cooking tools

Kitchen Tools and Gadgets: Holiday Cooking Essentials

People lead busy lives, and getting a majority of one's family and friends together can be a serious and time-consuming undertaking. That's what makes holidays and other important occasions so special. Most often, it's the holiday season when people can gather and celebrate with family and friends. It's an important way to reconnect, and cooking is a major part of it. When planning a feast for loved ones, having the right gadgets and tools for cooking and baking makes it easier and yields the best results.

Roasting Pan With Rack

A roasting pan with a rack is essential for holiday cooking. This type of pan is often stainless steel or aluminum, although some roasting pans are nonstick ceramic or copper. On each end, roasters will have handles for lifting heavy foods from the oven or delivering them to the table. Roasting pans with removable racks are better, as the racks keep cooking meat from sitting in its juices and let air circulate, which allows for crisping and even cooking. While there are many occasions to use a roasting pan, people most often use them for cooking a turkey on Thanksgiving or Christmas and for roasting a ham or beef roast for Christmas or Easter. Other foods commonly cooked in a roasting pan with a rack are chicken and rib roasts.

Baking Sheet

Baking sheets, also known as cookie sheets, are a must-have in every kitchen. Depending on the type of baking sheet, they can serve multiple purposes. Cookie sheets are either rimmed or rimless. A rimless cookie sheet is best for baking cookies. Rimmed cookie sheets are also used to bake cookies but also can be used for bacon or sheet-pan dinners. People may also use them to prevent juices from dripping onto the oven floor from foods on a higher rack.

Christmas is one of the best, and arguably most popular, occasions to use a baking sheet. During this time, people traditionally bake a wide variety of Christmas cookies. Keep in mind that cookies typically bake slower on a sheet with a rim than on a rimless sheet.

Instant-Read Thermometer

Instant-read thermometers are probes that quickly measure the temperature of food to ensure that it is done and safe to eat. While an instant-read thermometer can measure the temperature of cooked foods like casseroles, it is most often used to measure the internal temperature of meat and poultry. This style of thermometer may be digital or analog and typically takes 20 seconds to give a reading. To use one, stick the probe end into the center of the meat, away from the bone and the cooking dish/pan. The dial or reading will stop rising at the current temperature of the food. People should not keep this type of thermometer in the meat while it is cooking.

The best occasion for using an instant-read thermometer is during Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter, as these are holidays when people often cook foods that are thick and require an internal temperature reading, such as turkey or ham.

Stand Mixer

Stand mixers are an efficient and effective tool for of mixing ingredients faster and more thoroughly than using one's hands. Most come with flat beaters, but it isn't uncommon for them to come with a dough hook and whisk attachment as well. People use mixers when making cakes and other desserts, such as cookies. People also use them for mixing ground meat for recipes, such as meatballs. A stand mixer with a dough hook is useful for making cinnamon or dinner rolls, and the whisk attachment helps with beating eggs or meringue.

Because of the amount of baking that goes into Christmas, people need to use stand mixers more than ever during this season, although people also do a significant amount of baking for Thanksgiving as well.

Rolling Pin

Rolling pins are long, cylindrical tools that are used to roll out dough for cookies, pies, and pastries. Most people think of rolling pins as wooden rods with handles on each end, but they may also be marble, silicone, nylon, or metal. Some rolling pins, like French rolling pins and dowels, do not have handles.

Thanksgiving and Christmas are two holidays when people make pies, such as pumpkin, pecan, and apple pies, the most. This makes these holidays prime time for using rolling pins.

Cookie Scoop

A cookie scoop is a tool that bakers use to portion out cookie dough prior to baking. They are available in different sizes, and people use them to ensure that their cookies cook evenly and are uniform in appearance. Depending on the scoop size, people may also use them for shaping meatballs, scooping muffin batter or cupcake batter, or making truffles. The best time for using a cookie scoop is when making large batches of cookies at Christmas or Easter.

Cookie Cutter

Cookie cutters are used to transform raw cookie dough into various shapes. They are made of plastic or metal and have sharp edges that help cut out the shape. To make shaped cookies, simply press the cutter firmly into rolled-out dough. Christmas is often the most common time to use cookie cutters for making Christmas-themed cookies. Cookie cutters are also fun to use cut out shapes from cooked foods like pancakes.

Silicone Baking Mat

A silicone baking mat is a reusable nonstick surface for use on cookie or baking sheets. The mat is placed on top of a cookie sheet before adding food and putting it in the oven. People can use them how they would use parchment paper. A baking mat can prevent roasting vegetables from sticking to a baking sheet, or one can use it as a surface to roll out a pie crust. One of the best uses of a silicone baking mat is at Christmas to help prevent Christmas cookies from sticking to the pan. It's also a good tool to use when making sticky candies like toffee.

Roaster Oven

An electric roaster is a portable device that sits on a counter and can roast food like an oven. It is similar in appearance to a roasting pan but heavier. To use it, adjust the temperature of the roaster to heat its interior, place food such as a turkey, roast, or ham inside, and cover it with the lid while it cooks. Some electric roasters may have removable racks, timers, and warming features. They are an ideal tool for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any holiday that requires a large amount of cooking, as they can free up the oven for other foods.

Pastry Brush

A pastry brush is a brush that serves multiple purposes in a kitchen. Boar bristles often make the best pastry brushes, but brushes with silicone bristles are also an option. The basic use of a pastry brush is to apply something that is wet, such as butter or glaze, onto the surface of a food. An example of when to use a pastry brush is when applying egg wash on a pie crust or butter on the tops of biscuits. When baking pies or making pastries at Christmas or Thanksgiving, a pastry brush comes in handy.


Dull knives not only make cooking more difficult, but they are also a dangerous element in the kitchen that can cause injury. A whetstone is a natural or synthetic stone tool used to sharpen knives. To use the stone, one slides both sides of the blade multiple times down both sides of the stone. The ideal time to sharpen one's knives using a whetstone, particularly a carving knife, is at Thanksgiving before carving the turkey.

Copyright © 2021