BY KATHERINE LOVING
Whether you’re a master chef or a culinary novice, smart appliances add convenience to any kitchen. They can guide you step-by-step or even perform the cooking themselves.
Smart appliances typically rely only on Wi-Fi paired with a custom smartphone application, while others can work with common smart home systems like Google Home or Amazon Alexa. You can set smart devices to begin a programmed routine to turn on lights, adjust the thermostat and many other tasks.
Cooktops and ranges
Induction cooktops are an innovation in themselves. Induction cooking works by using a magnetic field to deliver energy directly to induction-specific cookware. They are 32% more energy efficient than gas cooktops and about 75% more efficient than electric cooktops.
Like other smart cooktops, smart induction models recognize when a pan is placed on an element and automatically turn off when a pan is removed from the cooktop. Brands like Samsung and Bosch offer additional smart functions like synchronizing the cooktop with a brand-matched smart ventilation hood. The smart hood activates when cooking begins and adapts to cooking intensity on the fly.
Smart ranges can also include this function and often feature a barcode scanning system that allows you to scan store-bought foods, prompting the oven to start based on the instructions. Smart ranges can be controlled remotely to preheat, change and monitor temperatures through the companion app or an integrated home system. A few brands offer a Wi-Fi-connected cooking thermometer to allow remote monitoring.
For novice chefs, many smart ovens and cooktops have guided step-by-step recipes within the app to help control the cook time and temperature.
Manufacturers are adding smart functionality to their countertop cooking options as well. The June Oven includes an in-oven camera that allows progress to be tracked from an app. The app also provides progress monitoring with push notifications to your phone.
Tovala offers a smaller countertop oven for ready-to-cook meals. These ovens use barcode scanning technology for both Tovala meals and those from the grocery store. The app also uses push notifications to track progress.
Like Tovala, the Breville smart oven offers guided recipes and an app that directs cooking temperature and function, such as air fry or bake, as the recipe advances. The Breville smart oven uses an onboard chip to monitor and stabilize temperature from all sides for more efficient cooking.
Microwaves and other gadgets
Other common kitchen appliances and small devices are getting smart, too. Microwaves from manufacturers like LG, Whirlpool, GE, Sharp and Toshiba include the barcode scanning function to allow product-specific cooking instructions to be sent to the appliance.
Smart kitchen scales, air fryers and pasta makers are also available to connect to your phone for guided measuring and cooking. Try a smart meat thermometer if you’re looking for a smart kitchen gadget that won’t break the bank. These handy little devices work with an app to specify optimal cook time and temperature, and notify the chef when the meat is ready.
As appliances and kitchen gadgets get smarter, home chefs will have more options for convenience and functionality. Bon appétit!
Katherine Loving writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the national trade association representing more than 900 local electric cooperatives.