The Best Baking Contests, Ranked


Baking competition shows are exciting and inspiring programs that attract audiences around the world, with tasty treats that dazzle the masses. In recent years, the TV genre has seen a resurgence in popularity and seen something of a renaissance, with networks and streaming platforms jumping at the chance to get in on the cooking action. As a viewer, there’s something deeply satisfying about watching aspiring chefs from all walks of life create unique and delicious desserts, with the talented contestants tackling a wide array of cupcakes, confections and cakes with flair.

Fans of these reality shows certainly have no shortage of baking content, as there is a plethora of programs available, whatever your mood. Netflix is ​​home to a slew of beloved and fan-favorite baking shows, such as the Hobby Baker series. Nailed it!, the marvelous fantasy Zumbo’s Just Desserts and of course the wholesome and soothing tv showThe great British Bake Off. Whether you want to see attendees create stunning cakes, state-of-the-art confections, or delicious cupcakes, there is sure to be a cooking program perfect for you. Here are some of the best baking contests.


9 Halloween Baking Championship

2015 Food Network Cooking Contest Halloween Baking Championship is a seasonal spectacle in which a group of talented bakers create deliciously spooky and spooky desserts that are judged by a panel of exceptional chefs led by Carla Hall. The program is a spin-off of Holiday Baking Championship and contestants participate in two rounds, one in which they must make a small pastry and the other a larger dessert that matches the chosen theme or special baking ingredient; the winner receives $25,000 and a spot in Food Network magazine. The Halloween Baking Championship is a seasonal favorite among audiences who love to watch bakers bake spooky, ghoulish treats that wow the judges, and remains one of the most delicious (and least spooky) TV shows around Halloween.

8 Cake Wars

In the Food Network reality competition series Cake Wars, four budding bakers from across the country compete in two fun and thrilling rounds, baking delicious desserts centered around specific themes like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Nintendo and Alice in Wonderland. Hosted by mean girls star Jonathan Bennett, the program has two permanent judges, with a third being a celebrity guest, with pastry chef and bakery owner Ron Ben-Israel serving as a permanent presence throughout the five seasons.

Related: Netflix Is Preparing Iron Chef Reboot Series

The winner of the contest receives a $10,000 prize and can also have their cakes front and center at parties for pop culture media, such as DC Comics, sesame street and Archie Comics. The show remains a great watch that will satisfy any sweet tooth.

seven crime scene kitchen

Comedian and actor Joel McHale hosts 2021 Fox reality series crime scene kitchen, in which contestants are tasked with determining the dessert that has been created in a kitchen using only a few clues of ingredients left behind. The bakers are then challenged to recreate the treat they believe to be from scratch, presenting their desserts to chef judges Yolanda Gampp and Curtis Stone and finding out if their guesses were correct.

The program is an entertaining and fresh take on the traditional baking show, as viewers are left hanging as to what the actual dessert is, just like the contestants. Fox reality chief Rob Wade loved the show, describing it as “unlike any cooking show. It’s a truly original format with incredible baking creations, a brilliant guessing game for the whole family, and Joel at the center of it all bringing hilarity at every turn.

6 Holiday Baking Championship

The Food Network’s annual cooking competition series Holiday Baking Championshipp features budding bakers, chocolatiers and chefs as they create festive and delicious desserts perfect for the holiday season, with contestants preparing treats for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Like its sister shows, the contest involves the task of baking small holiday pastries and a larger confection, both of which should follow the theme of the episode, such as New Year’s Eve or Hanukkah. The Joy and Wellness program also includes ideas and opinions from revered chefs like Carla Hall, Duff Goldman and Lorraine Pascale, with the winner walking away with a $25,000 prize which they use to achieve their goals and dreams. It’s a great addition to any holiday-themed program.

5 cupcake wars

The long-running Food Network reality contest series cupcake wars showcases the talents of participating chefs as they bake innovative and unique cupcakes that incorporate unusual ingredients for a given theme. Competitors are presented with three different rounds that focus on different elements, with the first round focusing on taste, the second taste and presentation, and the final challenging bakers to bake 1,000 cupcakes in just two hours.

The program includes the opinions and commentary of pastry judges Candace Nelson and Florian Bellanger, with a special guest serving as the rotating third judge; the winner of cupcake wars receives $10,000 and has the opportunity to have their desserts featured at an upcoming prestigious event. The series ran for 11 seasons and became a hit baking show for the Food Network.

4 sugar rush

The Netflix Original Reality Contest sugar rush features three adrenaline-pumping rounds in which contestants race against the clock to bake cupcakes, sweets, and a jaw-dropping final cake in the hope of winning a $10,000 prize. Each episode begins with four diverse teams of varying culinary experiences competing in three challenges, with one team eliminated per round based on the opinions of pastry judges Candace Nelson and Adriano Zumbo and a surprise guest. Brought to you by the lovely Hunter March, sugar rush became a thrilling Netflix program that spawned two special Christmas-themed seasons full of festive desserts and treats.

3 Zumbo’s Just Desserts

Netflix’s Australian Food Reality Contest Zumbo’s Just Desserts features exceptional home cooks from a variety of backgrounds as they create delicious treats and introduce them to renowned pastry chef Adrian Zumbo and author/chef Rachel Khoo. Contestants often come up with whimsical and innovative desserts inspired by specific themes for each episode, with aspiring hopefuls vying to win a lucrative grand prize of $100,000. After experiencing lackluster ratings on Australian network Seven Network, the program was released on Netflix and its second season was ordered by the streaming giant, attracting an enthusiastic and dedicated audience that never tires of the bakers’ inventive creations.

Related: The Best Cooking Contest Shows, Ranked

2 Nailed it!

The Netflix Reality Cooking Contest Nailed it! is a fun and unique take on the traditional cooking show as three amateur bakers are tasked with reproducing intricate and offbeat desserts in an effort to nab the coveted Nailed it! trophy and cash prize of $10,000. Hilarious comedian Nicole Byer hosts the fan-favorite program, with French chocolatier and pastry chef Jacques Torres serving as head judge and mentor for the contestants with a surprise third guest judge.

Since its debut in 2018, Nailed it! went on to critical acclaim, earning three Primetime Emmy Award nominations, with Byer making history and becoming the first black woman to be nominated for the Outstanding Host Award for a Reality Competition Program. This is one of the best baking or cooking shows on Netflix.

1 The Great British Bake Off

The BBC’s wholesome and uplifting British competition program The Great British Bake Off is a feel-good show in which highly skilled home bakers compete in three different challenges per episode, showcasing their exceptional baking abilities. Each week, a contestant is eliminated based on their performance in a signature, technical and breathtaking challenge, after presenting their desserts and creations to a highly esteemed panel of judges currently led by Chefs Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith.

To help soothe the bakers’ nerves and provide entertaining and colorful commentary to the audience are hosts Noel Fielding and Matt Lucas, who endearingly engage with the contestants in heartwarming banter. The Great British Bake Off helped trigger a renewed interest in home baking, causing a huge increase in sales of cooking accessories and ingredients in the UK.


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