Holiday Wars Season 3: Release Date, Judges, And More - What We Know So Far

For some people, the holiday season is synonymous with "holiday baking," and for the holiday bakers among us, there is exciting news afoot. According to a press release sent to Mashed, the much-anticipated third season of Food Network's "Holiday Wars" has not only been greenlit, but it's coming soon. The basic premise of "Holiday Wars" is that in the leadup to the holiday season, several teams of "cake masters and sugar artists" are pitted against one another in a series of creative and whimsical challenges to create and present the best holiday-themed displays out of cake and sugar. For example, on the very first episode, teams were challenged to present their "most jolly depiction of a heist involving the world's naughtiest kids stealing Santa's famous 'Naughty List,'" according to Food Network.

As "Holiday Wars" is relatively young in comparison to other Food Network holiday baking competitions — such as "Holiday Baking Championship" — it still appears to be finding its footing, with each season thus far having had its own unique characteristics in terms of hosts, judges, and competition structure. So you'll definitely want to read on for what we know so far about "Holiday Wars" Season 3, including its release date, the host, the judges, and more.

When is the 2021 Holiday Wars release date?

"Holiday Wars" first premiered on November 25, 2018, as either pilot-like programming or a one-off special (via Food Network). "Three teams of confectionery artists face off to see who can make the most mind-blowing holiday display that shows who steps in to save the day after Santa's Elves call in sick on Christmas Eve," the network's description reads. Although this particular episode does not appear available to stream at this time (unlike the whole of Seasons 1 and 2), it must have made quite the impact on viewers, because the one-off returned as a series for a full season of four episodes on Sunday, December 1, 2019 (via IMDb). The following year, "Holiday Wars" returned with another six-episode-long season that premiered on Sunday, November 1. 

Now, according to a press release sent to Mashed, "Holiday Wars" is back with its "biggest and tastiest season yet" with a release date set for Sunday, November 7 — again, the first Sunday in November. The first episode premieres at 9 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, with multiple repeat showings and streaming opportunities (via Food Network).

Who will be hosting Holiday Wars Season 3?

As noted above, over its first few seasons, "Holiday Wars" has apparently been experimenting with its format. For example, the first time it aired (in 2018), the prize the contestants were competing for was $10,000 (via Food Network); it became $25,000 the following year and remained the same in 2020. However, it appears that Food Network has not yet announced what the grand prize will be at the end of Season 3, nor how many episodes we can expect. So far, five are listed on Food Network's website, but as discussed below, we're guessing that this is likely an incomplete listing. Another thing that has changed throughout the first several seasons of "Holiday Wars" is who has hosting duties, not to mention how many teams are competing. 

During Season 1, which has four episodes, Jonathan Bennett hosted five teams of "cake masters and sugar artists," as Food Network refers to them. The next year, Raven-Symoné hosted five such teams over the course of six episodes. For Season 3, the host will be the celebrity chef Maneet Chauhan, who will oversee a total of nine teams that will be narrowed down to six by the fourth episode. 

Who will be the judges on Season 3 of Holiday Wars?

For Season 1 of "Holiday Wars," the judges responsible for assessing the contestants' respective works of confectionary artistry were Shinmin Li — who is a veteran of Food Network's "Halloween Wars" — and celebrity sommelier Jason Smith. For the 2nd season, Li stayed on as a judge, and Smith was replaced with Erin McGinn Acevedo, who made a name for herself when she competed for "Team Buddy" on Food Network's 2nd season of "Buddy vs. Duff" in 2019. 

Now that Season 3 of "Holiday Wars" is upon us with Maneet Chauhan doing host duties, Li will be back to judge. But for this go-round, she will be joined by Aarti Sequeira instead of McGinn. Fans of "The Next Food Network Star" may be quite familiar with Sequeira, the chef and cookbook author who was crowned the victor at the end of the 6th season of the high stakes cooking competition.

What else can viewers expect from Season 3 of Holiday Wars?

As noted above, in addition to a new host and one new judge, "Holiday Wars" has also made some format changes for its 3rd season. In years past, "the show started mid-competition," as FoodSided pointed out. "Without any introduction, background or explanation, viewers were thrown into the midst of teams creating a holiday display," with the effect being that "it seemed like you missed the first part of the show." But for Season 3, the first three episodes will be devoted to narrowing down a field of nine teams of cake-and-sugar artisans to six (via Food Network). 

During each of the first three episodes, three teams will compete, with one being eliminated at the end of each episode (a total of six remain by Episode 4). By the end of Episode 4, the field will be narrowed to five teams, and by the end of Episode 5, one more team will have been eliminated. Thus far, however, only five episodes have been announced by Food Network, so it seems reasonable to speculate that Season 3 of "Holiday Wars" will continue past the fifth episode. We do know that the episodes promise to be as whimsical as those of seasons past. For example, in Episode 5, the five remaining teams will be asked to "imagine friendly aliens celebrating their own holidays on another planet." Stay tuned, because this definitely sounds like it could get interesting.