My Thanksgiving Kitchen Essentials
This Thanksgiving kitchen essentials guide is a one-stop shop to gather up a list of all the kitchen equipment and tools that you may need to ensure that your Thanksgiving dinner goes off without a hitch. Whether you’re cooking the entire meal or just the turkey, some sides, or dessert, I’ve got you covered with everything you may need below!
There is nothing worse than being in the middle of prepping or cooking a huge holiday dinner and realizing that you’re missing a key piece of equipment! The list below will help you to ensure that all of the boxes are checked well in advance of Thanksgiving and you can rest assured that you have everything you need to create the best dishes!
And if you’re still looking for recipe inspiration, these are a good place to start:
- Classic Thanksgiving Menu
- How to Deep Fry a Turkey
- 27 Thanksgiving Side Dishes
- 29 Thanksgiving Desserts Worth Saving Room For
Now let’s get to that magical list of tools!
Thanksgiving Kitchen Essentials
The vast majority of my cooking and baking tools get a workout in the days leading up to Thanksgiving and on the day itself, but the following items are the workhorse of the holiday:
- Roasting Pan – If you do a traditional roasted turkey, you need a large roasting pan! I have had this Calphalon roasting pan for over 15 years and it’s still going strong! There are currently not many in stock, but this All-Clad non-stick roaster is a great bargain!
- Turkey Fryer – We have been using an indoor electric turkey fryer for over 10 years now and absolutely love it! The oven is freed up and the turkey is cooked in a fraction of the time. Can’t say enough great things about this (this extra-large version holds up to a 20-pound turkey)!
- Kitchen Twine – For tying up those turkey legs!
- Instant-Read Meat Thermometer – I use this almost daily, but it’s a MUST for making sure that the Thanksgiving turkey that you spent so much time prepping and cooking is at the correct temperature.
- Turkey Lifters – These are the only way I can transfer the turkey onto the carving board without a catastrophe, a must-have for me!
- Carving Board – A heavy-duty wooden board with a channel for catching juice is my go-to choice.
- Large Turkey Platter – I bought this large turkey-themed platter on sale after the holiday a number of years ago and I love it! But you can use any large, oval-shaped platter.
- Quality Knives – You’ll need a great carving set, but also a quality chef’s knife or santoku knife for all of the chopping that Thanksgiving prep requires.
- Multiple Casserole Dishes – Between stuffing and side dishes like green bean casserole, cheesy creamed corn casserole, and hashbrown casserole, those 9×13-inch dishes get a workout on Thanksgiving. My go-to pieces are classic glass Pyrex and classic white ceramic.
- Mixing Bowls – You truly can never have too many! I have a set of nested glass mixing bowls, as well as a set of stainless steel mixing bowls.
- Rimmed Baking Sheets – My go-to for laying out cubed bread to dry for stuffing, and of course for any roasted veggies that you are making to go along with dinner. I also love the extra-large baking sheets for more surface area!
- Mandoline – A must if you are slicing potatoes for scalloped potatoes or sweet potato gratin, and it’s also perfect for shaving Brussels sprouts if you’re making a Brussels sprouts salad.
- Flat Whisk – A must for making gravy! Make sure you have at least one classic balloon whisk too, you will likely need it at some point!
- Gravy Boat – I have a very classic white gravy boat; a necessity for pouring all of that delicious gravy!
- Saucepans – For making cranberry sauce, salted caramel sauce, and everything in between! I have a small 2-quart saucepan, as well as a 4-quart saucepan, and between the two of them, I’m covered!
- Stock Pot – If you’re like me and need a triple or quadruple batch of mashed potatoes, then you’ll need a stockpot to boil them in! It also comes in handy the day after Thanksgiving if you’re going to make turkey stock from the carcass.
- Vegetable Peeler – For potatoes, carrots, and anything else you need to peel!
- Large Strainer – For all of those potatoes! I LOVE this over-the-sink mesh colander, but any large strainer will work!
- Potato Masher – My go-to! I don’t use a mixer for mashed potatoes as I like them to have some texture, and this is my favorite masher.
- Slow Cooker – One of my favorite Thanksgiving dinner hacks is making the mashed potatoes in the morning (usually while we have the parade on!) and then putting them in the crock pot to stay warm for dinner later. No more hustling to time the potatoes and the turkey perfectly.
- Measuring Cups – I have three sets of measuring cups and these are my favorite.
- Measuring Spoons – I have at least as many sets of measuring spoons and again, these OXO ones are my favorite.
- Pie Plates – I use and recommend a classic glass 9-inch Pyrex pie dish. I find that the glass heats the most evenly, but there are also beautiful ceramic pie dishes (they are a little slower to heat), as well as metal pie plates.
- Other Baking Pans – If you’re baking something other than pies, you may need a different type of pan. I’ve got you! See this post for my recommendations on all types of baking pans (cake, 9×13, loaf, muffin, springform, jelly roll, Bundt, and more) >> My Must-Have Baking Pans
- Silicone Dough Rolling Mat – I use this for every kind of dough – pies, sugar cookies, pizza, bread, you name it, I use this. I love that it has measurements along the side as well as circular markings in the middle.
- Rolling Pin – I have a similar version that was handed down to me by my mom; I love that it is all one width, making it easy to roll and no handles keeps me from using too much pressure when rolling.
- Hand Mixer – Perhaps for mashed potatoes or for dessert, a hand mixer is the first thing I reach for!
- Stand Mixer – Maybe you’re kneading bread dough or prefer to be hands-off when that meringue is whipping up for lemon meringue pie or Southern banana pudding.
- Oven Mitts – Taking things in and out of the oven all day means you need sturdy oven mitts. I have sworn by silicone oven mitts for years now; I’ve never been burned and I love that you can easily rinse them off if they get dirty.
- To-Go Containers – Finally, if you are hosting, I highly recommend having some to-go containers and 16-ounce deli containers on hand so that guests can easily pack up leftovers if they’d like!
Have I missed anything? Share your go-to holiday tools in the comments below!