How to Stock Your Thanksgiving Pantry

Because no one wants to make an emergency grocery store run in the middle of making Thanksgiving dinner.

Our handy guide to stocking your Thanksgiving pantry, with a printable checklist. J. Kenji López-Alt

We've all been there. The roast is in the oven, you've got your sister peeling Brussels sprouts, you're keeping an eye on the dog to make sure it isn't grabbing a sneaky taste of the pies cooling in the hallway, your stuffing is getting packed into its casserole dish and—f*&k me, did I really just run out of kosher salt? I'm not going to say there's nothing worse than having to run out to the store in the middle of a marathon cooking session on Thanksgiving Day, but, like root canals and bicyclists while driving, it's the kind of thing that's just best avoided.

Here's a quick list of all the perishable and nonperishable goods you should have on hand to make sure that your Thanksgiving goes off without a hitch.

Essential Thanksgiving Ingredients: For the Fridge

Raw beets
Vicky Wasik

All of these items can be stored in the refrigerator at least three weeks in advance.

Some vegetables, and even some meats, will last over a week in the refrigerator. Stock up on them early to save time and headaches with last-minute shopping.

Essential Thanksgiving Ingredients: For the Freezer

Overhead shot of raw almonds in a metal bowl
Vicky Wasik

Essential Thanksgiving Ingredients: Dry Goods

Three small piles of flour on a wooden surface
Vicky Wasik

Keep dry goods in a dark, cool cabinet to maximize their useful life, and please, for the love of all that is holy, do not store your oils above or near your stove. Heat will cause them to turn rancid very quickly. Keep them far from a heat source, in a cool, dark space.

Jarred and Canned Goods

Essential Thanksgiving Ingredients: The Produce Aisle

whole winter squash on a table
Vicky Wasik

Some produce is better kept at room temperature. That includes:

If You Wanna Cheat a Little

Thanksgiving is busy. We get it. Ain't nothing wrong with using some store-bought help if saves your sanity.

Essential Thanksgiving Kitchen Supplies

  • Extra rolls of paper towels, because you never know when that mess is gonna strike.
  • Heavy-duty aluminum foil, for lining your roasting pans, making for easy cleanup.
  • Parchment paper, to keep your roast vegetables from sticking.
  • Storage containers, to make sure that everyone takes some home at the end of the night. I like to use pint-size and quart-size plastic deli containers. They stack, nest, and are dirt-cheap.
  • Plastic wrap, for wrapping up the extra turkey and casseroles.
  • Dishwashing liquid.
  • Sponges.
  • Trash, recycling, and compost bags.

I feel like this list expands every single year, and I still manage to find something I left out (usually by running out of it on Thanksgiving Day).