The Best Baking Shows on Netflix

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Credit - Netflix (4)

In 2018, Netflix cooked up a plan to expand its slate of original programming, placing a specific focus on comfort food TV. Viewers absolutely ate it up and, ever since, there has been no shortage of baking content on the streaming service. The best baking shows on Netflix include a cake-making competition with a delicious sense of humor, a short lived sitcom for foodies and Muppet fans alike, and all the Great British Baking Show spinoffs your little candy heart desires.

Some of the dessert-focused TV shows on this list will inspire you to become a better baker like Snack vs. Chef or School of Chocolate. Others may just make you hungry (looking at you Heavenly Bites Mexico.) There’s even a show that dares to ask what might be the most important question of our time: Is it cake?

Below, in no particular order, the 15 best baking shows to watch on Netflix.

The Great British Baking Show

Save the drama for those other baking competitions. British import The Great British Baking Show (better known as The Great British Bake-Off in the UK) is a kindhearted old-fashioned contest that is all about bettering one’s self through baking. For those who haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing the Mount Everest of peak cozy TV: Twelve amateur cooks are invited to a tent in the English countryside to take part in weekly themed challenges focused on cakes, biscuits, or caramels, amongst other tasty things. Each season also includes its fair share of surprising challenges in the form of “Roaring 20s Week,” “Spice Week'' or the regrettable “Mexican Week” (by far the biggest blunder in the history of the typically conscientious show). These home bakers aren’t competing for cash; instead, they’re looking for an understated compliment from Prue Leith on the texture of their sponge cake or a handshake from Paul Hollywood for their perfectly balanced flavors. The more GBBS you watch—Netflix is currently streaming the last seven seasons or “collections”—the more you realize just how priceless it is to be recognized for a job well done.

Great British Baking Show: Juniors

The kid-focused spin-off of The Great British Baking Show (known as Junior Bake Off across the pond) might be even more heartwarming than the original series. Sixteen of Britain’s most talented young bakers ages 9-12 are invited to the iconic GBBS tent to show off their skills. First, the kids take part in the Technical challenge where, like their adult counterparts, they must show they can make a specific cake, cookie, or bread of the judge’s choosing. The next round, the Showstopper challenge, lets them show off their creativity with stunning bakes that range from mythical bread creatures to biscuit piñatas. There is truly nothing more inspiring than watching these young home bakers pull off recipes that would stump those more than twice their age. Their tenacity may be the very gentle push you need to get back in the kitchen.

Is It Cake?

Who knew it would be so satisfying to watch Saturday Night Live’s Mikey Day cut into everyday items like a bowling ball or a bucket hat only to find out they’re actually cake? In 2022, the streamer debuted the viral meme-inspired baking competition hosted by Day, which forces celebrities, comedians, and cooks, most of whom are from popular Netflix movies and TV shows, to take a stab at the titular question. Thanks to the show’s talented hyper-realistic cake artists it’s a question that is still nearly impossible to answer three seasons in.

Baking Impossible

Baking Impossible might take the cake for the most inventive cooking show on Netflix. Nine teams of two “bakineers”—a portmanteau for “baker” and “engineer”—work together to create desserts that are both delicious and structurally sound. Challenges range from building a sailboat made entirely of cake to constructing a three-hole mini golf course with an edible obstacle. In order to take home the $100,000 prize, these ingenious confections must pass a series of stress tests to prove they are in fact functional. A piece of cake, right? No, of course not, which is what makes this show such a tasty sight to behold.

Chef’s Table Vol. 4: Pastry

The one and only dessert-centric season of the acclaimed food documentary series Chef’s Table puts the spotlight on some of the most celebrated culinary artists in the world. Among them: Milk Bar founder Christina Tosi, Caffè Sicilia owner and renowned gelato maker Corrado Assenza, the wildly inventive pastry chef Jordi Roca, and Will Goldfarb, an avant-garde baker who was named World’s Best Pastry Chef by 50 Best in 2021. Across four beautifully shot episodes, the Netflix docuseries shows how each of these chefs became the best at what they do: bringing joy to the masses through their one-of-a-kind sweet treats.

Nadiya Bakes

The kitchen is British chef and author Nadiya Hussain’s happy place. After watching Nadiya Bakes, it might be yours, too. The 2020 Netflix series in association with the BBC has the The Great British Bake-Off winner sharing recipes for some of her favorite desserts: blueberry scone pizza, mango-coconut sponge, rhubarb and custard kisses, and her self-declared “perfect pavlova,” just to name a few. Hussain is the kindest of hosts, offering helpful step-by-step instructions on how to make each of her delightful treats, which look absolutely angelic on screen. Nadiya Bakes is a little slice of heaven in an all too hellish world.

The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell

For Wednesday fans: this baking series is more spooky than sweet. Part cooking show, part zany sitcom, The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell allows its namesake to show off her baking, sculpting, and sewing skills in delightfully creepy ways. Photographer and baking enthusiast Christine McConnell crafts snacks that include peanut butter pretzel bones, spirit board cookies, a ginger-dead house, and wolf claw donuts, with help from her unusual housemates that just so happen to be monsters created by the Jim Henson Company (a.k.a. the workshop founded by the late creator of the Muppets). Curious, indeed! Unfortunately, this offbeat 2018 series didn’t get a second season, but that shouldn’t stop you from experiencing the absurd curiosities it offers.

School of Chocolate

Welcome to famed French-Swiss pastry chef and chocolatier Amaury Guichon’s world of pure imagination. School of Chocolate invites eight budding chocolatiers to learn the fundamentals of chocolate making from the confectionary genius whose creations always seem to go viral. This Willy Wonka for a new generation (sorry Timothée Chalamet) encourages his students to think outside the box with inventive challenges that have them creating skyhigh architectural structures, photorealistic food, and a hanging chocolate showpiece in hopes of taking home the $100,000 prize. But it’s Guichon’s own creations that will blow your mind, like his lemon pie pencil dessert, an entirely edible and actually functional treat. We suggest watching the one and only season of the series, which premiered in 2018, with a pen and paper. You may just find yourself looking to audit Guichon’s class.

Bake Squad

For Bake Squad, Christina Tosi assembled a team of skilled bakers, each of whom have their own particular set of skills: Maya-Camille Broussard is her “flavor fanatic,”Ashley Holt is the “queen of cakes,” Gonzo Jimenez is a “champion of chocolate,” and Christophe Rull is a “pastry illusionist.” Each episode, the foursome is given seven hours to complete an order for a special customer looking for anything from a classy chocolate dessert for a bar mitzvah to a nature-inspired cake for a wedding vow renewal. This show is less about competition, and more about seeing how the sausage—or in this case, one-of-a-kind dessert—gets made. The same four bakers, who are not competing for cash prizes, appear in both seasons of the series. Their goal is to be the baker who makes the client happiest because, on Bake Squad, the customer is the true winner.

Nailed It!

Finally, a baking competition that finds humor in cake catastrophes and fondant fails. Hosted by the hilarious Nicole Byer, the series, which launched in 2018, asks those with extremely limited culinary skills to try and recreate Pinterest-worthy treats in less than two hours. Hilarity definitely ensues since the contestants never come close to pulling off these feats of cake-making strength. We are still trying to forget that cursed Donald Trump bust cake from Season 1. But that’s the point. Nailed It! reminds us that it’s perfectly acceptable to laugh at our failures whether they happen in the kitchen—or outside of it.

The Big Nailed It! Baking Challenge

In the vein of Food Network’s Worst Cooks in America, The Big Nailed It! Baking Challenge looks to help the worst bakers pursue their dessert making dreams. After years of eating truly horrible cakes, Nailed It! host Nicole Byer has enlisted her partner in fondant crime, acclaimed pastry chef and chocolatier Jacques Torres, to turn one of these cooking challenged contestants into the M.V.B. (most improved baker). It’s no easy task, but somebody’s gotta do it. We’re just happy it’s someone as hilarious as Byer.

Sugar Rush

As Sugar Rush host Hunter March says, “time is the most important ingredient” in this baking competition. Every episode, four teams of two bakers are in a race against the clock to make the most delicious sweet treats in as little time as possible. Each team competes in three rounds—cupcakes, confections, and cakes, in that order—in hopes of being the last team standing. Speed and precision are important on this stress-inducing series, which debuted in 2018 and is already on its fifth season. (Two of which are holiday-themed.) For those looking for soothing baking content, this isn’t it. But for anyone seeking a competition show that provides the adrenaline rush of The Bear, may we suggest embracing the kitchen chaos.

Sugar High

The Sugar Rush-spinoff special from 2020 has the most talented sugar artists competing for candy making supremacy. The two-round flower-themed competition begins with the contestants making a bright and colorful candy that tastes like their favorite bloom. The three surviving teams then must sculpt a three-foot-tall floral arrangement completely out of sugar in just over three hours. Sugar High may only clock in at 44 minutes, but that’s more than enough time for everything to fall apart, both figuratively and literally. It’s no easy feat to pull off such delicate sugar work, which is what makes a victory on Sugar High taste even sweeter.

Snack vs. Chef

From Oreos and Kit Kats to Gushers and Ho Hos, Snack vs. Chef asks 12 chefs to reimagine some of the most iconic American junk food staples. The 2022 series hosted by comedians Meg Stalter and Hari Kondabolu asks contestants to try and reconstruct these classic snacks, which is often more difficult than one may think. They are then asked to channel their inner mad food scientist to come up with their own treats loosely inspired by these beloved classics.

Heavenly Bites Mexico

From conchas, a traditional sweet roll with a crunchy top layer, to Micheladas, a Mexican beer drink topped with anything from hot sauce to sour gummy worms, Heavenly Bites Mexico offers a deep dive into the titular country’s eclectic snack food scene. For those with a serious sweet tooth, the third installment of the six-episode docuseries is dedicated to the most sinful desserts south of the U.S. border: fully loaded shakes, deep fried sweets, and the torta de gelatina, a Jell-O-filled roll smothered in an eggnog-flavored sauce. After learning about the el amor muerto—a sweet bread filled with cream and Kinder chocolate, finished with a heaping scoop of tres leches—you may believe that heaven exists and it’s located in Mexico.

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