thanksgiving hosting guide

Can you believe Thanksgiving is only 16 days away?! With it being so late in November I wasn’t expecting it to sneak up so quickly. Thankfully, there is still some time to plan the perfect menu and get your kitchen ready for the big meal. I’ll be popping in with recipes for a side dish, and more pie, but before then, let’s talk hosting prep and everything you need to host Thanksgiving! While I haven’t hosted Thanksgiving at my own home, I have helped make the meal for many years now, so I know about a lot of the cooking, baking, and serving supplies needed. It can feel a little overwhelming if you don’t know where to start, so hopefully this Thanksgiving hosting guide helps break it down.

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Kitchenaid stand mixer – While it is an investment kitchen item, a Kitchenaid mixer is well worth it for a cook or baker. We make everything from Thanksgiving cakes and pies to mashed potatoes in ours and it always does the trick. Bonus, there is a color for every kitchen and desire.

Herb basting brush – Things I never thought I would say: How cool is this baster?! You can use the silicone brush attachment as a normal baster, or you can remove it and add herbs to turn it into an herb baster and directly baste your turkey with the herbs. Mind blown.

Meat/kitchen thermometer – Once again, not the most exciting part of hosting Thanksgiving, but to get the perfectly roasted bird without drying it out you’ll need an accurate meat thermometer. This one has a cord long enough to go from inside the oven to your counter, so you can leave the oven door closed while monitoring the internal turkey temperature.

Turkey roasting pan – This item may not be as fun as the others, but it is also a bit more necessary if you have a big bird to roast. If you are planning on having a smaller bird or cooking your turkey in pieces instead of as a whole bird, you can use a cookie sheet with a wire cooling rack placed in it, or this cookie sheet with a roasting insert.

Metal pie dish – I know, I know, the beautifully ruffled pie dishes make your Thanksgiving dessert spread look gorgeous, but pies, and pie crusts in particular, actually cook much better and more evenly in a metal pie pan. The metal conducts heat faster than thick ceramic so your painstakingly crimped crust is more likely to cook and less likely to sink into your pie. Great for any baker, but especially if you aren’t quite confident in your pie-making skills. Goldtouch pans are always my favorite since they are actually nonstick.

Ceramic pie dish – Given what I just said about metal pie plates, I am still a sucker for the beautiful look of ceramic pie dishes and will forever love my ruffled edge ones. One tip for baking pies in ceramic dishes with large ruffles, multiply the pie crust recipe by 1.5 so you have more dough, and let the crimps sit higher up, on the top edge of the dish, so they are less likely to sink. Pretty ceramic pie dishes are also a great hostess gift. If you aren’t hosting, bake your pie in a ceramic pie dish and leave it for the host at the end of the night, or wrap an empty dish in a cute dish towel and include your favorite pie recipe.

Staub cast iron or stoneware pumpkin – As much of a pumpkin fanatic as I am, it’s no surprise that I have loved this Staub pumpkin for years. The cast iron version is gorgeous, but expensive, so I was excited to see that they make a smaller stoneware version as a more budget-friendly option. You can’t cook in it like you would the cast iron, but it makes a great statement serving piece all season long.

Serving dishes and casserole dishes – As a two person household, we don’t have too many occasions to bring out our large serving dishes, but you need some on hand for entertaining. Since Thanksgiving is often a holiday where lots of family and friends gather around the table at once, you may need to assess what serving dishes you already have, and maybe stock up on a few more for the big day. These two from Amazon are at a great price point and can arrive on your doorstep just in time if you forget to inventory your kitchen until the week of the holiday.

Turkey serving bowl – How fun is this turkey serving bowl? It makes such a great statement for the holiday and I was shocked at how reasonably priced it is. Imagine this bowl on your table piled high with mashed potatoes or stuffing. *Adds to cart*

Turkey platter – A Thanksgiving turkey is likely one of the larger dishes you will serve while entertaining and it needs a platter large enough to hold all the meat. This is a classic platter that will go with any table setting and any season so it will continue to be useful far past Thanksgiving.

Candle centerpiece – We can’t forget a centerpiece. Candles are a great way to add ambiance and height to table. Keep it low with this one pictured and surround it with greens, add hurricane globes, or use multiple taper candles and candlesticks in varying heights. You can’t go wrong.

Cocktail napkins and table accents – While not totally necessary, how cute are these “beg your pardon” turkey cocktail napkins and pretty thankful cards? It would be fun to serve pre-dinner cocktails with the napkins and put one thankful card at each place setting for people to fill out throughout the meal. If you are looking for a larger quantity of cocktail napkins, this roll (yes, roll) of cocktail napkins is a great option.

Linen napkins – Thanksgiving is the perfect occasion for cloth napkins. These linen napkins are classic and sophisticated, but not too fussy. These come in multiple colors to match your color scheme, but I think the beige would go well with almost everything and still leave room for the dishes, centerpiece, and food to shine.

Table runner and/or tablecloth – I love this table runner as an option for Thanksgiving. It isn’t specifically Thanksgiving themed, so it would be great to extend into the rest of fall in future years. Tablecloth sizes vary by table, but often a runner makes a fun statement on it’s own or on top of a solid tablecloth.

This guide assumes you have plates, cups, and flatware, but if you need to stock up on a whole set, Crate & Barrel has great classic options often at good prices. Happy hosting!

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