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Items Needed for Cooking Thanksgiving Dinner

Updated on November 10, 2014
Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannie has been writing for HubPages for over 7 years. She covers a wide variety of topics—anything from hamsters to office work.

Cooking the Thanksgiving Meal

When it comes to Thanksgiving, most of us picture plenty of food. There is usually turkey, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, veggies, rolls, cranberry sauce, stuffing, and of course... pumpkin pie. Some families also have items like ham, green bean casserole, duck, sweet potato pie, and other traditional items. Depending on the family's tradition, many different types of foods are expected at the Thanksgiving dinner. If you are making Thanksgiving dinner for the first time on your own, the task can be very daunting. A list of items needed to cook the Thanksgiving dinner can be quite helpful!

The first thing you should do is determine how many people will be dining with you on Thanksgiving. After making that determination, I strongly suggest trying to convince some of your guests to bring some of the important food items on the list. If this is your first Thanksgiving meal you are preparing, it will help take some of the pressure off of you. Furthermore, find out in advance what your guests are bringing. There is no need for everyone to show up with pumpkin pies.

Another helpful hint is to decide in advance what you are making from scratch vs. what you are buying at the store. Until recently, it never even occurred to me that anyone made cranberry sauce from scratch. In my family, someone always brought a few cans of cranberry sauce, used the can opener, and then plopped the cranberry sauce down on a plate. Done! So depending on who your are entertaining and how ambitious you are feeling, you might just decide to go a little easy on yourself and purchase some already prepared items.

The Turkey's Requirements

When cooking a turkey in the oven, always have a turkey roaster. Last year I tried to save some cash and cooked a turkey in a dutch oven. Friends, do not make the same mistake I did. I am not a good cook by any stretch of the imagination. I often take shortcuts that just do not work out. Do yourself a favor. Either buy a nice roaster or borrow one. Dutch ovens were not meant to cook a turkey in an oven.

Some folks will tell you to get a thermometer for the turkey. Personally, I think it is not needed. You can just use the "stab it with a knife until the blood stops running out" method and then it's ready. However, if food poisoning is something you'd prefer to avoid this Thanksgiving, you might want to get a thermometer for your turkey so you know the exact time to take it out of the oven.

A couple of other items you are going to need for the turkey is a turkey baster for adding butter, turkey lifters for removing the turkey, and a decent carving knife. You can perhaps get by without the turker baster or even the turkey lifters (although disaster can happen when you decide to "improvise" without those as well - I will spare you the details), but a knife is really important. If possible, get a nice platter for the turkey, too.

Slow Cookers and Crock Pots

Since you are going to be cooking so many items on the stove and in the oven, you may want to use a crock pot to warm up veggies or even gravy. Depending on the speed of your crock pot, this might make the most sense. You can start that early on and totally neglect it while you use the stove and the oven for the more complex items on the menu.

You may even want to invest in a triple slow cooker. You can actually heat up to 3 different types of food at the same time. This is, once again, a good idea if you have limited space on your stove top or if not all of the burners work. Furthermore, instead of crowding the kitchen with a number of people working on different tasks, put the slow cooker in a different area and put someone to work watching that food. Even if it is a basic task, that is all some people are able to do. For instance, pesky children that want to help - let them watch the slow cooker! You can pretend it is an important job.

Pots and Pans

For this Thanksgiving dinner, you may want to take a look at your pots and pans. Do they look like they are up for the challenge of cooking a major meal this holiday season? Furthermore, are they up for the challenge of potentially cooking a number of major meals this holiday season? Let's not forget, we've got Christmas and New Year's Day coming soon. If the answer to either of those questions is "no," then the time has come to go out and buy some new pots and pans.

Often, it is better to just buy a nice set. You can often save money that way rather than buying just a couple of pans as replacements. So decide before going out shopping what you need and determine a budget. Once you get in the stores, there will be many shapes, sizes, and colors (oh, look at the new pretty red set!) to entice you, but don't get thrown off. Stick to what you know you can afford.

Cooking Utensils

You are going to need a lot of cooking utensils to cook this Thanksgiving meal. I repeat - A LOT of cooking utensils. Don't think just because you've got some people bringing some dishes over that you are going to be all set. Do you think anyone is going to think to bring cooking utensils? No, not a single soul is going to think to bring a spatula, a ladle, or measuring spoons. You are totally on your own on this one.

In this case, seriously, just buy a set. Even if you already have one spatula or one ladle, you will need a lot more for this meal. Yes, Thanksgiving is getting pretty expensive, isn't it? Trust me, you are going to need utensils for this meal you never imagined. When you buy the set, you will think, "What could I possibly ever do with this?" Well, my friend, you are about to find out. Save yourself a lot of time and a lot of heartache, and buy a cooking utensil set. You can thank me later.

If you've made it this far, you are either truly desperate or really bored. Either way, good luck with your Thanksgiving dinner. It will be a challenge, but when it is all over, you will feel much better about yourself. Happy Thanksgiving!


Submit a Comment

  • Jeannieinabottle profile image

    Jeannie InABottle 6 years ago from Baltimore, MD

    I've never used roasting bags before, before maybe I should give it a try. I know I should not still stuff the turkey, yet I do. It just seems to taste better that way. I guess I am living life on the edge! Thanks for dropping by!

  • AngeLife profile image

    AngeLife 6 years ago from Almost Heaven

    Very good Hub!

    Roasting bags rock! I've used them for decades (at least 25 years), and always get a moist result without basting, no matter what kind/brand turkey I cook, and clean up is easier. I haven't stuffed a turkey since the 80s, when I first heard that roasting a stuffed bird can foster bacterial growth. I bake the stuffing/dressing separately. Cooking side dishes a few days in advance for re-heating is my favorite trick. I try to make 1 or 2 a night.

  • Jeannieinabottle profile image

    Jeannie InABottle 6 years ago from Baltimore, MD

    Hahaha... I guess the turkey baster is being used for a whole new reason now. Thanks for sharing and for reading!

  • Stephanie Henkel profile image

    Stephanie Henkel 6 years ago from USA

    I was amazed at what cooking this one meal could cost, but hey, you'll be all set with those pots, pans and utensils for the next decade! Funny, I haven't had a turkey baster for about 20 years now, ever since hubby needed it for something out in the garage...

  • Jeannieinabottle profile image

    Jeannie InABottle 6 years ago from Baltimore, MD

    Oh, dear. I probably do not want to know any details on the turkey baster, do I? Thanks for reading and for the comment though. Good luck with that.

  • ThoughtSandwiches profile image

    ThoughtSandwiches 6 years ago from Reno, Nevada


    I am embarrassed to admit that the only utensil I have that would help me prepare for a Thanksgiving meal is a turkey baster. Now...I have no intention of going into the details of why this is my only turkey-day utensil...we shall just suffice to say...

    I may have to come to your house for dinner. Oh...should it be required...I have a turkey baster...


  • Jeannieinabottle profile image

    Jeannie InABottle 6 years ago from Baltimore, MD

    Thanks! I am glad you liked it. Honestly, whenever I cook chicken or turkey, that is my method to test to see if it is done. Once I stab it and don't see blood, time to eat! I can't believe Thanksgiving is almost here! It is coming way too soon this year. Time to start Christmas shopping too... bah!

  • Cogerson profile image

    Cogerson 6 years ago from Virginia

    Great hub with some of your awesome humor hidden in the hub...I love the line about stabbing it with a knife until the blood comes out....nice photos in the hub...and the really scary thing is Thanksgiving is less than three weeks away. How in the world did it get here so fast?

  • Jeannieinabottle profile image

    Jeannie InABottle 6 years ago from Baltimore, MD

    Yes, food poisoning is something I try to avoid whenever possible. Of course, that is the Thanksgiving gift that keeps on giving.

  • pinktulipfairie profile image

    pinktulipfairie 6 years ago from Torrey Pines Beach

    I'm laughing again.Too funny. No food poisoning for me.