Essential Tools

Kitchen gear to help you pull off hosting without a hitch.

Casseroles are perfect for Thanksgiving because they can be assembled ahead and baked off before supper. A good baking dish will heat your food evenly, keep it piping-hot at the table, and look good in the process.

A good digital scale is an essential tool for bakers or home charcuterie-makers. The OXO Food Scale comes with an easy-to-clean removable stainless steel weighing surface, great accuracy and precision, and a pull-out backlit display to make measuring simple, even for large or unwieldy items.

OXO's poultry shears include an easy-to-engage-and-disengage locking mechanism, a looped handle that won't allow greasy hands to slip when squeezing hard, and a take-apart hinge for thorough cleaning. But what really makes it our top pick is that it's one of the only pairs of shears we tested that can both snip through squirmy skin and cleave through bone, making it simple to spatchcock your Thanksgiving bird.

High-quality Swedish steel and Japanese design, along with great features like a perfectly balanced handle and blade and an ergonomic bolster, make the Misono UX10 Santoku one of our favorite tools in the kitchen.

This wooden spoon from Le Creuset is the one you'll reach for time and again. It's gorgeous to look at, its flat front makes it great for scraping up fond or stirring vegetables, and its smooth, ergonomic grip makes using it a joy.

While the usefulness of a vegetable peeler should be obvious to anyone who's ever cooked, the necessity of a Y-peeler may not be quite as clear. But trust us: They are categorically better than those swivel peelers a lot of people use. And they're cheap!

The Magimix impressed us with each slicing, chopping, grating, and puréeing test we tossed at it, especially with pizza dough—it combined the dough so well that no additional kneading was required.

With their smooth surface and cool temperature, marble pastry slabs are a baker's best friend. They're great for rolling out your holiday pie crusts, laminating doughs, and tempering chocolate. This marble version is pretty enough (albeit heavy) to use as a serving platter.

Functional, but with an elegant twist: The width of the forks and spoons is just slightly smaller than that of your standard set, and they feel slightly longer in the hand. This set is a good and long-lasting upgrade to those starter Ikea sets.

In scratch-prone, nonstick, or enameled cast iron pans, the scalloped silicone ends on these tongs can withstand temperatures up to 600°F (316°C) without leaving a mark.

Whether you're making your mashed potatoes extra fluffy or rich and creamy, a potato ricer is the best tool for getting those cooked spuds silky-smooth. (Of course, if you prefer your potatoes chunky, that's okay, too!)

The best recipe in the world won't help you if your oven is mis-calibrated. A simple oven thermometer will guarantee that you're cooking things right.

A workhorse cutting board is great to have in the kitchen, but for the dinner table, you'll want something a little showier, like this teak end-grain board.

When we put paring knives to the test, this 3.5-inch knife from Wüsthof won full marks for its affordable price and great cutting ability. Its sharp stamped-metal blade is housed in a lightweight, grippy plastic handle that's easy to hold, making trimming, peeling, and dicing vegetables a snap.

You don't need an electric knife to carve your turkey—just a nice, sharp carving knife, like this one from Wüsthof.

If you ever plan to tackle homemade pie crust or rolled sugar cookies, you'll need a rolling pin. Tapered French rolling pins are more maneuverable and more durable than other styles, and they're easier to clean as well.

These wine glasses feel fancy enough for an elegant Thanksgiving meal—and you can throw them in the dishwasher after, which is a pretty rare attribute. Their sturdy construction means you can expect to hang on to these for several years.

Don't want to spring for a Thermapen? Get yourself the less expensive ThermoPop. An easy-to-read display rotates at the touch of a button so you don't have to twist your head to read it. It takes a few seconds longer to read temperatures than its big brother, but it's every bit as accurate.

The five-piece Norpro Grip Ez Stainless Steel Measuring Cups took the top spot in our tests for accuracy, and it wasn’t even close. Not only that, the bowls are securely joined to the comfortable nonslip handles, and manufactured to tight tolerances, which helps with level sweeping. The unique oval cup shape comes to a narrow end, acting like a shovel to dig into compacted ingredients, like brown sugar.

The Cadillac of kitchen thermometers is indispensable when you're roasting turkey, making candy, or deep-frying, or whenever precise temperature control is needed. With a big display and a blazing-fast measuring time of under two seconds, you won't find a better, easier-to-use thermometer out there.

The four-piece Amco Advanced Performance Measuring Spoons are accurate and easy to work with. The handles have little stands on them that help keep the bowls nearly level for accurate filling when the spoon is on the countertop, and the wide, shallow design makes it easy to clean out sticky ingredients, like honey, with a small spatula.

A fine-mesh strainer is indispensable for a whole range of kitchen tasks, from making sure your chicken stock is free of sediment to producing silky-smooth custards.

Wire racks are essential for resting meats, both pre-cooking (if they’ve been salted) and post- (to keep them out of their pooling juices), as well as for cooling cakes, cookies, and the like. Any time you need air circulation around your food, whether before, during, or after cooking, a wire rack is a must.

Whether we're making a puréed soup directly in the pot or whipping up some whipped cream for a pumpkin pie, a hand blender is the easiest way to go. The great power on this one, from All-Clad, made it one of our top picks. You can check out our recommendations here.

Trussing your turkey is a useful technique that helps it retain a nice shape as it cooks, which leads to both better presentation and more even cooking. Whether you prefer regular old square knots or butcher's knots (our preferred knot), be sure to use 100% cotton twine, because it grips the meat nicely as you're tightening and won't melt or burn in the oven.

Sous vide cooking—cooking foods in vacuum-sealed pouches in precisely controlled water baths—is no longer the exclusive preserve of fancy restaurant kitchens. The Anova Precision Cooker is one of the best home water bath controllers on the market, with an easy-to-use interface, Bluetooth support, rock-solid construction, a sleek look, and an affordable price tag to boot. If you want the juiciest turkey of your life, try using one of these.

A good bench scraper is one of those tools people don't think they need until they start using one. Use it for everything from transferring chopped vegetables or herbs from one place to another to portioning dough to giving your cutting board a quick clean.

A handheld mandoline-style slicer is great for shaving vegetables for salads or cutting perfectly even slabs of potato for your Hasselback Potato Gratin. The V-shaped blade of our favorite version stays sharp and slices evenly, pass after pass.

You can't bake a pie without pie plates, and the tough tempered-glass plates from Pyrex have proven themselves over the years. Here's how to pick the right pie plate for every job.

The Fletchers' Mill Federal grinds consistently and quickly, excels at fine grinding, and comes in 11 finishes to match a wide range of kitchen decor.

A rad cake stand will make any layer cake look like a work of art (and make any occasion feel special).

If you want to step up your game from a potato ricer, a good food mill will do the same job, but it'll also work year-round for straining tomatoes for sauce and fruit for jams, plus any number of other straining or puréeing uses. Try it on your cranberry sauce!

A half sheet tray is the quintessential Thanksgiving baking tool, whether you're crisping up potatoes, charring Brussels sprouts, or roasting a butterflied turkey.

Another essential kitchen tool, the Microplane grater does fine grating way better than those tiny, raspy holes on a box grater. Whether you're quickly grating fresh nutmeg and cinnamon or taking the zest off a lemon, the Microplane is the tool to reach for.

Sack-like contemporary aprons may do the job, but they’re far from flattering. This ‘50s-style cut, on the other hand, is the kind of apron we wish we could wear out on the town—it’s colorful, lightweight, and fitted for equal parts comfort, function, and fashion.

We can't tell you how many times we've burned bread crumbs or forgotten about the nuts we were toasting in the oven. At least, we used to. That was all before we got ourselves a couple of these loud, easy-to-use kitchen timers that can hang around your neck—so you never forget about something in the kitchen, even if you leave the room.

Unlike glass measuring cups, this flexible silicone version has a textured pattern on the surface, so it won't get slick or slippery when wet, and it's thick enough to provide a temperature buffer if you're working with hot liquids. It's equally well suited to adding chicken stock to risotto and pouring cold ice cream base into the machine.

The Dutch oven is the true workhorse of your kitchen pot arsenal. At Thanksgiving, it's where you'll par-cook your roasted potatoes. It's where you'll sauté your vegetables for stuffing. It's where you'll cook down your pie fillings, and where you'll make your turkey soup once the meal is over.

There's nothing better than a good cast iron skillet for searing meat and vegetables, baking cornbread, or making our pull-apart stuffing rolls.

How do you make perfect gravies, sauces, and reductions? A nifty pot called a saucier. The durable stainless steel is cladded with aluminum for even heating, essential for temperamental ingredients like caramel and egg custards. A curved bottom makes whisking a snap (no more lumpy gravy!), and the wide top encourages evaporation for fast sauce reductions. You can buy cheaper versions than this All-Clad saucier, but this is one piece of equipment where quality really makes a difference.

Proper seasoning is one of the most important parts of cooking, and if you're still using plain table salt from (heaven forbid!) a saltshaker, you're shooting yourself in the food. Using kosher salt from a salt cellar lets you feel exactly how much salt is getting into your food, whether it's a tiny pinch or a big ol' wallop.

The Instant Pot Duo60 is a fantastic value and performed almost as well as the top pick among countertop pressure cookers we tested. It's easy to use, the company has a reputation for great customer service, and there's an avid and helpful community of users online to boot.