Thanksgiving can feel more like work than a holiday for those preparing the feast. Even the suavest hosts see a challenge in the orchestrated efforts that cooking and entertaining require. So, with their ever-increasing collection of skills, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant could come in handy on turkey day.
With these assistants, you can use your voice to set the right holiday soundtrack, keep the temperature comfortable and adjust your home's lightning. If you use a smart display, like the Amazon Echo Show or the Google Nest Hub Max, you can also check your video doorbell, call family members who couldn't make it and, of course, keep your kitchen organized.
Recommending recipes and providing step-by-step cooking instructions are among the best Google Assistant skills and the best Alexa skills. We've compared Google Assistant vs. Alexa before, but which smart assistant is the best Thanksgiving sous-chef? Using the Echo Show and the Google Nest Hub Max, I put both assistants through a 5 round test to see which is the best kitchen helper for the holidays.
"Show me Thanksgiving recipes"
For the first round of this Thanksgiving showdown, I wanted to see how each smart assistant handled a broad query. (Though both smart assistants partner with third-party cooking-class subscriptions, I judged the included free kitchen features.) I was looking for a variety of all the traditional holiday staples, and Alexa nailed it. The first 10 recipes the Amazon assistant displayed included instructions for a turkey roast, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans, gravy and pie. If I had to throw together a Thanksgiving meal and didn't know where to start or what to make, Alexa would be of great use.
Google Assistant, on the other hand, overloaded search results with turkey recipes. I understand that turkey is the most iconic Thanksgiving dish, but it can't be the only thing on the table.
"Show me vegetarian Thanksgiving sides"
There's always a guest with dietary restrictions, so I wanted to see how each smart assistant accommodated a request for vegetarian recipes. Alexa handled the prompt accurately, offering several potato-based dishes and a few based on other vegetables, too.
But Google Assistant's take on the prompt had more variety and included vegan dishes. This assistant even suggested a thorough, one-stop guide to serving a meat-free Thanksgiving meal.
"Show me a stuffing recipe with cornbread"
It seems every family has its own stuffing style. My family loves to make a cornbread-based dish, so I searched for recipes that use this specific ingredient.
Both Alexa and Google Assistant presented a wide selection of stuffing recipes using cornbread, although Google Assistant insisted that it's called "dressing." Name variations aside, Alexa once again provided a better selection. It offered interesting variations of stuffing recipes with cornbread, while Google Assistant's collection appeared boring in comparison.
"Show me a video on how to baste a turkey"
Both smart displays can switch to video content midrecipe so you can follow along with unfamiliar instructions. Basting a turkey isn't a kitchen skill one innately knows, so you might search for a how-to video during the holidays.
Alexa offered aged clips from Dailymotion and Vimeo, which felt second-rate but got the job done. However, Alexa was no match for Google Assistant, which benefits from YouTube integration. Flipping between videos and recipes was as easy as can be on the Nest Hub Max.
"Show me puff pastry baked brie recipes"
My signature holiday dish is baked brie, so I wanted to see how well each assistant handled helping me make it.
In the kitchen, both smart assistants had the chance to be my sous-chef as I prepared puff pastry baked brie. I used the first recipe that each assistant recommended, and the results were extremely different.
Alexa suggested cranberry brie bites from AllRecipes. Not only was the recipe creative and concise, but it also tasted like how fall feels. I especially liked how the display showed which ingredients I needed for the step I was on.
Google Assistant's take on the hands-on challenge suffered from a poorly formatted recipe. It showed me how to make a traditional, plain puff pastry baked brie, but the steps were redundant. Had I never made a baked brie before, I might have found the repeated instructions useful.
Overall winner: Alexa (but it's close)
Alexa and Google Assistant both make suitable sous-chefs. After making puff pastry baked brie recipes with both, though, I think I would opt for Alexa strictly as a cooking partner this Thanksgiving. I thought the recipe this assistant suggested was creative, while the instructional interface felt natural to follow.
And Alexa's recipe selection overall felt more impressive, and that's before testing its compatibility with Food Network live cooking classes. The Echo Show presented exactly the variety I hoped for with the broad queries, too.
However, you can't go wrong with Google Assistant on the Nest Hub Max. With its ability to manage several kinds of content at once — recipes, music, video and calls — Google Assistant will shine in a bustling household during the holidays. But if you want to impress friends and family with a killer take on baked brie, let Alexa be your guide.