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The 10 Best Competitive Cooking Shows to Watch

If you’re someone who loves food and game shows, then a good competitive cooking series is exactly what you need in your life right now. Some of these shows are more intense than others, but all of them offer an inside look into how professionals make culinary masterpieces. And the best part is, they almost always have to do it under a time limit.

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, but if you ever feel yourself getting inspired to create some delicacies of your own, you can check out our list of easy recipes to make.

If you’re looking for films to watch on other platforms, we’ve also found the best Amazon Prime movies, the best Hulu movies, and the best Disney+ movies for January 2022.

Top Chef (2006)

Top Chef
18 Seasons
Genre Reality
Top Chef is a reality competitive cooking show focused on finding some of the best chefs in America and pitting them against each other. Each episode, 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
1 Season
Genre Reality
Cast Andrew Knowlton
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, and the show naturally features a ton of famous chefs. Each episode focuses on one country’s national dishes and will feature 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).

Chopped (2009)

51 Seasons
Genre Reality
Cast Ted Allen
Created by Michael Krupat, Dave Noll, Linda Lea
Chopped, hosted by Ted Allen, is a lot like Top Chef in terms of series format, but a little more expedited. In each episode, four chefs compete in a three-round contest where they have to cook and plate an appetizer, an entree, and dessert. Their 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.

Guy's Grocery Games (2013)

Guy's Grocery Games
28 Seasons
Genre Reality
Cast Guy Fieri
Created by Guy Fieri
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 light-hearted show where chefs from around the U.S. compete in a series of challenges that focus on making high-end dishes from things you can buy in any average grocery store.

American BBQ showdown (2020)

American BBQ showdown
1 Season
With so many cooking shows focused on making food in the kitchen, this Netflix original series takes the competition to BBQ country. American 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
13 Seasons
Genre Reality
Created by Alton Brown
Iron Chef America is a competitive cooking show where lesser-known chefs take on the masters. The series itself is based on the Japanese cult sensation of the same name, but with a focus on American chefs. Hosted by 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!
tv-pg 6 Seasons
Genre Reality, Family
Cast Nicole Byer, Jacques Torres
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.

Hell's Kitchen (2005)

Hell's Kitchen
20 Seasons
Genre Reality
Cast Gordon Ramsay
Hell’s Kitchen is the definition of a stressful cooking competition. Hosted by Gordon Ramsey himself, each season features two teams of chefs who are 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.

The Great British Bake Off (2017)

The Great British Bake Off
5 Seasons
Genre Reality
Cast Noel Fielding, Matt Lucas, Paul Hollywood
The Great British Baking Show is one of the most relaxing food competitions you will 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. who compete 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.

Cooked With Cannabis (2020)

Cooked With Cannabis
1 Season
Genre Reality
Cast Leather Storrs, Kelis
Created by Rik Reinholdtsen
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 too high as each meal progresses. And while 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.

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