Healthy Diet

The Essential Cooking Gear You Need to Pull Off Any Thanksgiving Dish, According to Chefs

Don’t psych yourself out. Just because you haven’t meal prepped or confirmed how many people are showing up to the table this year doesn’t mean you can’t pull off a hell of a Turkey Day (or Tofurkey Day, or Paleo-What-Have-You Day) on the fly. Below, chefs weigh in on the kitchen essentials you need to make Thanksgiving Thursday one for the books.

The Best Thanksgiving Dessert Recipes to Make From Scratch
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Roasting Pan With Rack

Cooks Standard 14-Inch by 12-Inch Stainless Steel Roaster with Rack

“For me, it’s having a nice large pan with a rack that will support the size of turkey you are cooking,” says Chef Karo Patpatyan at LOCALA at The Mayfair Hotel in Los Angeles. “It is important that the turkey you roast in the oven has a large enough pan with a rack so that the skin on the turkey gets nice and crispy. When people don’t use a pan with a rack, the turkey tends to steam on the bottom and not get crispy.” Patpatyan digs this Cooks Standard rack for helping your bird cook evenly and how it gets the bulk of your turkey drippings—ideal for gravy.


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Casserole Dish

Le Creuset Heritage Covered Oval Casserole, 4 Quart

Sure, turkey is great and all, but Thanksgiving would be a wash without sides. “I have a few that always show up on my Thanksgiving menus: candied yams with toasted pecans; green bean casserole with porcini cream; squash casserole with dill-scented oyster cracker crust; roasted garlic mashed potatoes with crispy onions; buttery brioche stuffing with chestnuts; and roasted root vegetables,” says Marcus Stewart, executive chef at Whitetail Club, the premier residential community in McCall, Idaho. And what do all of these have in common? They’re made in a casserole dish. ”Le Creuset is my go-to brand,” Stewart says. “The products cook evenly and are extremely well-made. The range of colors, shapes, and sizes available brighten up any presentation and add another element of luxury to the offerings.”


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Multi-Purpose Chef’s Knife

GLOBAL 35th Anniversary 7.5″ Chef’s Knife – Granton Edge

A sharp knife is a safe knife. And a high-quality chef’s knife makes kitchen work a breeze. “Global knives are considered to be some of the top kitchen knives in the world that chefs tend to use. The excellent cutting power is offered through the thin, durable blade and is affordable for the at-home chef, making it a ‘must-have’ for your upcoming Thanksgiving meal,” says Executive Chef Stephen Parker of Lot 15 in New York City. “These knives are essential for slicing, breaking down all vegetables, peeling, cutting, and more.”


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Three-Compartment Slow Cooker

Tru BS-325LR Slow-Cookers

Going back to a regular slow cooker after experiencing this would be like reverting to one monitor from your dual-monitor setup. Not happening. “I use my three compartment slow cooker to hold multiple things warm when I’ve run out of oven and burner space (green beans, mashed potatoes, and gravy, for example) or to make and keep warm multiple warm snack foods for an afternoon football game (think: Chipotle shredded beef, chile con queso dip, or even some lil’ Smokies with BBQ sauce),” says Executive Chef Chad Luethje at Red Mountain Resort in Ivins, Utah.


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Matfer 17360 Exoglass Bouillon Strainer

That’s chef speak for those fine mesh sleeves (pronounced “shin-wah”). “Between that gravy you had to thicken with Wondra flour and strain quickly, or those clumpy mashed potatoes that have to be smoother as a matter of pride, a chinois is a very multi-purpose piece of equipment,” says Chef John Paidas, executive chef, Apropos Restaurant, located at The Abbey Inn & Spa, which is opening in Peekskill, New York, in February 2020. “And although I wouldn’t recommend it, if necessary, it can strain a bottle of Beaujolais as well for when your intoxicated distant cousin breaks the cork into the bottle.”


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Cast Iron Pan

Lodge Blacklock Triple Seasoned Cast-Iron Skillet

Correction, a seasoned cast iron pan. For Chef Quincy Logan, executive chef at Council Oak Fish at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City in New Jersey, his favorite is from Williams-Sonoma, but any quality one will do. “The key is to have it properly seasoned by using vegetable oil or shortening and baking it in the oven for 7-to-10 minutes,” he says. “Either that or Kosher Salt and put it on the stove for 10-to-15 minutes. Do this once every two months or so (more often if you’re a frequent chef) to prevent sticking. For Thanksgiving, I like to do steak and fish dishes in addition to my turkey, so I use the pan for that as well as my traditional macaroni and cheese.”


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Disposable Aluminum Roasting Tray

Disposable Aluminum Foil Pans, Fohuas Sturdy Half Size

A kitchen hero for Thanksgiving and beyond. “[Every home cook needs a] package of disposable aluminum roasting trays because from turkey to roasted vegetables, to mac and cheese, to bean casserole, to dessert, they get it all done. ‘Because I love to do Thanksgiving dinner wash-up,’ said nobody ever,” says Darren Pettigrew, chef at Valerie in New York City.

[$19, 24-pack;] 

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Instant-Read Thermometer

Winmor Upgraded 2019 Version Digital Meat Thermometer for Grill and Cooking

“Everyone needs an accurate instant-read thermometer—no more dry turkey breast and raw legs,” says John DeLucie, executive chef and restaurateur at Lumaca in New York City. “I buy this for everyone I know who cooks. It’s inevitable that whenever I ask someone at their home for a thermometer, they dig to the bottom of their junk drawer and hand me some century-old, useless ‘meat thermometer.’” Don’t be that guy.

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