13 Essential Tools You Need to Make Thanksgiving Dinner
These important tools and dishes will help you pull off a perfect meal for a crowd, from sides to the centerpiece turkey.
Every job is made easier if you have the right tools. That is especially true in the kitchen and extra especially true in the kitchen during Thanksgiving. From the items you reach for in your everyday cooking (a good chef’s knife, a baking sheet) to a few Thanksgiving specific gadgets that will make your prep that much easier—this is the equipment you’ll need to pull off a seamless Thanksgiving meal.
1. Cuisinart Elemental Food Processor
After you’ve chopped all of the carrots, onions and celery for your triple batch of stuffing by hand, you’ll never want to tackle another Thanksgiving without this magical piece of equipment. If you don’t have one already, now’s the time. Cuisinart also has 11- and 14-cup food processors, but we’ve found that an 8-cup is plenty big.
Cuisinart Elemental 8 Cup Food Processor from $65 at amazon.com
2. Copper Roasting Pan with Rack
We’re lusting after this gorgeous copper roasting pan from Williams-Sonoma’s Professional series. Elegant and lined with stainless steel, it’s the perfect vessel to showcase your bird.
Williams Sonoma Professional Copper Roasting Pan with Rack, on sale for $160 (was $200) at williams-sonoma.com
3. Potato Ricer
Mashing potatoes often leads to overworking and, subsequently, gummy potatoes. The key to a light, airy, ethereal mash is this simple tool. Just fold the hot cream and butter into your riced potatoes and you’re done.
OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Potato Ricer, $25 at amazon.com
4. Dutch Oven
Do you have a good roasting pan? Enough baking dishes? A reliable thermometer? Here are our essential tools for this year’s Thanksgiving.
Courtesy of Williams Sonoma Courtesy of Williams Sonoma
Le Creuset’s 7¼-quart round Dutch oven is big enough to hold extra mashed potatoes for a crowd and comes in gorgeous colors like this matte navy blue. The thick cast-iron sides retain heat longer and will keep your food warm while sitting out on a Thanksgiving buffet.
5. Rimmed Baking Sheets
You cannot have enough rimmed baking sheets on hand for Thanksgiving prep. From biscuits, to roasted vegetables, to even roasting a spatchcocked turkey, these all-purpose pans are our most used piece of equipment. This set from Nordic Ware includes three different sizes to cover every job.
Nordic Ware 3-Piece Baker's Delight Set, $33 at amazon.com
6. Carving Board
A sturdy carving board like this handsome maple one from Boos Block is essential for carving your bird. The deep moat collects any juices (hot tip: whisk those into your gravy!) and keeps them from spilling on to your countertop. We also like this model because it has sturdy handles on both sides so you can carry your turkey right to the table.
7. Chef’s Knife
You will need a serious knife to tackle all of your cutting, slicing and chopping jobs. Zwilling’s new Kanren line unites German and Japanese knifemaking techniques for a knife that has the durability and weight of a German knife, but with a lightweight, agile Japanese blade. We even use this 8-inch chef’s knife to carve our turkey.
Zwilling Kanren 8" Chef's Knife, $200 at williams-sonoma.com
8. Pie Dish
$125 from farmhousepottery.com
9. Casserole Dishes
We love the clean lines of these black and white porcelain baking dishes from Revol . They come in a variety of sizes and are perfect for everything from corn pudding to stuffing.
10. Mandoline Slicer
Save yourself from extra knifework and use a mandoline slicer. Whether you’re slicing 5 pounds of potatoes for a cheesy gratin or shaving Brussels sprouts for a slaw, this tool will make quick work of an otherwise tedious task. This model from Benriner is extra-sharp (keep those fingers back!) and has 4 attachments for all sizes of julienne.
Benriner Mandoline Slicer, with 4 Japanese Stainless Steel Blades, $35 at amazon.com
This 2-quart saucepan from Dansk is a great size for making cranberry sauce or these Apple Brandy Hot Toddies, but it’s also chic enough to fill with gravy and bring right to the table. Did we mention that the lid also doubles as a trivet?
12. Reusable Food Containers
For storing leftovers, organizing your mise en place, or sending extra stuffing and turkey home with your guests, you’re going to need some good storage containers. And a lot of them. We keep stacks of these reusable plastic delis in our Test Kitchen. From half-pints to quart-size, your fridge will be organized and you won’t have to fret about getting that glass Tupperware back from your sister in-law.
Food Storage Containers with Lids , 36 pack for $18 at amazon.com
13. Thermoworks Instant Read Thermometer
A good instant read thermometer is crucial when you need to know if your turkey is finished. The Thermoworks ThermoPop is smaller and less expensive than other true instant read thermometers and it will accurately read the internal temp of your food in under 4 seconds.
$29 from thermoworks.com