Thanksgiving Dinner Essentials

The guests are invited, the menu is planned and its go time... time to make the dinner. Make sure you have all the essentials for Thanksgiving dinner so you're not left in a pinch.

Roasting Pan and Rack

This is the most essential item needed for Thanksgiving. The pan should be large enough for air flow around the turkey. This will help with crisping the skin. Most roasting pans are sold with racks. Look for a non-stick rack to make cleanup much easier.

Ovenproof Meat Thermometer

An accurate thermometer is key to making sure the turkey isn't over or undercooked. Most turkeys have an instant thermometer, but we do not suggest relying on them. They are not always 100% accurate. Using an ovenproof thermometer means there's less need to open the oven door while cooking. Place the thermometer in the thigh of the turkey (making sure it does not touch a bone) for the most accurate reading. The turkey is cooked when it reaches 165F.

Butcher's Twine

It may seem unnecessary, but tying the turkey legs together ensures everything cooks evenly. A bit of sturdy twine wrapped around the legs will do the trick. Do not forget to remove the twine when carving the turkey.

Turkey Baster

There are debates as to whether basting a turkey is needed. If you decide to baste your turkey, a turkey baster is a necessity. Due to the size of the turkey, it's nearly impossible to get a spoon into the juices. A turkey baster allows you to easily squeeze the juices from the bottom of the pan over the bird. If basting the bird, keep it to the first couple hours of cooking and only do it occasionally. Basting too much and within the last hour may cause the skin to not brown and get crisp.

Cutting Board

A large wood cutting board will make carving the turkey much easier. Be sure the board is large enough to accommodate the turkey. Look for a cutting board with a well around the outside. The well will catch the juices (great for homemade gravy) and make for easier clean up.

Carving Set

A carving set will make carving the turkey a breeze. The long-pronged fork will allow the turkey to remain steady while carving. The sharp knife will slice the turkey easily and prevent shredding.


There's probably a set of these in the kitchen already, but if not plan to pick up a pair. Tongs can be used to toss vegetables as they roast, hold turkey in place if you don't have a carving set and to move meat to a platter after sliced.

Fat Separator

Is this a necessity? Maybe not. Will it make your life easier? Definitely! You can skim the fat off the top of the drippings for the gravy, but this does take time. With a fat separator, simply pour the juices into the cup. After a few minutes, the fat and juices will separate. The spout is designed to hold the fat in the cup and only pour out the juices.


No one wants lumpy gravy. A good whisk will help make gravy silky and smooth. The silicone on this whisk will not scratch the pan.

Gravy Boat

What else would you put the gravy in? Without gravy, the mashed potatoes and turkey will be very lonely. This will help pass the gravy around the table with no mess.

Casserole Dishes

There are lots of sides on a Thanksgiving table. Purchasing ones with lids makes going from the fridge to the oven much easier and allows for pre-Thanksgiving casserole prep.

Turkey Platter/Large Tray

The turkey is the star of the meal and deserves to be displayed on a pretty platter. A large platter allows the turkey to be displayed neatly once carved.

Dinnerware Set

It's the holidays, so take a step up from traditional dinnerware.

Serving Set

This is something that you don't realize you need, until you need it.

Reusable Storage Set

Inevitably there are Thanksgiving leftovers. Package them properly so you'll have meals for the next few days.

sally fowler - Nov 11, 2017
Also have disposable containers for your guests to take leftovers home/
Tee G - Nov 11, 2017
We've found that, for us, an electric carving knife is much quicker and easier than a traditional carving knife. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
Jill Dew - Nov 4, 2016
Wow! Finally a page where I have everything listed! What are the odds!
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