchen? It's hands-free

Anyone who has used a smartphone, tablet or traditional recipe book to help them in the kitchen knows just how much of a faff it is.

Despite constantly washing your hands, you still manage to get goop all over your expensive tech. Thanks to the build-up of anonymous grease, the phone no-longer recognises your fingerprint and won’t unlock. Even if you manage to open your phone, you still can’t scroll through a recipe as the crumbs littered across the screen render the ‘touch’ aspect useless.

The workarounds are just as frustrating. Ever caught a glimpse of yourself in a mirror (or shiny silver pan) when you’re trying to scroll using your nose or elbow?

If you haven’t, then you’re lucky.

Smart speakers make perfect kitchen companions for one simple reason: they are hands-free.

That gives smart speakers like the Amazon Echo a huge advantage over hand-held devices and recipe books. Instead of fumbling around with your food-infused fingers, you can just ask the devices for help via voice alone.

If you’re new to smart home tech and smart speakers, you can get a feel for how they work by asking Alexa questions for yourself with the interactive experience below and see some of the genius ways a smart speaker like the Amazon Echo can help you in the kitchen.

One of the hands-free features many cooks swear by is Alexa’s kitchen timers. You can set multiple timers, with separate ones for each ingredient bubbling away on the hob or in the oven. To set a timer for your tomato sauce, for instance, just say, “Alexa, set a sauce timer for ten minutes.” You will get an alert when a timer runs down or you can check up on how much time you have left by saying, “Alexa, how long on the sauce timer?”

The device can also read out recipes for you too. Just ask, “Alexa, how do you cook béarnaise sauce?” and Alexa will offer recipes from online recipe libraries from BBC Good Food. She’ll also tell you how long they take to prepare and cook (and how difficult they are to make). If you don’t like the first one, you can simply skip on until you find one which fits the bill.

If you’re struggling for inspiration, you can also ask Alexa for ideas for recipes using the ingredients you have. Just say, “Alexa, give me an idea for a chicken recipe” and she’ll come up with the goods.

Alexa can also answer a lot of cooking questions if you’re new to the kitchen. For example, if you say, “Alexa, how long does it take to boil an egg?”, Alexa will offer up the answer instantly. Perfect for a cooking newbie.

Alexa is also packed full of information to help you out. One particularly useful tool, is finding out how many calories are in your ingredients. Perfect if you’re on a diet. Alexa is loaded with information on calorie counts for a lot of foods – from fruit to branded. Again, no scrabbling on your phone, just say “Alexa, how many calories are in an apple,” for example, to get the information direct to your ears.

Another helpful tool the Amazon Echo has, is a measurement converter. Just ask, “Alexa, how many millilitres are in a pint?” for instance and she’ll do the maths for you. And if you’re adapting a recipe (for instance, by cooking for two people instead of four), you can also ask Alexa to do the sums for you, for instance by asking, “Alexa, what’s half of 256.”

This is all in addition to the smart speaker’s most commonly used function – to play music! No longer will you have to get cake mixture on your radio or stereo, Alexa can do it for you. From the latest music to your favourite radio station right through to the most addictive podcasts, the Amazon Echo can sort out all of your kitchen audio needs too.

The Amazon Show is another member of the Amazon Echo family and can also be super helpful in the kitchen. Not only does is have all the same helpful features as the Echo (it has Alexa built-in too), it also has a screen. This means that you can still go hands-free, but also have the recipes and instructions displayed.

There are so many genius ways that a smart speaker like the Amazon Echo can help you in the kitchen, all without the need to get gravy on your smartphone. To see more possibilities on how to use it to its full potential, you can find out more here.