10 Kitchen Tools You Should Definitely Have on Hand Before Thanksgiving Day

updated Nov 3, 2021
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Credit: Lauren Volo

We’re still a few weeks out, but I’m currently on the hunt for all my Thanksgiving equipment. Why? So that I can avoid panic the week of Turkey Day. See, we host our family every year, and I can verify that you don’t need a ton of equipment — just a short list of essentials. But they really are essentials. As in, you should ideally have these things if you’re gonna be making a Thanksgiving dinner.

Here are the 10 essential tools you’ll need to pull off your best Thanksgiving ever (even if it’s your first).

Note: You don’t have to buy everything on this list. You can certainly borrow from friends and family!

1. Roasting pan

You’ll need a roasting pan whether you’re serving turkey or any other roast, including whole roasted cauliflower. You can totally buy a cheap, disposable aluminum roasting pan at the grocery store or invest in an inexpensive one to use year after year. I’m very partial to this carbon steel option from Made In.

2. Digital thermometer

Lest you think that a digital thermometer is purely for turkey roasting, let me remind you that a reliable thermometer can also tell you when pies and dinner rolls are done too. Look for one with an easy-to-read digital display with a reasonably long probe for getting a reliable reading deep in the turkey breast.

3. Carving board

A carving board is a cutting board with a grooved moat around its edges to collect meat juices and keep them from dripping off the cutting board and onto the floor. What may seem like an extra expense can actually do double duty as a serving board if you don’t have a large serving platter. This one is great because it has a little indentation, which can help cradle and stabilize your board while you carve.

4. Disposable gloves

This is literally the best $20 you will spend all year. Buy yourself a box of disposable vinyl gloves for turkey carving and use them for while you roll holiday truffles and spatchcock chickens from now until Halloween of 2025.

5. Extra baking dishes

You will likely need many glass and ceramic baking dishes. Green bean casserole, cornbread dressing, baked mac and cheese … it all needs a baking dish! Luckily you can buy these pretty inexpensively at Target, your grocery store, or on Amazon. If you’ve got time to thrift hunt, you can often find used ones at your local thrift store, too.

6. Baking sheets

Baking sheets in various sizes can help with pie-drip protection (just stick one under the pie pan), ingredient organization, nut toasting, veggie roasting, and more. You can find these for a steal at your local restaurant supply, Costco, or below!

7. A sturdy rolling pin

This is the time of year to get serious about your pie making. Quit trying to make a wine bottle work as a rolling pin and invest lightly in a rolling pin for pies. You can also use it when rolling out store-bought puff pastry for baked brie and crushing crackers to top casseroles.

8. Heavy-duty aluminum foil

You probably have some foil on hand, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to check your supply and stock up, right? Foil can cover potatoes to keep them warm or protect a turkey that starts to brown a little too soon. Plus, it’ll come in handy for packing up leftovers.

9. Containers for leftovers

This is my favorite hosting hack: Grab some inexpensive disposable plastic containers for guests to take leftovers home in. You won’t have to worry about tracking down your favorite Tupperware later and your guests can reuse the container later.

10. An electric knife

Although a sharp chef’s knife is really the only tool you’ll need for carving your turkey, an electric knife is nothing short of game-changing for the annual event that is carving a beautiful turkey. This is the one tool that veteran Thanksgiving hosts can add to their equipment essentials this year.