Cooking a delicious Thanksgiving dinner is no small task; roasting a juicy and flavorful turkey, making enough space in your oven to cook everyone’s favorite side dish, and rolling out seemingly endless amounts of scratch-made pie dough can leave even the best of cooks wishing for an extra set of hands. Luckily, there are a number of clever kitchen gadgets that can make it easier to get the big meal on the table.
We decided to ask the pros which tools they rely on during the holidays. Some of the most talented chefs in the country weighed in, and you may be surprised to find you already have (and know how to use) some of their go-to gadgets.
Rick Bayless’ go-to kitchen gadget during the holidays is his rice cooker.
“These are the months when I do the most entertaining and my rice cooker churns out big batches of perfect Mexican red rice with almost no work on my part. Plus, I can keep the rice warm in it for at least an hour or two.”
Ways to use your rice cooker this holiday season: Dessert! Chef Bayless makes chocolate pudding in his rice cooker and we make chocolate cake!
Michelle Bernstein’s go-to gadget during the holiday’s is her microplane.
“It’s perfect for the grating hard cheese, truffles, nutmeg, citrus zest, horseradish, and just about anything else.”
Ways to use your microplane this holiday season: Chef Bernstein tops fresh noodles with freshly grated lemon zest and Pecorino cheese. Then, she adds a drizzle of olive oil a sprinkle of bread crumbs.
Tom Douglas’ go-to kitchen gadget during the holidays is his hand-held immersion blender.
“It makes big portions of everything right in the pot.”
Ways to use your immersion blender this holiday season: Chef Douglas uses his to blend gravy and make whipped cream.
Todd English’s go-to kitchen gadget during the holidays is his mandoline.
“Working with the mandoline can really make a dish special. During the holidays I love to work with seasonal ingredients and I use the mandoline to make a shaved Brussels sprout and chestnut salad.”
Ways to use your mandoline this holiday season: We think homemade potato chips are perfect for pre-dinner snacking; thinly slice potatoes, fry them, and then sprinkle them with salt and chopped rosemary.
Marc Forgione’s go-to gadget during the holidays is his food processor.
“You can use it to make a variety of dishes and it does everything from chop vegetables to make smooth purée.”
Ways to use your food processor this holiday season: Chef Forgione suggests his maple-whipped sweet potatoes; you can find the recipe in the Macy’s Culinary Council Thanksgiving & Holiday Cookbook.
Johnny Iuzzini has two go-to gadgets during the holidays: his KitchenAid stand mixer (with a myriad of attachments) and his digital scale.
“The mixer is a work horse; whether I am making mixing cookie dough or rolling pasta, it gets the job done quickly and efficiently. The scale makes sure all my ingredients are measured accurately and it actually cuts down on the amount of time I spend measuring ingredients because I’m not washing out measuring cups and spoons.”
Ways to use your stand mixer and scale this holiday season: If you’re looking for something special to add to your dessert table or cocktail party, try Johnny’s Coffee Cardamom Éclairs.
Wolfgang Puck’s go to gadget during the holidays is an immersion blender.
“I use it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner — from my morning protein shakes or smoothies for the children, to cocktails like margaritas in the evening. I use an immersion blender for so many things.”
Ways to use your immersion blender this holiday season: Chef Puck suggests using it to purée pumpkin soup.
Marcus Samuelsson’s go-to item during the holidays is his Dutch oven.
“I'm a huge fan of making soups and stews with leftovers. The Dutch oven isn't really a gadget — it is a necessity.”
Ways to use your Dutch oven this holiday season: Try using your leftover turkey to make chili: chef Samuelsson’s new book, Marcus Off Duty: The Recipes I Cook at Home, has a great recipe.
Takashi Yagihashi’s go-to gadget during the holidays is his Japanese mandoline.
“It’s lighter than a French mandoline but still slices vegetables quickly and thinly.”
Ways to use your mandoline this holiday season: Chef Yagihashi recommends using your mandoline to make scalloped sweet potatoes for the holidays.
Kristie Collado is The Daily Meal’s Cook Editor. Follow her on Twitter @KColladoCook.