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A Taxonomy of Netflix Baking Shows

What will the streamer cook up next?
  • Photos: Netflix
    Photos: Netflix

    Is there anything more comforting than a baking show? Netflix has seen such an influx of baking content in recent years that it's managed to leapfrog the Food Network and the Cooking Channel to become pop culture's top purveyor of all things tasty. Between The Great British Baking Show, Nailed It!, Bake Squad, and their many contemporaries, Netflix may be churning out baking shows faster than it takes bread to rise, but each adds something unique to the platform’s rapidly-growing library. Whether you’re looking for sugar, spice, and/or everything nice, here are the four most common types of baking shows on Netflix:

    The Long-Haul Competition

    When you think of “Netflix baking shows,” season-long competitions like The Great British Baking Show, Baking Impossible, and Zumbo’s Just Desserts are probably what come to mind. In recent years, GBBS (known as The Great British Bake Off in the UK) has developed a passionate following among Netflix viewers, many of whom wake up early — or stay up late — to watch new episodes as they drop weekly. The popularity of GBBS on Netflix has almost certainly contributed to the platform’s increased investment in baking shows, particularly whole-season competitions in which a dozen or so contestants fight for a grand prize over the course of many episodes.

    After a nearly year-long break, The Great British Baking Show is set to return to Netflix September 13th, with new episodes droping weekly through November. 

    The Delightful One-Off

    Viewers unable (or unwilling) to sit through an entire season’s worth of competition have plenty of one-off options to choose from on Netflix, including Sugar Rush and its Extra Sweet spinoff season, Nailed It!, Bake Squad, and Nadiya Bakes. In these shows, episodes are standalone, with a different group of bakers appearing in each (or in the case of Nadiya Bakes, different recipes taking center stage). In a world of seemingly-endless choices, the appeal of these petit fours, so to speak, is undeniable: in less than 45 minutes, Netflix viewers can meet new baking personalities, watch their failures and triumphs, celebrate a champion, and then continue on with their day.

    The Holiday Edition

    What would the holidays be without sweets? Technically, The Great British Baking Show: Holidays, Nailed It! Holiday!, and Sugar Rush: Christmas fall into the same categories as their parent series, but these holiday editions are so popular that they deserve to be separated from their fruitcake-less peers. Netflix’s baking shows are never light on fun, but during the holidays they amp up the good cheer with costumes, special guests, and festive challenges galore.


    Mash-up shows like The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell, Cooked with Cannabis, The Big Family Cooking Showdown, and Crazy Delicious are baking shows plus: they offer tasty treats and a dose of something extra. For example, Christine McConnell’s bizarre 2018 series gives viewers baking recipes alongside inappropriate puppets and creepy crafts, and the contestants of Cooked with Cannabis must incorporate THC and CBD into their dishes. Of course, not every Baking+ show on Netflix is quite so out of the box: Crazy Delicious merely asks guests to come up with entreés to go alongside their desserts (how dare they!), while The Big Family Cooking Showdown participants serve their dishes with a side of familial drama, just like mama made it.

    People are talking about The Great British Baking Show and other Netflix baking shows in our forums. Join the conversation.

    Claire Spellberg Lustig is the Senior Editor at Primetimer and a scholar of The View. Follow her on Twitter at @c_spellberg.

    TOPICS: The Great British Baking Show, Netflix, Bake Squad, Baking Impossible, Nailed It!