2020 is the year of statewide shutdowns, social distancing, crazy elections…and baking? Americans have experienced tremendous societal changes this year, and many have walked into their kitchens for relief. People are baking as a way to counter the struggles of quarantine life. Baking can offer many benefits in combating mental health issues. It can often be a gratifying experience to create something from scratch. But for those who are not quite ready to get baking, here is a list of baking shows on Netflix to get you started.
1. The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell (2018)
For those of you who get annoyed at the fast turnaround from Halloween to Christmas, “The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell” is the show for you. This goth-inspired DIY baking show offers a plethora of monster and ghoul-themed baking creations. Christine McConnell combines her artistic baking talents to create realistically terrifying desserts that are sure to delight any horror fan. McConnell shares the screen (and a haunted mansion) with a host of puppet creatures. (Rose the raccoon, Rankle the mummified cat, and Edgar, the werewolf, to name a few.) They offer comedic relief that sets the show apart from others on this list of best baking shows on Netflix.
2. Sugar Rush (2018-Present)
This series is vastly different from any of the other baking shows on Netflix. “Sugar Rush” is a high-octane baking show that pushes its contestants to their limits, literally. With its game show vibe, “Sugar Rush” is all about time—or lack of it. This competitive baking show hosts four professional baking teams, jousting for the grand prize of $10,000. The show’s premise challenges the bakers to pass through three shortly timed rounds of baking: cupcakes, confections, and cakes.
Host Hunter March and its judges—Candice Nelson, Adriano Zumbo, and various celebrity guests—eagerly watch on as the teams attempt nearly impossible baking feats in small amounts of time. Maybe it’s the lack of human interaction, but this show will have you on the edge of your seat, hoping your favorite baker doesn’t drop the cake.
3. Zumbo’s Just Desserts (2016-Present)
As a child, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” always conjured up the wonders of sugary sweets and unrealistic desserts. (The original with Gene Wilder, obviously). Well, “Zumbo’s Just Desserts” is the best manifestation of those childhood fantasies to date. An Australian baking show, hosted by Adriano Zumbo, Rachel Khoo, and Gigi Falanga challenge amateur bakers to recreate Zumbo’s elaborate desserts. (Yes, the same Adriano Zumbo from “Sugar Rush”). With a grand prize of $100,000, you can be sure that these bakers will blow your mind with their sweet creations. This whimsical competition incorporates intricate culinary techniques and a few critical children judges, all culminating as an inspiring climb towards the life-changing grand prize. These amateur bakers push their baking skills to the limit. While I continue to stuff my face with store-bought brownies.
4. The Great British Baking Show (2010-Present)
If you can sit through an earlier season of “The Great British Baking Show” and not wish Mary Berry was your grandma, I don’t know what to tell you. “The Great British Baking Show” may be the most wholesome series available to the public, let alone Netflix. It offers its viewership an almost therapeutic experience, with beautiful scenes from the British countryside and its contestants’ soft-spoken voices. With the lack of giant countdown clocks and over the top competitions that seem to be infiltrating America, this series invites a handful of amateur British bakers to show off their baking prowess in a family-like competition.
Each week the bakers are challenged to make specialty cakes by judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood. (Later in the series, Mary is replaced by Prue Leith). What makes “The Great British Baking Show” unique is the lack of competition. Instead, we get a group of well-mannered individuals trying their best to bake professionally. And, while there is still only one winner, they’re all still incredibly supportive of each other. I would be lying to you if I said I didn’t get emotionally attached to contestants every season. Also, did I mention there is no cash prize aside from the reward of accomplishing something great? In 2020, this show is a necessity.
5. The Great British Baking Show (Holiday Edition)
Not to overwhelm you with too much wholesomeness, but “The Great British Baking Show” has a holiday edition. In this special edition, we see the same great hosts challenge a group of former (and overly courteous) contestants with holiday-themed bakes. The contestants must bake some of the most famously known holiday desserts like showstopper gingerbread houses or Mary Berry’s famous Black Forest Gateau. This joy-packed show will get even the grouchiest grinch in the mood for holidays.
6. Nailed It (2018-Present)
If baking seems almost extraterrestrial to you like it does for me, this next show will take the cake. “Nailed It” is a series that asks amateur bakers to recreate complicated desserts in a timed setting. Practically every contestant butchers their cakes and presents the hosts, Nicole Byer and Jacques Tornes, with some of the most gruesome recreations of professionally baked desserts. Now, for someone who has covered themselves with flour on several occasions, I am certainly not poking fun at these contestants. But it is relieving to see that not all “amateurs” can go out and win $100,000 baking competitions.
However, the winner of “Nailed It” receives a check for $10,000, so there is still hope for us. This entertaining show offers a break from reality competitions and replaces it with infectious laughter and kindhearted fun.
7. Nailed It (Holiday Edition)
I want you to imagine someone with no baking experience attempting to bake a cake that looks exactly like a Thanksgiving turkey. That is what you get when you watch “Nailed It Holiday Edition.” This hysterical show combines the joys of the holiday season with the horrors of poor baking skills. Watch contestants fail at baking four-leveled New Years’ Eve cakes and laugh along with the judges as the contestants unveil their sometimes inedible bakes. “Nailed It Holiday Edition” is a must-see, especially for the most disturbingly funny pair of baked penguins you will ever see.
Did any of your favorite baking shows on Netflix make the list? Let us know in the comments below.
Main image Nailed It!/Netflix