You'll wonder how you lived without it. 

By Grace Elkus
Updated November 21, 2017
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Anpro Potato Ricer

Even with a meal as big as Thanksgiving dinner, there are very few “gadgets” you need to pull it off. Pretty much everything can be made with basic kitchen equipment—pots and pans, measuring cups and spoons, rimmed baking sheets, a sharp chef’s knife, etc. But there’s one tool you might not own that I think will seriously improve your meal: a potato ricer.

I am a firm believer that the best way to make the creamiest, fluffiest, silkiest mashed potatoes is with a ricer. Why? The consistency of mashed potatoes is determined by how much starch is released. A ricer leaves the potato’s starch granules intact, allowing the milk (or, if you're feeling decadent, heavy cream) and butter to coat each one. But the forceful blade of a food processor or blender will burst the molecules and release way too much starch into your mixture, leaving you with a dense, gluey paste as the starch mixes with the milk. A potato masher or pastry cutter, while better than a machine, will inevitably leave behind a few chunks. Plus, it's good for more than just mashed potatoes: use a ricer to make homemade gnocchi, or spaetzle.

If I've convinced you, go ahead and order this $12 ricer from Amazon Prime. It will arrive in time for Thanksgiving, and you'll have it for years to come. Regardless what your recipe calls for, you can use a ricer and then proceed with the instructions. Just be sure to pass your potatoes through the ricer as soon as you've drained them, while they're still warm. If the potatoes are given time to cool, it can also result in a gummy final product.

RELATED: How to Make Gnocchi

And okay, while these aren’t totally necessary, you’ll be happy if you have these 6 other kitchen items on hand for the big day.