Cooking Shows To Watch If You Love The Great British Bake Off

There is and always will be only one Great British Bake Off, known as the Great British Baking Show to its US-based fans. Unfortunately, that also means that there are not always new episodes to watch when you're in the mood for a competitive croquembouche. What's a fan to do? Well, you can always watch past seasons in order to go back and remember the delight that was judge Mary Berry and hosts Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc. 

But eventually, your loved ones will start to worry about you if you just keep watching the old seasons over and over and over. It may be time for a change.

While nothing could ever replace GBBO in your heart, there are other quality cooking shows out there waiting for you. Whether you strictly like sweets or you're willing to venture into savories, we have some recommendations that may pique your interest. Between cable and the zillions of streaming services all trying to compete to win the cooking competition crowd, you have more choices than ever. Here are a few that we think are worth a watch.

A baking championship for every season

If you're addicted to baking competitions, Food Network has your back. Whatever the time of year, you are never far away from a Food Network Baking Championship. Between the Spring Baking Championship, Halloween Baking Championship, and Holiday Baking Championship, as soon as one ends, another is set to begin.

All three of these shows have the same basic set-up. There's the pre-challenge, then a main challenge with a mid-way twist, with the last place contestant going home midway through. Each version of the show comes with its own flavor, so you can watch all three series and not feel like you're watching the same competition.

The Spring and Holiday Baking Championships both feature Nancy Fuller, Duff Goldman, and Lorraine Pascale (except during the pandemic lockdown, when she couldn't safely travel from England). The Halloween Baking Championship has changed judges on their three-person panels periodically, with Carla Hall being the most recurrent judge. One season also featured Damiano Carrara as a judge after he came in second on the first season of the Spring Baking Championship.

Can you spot a fake on Bakers vs Fakers?

Bakers vs Fakers is a spin-off from the cooking competition Cooks vs Cons. Both are a fun watch. These competitions have the added twist that the judging panel is trying to determine which of the contestants are professionals and which are talented hobbyists. If the final winner is a professional cook/baker, the winner is awarded $10,000. If a home-baker/cook wins, the winner takes home $15,000 for having both impressed the judges and outperformed the professionals.

Bakers vs Fakers is hosted by famous TV baker, Buddy Valastro. The judging panel changes every episode, with many familiar faces from other baking and cooking competitions. Judges include Iron Chef Alex Guarnaschelli, TV personality and Southern chef Damaris Phillips, Zac Young from the Halloween Baking Championship, as well as Lorraine Pascale and Nancy Fuller from the Spring/Holiday Baking Championship.

The bad news is that after only 2 seasons, which both aired in 2017, Bakers vs Fakers has never filmed more episodes. Cooks vs Cons had five seasons before quietly fading away. While neither show was ever officially canceled, the long hiatus makes it seem doubtful that new episodes will be made. But never say never.

Head to Flavortown on Guy's Grocery Games

Part of what makes The Great British Bake Off so, well, great is that it's a competition amongst highly skilled bakers — yet the bakers are not cutthroat in any way. The contestants are trying to push themselves to achieve something great, not eviscerate the competition. The same sort of spirit can be found on Guy's Grocery Games, which is, simply, great fun.

On Guy's Grocery Games, chefs from across the country must compete while also shopping for their own ingredients, hence why it takes place in a replica grocery store. There are crazy challenges and themed episodes, and sometimes the pros who usually appear as judges get dragged into the competition, too.

While there is a possible $20,000 prize on the line, contestants never take themselves too seriously. The only smack-talk is good-natured and everyone, from host Guy Fieri to the contestants has a great time as the competitors impress judges with their cooking prowess. While there's very little baking on the show, the upbeat attitude will attract GBBO fans. Best of all, the show donates unused food to local charities, according to The North Bay Business Journal.

Crazy Delicious poses a challenge of mythical proportions

Baking and cooking competitions, like all reality shows, bend the truth in order to build a narrative. But Netflix's Crazy Delicious takes their narrative to mythical levels. For starters, the competition takes place in a magical forest, where contestants pick ingredients right off prop trees. Meanwhile, the judges are presented as the food gods. The winner is awarded a golden apple the likes of which would make Hercules jealous.

The food gods are an international group, with American chef Carla Hall, British chef Heston Blumenthal, and Swedish chef Niklas Ekstedt. The bakers are all home bakers, not that this means they're beginners! Hosted by British comedian Jayde Adams, the sweet lilt of a Bristol accent will transport you to your happy place.

Critics have not been willing to suspend their disbelief, however. Chitra Ramaswamy of The Guardian was both grossed out by the idea that contestants "forage" for ingredients from the set, and disgruntled that not all the ingredients bakers used were actually foraged. So don't take a taste of this show if you aren't okay with playing make-believe. And, no, the food gods are actually not real deities. Carla Hall is pure magic, though.

Nailed It takes us from the unbelievable to the unbelievably bad

It's important to be able to laugh at yourself. We've all had those moments where you attempt to recreate something you saw online and the result is what would best be described as a "hot mess". It doesn't mean you're a failure. It just means you're human. That's the idea behind Nailed It!

Most of the other shows on this list are about the best of the best competing. Nailed It! is the opposite. It's a joyful celebration of human imperfection. It's already inspired versions in Mexico, France, Germany, and Spain.

Contestants on this show aren't professionals or experienced home-bakers. Frankly, they're not even good bakers. The fun is in seeing true beginners attempt baking challenges that experienced professionals would find difficult. Everyone, including the contestant, knows the finished product is going to be barely recognizable when compared to the original. But as the contestants laugh at themselves, we can all relate and laugh, too.

Devour a little knowledge on Good Eats

Good Eats, hosted by Alton Brown, is a cooking show unlike any other. You'll learn more than just recipes as Brown explains the history, science, and mythos behind different kinds of dishes and ingredients. Far from being a dry, educational program, Brown's sense of humor makes his show binge-worthy. That's good, because the first run of Good Eats lasted 13 years and included 252 episodes, according to IMDb.

After several years' hiatus, Food Network brought Brown back for Good Eats: Reloaded, where he added updated commentary to old episodes. Now Brown can be found on Good Eats: The Return, with all-new additions to the canon (via The Wrap). After more than 20 years since he started the series, Brown hasn't lost any of his passion. With belching yeast sock puppets, nervous TV lawyers named Itchy and Twitchy, and re-occurring superhero The Waffler, Good Eats is a cooking show in a category all its own.

Baking beyond their years on Kids Baking Championship

If you could use a big slice of humble pie, then watch Kids Baking Championship. These young contestants are ages 9 to 13, but have baking skills better than many adults. You may find yourself feeling inadequate that this tiny person can craft a perfect financier cake, but the show is enjoyable to watch anyway.

Duff Goldman is a judge for this one, too, this time pairing up with Valerie Bertinelli. Bertinelli is known for her acting, but she has been cooking since she was a teenager and secretly enjoyed cooking more than acting. She eventually quit acting to pursue her true passion.

Together, Goldman and Bertinelli manage to find a good balance of expecting a lot out of the competitors while remembering they are still kids. There is a serious prize for the final winner: $25,000, along with some professional equipment. The judges expect the winner to earn the prize, but want all the competitors to have a good time while learning how they can be the best chefs possible.

Go to war - Cake War, that is

Though Cake Wars was only on the air for two years, it now survives in reruns and also on streaming, so it's not hard to find. In those two years, they filmed five seasons, meaning there's no shortage of episodes, either. Each episode is dedicated to a different theme, with everything from The Simpsons to the Rose Bowl translated into cake formn.

Besides decorating incredible cakes, the bakers also have to create a flavor that stands out and impresses the judges. With flavors like "dark chocolate cake with coconut peanut butter Italian buttercream" and "lemon cake with raspberry Swiss meringue buttercream," the more you watch, the more your mouth will start to water. Luckily many of these recipes are available online, via the Cooking Channel. Binge-watch away and then make your own version of the tastiest cakes, thought may you'll want to do it without the insane cake carvings.

Of course, we have to include a shout-out to Cupcake Wars as well. The precursor to Cake Wars, the show will surprise you with how many different ways you can make a cupcake, including the use of some very surprising ingredients (via Food Network). Popcorn and peanut cupcakes, mojito cupcakes, and — for the daring among you — jalapeno and shrimp popper cupcakes.

Cutthroat Kitchen brings a little friendly sabotage

Possibly the strangest entry on the list, Cutthroat Kitchen was not so much about cooking well as it was sabotaging other contestants. Four chefs meet in the kitchen and are given $25,000 each. They can use this money to buy bizarre and unexpected ways to mess with the competitors. But that same $25,000 that you can buy sabotages with is also your prospective prize money, so chefs must carefully weigh how much they want to spend in order to win.

Cutthroat Kitchen must have been popular, as it had 15 seasons in just 4 years, according to the IMDb. It might have gone on for even longer, except host Alton Brown wanted to get back to his true love: cooking. With the chance to get back to doing Good Eats, he left Cutthroat Kitchen and Food Network decided to let the show retire without finding a new host.

The Holiday Baking Championship has chefs baking for Santa

A great way to get into the holiday spirit is making Christmas cookies. If you can't make your own cookies, then you can enjoy watching the pros put their skills to the test on the Christmas Cookie Challenge. These are not simple cookies, though, with creative and structural challenges thrown at the contestants. One challenge includes turning Halloween cookie cutters into Christmas-themed cookies. Many challenges involve 3-D cookies that can stand up on their own.

This competition is hosted by "The Pioneer Woman" Ree Drummond and former-NFL-player-turned-chef Eddie Jackson, who do double duty as judges, too. They are joined each episode by a special guest judge, including Jason Smith, who won the Holiday Baking Championship. Everyone from the judges to the contestants has a good time diving deep into Christmas, even though the show is shot in August (via University of Lynchburg). The winner gets $10,000 in their stocking, which isn't bad for a day's baking.

The best of the Best Baker in America

Best Baker in America is a similar show to the Baking Championship shows, only without the seasonal themes. Unlike other baking competitions, this one is exclusively for professional pastry chefs to show off their highly-trained skills. Even the host is a professional chef, Scott Conant, who replaced Adam Rapoport after the first season (via Food Network). This show will blow you away with desserts that are just too beautiful to eat.

This is unfortunately another show that may or may not get future seasons. Seasons 1 through 3 aired 2017 — 2019. The show hasn't been officially canceled and it's reasonable to assume that it might be okay, as many shows took 2020 off from production. Yet, it also hasn't been officially renewed yet. You can enjoy at least three seasons; just don't give it your heart because we might never get more. If you love something, sometimes you have to let it go.

Nothing beats the original Iron Chef

There is simply no mistaking the feel of GBBO. Inseparable parts of the atmosphere include the tent in the quaint country field and the quiet British reservedness (nobody there would dare to scream in Paul Hollywood's face that he's wrong about the doneness of a tart, even if he is). If you're looking for that same all-encompassing atmosphere in a show, perhaps with just a bit more edge, then you want the original Japanese version of Iron Chef.

The feel of the show is evident from the very intro wherein the host, known as "The Chairman," bites into a bell pepper, and smiles winningly at the camera. The Iron Chefs emerge from the stage with unbreaking seriousness, seemingly frozen in place until they are chosen. The prize for the winning challenger is the sort not offered on any other show before, namely "The people's ovation and fame forever!" It's over-the-top, especially for a cooking competition, but it's so very enjoyable. Sadly, the American versions of Iron Chef (yes, there's been more than one) have so far failed to achieve quite the same feel, though you may still want to check those shows out, too.

The Great Food Truck Race has food trucks and conspiracy theories

Food Network's The Great Food Truck Race adds a whole new level of challenge that most cooking shows don't have: attracting diners. When your restaurant doesn't have a set location, getting customers is all the more difficult. Food truck owners have to not only find a place where there are plenty of people, but where it's legal for them to park and do business. But a food truck turns out to be a good first step on the way to a stationary eatery, as Food Network reports that many past contestants have gone on to create successful brick-and-mortar restaurants.

Viewers tend to get very invested in their favorite food trucks on the show. There have been some unexpected twists and turns on various seasons that lead to the clear frontrunner of the competition being sent home. This has lead to speculation, like that from Wannabe TV Chef, that the show's rigged. Maybe it's a crazy theory or maybe it's not. You'll have to watch and decide for yourself.

Before the sugar crash there's Sugar Rush

Sugar Rush boasts judges from other successful baking shows. Candace Nelson made her fame on Cupcake Wars. As a judge on Cupcake Wars, she had the enviable job of tasting cupcakes. Over the nine years the show was on the air, that adds up to hundreds of cupcakes tasted. Try not to calculate the calories.

Fellow judge Adriano Zumbo first competed on MasterChef Australia and then went on to host his own baking competition, Zumbo's Just Desserts, which has since released just two seasons. 

Like most competitions, Sugar Rush challenges bakers to complete challenges in a set amount of time. This show has the interesting twist that bakers who finish before time is up can save their remaining time for the next round. But if they don't take enough time to create something that adequately impresses the judges, they won't make it to the next round to use that extra time. There's more strategy in these confections than you'd expect.

The other Great Bake Off

In America, The Great British Bake Off goes by the name The Great British Baking Show due to Pillsbury having already claimed the term "bake off" for their annual baking competition (via PBS). Thus the American spin-off of GBBO is titled The Great American Baking Show. But the American version has bigger problems than just a less-catchy title.

According to CNN, show judge Johnny Iuzzuni was fired and season 3 pulled from TV because of multiple sexual harassment accusations. Even before that, the show suffered from poor rating. Despite the presence of British judges Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry, this show lacks the overwhelming British-ness that is integral to the show. Further seasons of The Great American Baking Show have also been delayed due to the pandemic, as the American version is inexplicably filmed in the same tent in England as the British version.

As a true GBBO fan, you should at least give the American cousin a chance. You may or may not miss the je ne sais quoi that has made GBBO so beloved, however.