Thanksgiving Dinner Essentials

Let’s be honest—Thanksgiving dinner is THE meal of the year. There’s no doubt about it. And when you are hosting? The pressure is ON. So in order to have the most successful dinner possible (sorry but I can’t do much about creepy uncles or overserved grandparents), I’ve compiled a list of Thanksgiving Kitchen Essentials. From major tools like a carving board and minor details like steel wool (I promise that they are NECESSARY), I’ve got you covered. So let’s get shopping so we can get cooking.

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Roasting Pan

The key to a good roasting pan? One that is large enough for all kids of birds, comes with a roasting rack, and has handles to make taking it in and out of the oven easier. I mean, you don’t want a “This is the Turkey” scenario, do you???

Dutch Oven

Why do you need a Dutch oven for the Thanksgiving meal (and basically any other meals you make in the Fall and Winter)? Because they are so incredibly versatile. You can use them for soups, side dishes, stews…the options are endless. I like to use them for stuffing and to keep sweet potato casseroles warm when going from the oven to the table. There are tons of beautiful Dutch ovens to choose from, including this pumpkin one that is perfect for the Thanksgiving table.

Kitchenaid Stand Mixer

If you didn’t register for a Kitchenaid Stand Mixer when you got married, NOW is the time to get one. You can make so many delicious holiday recipes without breaking a sweat thanks to the Kitchenaid Stand Mixer. I mean, are you going to whip mashed potatoes by hand? I DON’T THINK SO. And with so many different types of attachments, it is the perfect shortcut for whatever recipe you are making.

Rolling Pin

Whether you are baking a pie from scratch or using store bought short cuts (ain’t no shame in my game, people!), a rolling pin is a MUST. I especially love using non-stick ones so you don’t get flour all over the place.

Pie dishes

Pie dishes are great not only for pies (duh) but also for casseroles. I mean, everyone seems to have a favorite type of casserole (green bean, broccoli, corn, etc.) and you don’t want to have to make a giant vat of each just to please everyone. Use a shallow pie dish instead. Easy peasy.

Oven Mitts

With all of the cooking going on, you are going to need some EXCELLENT oven mitts. I’m talking thick ones that are just as helpful when making Thanksgiving dinner as when you are grilling on the 4th of July. Rubber detailing also helps to keep dishes from falling out of your hand and I honestly think it might be the most important Thanksgiving dinner essential.

Meat Thermometer

I know, I know…the bird comes with its own internal cooking gauge. But I don’t trust them and neither should you. I prefer old school meat thermometers like this that have never done me wrong through multiple years of hosting Thanksgiving dinners.

Carving Board

After letting the turkey rest (don’t forget that ESSENTIAL part), carve it on a wooden carving board that has deep grooves for soaking up the juices and is sturdy enough to stay in one place while you are carving. Bonus points if it is reversible like this heavy duty wooden carving board.

Serving Platter

You prepped and roasted that bird for almost an entire day so don’t just carve it and put out the pieces on a wimpy plate. It is the star of the show and it should have a serving platter that rises to the occasion. Here are some of my favorite large serving platters that I promise you will use all year round. 

Gravy Boat & Salt and Pepper Shakers

If you  have more than five people coming to your Thanksgiving feast, you are going to need more than one gravy boat. Plain and simple. Same with salt and pepper shakers


The last thing you want to do is get your gorgeous holiday outfit all messed up thanks to all of the cooking you will be doing. So don an apron that makes you feel gorgeous, whether it is a classic plaid, trendy floral, or quirky Thanksgiving themed apron. The sky is the limit, as you can see from these apron options

Two Tiered Tray

Tiered trays are great for either dessert or appetizers because it makes food easy to reach and thanks to the multiple levels it doesn’t make up too much room on the table. I especially love the ones from Hearth and Hand by Magnolia, such as these

Water Pitcher

Having a beautiful water pitcher on the table doesn’t just make your table look great–it also keeps you from having to get up and down to refill water glasses. I prefer to put one water pitcher on each end of the table and float a few slices of lemon on top to make it extra special.

Wine Accessories

Let’s face it, you are going to need LOTS of wine to get through all of the work hosting Thanksgiving—and your guests are going to need it in order to get through a drama free dinner as well. So make sure you have a great wine openerdecanter for red wine, and ample wine glasses. Could these wine themed items be the ultimate Thanksgiving dinner essentials?

Brillo Pads

After all that roasting and cooking at high temperatures, the only way you will get your pots and pans clean are with Brillo Pads. So stock up.

Stain Removers

And for all of the stains that your guests will without a doubt leave behind? Magic Erasers and Stain Sticks will most likely do the trick. 

Don’t forget to check out my favorite Thanksgiving recipes before you start planning your meal and remember that you can stock up on all of these Thanksgiving dinner essentials when you are at Target. Make life even easier by ordering on line and using their drive up service!

Happy Thanksgiving!


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