Are you prepared for Thanksgiving dinner? If you're cooking Thanksgiving dinner at your house, this checklist will ensure you have all the cooking equipment and tools you need to make a glorious meal. As for serving, be sure to check the checklist of must-have tools for serving Thanksgiving Dinner. Finally, don't forget some cool gadgets and tools for preparing Thanksgiving Dinner.
Don't even think about using a disposable foil pan to cook your turkey! Yes, it's one less pan to clean, but these flimsy pans are difficult and dangerous to get in and out of the oven when they're holding a 20-pound turkey. Instead, invest in a roasting pan that will be large enough to hold the sized turkey you usually make, with sturdy, riveted handles on either side. Opt for a nonstick interior if you hate scrubbing (although keep in mind that some purist cooks think that an uncoated stainless steel surface will yield better gravy).
Recommendation: Calphalon Classic Hard Anodized Roasting Pan
If you received a carving set as a wedding gift, now's the time to use it. If not, a long, serrated slicing knife will work just as well. Pick a knife that is at least 9 or 10 inches long, with a scalloped blade. This will enable you to cleanly slice turkey with a smooth back-and-forth motion, and the scallops will slice the meat without shredding it.
Recommendation: Wusthof 10-inch Gourmet Super Slicer
Free up oven space by making one of your side dishes in a slow cooker. Casseroles, grain- and rice-based side dishes and even stuffing can all be made in a slow cooker. Just be sure to calculate how long they will take to cook so that you can ensure the dish is cooked when you're ready to serve dinner. Err on the side of caution, because you can always use your cooker's "keep warm" setting, if it has one, to keep the dish piping hot until it's time to serve. Read more about buying and using a slow cooker
Recommendation: Hamilton Beach Set 'n Forget Programmable Slow Cooker
For stuffing, the ubiquitous green bean casserole, or a dish full of candied yams, an attractive casserole dish or baker makes the ideal vessel. A glazed stoneware baker with lid will not only cook your recipe evenly in the oven, but is beautiful enough to bring to your dinner table.
Recommendation: Le Creuset 4 1/2 quart Rectangular Casserole
Don't let those delicious pan drippings go to waste. Instead, turn them into a luscious gravy for your bird. Pour the drippings into a fat separator and it will help you strain out the fat and unwanted particles so you're left with delicious juice to use as a base for gravy.
Recommendation: OXO Good Grips 2-Cup Fat Separator
If mashed potatoes are on your menu, a potato ricer is essential for making them smooth, light and fluffy. Look for a ricer that has two interchangeable disks, so you can choose whether you want your potatoes super-smooth or with a little more texture. To learn how to properly use this too, read the tutorial on Using a Potato Ricer.
Recommendation: Kuhn Rikon Potato Ricer
For boiling potatoes or yams for mashed potatoes, you'll need a pot large enough. A 7-quart or larger stock pot or Dutch Oven will do the trick. If you don't have one yet, this pot need not be expensive; water for potatoes or pasta boils just as well in a cheap stainless pan as it does in an expensive pan that has an aluminum or copper core (it just might take a few minutes longer).
Recommendation: Farberware Classic 12-Quart Stockpot
Make sure you have at least two glass or metal 9-inch pie pans to make a couple of different pies. Clear glass Pyrex pie pans heat evenly and will allow you to peek at the bottom of the crust to make sure it's not getting overbrowned. If you prefer metal, opt for a pie pan that has a dark finish, which will absorb heat better than light metal. Some cooks like pie pans with handles so that they can easily be removed from the oven without the risk of damaging the crust.
Recommendation: Pyrex Accents 9 1/2-inch Pie Plate
Make your biscuits or rolls on a sturdy metal sheet pan. An aluminum or steel pan with a rolled rim on all sides will resist warping. If you choose one that's not nonstick, a layer of parchment paper or a silicone baking sheet will keep your baked goods from sticking to the surface and will make for easy cleanup. Inexpensive, professional-quality sheet pans can also be found at your local restaurant supply store.
Recommendation: Baker's Half Sheet Pan with Storage Lid