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This year’s holiday season might look a little different, but you can still find ways to celebrate. Whether you’re gathering with a small group of loved ones or cooking Thanksgiving dinner solo for the first time, now is the perfect time to start prepping for holiday meals. Our editors are passionate about food, so they’ve tried out too many kitchen tools—from cool gadgets that make cooking easier to quality dinnerware and serveware that dress up a table—to count. Whether you’re in charge of drinks or are sticking to your signature side, these Thanksgiving must-haves will make you regret not buying them sooner.
Le Regalo Rectangular Stoneware Baking Dish
Having bakeware that can go straight from the oven to the table is convenient. “I used to only use plain metal baking pans or those throw-away aluminum ones to cook up/reheat all my Thanksgiving sides. Last year I decided to up my game a little bit and bought a few of these,” says The Spruce Eats General Manager Eric Handelsman. “Plus, they’re inexpensive enough to buy a few, and it will really up your entertaining chops.” Available in oval, rectangular, or round shapes with or without handles, this stoneware ensures your food bakes evenly, even if it’s a large portion.
OXO 4-Cup Fat Separator
“A fat separator is something I keep on my top shelf, and it has survived many moves because it is so extremely helpful for making gravy,” says The Spruce Eats Senior Editorial Director Heather Ramsdell. “The spout comes from the bottom and separates the fat from the precious pan juices collected from my turkey pan,” she explains. Just put the stopper in the spout before pouring the pan juices in through the strainer, and the fat will be left on top. When you’re ready to use the drippings, remove the stopper and pour them out.
This clever gadget is even dishwasher-safe for easy cleanup. “I don't have a lot of room for single-use tools, but this one is worth it,” adds Ramsdell.
ThermoWorks Thermapen Mk4
“I use this kitchen tool all year round, but it's especially important come Thanksgiving," explains Patty Lee, Senior Food Editor. "Thanks to the Thermapen, there's no more guessing if the turkey is ready—just pop the instant read thermometer into the meatiest part of the thigh and rest assured that you'll know when your bird hits the right temperature."
Although not the cheapest meat thermometer out there, experts love this because it’s super fast and accurate. The Thermapen Mk4 gives you a temperature reading in two to three seconds without even pressing a button. Better yet, it has an auto-rotating display screen, is waterproof, and motion sensing.
iDesign + The Spruce 14.5 x 8-Inch Plastic Multi-Use Insert Drawer Organizer
Keeping up with all the sides and ingredients on a busy cooking day can be hectic, but, according to Ramsdell, organization is the key to sanity. “I use the large containers to organize my freezer before shopping for Thanksgiving so that there is room for leftovers,” Ramsdell says. “I section off an area for regular food so that I know where all of the Thanksgiving food is. I am going to use the small partitioned containers with removable dividers to store prepped carrots, celery, and onions because three-quarters of the dishes I make need those ingredients.”
The iDesign + The Spruce collection at Lowe’s features two Fridge+Freeze Bins and two plastic utensil holders for you to mix and match your kitchen organization.
IKEA Polarvide Throw
“Thanksgiving means maximizing time outside, whether gathering in a park for a turkey day potluck with friends or posting up in the backyard for a fall feast,” says The Spruce Eats Food Editor Kristin Stangl. “Those of us in slightly cooler climates who are playing host can up the comfort game by setting a large basket of cozy warm throw blankets next to the (outdoor) dinner table. These fleece ones from IKEA are super affordable and will come in handy if the temps begin to dip before the pie gets served.” Your guests will thank you for being so thoughtful, and your wallet will thank you for staying within budget.
REI Co-op Flexlite Camp Chair
If your family Thanksgiving involves eating outside or you just need extra seating, camp chairs are a must. “My family has several Thanksgivings, and this year, two of them are going to be in parks," says Ramsdell. "I bring these chairs to every single picnic, so this Thanksgiving is no different. They are small and light, and their height helps me hold a plate perfectly in my lap.”
Available in three colors with a water-repellent finish, this chair provides comfort for different body types. Plus, it's super easy to set up.
OXO Good Grips 3-in-1 Adjustable Potato Ricer
If you haven't tried a potato ricer, you’re missing out. “I am routinely made fun of for bringing my ricer to my host’s house," Ramsdell says. "Nothing makes potatoes as fluffy, in my honest opinion."
She loves it so much that she even made a One Thing video about it, sharing that using the ricer saves prep time because you don't have to peel the potatoes first. This model from OXO comes with three built-in disks to test out different consistencies for your best mashed potatoes yet. Just rotate the disk clockwise to make everything from gnocchi to chunky applesauce.
CK Products 4-Inch 3D Turkey Chocolate Mold
“To add simple but meaningful flair to our holiday table, we break out an easy-to-use butter mold like this one at Thanksgiving every year,” says Food Editor Jess Kapadia. “If you're going to bake fluffy dinner rolls or cornbread for guests, taking a few extra minutes to shape butter into a turkey will definitely result in increased enthusiasm for something ordinary like slathering bread. Many supermarkets sell pre-molded butter around the holidays, but doing it yourself opens up the possibilities to an herb or other compound butter that can add a special touch to your meal.”
But this mold isn't just for butter; use it for chocolate, soap, cream cheese, or candy coating.
Norpro Plastic Nylon Baster
“Over the last few years, I've made many a roast turkey," says Editorial Project Manager Victoria Heydt. "Whether it was for Friendsgiving or a photoshoot, the tool that provided the most flavor to my bird was actually what some consider the most insignificant: a baster. There's something about basting a turkey with the juices and spices (and even beer) from the roasting pan that yields a mouthwateringly juicy and flavorful result. Since they are super affordable, I highly recommend everyone get one and test it out for themselves. I assure you, you won't go back to baste-less birds.”
This nylon baster is budget-friendly and something that you can use year-round for everything from scallops to pork chops.
Prepworks by Progressive Porcelain Stacking Ramekins
Ramekins are one of the most versatile items you can stock in your kitchen, and they have almost infinite uses at Thanksgiving. “These make the cutest single-serving desserts, but at Thanksgiving, my family also uses them for everything from prep work and appetizers to storing leftovers," says Mary Kate Hoban, Senior Commerce Editor of The Spruce Eats. "They are great for holding leftover stuffing—each one is the perfect serving size—and you can just pop them in the oven the next day to reheat and then into the dishwasher for easy cleaning.”
West Elm Pure Drink Dispenser
Thanksgiving Day drinks might be the last thing on your mind when planning out the day, not to mention what container or glasses you’re going to use to serve your guests. If you’re looking to elevate your dinner spread or you want to prepare different drinks, a clear drink dispenser is your answer. The Spruce Eats' Social Media Editor Brooke Schuldt loves this Pure Drink Dispenser because it’s “good for mixed drinks or water to wash away all the stuffing bloat.”
This chic dispenser features a solid acacia wood lid and stand and will complement your best dinnerware.
Gibson Home French 2-Piece Turkey Roaster and V Rack
“My husband and I have hosted Canadian Friendsgiving every October since we moved to New York City, and for the first couple of years, I didn't have a proper roaster for the turkey,” says Kate McKenna, Email Editor of The Spruce Eats. “After one disastrous year when the flimsy disposable roaster I was using collapsed in the oven, spilling turkey juice everywhere and filling the apartment with smoke, I decided it was time to invest.”
As such, McKenna recommends this two-piece roaster. It features a V-rack to help food cook evenly, and the handles make it easy to remove from the oven. “I can't believe I ever lived without one, and I never have to relive that smoky Thanksgiving ever again," adds McKenna.
Lodge 6-Quart Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven
Dutch ovens are ideal for cooking everything from sides to soup, and they’re beautiful enough to go straight to the table. “This one has looped handles to make it easy to move around, and the enameled cast iron keeps the contents piping hot until it's time to eat, so I have plenty of time to finish the other dishes and whip up the gravy,” says Taysha Murtaugh, Editorial Director of Commerce of The Spruce Eats.
Oxo Good Grips Utility Cutting Board
“Believe it or not, I love this cutting board so much I once talked about it at a party,” says Jay Egger, former Senior Analyst of Growth and Content Strategy of Dotdash. “With over a foot of length, it will keep you focused on carving your turkey—not fighting for space on a small cutting board. Increasing the size of your working station is the cheapest improvement that pays dividends.”
As a bonus, this plastic, nonporous board is double-sided, which helps to avoid cross-contamination. One side boasts grooves for catching juices, and rubber grips prevent the board from sliding around as you cut.
Glasslock 18-Piece Assorted Oven Safe Container Set
Whether your family members opt to drop off dishes at each other’s houses or you’re cooking for two and expect to have a lot of leftovers, you’re going to need some quality food storage. “This glass set is durable and attractive—a major step up from the cheap plastic containers I used to have,” Murtaugh says. “Plus, the bases are microwave- and oven-safe for easy reheating.”
Elixir Edge Wine Glasses
Rounded wine glasses are classic, but this trendy shape adds style and dimension to any spread. "It feels fun and luxurious to drink from these wine glasses," says Taylor Rock, Associate Commerce Editor of The Spruce Eats. "Plus, you can use them for making cocktails, too. Garnishes, like a citrus slice or sprig of rosemary, press flat against the glass and look really pretty."
These four-count hand-blown glasses are made from lead-free crystal, hold 14 ounces of fluid each, and include a one-year satisfaction guarantee.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Kiana Murden is a Commerce Producer with Dotdash. She received input from editors at The Spruce Eats to discover which products they love and depend on for hosting the perfect Thanksgiving meal.