Something I love to do when the fall time comes around is bake. From pumpkin pies to cookies, to breads to anything that pleases my sweet tooth. While doing so, I often love to watch shows about baking, sometimes getting ideas, other times just being purely impressed by some of the talents these bakers have.
While I could spend a lot of my time watching some of the best cooking competition shows to on television, sometimes, all I want is to see some awesome sweet, funny personalities, and dazzling creations that will make me think of applying to culinary school. If you’re looking for some of the best baking shows to watch, check out some of these picks, all of which are streaming.
Nailed It! (2018 - Present)
In this Emmy-nominated series, three no-so-great bakers face off against each other in Nailed It! They are tasked with recreating fantastical baking creations, often ending in some pretty humorous or gross-looking cakes, cupcakes, cookies, or anything else, all while trying to compete for a $10,000 cash prize.
Nailed It! is one of those shows that makes me so happy because it puts average bakers against each other. No one is brilliant at baking except for the pastry chef they have to help them, and everyone is there really just to have a good time. Plus, Nicole Byer (who was in the Vivo voice cast recently) is amazingly funny and brings this charm to the show that I don’t think anyone else could bring as a host. She’s truly a gem.
Cake Boss (2009 - 2017)
Cake Boss is a classic TLC show, taking place at Carlo’s bakery in Hoboken, New Jersey. It’s an Italian-American bake shop, owned and operated by Buddy Valastro and his family, serving up amazing creations and pretty funny commentary.
To be honest, Cake Boss was one of the first shows that got me into baking in the first place. I was astounded by some of the cakes they would create, from ferris wheels, to college cakes and race tracks, it seemed that nothing was too big of a challenge for them. For any young (or old) baker, it’ll inspire you to reach into the depths of your imagination and create something amazing.
Be Our Chef (2020)
In this Disney+ original series, Be Our Chef is a Disney-themed cooking competition, hosted by Angela Kinsey. In each episode, two families go head to head in a themed cooking challenge right at Walt Disney World.
I may be a little biased because I love anything Disney and have for a long time, but when it's paired up with baking (and cooking)? Sign me up. Be Our Chef is not only a great baking competition filled with some pretty interesting creations, but a wonderful family show that illustrates the power of working together as a family, and the things you can achieve. Plus, Angela Kinsey (known from The Office cast) is a great host and brings a smile to every episode, alongside her charismatic personality.
The Great British Baking Show (2010 - Present)
In this popular British television show, The Great British Baking Show is a competition where a group of amateur bakers compete against each other in a series of rounds, trying to outdo the rest and impress the judges with their culinary skills.
I feel like everyone has heard of The Great British Baking Show. To me, it’s one of the best shows on Netflix, because I love the judges. The way they talk and work together flows wonderfully and their chemistry is perfect, creating funny moments that will make you chuckle, as well. One of the other things I love about this show is that these are, again, amateur bakers. They aren’t pros or anything like that - but want to show their skills, and I can appreciate someone seriously stepping out of their comfort zone to create something astounding.
Zumbo’s Just Desserts (2016 - Present)
Moving on, we take a look at another baking competition. In Zumbo’s Just Desserts, master baker and dessert creator, Adriano Zumbo, invites 12 amateur bakers to compete for $100,000 and the chance for one of their baking creations to be features in Zumbo’s stores, as well as to be named the Zumbo’s Just Desserts champion.
Whenever I’ve watched this show, I’ve always felt that Zumbo’s Just Desserts was the baking version of Hell’s Kitchen. No, Zumbo doesn’t curse out or insult his contestants like Gordan Ramsey does, but there are still high stakes with a huge prize and the chance of a lifetime for their work to be featured, which means the battle is tough. It’s definitely a great competition show - and awesome to watch for bakers who want to see some truly outstanding designs.
Cupcake Wars (2009 - 2018)
In this popular baking show, Cupcake Wars features four contestants who compete over three rounds, with one getting eliminated each round for the winning team to receive $10,000, and the opportunity to be featured in an upcoming event.
Cupcake Wars was one of those baking shows that seemed to go on forever, with more than ten seasons under its belt. And, honestly, it’s well deserved. Some of the cupcakes that these contestants would create are truly mind-blowing, and the way they worked to make them into displays of all kinds is the kind of creativity I think we all wish we had. Everyone who’s on this show is so talented. It makes me want to bake some cupcakes now.
Halloween Baking Championship (2015 - Present)
Seasonal programming is pretty common for baking shows, often with them creating spinoffs for holidays like Christmas or Thanksgiving, but my favorite is the Halloween Baking Championship. In this Food Network show, bakers are put head to head to see who can create the spookiest, creepiest dessert, and the winner gets $25,000.
Look, I literally opened this up by saying I love the fall, including Halloween. I love watching the best horror movies or even family-friendly Halloween movies, and usually, that is paired with baking some Halloween treats. Halloween Baking Championship is the perfect companion for someone who loves baking but wants to be amazed and creeped out at the same time, from a cupcake that looks like a spider to chocolate cockroaches that might not look good to eat, but are delicious, this show offers it all.
Baketopia (2021 - Present)
In this HBO Max original, Baketopia is hosted by Rosanna Pansino, a big YouTuber known for her baking skills. The show puts bakers up against each other in two rounds, called “tiers,” to see who is the ultimate baker and will receive $10,000.
Baketopia isn’t the most creative of all the baking shows out there, meaning you will likely see similar challenges elsewhere. But, I do have to give credit where credit is due, because these are serious bakers that are on this show, and some of the things they bake are astonishing. Each round usually has some sort of theme and the contestants never seem to miss. Plus, Rosanna Pansino has an adorable, quirky charm about her that makes her the perfect host.
Sugar Rush (2018 - Present)
Netflix really does love its baking shows, because now we take a look at Sugar Rush. In this Netflix original series, four professional teams of two are competing against each other in a baking competition for a prize of $10,000, competing in rounds composed of cupcakes, confections, and cakes.
Sugar Rush is not for amateurs, I’ll tell you that. While there are some shows on here where you may think, “I can make that at home,” Sugar Rush is purely for you to gawk and marvel at some of the items that these bakers make. My personal favorite round is confections - sometimes, they make stuff completely out of sugar. They end up looking like sculptures. How? It’s crazy the skill these bakers have.
Nadiya Bakes (2020 - Present)
Finally, the relaxing baking show, Nadiya Bakes, is hosted by Nadiya Hussain, who won The Great British Baking Show in 2015. She celebrates her joy of creating and sharing her favorite homemade cakes, pastries, and others items while also creating new recipes inspired by other bakers.
While many of these shows are competitions, Nadiya Bakes isn't, which is what makes it so relaxing. I feel like this show is the perfect series to watch in the background while you’re working or just trying to chill. Nadiya is sweet to watch, and her honest joy of baking will bring a smile to your face, and how much she truly enjoys it. It’s always pleasing to see which creation she tries to make next - and how you can make it easily at home.
God, talking about all these baking shows has me hungry. If you don’t mind me, I’m going to go make some cookies now - and hopefully, you’ll have a new series to binge to pass the time.
Big nerd and lover of Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire. Will forever hate season eight. Superhero and horror geek. And please don't debate me on The Last of Us 2, it was amazing!
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