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20 Kitchen Tools You Can’t Live Without for Thanksgiving

Just because Thanksgiving traces back to the 1600s doesn't mean your meal prep needs to come from the same century. After trying these handy gadgets, you'll give thanks for modern cooking devices.

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Slow cookervia

Slow cooker


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Between the pies, the bird, and the side dishes, most Thanksgiving hosts quickly run out of room in their ovens. Don’t worry, you can still ensure every dish is ready at the same time simply by setting up a slow cooker (or two). The Chefman All-Natural Slow Cooker, with its Paleo-certified stoneware insert, is available in three sizes and makes cleanup a breeze. And trust us: Once you make your green bean casserole this way, you’ll never go back to fighting for oven space. Just be sure you aren’t making these 15 slow cooker mistakes.

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Poultry Shearsvia

Poultry shears


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Whether you’re interested in Spatchcocking your turkey (removing the backbone so that the breasts cook flat and more quickly) or just need to do a little trimming, a pair of poultry shears makes the work so much easier. OXO Good Grips Poultry Shears feature soft, comfortable grips, a spring-loaded handle to prevent hand strain, and sharp stainless steel blades. When you’re ready to wash them, the blades separate so you can clean every nook and cranny. Don’t miss these 27 funny Thanksgiving help-line calls from Butterball.

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Meat Thermometervia

Meat thermometer


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On Thanksgiving, everyone who enters your kitchen seems to have an opinion on whether or not the turkey is done. Take the guesswork out of this important decision, with the Gourmia GTH9150 Dual Meat Thermometer—it reads the internal and surface temperatures of food within 2 percent accuracy. Its large LED digital display changes colors to indicate the level of doneness and a built-in magnet allows you to hang it on the fridge when not in use. Simply pierce your poultry for an accurate internal reading, or aim the handy laser for a remote wireless measurement.

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Cutting boardvia

Cutting board


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When you’re carving a serious bird, you need a serious board on which to cut. The double-sided Joseph Joseph Cut&Carve Bamboo Board has a central food grip for holding food while cutting, an angled cutting surface that will catch juice and crumbs, and easy-pour corners to make easy work of draining juices. A tough bamboo cutting surface, convenient side handles, and non-slip feet round out its features.

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Turkey Liftersvia

Turkey lifters


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Now that you’ve pulled the turkey out of the oven, how the heck do you transfer this piping hot, massive beast from the pan to the cutting board? With heavy-duty All-Clad Turkey Lifters, which are made of 18/10 stainless steel and polished to a mirror finish. You can also use one half of this pairing to help steady the turkey while you carve it.

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Non-stick potvia

Non-stick stockpot


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Maybe you’d like to make some good old-fashioned broth from the leftover turkey carcass? Or perhaps you’re planning to whip up Aunt Linda’s pumpkin soup recipe as a Thanksgiving Day appetizer. The Swiss Diamond nonstick stockpot was made for these big jobs. The tempered-glass lid has an adjustment steam vent, its patented nonstick surface coating is reinforced with real diamond particles to allow for oil-free cooking and enhanced heat conduction, and the heavy-duty cast aluminum will never warp.

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Recipe readervia

Recipe reader


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Between incoming text messages, phone calls, and that tiny screen, it can be downright impossible to follow a recipe on your smartphone. The JBL Link View is a Google-powered display and speaker hybrid that’s perfect for your kitchen counter; with simple voice commands, it displays recipes in a step-by-step mode so you’ll never need to put your messy hands on the screen. Plus, it’s splash-proof, so you don’t have to worry about spilling a few drops while cooking up a storm. And finally, it sports tremendous audio power, which means you can pump up the volume on your favorite tunes while cooking or set the mood with holiday music once it’s time to eat.

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Food Processorvia

Food processor


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No host wants to be stuck in the kitchen alone for many hours on Thanksgiving, missing out on their own party. Cut your prep time way down with the 14-cup Cuisinart food processor, which makes quick work of chopping celery and onion for dressing, whips up cranberry relish in a flash, and is the easiest way to crank out crust for pumpkin pies. While enjoying a glass of wine on the couch with your guests, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it. Find out the 50 kitchen mistakes it’s time to stop making.

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Instant potvia

Instant side dishes


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Food Network recipe developer Rick Martinez swears by one tool to help whip up Thanksgiving dinner more quickly: the almighty Instant Pot. Some of his favorite recipes include 20-minute mashed potatoes (place the potatoes in the pot, pour over salted water, and cook on high pressure for ten minutes before mashing up with your favorite seasonings and butter) and 5-minute green beans (add water, green beans and your preferred seasoning to the pot and cook on manual low pressure for five minutes).

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Pie dough cuttervia

Pie dough cutter


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If you’re serious about making Pinterest-worthy holiday pies, then you’ll want to make even strips of dough for lattice-topped pies. Your typical pizza cutter may leave you frustrated, and that’s exactly why the “bicycle” pie dough cutter was invented says Bill Yosses, executive pastry chef at the Four Seasons Restaurant and former White House executive pastry chef. This six-wheel pastry cutter is made of stainless steel and is also great for making breadsticks. In case you’re trying to decide what kind of pie to make, this is America’s No. 1 Thanksgiving pie—and it’s not pumpkin!

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wine openervia

Wine bottle opener


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When it comes time for your guests to toast your delicious meal, you’ll want to have full glasses of wine in everybody’s hands. Instead of struggling with an unreliable opener, choose the All-Clad stainless steel corkscrew wine opener, which has a patented outer handle that automatically adjusts to open bottles of various sizes. It twists and lifts with a simple turning and pulling motion and is dishwasher safe.

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Gravy separatorvia

Gravy separator


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Want to make the most delicious turkey gravy? One that doesn’t have unsightly beads of oil floating on top? Use this Amco Houseworks grease separator, which strains liquids while keeping the grease trapped inside. Simply pour the pan drippings through the top—its spring-loaded bottom opening allows for easy release of grease-free liquids. When you’re ready for cleanup, toss it in the top rack of your dishwasher.

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Roasting Rackvia

Roasting rack


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Using a disposable roasting rack for your turkey can be a disaster—its flimsy sides can fold in and hot juices can get all over your oven and potentially burn you. It’s best to use a sturdy option, like the All-Clad stainless steel roaster with rack, which roasts meats, poultry, and vegetables to perfection. The high sides reduce splattering and the handles make it easy to lift the pan in and out of the oven.

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Honing steelvia

Honing steel


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Because Thanksgiving is filled with slicing and cutting, it’s important to keep your knives as sharp as possible—especially when it comes down to slicing that beautiful turkey breast. Four Seasons Restaurant Executive Chef Diego Garcia says that he gives his knives a few passes with a honing steel all day long. What exactly is honing? It straightens the knife’s edge (unlike sharpening, which shaves off pieces of the blade to produce a fresh, sharp edge). “Not only are you able to make nicer cuts, but also having a sharp knife reduces the risk of getting cut,” he says. “If the knife is dull, it tends to slide off the surface of certain ingredients, taking a piece of your finger with it.” Try the Utopia Kitchen 12-inch steel rod for standard and serrated blades, which is made of carbon steel and plated with nickel-chrome.

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Knife sharpenervia

Knife sharpener


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Have you ever tried to cut your beautiful bird with a dull knife? You’ll end up mutilating it, which nobody at your dinner table will be thankful for. While professional chefs hone their knives all day long, they only sharpen them a few times a year. If you’re overdue for a serious sharpening but are intimidated by that meticulous process, then the Work Sharp E5 is the electric kitchen knife sharpener for you. It’s the only knife sharpener on the market that uses flexible abrasive belts—the same technology that Shun and Henckels use to craft their knives. It also has controlled speeds and timed sharpening cycles for quick and easy shaping and sharpening.

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Brining kitvia

Brining kit


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Ready for a flavorful and moist turkey that will leave your guests raving about your skills in the kitchen? Then it’s time to take Thanksgiving up a notch by brining your turkey. Fire & Flavor’s Turkey Perfect herb brine kit includes a large, double zipper, BPA-free bag for your convenience and you can choose from three flavors: Apple sage, herb, or Cajun.

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If your Thanksgiving spread isn’t complete without homemade breads and pie crusts, then you’ll definitely want to invite the magical shortcut of the Kenmore Elite Ovation Stand Mixer into your life. Its innovative no-mess design lets you directly add ingredients to the easy-grip 5-quart glass mixing bowl without stopping or splattering everywhere — and it seals all the way around to prevent flying flour messes. Even if you think you’re a mixing pro, it’s wise to read up on these 36 everyday items you’ve been using wrong this whole time—you’ll be surprised to learn what you’re doing wrong with your mixer.

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Turkey Bastervia

Turkey baster


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Your Thanksgiving guests are seated around the table, and you bring out the centerpiece: a freshly roasted turkey. You smile, knowing that turkey is going to be moist and scrumptious because you basted it with the Norpro Deluxe Stainless Steel Baster. This baster is strong and sturdy, something any chef will appreciate after fumbling with flimsy, plastic ones. It has great suction, and the black bulb is softer than plastic basters so it’s more pliable and easier to detach and remove for cleaning. Included is an injector needle to inject flavorful juices beneath the bird’s skin, and a cleaning brush.

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Gravy boat and standvia via

Gravy boat with candle


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When you’re passing the turkey gravy to your guests around the Thanksgiving table, the last thing you want is the gravy turning cold and congealing into a gelatinous mess. But that won’t happen with the Norpro Porcelain Gravy Sauce Boat with Stand and Candle. This gravy boat holds two full cups of gravy, kept perfectly warm over a candle without electric cords getting in the way of your lovely tablescape. Since the gravy boat can also keep sauces and clarified butter warm, you’ll want to use it all year long.

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Pie panvia

Pie pan


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When you think of Thanksgiving dessert, pie comes to mind. But what kind should you bake? Grandma loves pecan pie, but Uncle Tony wants pumpkin pie. Now there’s a great way to add pie variety with less work with the Chicago Metallic Split Decision Pie Pan. This pan includes two inserts so you can create either a traditional full-sized pie or two halves of different types. Made from aluminized steel, the pan has superior heat conduction and a non-stick coating for easy clean-up. Everyone will be smiling when you serve pecan and pumpkin pie. When you’re finally ready to sit down, these 20 funny Thanksgiving quotes will keep your table giggling.

Jill Schildhouse
As an editor-at-large for Reader's Digest, Jill Schildhouse regularly covers travel, wellness, food, beauty, consumer products and product reviews. She has more than 20 years of experience as an award-winning lifestyle writer and editor, and she frequently contributes to Travel + Leisure, Bride’s, Southern Living, Taste of Home and Insider. Jill has traveled to 36 countries and is always planning her next domestic or overseas adventure.