Multi-course menus with just one device and with little effort. This is what kitchen machines promise. We looked at what the smart offshoots for Android and iOS can do.
They are called Ambiano, Iprep & Cook, Monsieur Cuisine, Quigg or Thermomix – smart kitchen machines. The devices communicate with apps on smartphones or tablets via WLAN or Bluetooth. The goal: make cooking easier. This guide shows what smart machines really can do. On the other hand, if you want to know how to prepare meat and fish smartly, you should have a look at the Meater (test report).
Kitchen machines from Aldi, Krups, Lidl or Vorwerk make everyday cooking easier, whether for semi-professionals or beginners. The machines regulate the temperature automatically, explain recipes step by step and give exact times until the meal is ready. Smart kitchen machines should not be confused with smart cooking pots, because they come without kneading hooks, stir bars etc.
It becomes smart as soon as the food processor communicates with the smartphone or tablet. On the one hand there are recipes, cooking videos and shopping lists. On the other hand, the app and the cooking device talk to each other – for example, via messages such as "stir now" or "food is ready".
The smart models are set up for the Ambiano or Quigg from Aldi Nord / Süd, the Monsieur Cuisine from Lidl and the Thermomix from Vorwerk via WLAN. You activate the food processor and search for the corresponding WLAN. The disadvantage of the Aldi machine: During cooking, the respective device – for example a smartphone – is no longer connected to the Internet, but directly to the kitchen machine's WLAN. This is annoying if you want to look at something or read something on the side.
Our tip: reactivate an old smartphone or tablet as a kitchen device. Only the Monsieur Cuisine and Thermomix connect to an existing network. So you can surf the web or watch a series while cooking.
Krups uses Bluetooth to connect the Iprep & Cook. The range is limited here, the connected device must remain close to the food processor. After all, the smartphone or tablet is still connected to the Internet.
Anyone who wants to connect their food processor to a voice assistant, such as Alexa or Google Assistant, will be disappointed. This is not possible with any of the devices.
The models of Aldi, Krups and Lidl at a glance:
How it works & app
Smart kitchen machines offer a catalog of pre-programmed functions – kneading, cooking and searing are usually part of the repertoire. All machines except the Krups offer an integrated scale. So far, so good, so can the "stupid" counterparts.
Smart kitchen machines are reserved for cooking entire recipes with instructions. Here the machine or app guides the cook from the ingredients to the finished meal. The food processor informs when the next step is initiated and what needs to be done. For example, it signals when you have to stir or put the next ingredients in the pot.
|Ambiano / Quigg||iPrep & Cook||Thermomix|
30 to 130 degrees
30 to 150 degrees
30 to 160 degrees
With the devices from Aldi, Lidl and Vorwerk, you can optionally regulate speed, temperature and time via the app. However, the models from Lidl and Vorwerk allow remote access, for example from the workplace. For example, you activate the cooking process of a soup when you make your way home from work. The Bluetooth kitchen machine from Krups can only be used if you are in the immediate vicinity of the machine. The app transfers recipes to the machine and shows the cooking time of the individual steps – that's it.
At Thermomix, Monsieur Cuisine and Iprep & Cook, the manufacturers ask for their name and email address to set up the mandatory user account. You can only use the functions and send recipes to the food processor after entering them. Krups also requires that you accept cookies for product research. You don't have to, but then a gray information bar remains permanently visible in the app until you finally open up Accept suppressed. The app for Aldis Quigg or Ambiano does not require registration, the data is saved locally on the smartphone or tablet.
It is possible to create your own recipes for all models, but the Aldi machine does not have a community and recipe updates. Means: You can only cook the programmed 150 or 200 recipes – or your own creations. Updates with new recipes are available from Monsieur Cuisine, Iprep & Cook and Thermomix.
The same with the topic shopping list. While the products from Krups, Lidl and Vorwerk offer you to keep a shopping list belonging to the recipes and to share them with other people, Aldi does not.
There are currently four smart kitchen machines. The Kitchen Aid model, the Cook Processor, falls out – the app is currently not working. From high-priced models such as the Thermomix or the Iprep & Cook, it can also go down to the 200-euro mark – for example with the Abmiano from Aldi.
Smart kitchen machines are a sensible further development of their stupid predecessors. They are used to cook entire menus step by step and transfer hundreds of recipes directly to the machine. The model from Aldi is a nice beginner, but due to the severely restricted functionality of the app, it is not a long-term pleasure.
The Monsieur Cuisine from Lidl is technologically superior to the Aldi model, but also only heats dishes to a maximum of 130 degrees. If you want more power, constantly new recipes and a well thought-out app, you can't miss the Iprep & Cook or Thermomix. The models currently cost around 925 euros or 1,300 euros.