Will this be your first year making a Thanksgiving meal for the family and you don’t know what you’ll need? There’s no need to worry because I have the list of ‘must-have’ Thanksgiving kitchen tools to make meal prep easier!

'Must-have' Thanksgiving Kitchen Tools

Making Thanksgiving dinner for the first time can be a terrifying task. I know my first year making a Thanksgiving meal was quite the kitchen event. I didn’t think about the kitchen tools I would need and just winged it – big mistake! I didn’t realize that having the right kitchen tools would make such a HUGE difference, so to help you avoid my mistake, I’ve put together this list of ‘must-have’ Thanksgiving kitchen tools to add to your stash. Remember, think of your kitchen tools as your toolbox. You wouldn’t build a house without the right tools, so why cook a meal without the right tools?

‘Must-Have’ Thanksgiving Kitchen Tools

For each item, I have listed a minimum of 3 options to help fit any budget – inexpensive to high-end. I highly suggest reading the reviews on these products to determine which is the best product to fit your budget.

Roasting Pan

Investing in a roasting pan is a good idea. Most come with easy to grab handles to help make transporting a heavy turkey from the oven to the table/counter safer. In addition, many can be used as a lasagna pan or stove-top vessel (read descriptions to verify).

Cooking Twine/Ties

Trussing is a personal thing and isn’t really necessary. Most do it for appearances, so if you are planning a party and want the turkey legs positioned a certain way, truss away!

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Fat Separator

If you plan on making your own gravy from the turkey drippings, you’ll need one of these. Trust me, it makes separating the fat from all the good bits SO much faster and easier.

Turkey Baster

I tried using a spoon to get to the drippings and almost cooked my hands and scorched my face – ouch! Using a turkey baster will allow you to get all the drippings without giving yourself an unwanted heat treatment.

Potato Masher

Nothing beats a side of fresh hot buttery mashed potatoes – yum! I’ll admit, I’ve used my kitchen mixer head as a mashing tool, but when you’ve got 5 lbs. of potatoes to mash you’ll want a larger surface area to mash potatoes. And since mashed potatoes is serious business at our house, a potato masher is a must for us. I often enlist the help of my little kitchen helpers and using a potato masher quickly turns 5 lbs. of potatoes into their favorite side in a few minutes.


The turkey is the main star and nobody wants to serve a dry overcooked turkey, but how do you know when it’s ready? Take the guessing out of the equation and make sure your turkey is cooked to perfection by using a thermometer to ensure it’s done just right!


Keeping track of multiple cook times can be difficult with one oven timer. Pick up another timer for side dishes, pies, and any other dish that might be going into the oven together to make sure it comes out at just the right time.

Baking/Casserole Dish

I just recently broke one of my baking dishes and I already miss it. Lucky for me, I had two 9″x 13″ dishes and losing one wasn’t the end of the world. But baking dishes are great for preparing vegetables, stuffing, and so much more! Plus, it’s great to vessel to go from the oven to the table.

If you aren’t able to buy all the tools, slowly build your stash and buy the best you can afford to make cooking a fun adventure.

What are your ‘must-have’  Thanksgiving kitchen tools?

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  1. Erlene, this was a great idea for a post! And I was glad to see the roasting pans with fixed handles. I have the Calphalon stainless steel and love it. Newer cooks should make up their minds right now to spring for a good stainless roasting pan that can be used on top of the stove, too, for the deglazing and gravy making. Don’t make-do with disposable foil pans or other cheap pans. And I love the OXO Good Grips potato masher. That big squishy handle really saves the hand when mashing huge quantities.
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