Skip to main content

The best competitive cooking shows to watch right now – from Pressure Cooker to MasterChef

Let these top cooking shows inspire you in the kitchen

The scene from the show Barbecue Showdown
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Food Fight! No, not the messy one of your youth that involved hurling lunch across the room and subsequent detention. We’re talking about the competitive cooking show, television’s greatest culinary challenge.

These shows have come a long way. From the early days of Food Network to today, we’ve seen tremendous growth in this food-tastic style of game show. Now, a good showing on one of these popular programs can land you a serious role at one of the best restaurants in America.

Some of these shows involve Michelin Star-level talent, assembling things we could never do in our wildest dreams. Others are just duking it out with a certain ingredient or lack thereof. They’re easy to binge, satisfying our most primal urges. And now, as you might guess, there are more than ever to choose from, with multiple streaming services and a collective love for culinary culture that’s still very much intact.

There are a number of good cooking shows on Netflix right now, but if you’re looking for variety, you’ll have to branch out to other streaming services. We’ve handpicked 10 of the best competitive cooking shows you can watch online right now. Who knows? Perhaps you’ll feel inspired to make some extravagant dishes — or, at the very least, take on some easy recipes to make.

Here are the best competitive cooking shows to catch up on this year.

Pressure Cooker (2023)

Pressure Cooker
1 Season
Genre
Reality
Watch on Netflix
Falling somewhere between Real World and Iron Chef, this show pits top chefs against one another. But there’s a twist in that they’re also the judges. That means sub-plots galore, as we all know the entire cast can cook, but what kinds of alliances will be made? Which personalities will win over the crowd? As a viewer, you feel like you’re in the bustling kitchen of a busy restaurant, taking in all of the drama, from who undercooked the steak to whose ego is bigger than the recipe.
Pressure Cooker | Official Trailer | Netflix

Top Chef (2006)

Top Chef
7.6/10
20 Seasons
Genre
Reality
Stars
Tom Colicchio, Padma Lakshmi, Gail Simmons
Watch on Peacock
Top Chef is a reality competitive cooking show focused on finding America’s best chefs and pitting them against one another. The chefs face off in a series of culinary challenges that culminate in one or more contestants getting eliminated at the end of each episode until only one winner remains at the end of the season. Since its launch, Top Chef has spawned multiple spin-offs, including Top Chef Masters and Top Chef Junior.

The Final Table (2018)

The Final Table
7.6/10
1 Season
Genre
Reality
Stars
Andrew Knowlton
Watch on Netflix
A Netflix original, The Final Table is a culinary competition that spans the globe. The competition involves 12 pairs of chefs from around the world, all fighting to earn a place at the Final Table. Naturally, the show features a ton of famous chefs. Each episode focuses on one country’s national dishes and features a variety of celebrity critics and ambassadors. Teams are eliminated until just the finalists reach the finale. The Final Table is presented by Andrew Knowlton (James Beard Award-winning writer and editor-at-large for Bon Appétit).
The Final Table | Official Trailer [HD] | Netflix

Chopped (2009)

Chopped
7.4/10
51 Seasons
Genre
Reality
Stars
Ted Allen
Created by
Michael Krupat, Dave Noll, Linda Lea
Watch on Hulu
Chopped, hosted by Ted Allen, is a lot like Top Chef in terms of series format, but it’s a little more expedited. In each episode, four chefs compete in a three-round contest in which they have to cook and plate an appetizer, an entrée, and a dessert. Each chef’s overall performance is judged by a panel of three judges to determine who will win $10,000 at the end of the competition. Of course, there are plenty of twists and turns that test each chef’s ability to think creatively and quickly.
Food Network "Chopped" Promo

Guy's Grocery Games (2013)

Guy's Grocery Games
6.5/10
33 Seasons
Genre
Reality
Stars
Guy Fieri
Created by
Guy Fieri
Watch on max
Guy’s Grocery Games is a more relaxed, down-to-earth version of Chopped. Hosted by one of our favorite celebrity chefs, Guy Fieri, each episode takes place in an actual grocery store called Flavortown Market. It’s a fairly lighthearted show in which chefs from all over the U.S. compete in a series of challenges focused on making high-end dishes only with ingredients you can buy in any average grocery store.

Barbecue Showdown (2020)

Barbecue Showdown
tv-pg
2 Seasons
Genre
Reality
Stars
Kevin Bludso, Melissa Cookston, Michelle Buteau
Created by
Daniel Calin
Watch on Netflix
With so many cooking shows focused on making food in the kitchen, this Netflix original series takes the competition to barbecue country. Barbecue Showdown takes place in a massive barn where contestants compete over the grill to make deliciously charred meats, vegetables, and more. It also comes with a similar levity you’d get from The Great British Baking Show, which is a lot less stressful than some of the other shows on our list.

Iron Chef America (2005)

Iron Chef America
7.1/10
13 Seasons
Genre
Reality
Created by
Alton Brown
Watch on max
Iron Chef America is a competitive cooking show where lesser-known chefs take on the seasoned pros. The series itself is based on the Japanese cult sensation of the same name, but with a focus on American chefs. Hosted by the always-entertaining Alton Brown, this show has the intensity of Top Chef with the culinary insights of famous chefs you already know and love.

Nailed It! (2018)

Nailed It!
7.4/10
tv-pg
6 Seasons
Genre
Reality, Family
Stars
Nicole Byer, Jacques Torres
Watch on Netflix

Nailed It! has, in its first four seasons, developed a cult-like following. Perhaps the best part is how engaging it is — even if you don’t want to like Nailed It!, you’re going to like it. The series pits amateur bakers against each other as they attempt to re-create complicated cakes, pastries, and other baked goods. The results are usually hilariously awful, but the winner of each episode receives a solid cash prize of $10,000. Not a bad consolation prize for a little public humiliation.

Hell's Kitchen (2005)

Hell's Kitchen
7.1/10
20 Seasons
Genre
Reality
Stars
Gordon Ramsay
Watch on Hulu
No list would be complete without arguably the most famous (or infamous) cooking competition show. Hell’s Kitchen is the granddaddy of the genre and the definition of a stressful cooking competition. Hosted by world-famous chef Gordon Ramsey himself, each season features two teams of chefs competing for the job as head chef at a restaurant. With progressive elimination and excessive yelling, Hell’s Kitchen is more about handling the stresses of a successful restaurant than simply making delicious food.
First Look: Gordon Ramsay Introduces Season 17 | HELL'S KITCHEN: ALL STARS

The Great British Baking Show (2010)

The Great British Baking Show
tv-pg
7 Seasons
Genre
Reality
Stars
Mary Berry, Paul Hollywood, Mel Giedroyc
Watch on Netflix
The Great British Baking Show is one of the most relaxing food competitions you’ll ever see, though that could be partly because the winner doesn’t actually win any prize money. Each season focuses on a group of amateur bakers from the U.K. competing in a series of challenges each week to find out who is the best. With a mix of technical challenges and delightfully pleasant commentary, it’s one of the easiest shows on Netflix to binge all day. There’s even a kids’ version, if you need a family-friendly show.

Cooked with Cannabis (2020)

Cooked with Cannabis
6.5/10
1 Season
Genre
Reality
Stars
Leather Storrs, Kelis
Created by
Rik Reinholdtsen
Watch on Netflix
Cooked with Cannabis is pretty much your average cooking competition, but with a unique twist — each meal is made with some form of THC and CBD. Each chef is competing to impress a panel of judges that slowly get higher as each meal progresses. zehile this may seem like an entirely new concept, there have been a number of great cannabis cookbooks published in recent years that prove this style of cooking is on an upward trend.
This Gourmet Food Gets You High | Best of Cooked with Cannabis | Netflix

Cooks vs. Cons (2016)

Cooks vs. Cons
4 Seasons
Stars
Geoffrey Zakarian
Watch on Amazon
The best competitive cooking shows are ones that have a creative synopsis or hook. Cooks vs. Cons is all about guessing which competitors are credentialed chefs and which ones are simply doing it as a hobby. Seeing someone who only cooks on the side beat a professional at the end of the episode is exciting and shocking.

MasterChef (2010)

MasterChef
tv-14
13 Seasons
Genre
Reality
Stars
Gordon Ramsay
Created by
Franc Roddam
Watch on Hulu
This competition cooking show features amateur chefs who compete in a series of challenges, hoping to impress judges and ultimately win the title of MasterChef. The challenges can be anything from creating a specific dish to using mystery ingredients. There are also team challenges, where contestants work together to complete a task. Losers of challenges face elimination tests, where they must prove their skills to stay in the competition. MasterChef has become a successful franchise with versions all over the world, including the U.S. (this version), Australia, and the U.K. The American version has at least 13 seasons and features judges Gordon Ramsay, Joe Bastianich, and Aarón Sánchez.
Movie images and data from:
Mark Stock
Mark Stock is a writer from Portland, Oregon. He fell into wine during the Recession and has been fixated on the stuff since…
The best shows on Starz to watch in July
From Outlander to Party Down, these are the best shows you can stream on Starz
Outlanders

Starz has proven since its inception that it can hang with larger competitors like Max. Although it's now making television in an incredibly crowded landscape, Starz has managed to regularly launch shows that make an impact, and it speaks to the enduring quality of these shows that they've also stood the test of time.
These shows have also spanned a wide array of genres, making viewers laugh and weep, often in equal measure. Through it all, though, these Starz shows have proven it can reliably make shows that touch viewers and endure for years after their time on the air has concluded.

Party Down (2009)

Read more
The best shows on Netflix to stream in July
Binge-worthy Netflix series you don't want to miss
Bojack Horseman and Princess Caroline

TV may not be peaking quite the way it was a few years back, but there are still more than enough shows out there to keep you busy. After Netflix emerged on the scene and revolutionized how we all watched TV, it was joined by a huge swath of competitors determined to take advantage of the streaming boom. All of those competitors have great stuff to watch, but Netflix is still many people's hub for all things TV. Even within the streamer, though, it can be difficult to figure out what the best shows on Netflix are.

Thankfully, that's where this list comes in. We've compiled a rundown of what to watch on Netflix, and these Netflix shows should add up to days and days of endless binging. You can also check out our list of the best Hulu series, best Amazon Prime series, best Disney Plus series, and best Netflix movies after you've made it through the series listed below.

Read more
The best shows to watch on Hulu in July
Looking for a new binge series? Here are the best you can stream on Hulu right now
Jeremy Allen White in The Bear.

There was a time when great TV was hard to come by. While not every TV show is great, these days it can sometimes feel like viewers have the opposite problem. There are simply too many shows, and too many streaming services, to choose from. Thankfully, the best shows on Hulu are also among the best shows you can watch anywhere. From new originals to legacy series from decades past, it has tons of shows that will fill the hours of your day.
You're probably aware that, while Hulu shows are great, it's far from the only streaming service with plenty of TV to offer. So whether you’re looking for the best Amazon Prime shows, the best Disney Plus shows, or the best Netflix shows, we've got you covered. Below, we'll dig into the best shows on Hulu that you can watch now.

Shōgun (2024)

Read more