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The Ultimate Thanksgiving Kitchen Essentials Checklist

Nov 18, 2021

A man and a boy looking at what's inside an oven

During the holidays, no one deserves our thanks more than those who spend time in the kitchen making their loved ones’ favorite homemade Thanksgiving sides, desserts and other holiday dishes. If this is you… first of all, thank you! Secondly, do you have all of the appliances and essentials you need to make your grand masterpiece as successful and as simple as possible?

A Thanksgiving feast is always an undertaking when you’re making everything from scratch. Having the right kitchen appliances, tools and gadgets on hand can make all the difference when it comes to cooking a great Thanksgiving Day meal as efficiently as possible. So while you still have time, explore our handy checklist below, then stock up on these 10 must-have Turkey Day kitchen essentials to make this year’s cooking, baking and roasting a breeze.

#1. Roasting Pan

They call it Turkey Day for a reason — but whether you roast turkey, other meats, potatoes or vegetables, you’ll need a bona fide roasting pan for the best results. Using a disposable aluminum roasting pan sounds convenient, but it’s like anything else that’s disposable: It’s not that sturdy (especially for a heavy turkey) and you can’t reuse it. Instead, take that money and invest in a stainless-steel roasting pan that’s durable, won’t react with foods and can be reused for many Thanksgivings to come. Once you have it, you may be surprised by how many other “comfort food” meals you’ll also end up making with this popular kitchen staple.

#2: Large Carving Board

No meal prepper or cook gets things done in the kitchen without a cutting board. However, when it comes to holiday and large family meals, it’s time to take it up a notch. Here, we highly recommend a large, sturdy carving board to make Thanksgiving lunch/dinner prep simple. Bonus: It’s easy to find one that’s as beautiful as it is functional, so it can double nicely as a serving board or platter.

While cutting boards are usually smaller (since you’re usually only using it to cut fruit, vegetables and such), a wood carving board is generally better for handling and (as the name suggests) carving your larger meats. Grooved moats around its edges help collect juices from your meats, keeping them from dripping off the board so your kitchen countertop stays clean and sanitary.

#3: Food Processor

Planning on making things like soups, dips, casseroles and sauces? These and other special recipes that people whip up for their Thanksgiving feasts can be rather labor-intensive, so it’s nice to have an extra set of hands in the kitchen. We’ll do you one better with the perfect meal-prepping mate: the food processor — because what can’t it do? Using a food processor to chop, whisk, slice, grate, grind, blend and purée your ingredients is way more efficient than doing these things by hand.

#4: Dutch Oven

If you don’t already have this multipurpose miracle, you are missing out. A Dutch oven is an all-in-one pot that comes in many sizes but is mainly used to prepare large batches of mashed potatoes, soups, veggies, deep-fried meals and more. It’s ovenproof, so it’s perfect for recipes that start on the stovetop and finish in the oven. And, because of their thick cast-iron material, it retains heat for a long time — so you can count on the food inside staying warm, even if you leave it sitting out on the buffet.

Dutch ovens are also great aesthetic additions to your Thanksgiving meal presentation. They come in lots of fun and beautiful colors, so you should be able to find one that complements the rest of your holiday tablescape perfectly.

#5: Rimmed Baking Sheets

Regardless of holiday meals, a rimmed baking sheet for roasting meats and veggies — not to mention baking your favorite treats — is a kitchen must-have that you can never have too many of. So pick up a few sheets in various sizes before the holidays are here to make mealtime easier. Those made with aluminum and a nonstick coating are your best bet due to their durability, their ability to distribute heat and their ease of cleaning.

Now you may be asking, “Why does it need to be rimmed?” It really boils down to personal preference. That said, rims add to the baking sheet’s durability by helping to prevent warping. In addition, unlike standard cookie sheets, they keep juices from any meats and veggies you’re roasting from flowing over the edges.

#6:  Casserole Dishes

The word “casserole” is practically synonymous with Thanksgiving. After all, who doesn’t look forward to their favorite green bean casserole, mac ’n’ cheese casserole, potatoes au gratin — the list and deliciousness could go on — that are part of their holiday meal tradition? So of course, you’ll need plenty of casserole dishes on hand (we recommend at least two).

Whether glass or Pyrex®, casserole dishes are sturdy so they can take whatever you put into your famous fill-in-the-blank casserole recipe. They’re also perfect for oven-to-table presentations sure to wow your guests. Many even come with an enamel glaze that resists scratches and chips, which makes them a great long-term investment.

#7:  Pretty Pie Dishes

If someone doesn’t make a pumpkin pie, is it even Thanksgiving? OK, it doesn’t have to be pumpkin, but pies are indeed an essential of the Thanksgiving feast tradition. If you’re planning on making pies this season, make sure to snag a pie dish or two. Again, you could go the disposable aluminum tin route, but why wouldn’t you want to step it up a notch for your holiday guests? From basic glass to scalloped ceramic to colorful options, you’ll find one you’ll be proud to show off to your fellow pie lovers.

P.S. Consider pie stands or risers as well. If you plan on getting your pies from a store, transferring them to single stands, a tiered stand or risers can elevate your presentation. You might even trick a few people into thinking you made the pies yourself.

Thinking of Something a Little Bigger?

Sometimes your holiday needs are a little bigger than children’s toys and stocking stuffers. Sometimes you need to bring in more firepower—of the cooking variety. If you’re in need of new kitchen appliances to handle the influx of holiday visitors, but your budget simply doesn’t allow for any major purchases, Acima’s got your back. The items in this section can all be obtained using Acima’s lease-to-own option*  at thousands of retailers nationwide to get everything you need to get cooking in volume with style.

#8:  A Range/Oven

A made-from-scratch Thanksgiving feast just isn’t happening if you don’t have a range/oven that’s up to the task. Whether you enjoy electric or gas versions, smooth-top ranges or spider burners, finding one that suits your kitchen skills and decor preferences is the key to getting you … well, fired up about cooking your holiday favorites.

If you find yourself needing a new range (or any other kitchen appliance) now, a lease-to-own option* from Acima can help you with affordable monthly lease renewal payments that won’t eat into your holiday shopping budget. Check out our many retailers that you can shop today.

#9:  An Extra Refrigerator or Freezer

No, really. During holidays like Thanksgiving, you know you’ll be getting lots of extra groceries — and sometimes, one fridge or freezer just isn’t enough to store it all. Not to mention, you’re probably going to have lots of leftovers after your Thanksgiving meal (arguably the best part about Thanksgiving) that you’ll need to find more space for. An extra refrigerator or freezer that lives in your garage can be a great way to reduce trips to the grocery store and give you that extra storage space. Plus, there are so many styles and sizes to choose from so you can be sure you’re getting the right one for you.

#10:  A Dishwasher

When a day of prepping, cooking and enjoying the big meal is over, it’s so much fun to wash and dry all of the dinnerware and cookware you used … said no one ever. That’s why the dishwasher is the hero of the kitchen, because it goes a long way in minimizing cleanup time. Of course, there may be special china or glassware you use during the holidays that will need to be hand washed, but otherwise you can just load up the dishwasher with everything else and go.

There are many models and sizes to choose from, from your standard workhorse to the ones with all the bells and whistles. Many options even sit right on your counter — no installation required. So if all this has piqued your interest, here’s a guide to help you shop dishwashers.

Shop & Feast Now, Pay Later with Acima

No matter what you need or are now inspired to stock up on, leasing with Acima makes getting this year’s Thanksgiving major appliances simple and affordable. But don’t wait until the last minute — get a head start on your Turkey Day plans by shopping at thousands of retailers nationwide and with your favorite online retailers, today.


1.      “What is a Dutch Oven?” – The Spruce Eats, September 19, 2020

2.      “The Best Sheet Pans of 2020 Tested and Reviewed” – Epicurious, August 17, 2020