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As much as you may love Thanksgiving, it’s easy to get stressed if it’s your turn to host. Not to fret: With a little bit of careful planning and the right tools, it just might turn out to be your family’s best holiday yet! We’ve rounded up 20 Thanksgiving dinner essentials you’ll want to have on hand to be prepared. Start shopping to nab them just in time for the big day.
The Perfect Thanksgiving Dinner
To save yourself from running around at the last minute, trying to get everything done on time like a headless turkey (see what we did there?), early organization is key. Here’s a few tips and tricks to make sure that you’re on top of your game this Thanksgiving:
- Lists, lists, and more lists! Make an analytical list of the menu you plan to serve, and what ingredients you’ll need for each dish, including details such as beverages, breadsticks, and even after-dinner mints.
- Assemble the proper tools: Consider the appliances and cookware you’ll need to create your meal. Do you have everything you need for the turkey? For instance, you’ll want to have a great roasting dish (like this one from Macy’s, $95.99), a thermometer (we love this one from OXO, $44.99), and a turkey baster (like this one from the Martha Stewart Collection, $13.99) on hand ahead of time. And, for that extra finger-licking something, why not try a gourmet turkey seasoning ($6.98, Stonewall Kitchen)?
- Do your shopping early: Get your grocery shopping done as early as possible to avoid the Thanksgiving rush. In fact, we recommend doing some (or all!) of it online. You’ll be amazed at how much you can find — and have delivered — from Whole Foods at Amazon, Instacart, and Fresh Direct. Harry & David also have an array of delicious festive gourmet items, like its country cranberry relish ($6.99), plus many other scrumptious treats that can be delivered straight to your door — just in time for dinner.
- Plan your tablescape: Do you want your tablescape to be simple or elaborate? Draw it out in your mind (or better still, draw it on actual paper) and list out the items you’ll need to make your ideal décor happen. If you’d prefer a minimalist aesthetic, a table runner or tablecloth, placemats, napkins, dinnerware, and a centerpiece are all you’ll need.
- Create a vibe: Creating a warm Thanksgiving ambiance doesn’t have to be an intricate task. Spend some time spreading your decorations around the house. For something simple-yet-effective, dim the lights, light a few autumnal candles (like this handmade one from Wax Buffalo, $22, Amazon), and put on some soft dinner music to get everyone relaxed and in the mood for food with good company.
Thanksgiving Dinner Essentials
Once you’ve completed your to-do lists and figured out what it’ll take to enact your ideal dinner, you can start scrolling through our selection of 20 essential items you’ll need to bring your dream Thanksgiving feast to life. Keep scrolling for FIRST’s picks for the best Thanksgiving dinner essentials!
We write about products we think our readers will like. If you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the supplier.
Cuisinart 14-Cup Food Processor for Thanksgiving Meal Prep
Cuisinart 14-Cup Food Processor
Where to buy: $150.90, Amazon
First thing's first: You'll need to get dicing! To cut your chopping time in half, you'll want to get yourself a top quality food processor. With more than 1,700 positive reviews on Amazon, Cuisinart's 14-cup capacity food processor, which has seven food prep operations and a powerful 720-watt motor, is right up there with the best of them.
“Just got this to use for Thanksgiving and I'm in love with it,” raved one buyer.
Yet another happy customer wrote, “I was able to slice potatoes, sweet potatoes, shred cheese, and do a number of culinary preparations for two holiday meals.”
2. All-Clad Large Stainless Steel Roasting Pan & Roaster Rack for Thanksgiving Turkey
All-Clad Stainless Steel Roasting Pan and Rack
Where to buy: $179.99 (Originally $260), Nordstrom
Any turkey enthusiast knows that a good roasting pan is imperative for your bird’s cooking success. It has to be non-stick, so as not to lose any of the precious meat, and the sides should be high enough so that none of the yummy juices spill out. Preferably, it will also include a roasting rack for even browning and easy lifting.
All-Clad's large stainless steel roasting pan and roaster rack is equipped with all of the above and more. Made from top quality 18/10 stainless steel, it's oven safe to 600 degrees and has easy-grip handles. You can make the gravy in the pan straight out of the oven, since it's also stove-top safe, and pop it in the dishwasher when you're done. Easy, peasy!
3. Stonewall Kitchen Thanksgiving Turkey Seasoning Rub
Stonewall Kitchen Thanksgiving Turkey Seasoning Rub
Where to buy: $6.98 (Originally $13.95), Stonewall Kitchen
For a Thanksgiving dinner guests will be complimenting you on and and asking for the secret recipe, season your turkey with Stonewall Kitchen's turkey seasoning rub. Made from a simple and healthy mix of gluten-free, non-GMO ingredients, including sage, thyme, and ginger to really tantalize the taste buds, this rub takes the effort out of turkey seasoning. You can even sprinkle some into the potatoes and roast vegetables! *Italian finger kiss*
4. OXO Good Grips Chef's Precision Digital Leave-In Thermometer for Turkey
OXO Good Grips Chef's Precision Digital Thermometer
Where to buy: $44.99, OXO
Cooking a turkey isn't something you can just play by ear. Even top chefs use thermometers when cooking meat in order to get the optimal roast every time. OXO Good Grips' chef's precision digital leave-in thermometer can help you your bird perfectly golden. You can leave it right in the turkey as it cooks, so you won’t need to keep opening and closing the oven to get a reading, losing precious heat in the process. What’s more, it will give you both chef-recommended and USDA-recommended temperatures, so no conversion will be necessary.
5. Martha Stewart Collection Turkey Baster & Cleaning Brush
Martha Stewart Collection Turkey Baster and Cleaning Brush
Where to buy: $13.99 (Originally $24), Macy’s
The best cooks know that one of the secrets to tender, moist meat is regular basting. This Martha Stewart Collection baster, complete with a cleaning brush, is a top quality model that's heat-proof up to 210 degrees and will last you much longer than cheaper grocery store brands. It also just so happens to be on sale!
As one reviewer wrote, “I've always bought discount basters before since I didn't see the difference in the ‘better’ ones. This one changed my opinion. It's a workhorse, handling all sorts of sauces, gravies, and marinades, and the cleaning brush tackles the mess!”
6. Architec Concave Turkey Cutting Board
Architec Concave Turkey Cutting Board
Where to buy: $59.99, Bloomingdale’s
Cutting up turkey on a traditional service platter or a chopping board isn’t very convenient, as the juices tend to spill out. Alternately, slicing it up in the roasting pan and then transferring it into a serving platter can be a pain, and besides, we like to see the whole bird on the table when we sit down for Thanksgiving dinner!
Architec's concave turkey cutting board makes for the perfect solution. It serves as a cutting board and a serving platter all in one, and it dips in the middle to ensure that none of the delicious juices go to waste. Talk about a smart buy!
7. Lamson XL Potato Masher
Lamson XL Potato Masher
Where to buy: $42, Food52
Mash potatoes are an important part of Thanksgiving dinner, with many people claiming they like the spuds better than the actual turkey! The best way to make them? Using a good old potato masher, of course. We love this Lamson XL version from Food52, because it’s made from strong and sturdy high-carbon stainless steel and has a large head, so you can get the job done in less time. Once you’re finished, you can just throw it in the dishwasher for quick cleanup.
8. Harry & David Country Cranberry Relish
Harry & David Country Cranberry Relish
Where to buy: $6.99, Harry & David
Thanksgiving wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without a tasty cranberry sauce to accompany the turkey, but some supermarket brands can leave much to be desired. For a few dollars more, you can go gourmet with this Harry & David country cranberry relish that's sure to be a hit with the whole family.The consistency is more like a chutney as opposed to a stiff jelly, making it a Thanksgiving staple in many households.
One fan of this sauce raved, “This is as good as homemade! I love this cranberry relish with turkey or other meats. It has such a fresh taste as if it were just made in my own kitchen. Good stuff!”
9. OXO Good Grips Good Gravy Fat Separator
OXO Good Grips Good Gravy Fat Separator
Where to buy: $24.99, OXO
Once you start incorporating the use of a gravy fat separator — like OXO Good Grips' 4-cup model — into your cooking, you won’t ever want to go back to life without one. Separating the fat from the broth is not only a healthier way of making and enjoying gravy, as it creates a lean, low-fat broth, it also allows you to save and store the fat for other purposes, such as making stock. This tool, which features measurement markings up to 4 cups, also ensures that your gravy won’t get gunky when it starts to get cold, changing the leftover game for good.
10. Villeroy & Boch Anmut Bone China Gravy Boat
Villeroy & Boch Anmut Bone China Gravy Boat
Where to buy: $54.57 (Originally $104), Villeroy & Boch
It may seem like a small detail, but there's just something about serving gravy from a traditional gravy boat that lends an added element of festivity. This elegant Anmut bone porcelain china pick from high-end home décor brand, Villeroy & Boch will be a beautiful addition to any Thanksgiving table and suits any interior style. It can hold up to 15 ounces of gravy and is both dishwasher and microwave safe.
11. Le Creuset Heritage Collection Pie Dish
Le Creuset Heritage Collection Pie Dish
Where to buy: $40 (Originally $50), Le Creuset
If you’ve decided to make your own pie (or pies!) this Thanksgiving, firstly, a round of applause for you! Secondly, let us make things easier by introducing you to Le Creuset's Heritage Collection pie dish. Scorched pie crust will a thing of the past with this find, thanks to its heat-absorbent composition, which will evenly distribute heat for a perfectly browned, flaky crust every. single. time. Its enamel coating resists knife marks, keeping it looking like new for longer, and it's safe for use in the oven, microwave, broiler, and dishwasher. Take it from us: This will soon be your favorite dish!
12. Harry & David Deep-Dish Pumpkin pie
Harry & David Deep-Dish Pumpkin Pie
Where to buy: $49.99, Harry & David
Don’t have the time or energy to make your own pie this year? We hear ya. Harry & David makes a deep-dish pumpkin pie — which you can order and have delivered to your home — that will disappear within seconds once brought to the table. Made from real pumpkin, whole eggs, and real whipped cream, this creamy pie weighs more than 3 pounds (6 to 8 servings) and is crafted using a unique Harry & David gourmet recipe.
One satisfied customer’s review reads, “I was skeptical about ordering a pie on a website, but I was happily proven to be wrong… the pie was shipped with the utmost care and arrived on time without issue… the quality of the pie was excellent. The piped whipped cream was beautiful and intact and the flavor of the pie filling was beyond delicious and velvety smooth. The crust was also scrumptious, light and flaky.”
13. Invivo X Sauvignon Blanc by Sarah Jessica Parker
Invivo X Sauvignon Blanc by Sarah Jessica Parker
Where to buy: $19.99, Wine.com
According to a recent New York Times article, sauvignon blanc is a great wine for Thanksgiving, because it’s “a reliable, crowd-pleasing white that is now made all over the world,” making it easy to find, and beloved by all. And, boy, do we have the blend for you!
Brand spanking new and already adored, Sarah Jessica Parker's Invivo X Sauvignon Blanc has a fresh, smooth taste that's layered with gentle aromas of grapefruit peel, honeysuckle, passionfruit, and citrus zest. It truly is delicious, and, hey, if it’s good enough for SJP…
14. Darby Home Co Dumbarton Lazy Susan Spinning Service Tray for Thanksgiving Dinner Table
Darby Home Co Dumbarton Lazy Susan
Where to buy: $252.99 (Originally $290.62), Wayfair
Arms flailing all over the Thanksgiving dinner table and people screaming at each other to “pass the yams,” will be a thing of the past with this Dumbarton Lazy Susan turntable tray. Made from a chic opaque ancient wood grain marble that lends style to any dining table, it has an almost 24-inch diameter that's able to hold many dishes. it also swivels around with ease, without scratching or damaging your furniture. Simply place in the middle of your setup, pile on the food, and spin it around for an organized — and efficient! — serving experience.
15. Martha Stewart Collection Sepia 12-Piece Thanksgiving Dinnerware Set
Martha Stewart Collection Sepia 12-Piece Dinnerware Set
Where to buy: $57.99 (Originally $168), Macy’s
We looked through approximately 100 different Thanksgiving dinnerware sets (yes, really!) to find the perfect non-kitschy tablescape. Enter this Martha Stewart Collection sepia dinnerware set from Macy's. Traditional, elegant, and classy, this 12-piece set features an understated floral design and includes four dinner plates, four salad plates, and four bowls. A matching harvest platter is also available for just $24.99 (originally $72, Macy's).
16. Designer Burlap Table Runner and Place Mats for Thanksgiving Dinner Table
Designer Burlap Table Runner
Where to buy: From $19.97 (Originally $39.99), Amazon
For a modern, stylish, and hassle-free take on a holiday table runner and matching placemats, we're totally digging this Designer Burlap table runner from Amazon. It comes in a 10-yard roll (also available in 50-yard or 108-yard versions) which you can cut down and customize according to your dinner table size and place-setting needs. It's super-easy to cut, and the edges don’t fray either.
17. Customizable Wheat Bundle Thanksgiving Cloth Napkins
Customizable Wheat Bundle Thanksgiving Cloth Napkins
Where to buy: From $10, Zazzle
Made from 100 percent, grade-A woven cotton, these minimalistic harvest time napkins bear a monochrome wheat bundle design that's ideal for the Thanksgiving dinner table. Not only do they look great, Zazzle will even customize them for you with either an image or text. You can monogram them with your family's name, or even put individual monikers on each one for a clever alternative to place cards. Genius!
18. Pumpkin Spray Thanksgiving Napkin Rings
Pumpkin Spray Napkin Rings
Where to buy: $3.59 each (Originally $5.99 each), Pier 1 Imports
Festive and downright adorable, these Pier 1 Imports pumpkin spray napkin rings will give your Thanksgiving table that happy holiday feel without overkill. Each one has a handcrafted design of autumn leaves, a cute pumpkin, and a real pine cone, making for a special and unique holiday item that you’ll be proud to bring out for many Thanksgivings to come.
19. Wax Buffalo Handmade Pure Soy Scented Candle
Wax Buffalo Handmade Soy-Scented Candle
Where to buy: $22, Amazon
Although they provide unparalleled ambiance, some candles have a potent, overpowering floral or fruity scent that doesn't mix well with delectable Thanksgiving dinner aromas. This handmade and hand-poured pure soy candle in “sweet tobacco” is just the ticket for a soft warm glow with a gentle autumn fragrance. It's long-lasting and burns clean, allowing you to keep the stylish 9-ounce jar long after the candle runs out. We also love that the company is a small business owned and run by a group of awesome women based in Nebraska.
20. Harvest Traditions Pumpkin Bouquet Thanksgiving Centerpiece
Harvest Traditions Pumpkin Bouquet
Where to buy: From $45, ProFlowers
Forget about the faux flowers this holiday season; real botanicals are where it’s at! This gorgeous harvest traditions pumpkin bouquet from ProFlowers will be the only centerpiece you’ll need on your dinner table thanks to a ceramic pumpkin vase that you can use all autumn long. Its blooms, meanwhile, are a beautiful mix of orange roses, sunflowers, and peach hypericum berries. Order it online and get it delivered to your door at a date and time that will suit your schedule — no muss, no fuss!