Having just moved and still slowly unpacking a garage full of boxes, I'm currently on the hunt for all my Thanksgiving equipment, so that I can avoid panic the week of Turkey Day. 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.
Here are the 10 equipment essentials 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.
Buy: All-Clad Stainless-Steel Roasters with Rack, from $100 at Williams-Sonoma
2. Digital probe thermometer
Lest you think that a probe thermometer is purely for turkey roasting, let me remind you that a reliable probe 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.
4. Disposable gloves
This is literally the best $10 you will spend all year. Buy yourself a box of disposable vinyl gloves for turkey carving and use them for everything from rolling truffles to spatchcocking chickens from now until Halloween of 2018.
Buy: Disposable Food Prep Cooking Gloves, $9 for 100
5. Extra baking dishes
Woefully, I'm still hunting down my box of glass and ceramic baking dishes, because I know that I will use every single one of them for Thanksgiving. Everything from green bean casserole to cornbread dressing needs a baking dish. Luckily you can buy these pretty inexpensively at Target, your grocery store, or Amazon. If you've got time to thrift hunt, you can often find used ones at your local thrift store, too.
Buy: Pyrex 6 Piece Bake N' Storage Value Pack, $15 at Target
6. Baking sheets
Baking sheets in various sizes can help do everything from pie-drip protection (just stick one under the pie pan) to ingredient organization. You can find these for a steal at your local restaurant supply, business Costco, or below!
Buy: Vollrath Wear-Ever Half-Size Sheet Pans, $22 for two
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.
Buy: JK Adams 19-inch Wooden Rolling Dowel, $15
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.
Buy: Reynolds Wrap Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil, $8 for 130-square-foot roll
9. Containers for leftovers
This is my favorite hosting hack: Grab some inexpensive disposable plastic containers for guest 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.
Buy: Bio-Plus-Earth Paper Take-Out Container, $15 for 50 at WebstaurantStore
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.