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The Best TV Shows and Movies for Baking Fanatics

Dig into these 12 sweet series and films to get you cozily through the winter

Nadiya Hussain puts the finishing touches on a dessert in Nadiya Bakes

Netflix

Nadiya Hussain, the host of "Nadiya Bakes."

En español

When it comes to baking, my go-to is Pillsbury Poppin’ Fresh Grands! biscuits. And yes, I still like knocking the tube against the counter and watching the dough burst through the cardboard spiral. Who knows what’s in them, but they always taste good. My husband, in contrast, is a baker — and he can make a southern chocolate bourbon pecan pie that would have made Martha Mitchell swoon. Generally, folks are bakers or they’re cooks, but whichever they are, flour-pounders mediocre and sublime can enjoy these 12 sweet shows and movies about the oven arts now streaming wherever you can shake a wooden spoon.

​​10 fantastic baking TV shows …

Baking It (2021)

Rating: Five Cookies​

The new kid on the block has comedian co-hosts Maya Rudolph and Andy Samberg mixing it up in the kitchen. The six-episode Amy Poehler creation pits eight teams of two bakers against each other for a $50,000 prize. Could this newbie be the funniest baking show out there? ​

Watch it: Baking It, on Peacock​​​​​​

Julia Child holding her Baking With Julia book

Richard Lautens/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Baking with Julia (1996)

Rating: Five Cookies​

Julia Child, the grandmother of the cooking show — public television’s groundbreaking The French Chef — also had a baking show that lasted three seasons. Now, in the streaming era, it’s getting new attention, with PBS scooping it up. A graduate of Le Cordon Bleu, Child is an irresistible force as she kneads and offers much-needed advice to home cooks. She’s as entertaining as her banana-chocolate beignets are mouthwatering. ​

Watch it: Baking with Julia, on PBS.org


Cake Boss (2009)

Rating: Five Cookies

​Buddy Valastro is the boss wielding his mighty rolling pin, surrounded by his family and employees. Produced by TLC, the show’s set in the Italian American chef’s Hoboken, New Jersey, bakery, Carlo’s City Hall Bakery, through 10 seasons and 236 episodes. The bakery is now a tourist spot, and the show is an audience favorite, with book tie-ins and four spin-offs, including Next Great Baker and Kitchen Boss.​

Watch it: Cake Boss, on Amazon Prime


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Cupcake Wars (2009–2018)

Rating: Four Cookies​

Beginning more than a decade ago (so get ready to start streaming those 11 seasons), the Food Network show features four bakers vying for a $10,000 purse for creating the best cupcake. Hosted first by Justin Willman and later by Jonathan Bennett, every episode has a challenge. Just swim over to Season 1, Episode 3, for a celebration of Sea World that called for seaweed and sea salt in the mix.​

Watch it: Cupcake Wars, on Amazon Prime

The Great British Baking Show (2010 to present)

Rating: Five Cookies

​So many viewers are addicted to this granddaddy of baking shows that it just finished its 12th season, with 6.9 million viewers in the U.K. watching the finale. It’s now heading for a 13th year, which will likely premiere in the fall of 2022 with expert judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith. Known as The Great British Bake Off in the U.K., this is half talent showcase, half healthy competition with a team of celebrity chefs testing the mettle of 12 contestants over 10 episodes. Seasons 5 to 12 are currently streaming on Netflix. ​

Watch it: The Great British Baking Show, on Netflix​​​​​​​​​​​​​


Kids Baking Championship (2015 to present)

Rating: Four Cookies​

One way to lure kids away from passive TV watching is empowering them to bake with the Food Network’s long-running reality competition show. From cream puff swans to ice cream sandwiches to learning how to separate eggs, this program, with cohosts Valerie Bertinelli, 61, and Ace of Cakes’ Duff Goldman, lets 10- to 13-year-old bakers feel the heat while competing for the title of Kids Baking Champion. And it could offer some sweet inspiration to all the chefs in the household.​

Watch it: Kids Baking Championship, on Amazon Prime

Martha Bakes (2011–2019)

Rating: Four Cookies​

Originally airing on PBS, the homemaking queen’s 20-minute baking demonstrations provide an insider’s guide to such delicacies as pecan tart, tiramisu and old Vienna apple strudel. Expect lots of how-to advice — and the only competition here is between maven extraordinaire Martha and herself.​

Watch it: Martha Bakes, on YouTube

Nadiya Bakes (2020)

Rating: Five Cookies​

When British-Bangladeshi Nadiya Hussain won the 2015 Great British Bake Off, in part due to her orgasmic raspberry-flavored mille-feuille, a TV star was born. Nadiya said in her victory speech: “I'm never gonna put boundaries on myself ever again. I’m never gonna say, 'I can't do it.’ I'm never gonna say, 'Maybe.’ I'm never gonna say, 'I don't think I can.’ I can and I will.” And she did, launching her own eponymous show and coming out about her history of anxiety attacks, telling Radio Times that baking allows her to “feel peace.” Join her in her “happy place.”

Watch it: Nadiya Bakes, on Netflix

Nailed It! (2018 to present)

Rating: Five Cookies​

The fun, quirky Netflix reality show pits three amateur baking-challenged contestants against each other making complicated confections for a $10,000 prize. With six seasons in the pan, the show’s been nominated for three Primetime Emmys, and it marked a milestone when host Nicole Byer became the first Black woman to be nominated for Outstanding Host for a Reality or Competition Program.

Watch it: Nailed It, on Netflix​​​

Zumbo's Just Desserts (2016 to present)

Rating: Four Cookies​

Following guest appearances on Master Chef Australia, Adriano Zumbo stepped into the center ring himself. In his eponymous reality series, the fearless Aussie patissier puts amateur bakers through their paces for a big payout: the winner gets $100,000. He’s also the host of the popular Sugar Rush, in which contestants race against the clock to win big bucks.​

Watch it: Zumbo’s Just Desserts, on Netflix​​​

And a pair of sweet baking movies!​​​

​​It’s Complicated (2009)

Rating: Four Cookies​

Divorced bakery owner Meryl Streep, 72, has the most amazing home kitchen courtesy of Nancy Meyers, the interior decorator of rom-com directors. In her personal life, the successful cake maker’s having trouble choosing between these two pastries: the attractive Steve Martin, 76, and her ex, Alec Baldwin, 63. It’s a recipe for trouble, with a sweet ending. ​

Watch it: It’s Complicated, on Amazon Prime

Moonstruck (1987)

Rating: 5 Cookies​

Long before Nicolas Cage, 58, starred as a swine-loving chef-turned-hermit in 2021’s Pig, he played a one-handed Brooklyn baker with a romantic soul opposite small-business bookkeeper Cher, 75. The audience of this classic rom-dram-com knew from the minute they set eyes on this odd couple: They went together like flour and sugar. ​

Watch it: Moonstruck, on Amazon Prime, Apple TV, HBO Max

Thelma M. Adams, the former film critic for Us Weekly and the New York Post, is a novelist who writes on film for AARP, The New York Times, The Hollywood Reporter and Variety.