Make the Most of Your Thanksgiving Leftovers

With the best cookware in hand, these meals might be just as delicious as your Thanksgiving feast.

I love sitting down to a big Thanksgiving meal—but I might like the leftovers the next day even more. On Friday, I’ll simply reheat everything. But this year I anticipate having more leftovers than usual and I want to make the most of them. I can’t wait to try our Leftover Mashed Potato Tots and Spicy Turkey Nachos. And I can’t forget my personal favorite sandwich (inspired by the Millburn Deli’s “gobbler” sandwich) which features turkey, cranberry, stuffing, mayo, and black pepper on rye. In this week’s buying guide, I’ve gathered all the equipment that you need to make post-Thanksgiving meals (and many more).

—Carolyn Grillo, Associate Editor, ATK Reviews

Our longtime favorite skillet still beats all newcomers, with a clean design that includes no unnecessary frills. We appreciate the wide cooking surface and low, flaring sides that encourage excellent browning and evaporation; a steel handle that stays cool on the stovetop and won't rotate in your hand; and an overall weight and balance that hit the sweet spot between sturdiness and maneuverable lightness. It resisted warping and withstood thermal shock and outright abuse with nary a scratch or dent. Its three layers of cladding, with aluminum sandwiched by steel, make for deep, uniform browning.

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Although the grid pattern on this rack is slightly larger than on the other two models, it’s reinforced with an extra support bar that runs perpendicular to the three main bars. It had a touch more wiggle room in the baking sheets, but it kept pace with the other racks during recipe and durability testing.

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Our previous winner once again aced all our tests, producing evenly baked cookies, golden brown pizza and tuna melts, tender-crisp asparagus spears, and a bronzed, crisp-skinned chicken. Its settings are intuitive and easy to use, and it's programmable, so you can set it to remember your preferences; no fiddling with the dials. Markers on the glass door helpfully instruct you to where to place the rack for each setting, and the interior of the oven that has a nonstick coating for easy cleanup. Though it took longer than other products to toast (about 5 minutes for medium toast) it was capable of making big batches of perfectly golden slices that were evenly browned from edge-to-edge.

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With an ergonomic Santoprene rubber handle and a balanced, lightweight feel, this whisk was like an extension of a hand. It whipped cream and egg whites quickly, thanks to 10 wires that were thin enough to move through the liquid quickly but thick enough to push through heavy mixtures and blend pan sauces to smoothness.

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Our new favorite passed every test and looked good doing it. Its clear, lightweight Tritan plastic material stayed as clear and stain-free as glass, and its audibly snug seal didn't leak, even when we turned the container upside down and shook it hard. It held a generous amount of chili, and its low profile helped foods chill or heat up more evenly than did deeper containers. Microwaving chili was easy and neat, with lid vents that let you leave the container fully sealed while keeping splatters contained and extended rims that stayed cool for easy handling. Its flat top made for secure, compact stacking in the fridge or freezer. One quibble: While we like that the gasket is attached so we don't have to fuss with removing it, you do need to clean carefully under its open side, as some testers detected very slight fishy odors. It's also sold in sets, in varying sizes.

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With a plastic lid that latched easily and securely and an airtight, leakproof seal that didn't drip or let moisture in, this container is our top choice for glass storage. Its ⅜-inch-wide, soft, square silicone gasket was easy to remove and replace for cleaning, and the faintly fishy odors it retained disappeared after rewashing. The plastic lid showed a slight orange tint after the chili test, but this faded as the container went through more dishwashing cycles. It also resisted warping and emerged intact at the end of testing. The 8-cup container, which looked like a glass loaf pan, held plenty of food, though we'd prefer a slightly flatter, wider shape to help foods heat and chill a bit more uniformly.

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This perfect, pricey pot bested the competition again. It was substantial enough to hold and distribute heat evenly without being unbearably heavy. The light-colored interior combined with low, straight sides gave us good visibility and made it easy to monitor browning and thermometer position. The broad cooking surface saved us time since we could cook more food at once. The lid was smooth and easy to clean. This pot is expensive, but it was exceptionally resistant to damage.

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With a basket made from a single smooth spiral of thick wire, this beautiful, long-handled, well-balanced spider was easy to maneuver and clean and capable of handling fragile ravioli with care. But that elegance came at a price—the highest in our lineup. And while some cooks thought its lower profile allowed them to get up under food more easily, the shallow basket simply couldn’t hold fried chicken as securely or pick up as many fries or ravioli in a single pass.

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This easy-to-store, flat grater made shredding a breeze, thanks to big, sharp holes; a large surface for better efficiency; and a solid, rigid frame that enabled continuous grating (rather than short bursts). It fit over medium and large bowls, or test­ers could hold the grater at any suitable angle; grippy rubber feet stuck securely to the work surface. Since most recipes call for coarse shreds—and we have a rasp-style grater for fine grating—we don’t mind that it grates only in one size.

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This box grater had a large, long grating surface studded with stamped holes. Its teeth were just a hair less keen than those of our favorite paddle grater; nevertheless, it grated hard vegetables and soft cheese quickly and efficiently. Testers liked how stably this grater sat on the cutting board, thanks in part to the grippy plastic bumper around its base. And it had a large plastic handle that was comfortable to hold in different positions.  More on this test

Our longtime winner excelled, with uniform, steady heating and good visibility inside the saucepan to monitor browning. Its cup-shaped stay-cool handle was easy to grip, and a helper handle provided another grabbing point when the pan was full. Even after brutal whacking on concrete, this model emerged with only tiny dents inside and one slight dent on the bottom, and it still sat flat on the counter.

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With a roomy, medium-depth basket of very fine, tight, stiff mesh, this strainer removed lots of bran from whole-wheat flour and produced silky purees. A long, wide hook allowed it to sit securely on a variety of cookware, and while its rounded steel handle was a bit less comfortable than some, it was still easy to hold. This strainer’s sturdy construction makes it worth its high price: It looked as good as new even after serious abuse.

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