How to run multiple cooking timers with Shortcuts

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Yum. Perfectly timed.
Yum. Perfectly timed.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

“Hey Siri, 30-minute timer!” you shout across the kitchen, elbows deep in turkey gizzards. Only Siri isn’t interested. It’s already running that one-hour timer for the roast potatoes. Why would anybody want to run multiple timers at the same time? Silly human.

Thankfully, Shortcuts is here to save your bacon (and your Brussel’s sprouts, sage-and-onion stuffing, and so on). If you’re feeling fancy, you could even set this up to use with Siri, but today we’ll keep it simple. So, no matter how complex your Christmas Day cooking arrangement, Shortcuts will let you know when your goose is cooked.

Alarms not timers

These settings put a widget in the Today view.
These settings put a widget in the Today view.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Even Shortcuts can’t set multiple timers, so we’re going to use alarms. That means that those discarded alarms will litter your Clock app like torn strips of giftwrapping paper litter the living room floor. But clearing up is all part of the Christmas fun, so quit whining.

Let’s get started.

How to create a multiple-cooking-timer shortcut

The shortcut was as easy to whip up as a jug of bread sauce.
The shortcut was as easy to whip up as a jug of bread sauce.
Photo: Cult of Mac

We’re going to put this shortcut in the Today View widget, so you can run it with a single tap. This also has the advantage of showing a nice numerical keypad for entering the time.

Step one, then, asks for input, and expects a number in return. The next step takes the current date, which includes the current time. Then, we use the next step to add the two together. If you tapped 30 into the input panel, then 30 minutes are added to the current time.

Then, the new time is used to create an alarm.

And that’s it! You can download my ready-made version, or just roll your own.

Modifications

This is the bare-bones version, and is in fact the version I will be using to cook my traditional English Christmas Dinner. But you could add some garnish to this, as it were, in the form of Siri integration, or labels, so you know which alarm is which while you’re in the depths of the Xmas LZ.

This version prompts you for a label, which it adds to the timer alert. This version prompts you for a label, which it adds to the timer alert.

This version asks you for a description or label for the timer, and shows it when the alarm sounds. It’s not as slick as the basic version, because it switches you to the Shortcuts app to input the text label. The basic shortcut runs entirely in the Today view. You can download it here.

Siri

If you’re feeling brave, you could add the shortcut to Siri, and have it ask you for the time and the label inputs. This is fraught with possible errors, though. I get very little feedback on the Shortcuts I post here, but when I do, it’s almost always about Siri not working. So I’ll skip it, and point you in the direction of another shortcut that uses Siris dictation to create timers.

Good luck. And try not to get too drunk and hit on your hot cousin. Again.