Nigella Lawson's Cooking Shows Ranked From Worst To Best

If the celebrity chef pantheon was to one day be ruled by a monarch, then it would be Nigella Lawson – and not just because she's British. Lawson has been killing it in this space since her first show "Nigella Bites" debuted in 1999. Moreover, she has continually demonstrated that she's charming as heck, an incredible cook, and can translate her culinary knowledge into first-class recipes. Lawson proves that any hungry soul can make food that's enjoyable and delightful.

However, just because Lawson has done a lot of great work, it doesn't mean that everything she's ever touched has completely succeeded. Unfortunately, a number of her TV shows have been average, worse than average, and completely terrible. Yes, even celeb chefs at the top of their game can make some dud seasons.

So, now that we've established that Lawson is capable of making a lot of excellent content and some sour grapes, you're probably wondering which of her series are worthy of your attention. Therefore, to help her fans out with this conundrum, we've compiled a list of Nigella Lawson's TV series ranked from worst to best.

10. Nigella

As we've already established, Lawson has a lot of different talents. She can effortlessly cook up a storm; however, according to Charles Arthur, she cannot run a successful talk show. That's right, in 2005, Lawson hosted an aptly named show called "Nigella," where she would interview her guests while cooking them a delicious meal. Apparently, the multitasking was beyond her capacity and the show was deemed a train wreck.

Take for instance Lawson's interview with radio and TV personality Terry Wogan. In this segment, Wogan interrupts her to ask if she's washed her hands before cooking the bacon. He then goes on to tell her that she is being rude for talking as she chews. Moreover, this is supposedly not her only terrible interview. Arthur recounts an instance where Lawson opens an interview with actress Greta Scacchi by asking why she married her cousin.

To make matters worse, The Guardian reported that at one point the show was getting destroyed in the ratings by popular Aussie sitcom Neighbours. In England, Lawson's debut episode had an estimated 800,000 viewers. Neighbours, on the other hand, had 2.7 million viewers. You don't have to have a diploma in advanced mathematics to determine who won this battle.

9. Simply Nigella

According to Mashable, Lawson broke the internet with her 2018 debuting episode of "Simply Nigella." How, you might ask? She used her new cooking series as a platform to demonstrate how one can make avocado toast. That's right, she walked her viewers through how to spread avocado on toast and top it with radishes and dill. Granted, Lawson did say, "I'm fully aware that avocado toast isn't a recipe," but it wasn't enough to persuade the Twittersphere from roasting this segment.

As one user on Twitter wrote, "New Nigella Lawson cookery show feels beyond parody. So far she's mashed up an avocado and looked at some holiday photos." Another added, "I like #Nigella but Avocado spread on toast? My 4 year old could do better than that!!" However, some folks were less annoyed at the avo toast and more irritated by how Lawson was describing it. A different Twitter user commented, "I wish she'd stop using verbs and adjectives THAT MAKE NO SENSE in reference to food. You cannot drape an avocado."

Another critique comes from The Guardian, noting that the ease and effortlessness with which Lawson whips up her dishes in "Simply Nigella" is somewhat artificial. The publication can't accept that making a cauliflower and chickpea salad or a Thai stir fry could be the completely tranquil experience Lawson makes it out to be. So, because this series features non-recipes countered by fantastical representations of cooking, it's worth skipping.  

8. Forever Summer

Okay folks, we're officially out of the swamp of bad Nigella shows and in the bright green pastures of great ones. That's correct, in the 22 years that Lawson has been making cooking programs, she's only gotten it wrong twice. Which to be honest, is an astounding track record.

So, with all of that in mind, let's discuss Lawson's series "Forever Summer." In a 2003 review for this program, Entertainment Weekly stated that one of the highlights of this show was the cook's playful language sprinkled throughout her tutorials. Lawson describes pieces of chocolate as "cratery splinters" and Japanese noodles as a "slippery tangle." She even instructs her audience members to "serenely, slowly, unworriedly" add sugar into their meringue mixtures. 

However, while this show is an enjoyable romp, it's not a classic. This can be demonstrated by the fact that on IMDb, "Forever Summer" doesn't have a single user review whereas some other Nigella shows feature multiple five-star praises. Moreover, outside of EW's review, there's not much discussion about this show elsewhere online.

7. Nigella: At My Table

The i Paper's review of "Nigella: At My Table" mentions the fact that this series is a follow-up to Lawson's avocado fiasco. Nonetheless, the new program receives some praise, in part because Lawson brings out her A+ game recipes. For example, she makes Turkish eggs which are paired with garlic-infused yogurt, maple syrup brownies to appease those midnight cravings, and shoestring potato fries made with a spiralizer. In "Nigella: At My Table," the recipes are created with comfort food in mind.

However, not every "Nigella: At My Table" review is as overwhelmingly positive, and The Guardian's critique focuses on the wide range of fancy equipment Lawson uses. For instance, her gorgeous food processor costs around $1000. While it's obviously a show, it makes it hard for the average home cook to approximate her recipes when they seem to depend on an endless supply of expensive appliances. Not to mention, The Guardian points out that Lawson appears to never have to do the dishes, which isn't a typical occurrence for most viewers.

6. Nigellissima

Sometimes Lawson's cooking shows are blasted for featuring meals that couldn't be made by her everyday audience. So, when this celeb's new program "Nigellissima" came along, The Guardian decided to try cooking one of the recipes: steak with a side of handmade chips. The dish also features a sauce made with olive oil, oregano, red wine vinegar, salt, and chili flakes. All of these elements were successfully made by The Guardian writer, who found them to be delicious. 

Furthermore, this isn't the only "Nigellissima" dish that a layperson could create. In the Shropshire Star's review, the writer notes that Nigella's chocolate hazelnut cheesecake recipe is incredibly accessible. As Nigella herself says while making it, "It does occur to me that this entire cheesecake is made out of ingredients that come out of packets or jars. Should I be embarrassed, I'm not." Additionally, Nigella also makes a meatzza (a pizza made with a meat base), which Shropshire Star believes that any champ could figure out how to make.

5. Nigella Feasts

Televisionary's review of "Nigella Feasts" expresses that the show is fairly standard fare for Lawson. For example, it features plenty of instances where she sensually describes her cooking, rummages through her pantry, and gets up at midnight for cheeky leftover snacks. However, the fact that the show follows many of the cook's expected routines is far from terrible, and the classic format is just as comforting as the food that "Nigella Feasts" features.

Speaking of comfort food, TVFoodFan reckons that you'll get your fair share. In the first episode alone, Lawson creates a heartwarming chili, some delicious guacamole, and a chocolate cherry trifle. All of her is food is exquisite, so much so that the TVFoodFan writer notes that they were actually compelled to whip up Lawson's chili recipe. Indeed, the point of "Nigella Feasts" is probably to build up your appetite to prepare your own decadent feast.

4. Nigella Kitchen

While it seems odd that the show isn't called "Nigella's Kitchen," we'll set language aside and focus on the goods. The Telegraph was on board with the show, expressing that her recipes are more streamlined and appetizing than earlier ones. For example, viewers will assist Lawson as she makes a squid and prawn seafood mix, pasta with salami, and her mother's recipe for what she calls praised chicken. The Telegraph remarks that all of the meals could be pulled off by someone who isn't a professional cook.

However, if you're worried that this smoother version of Lawson means that she doesn't make any decadent desserts, then cast your concerns aside. Take her chocolate peanut butter cheesecake, which stars a foundation made out of digestive biscuits, butter, chocolate chips, and peanuts. On top of this delight, Lawson loads on a mixture of cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, eggs, and peanut butter. This is followed by a layer of brown sugar, sour cream, and milk chocolate. What more could a dessert-fiend want?

3. Nigella's Cook, Eat, Repeat

"Nigella's Cook, Eat, Repeat" was released in 2020 and it was smashing success. The Guardian review gave this series a four-star rating and stated that this program was a breath of fresh air during England's second COVID-19 lockdown. The outlet also admired the fact that in this series, Lawson had cut out many of the usual lifestyle elements such as going to a holiday cottage or having guests over, and instead, was focusing on what really matters: the recipes.

Indeed, the main event here is certainly the abundance of tempting food. Throughout this series, Lawson whips up a chocolate banana tahini pudding, an onion-based fish finger bhorta, and a vegan cauliflower curry. She even creates a dish combining lamb shanks, noodles, and broth which she describes as a "true lockdown life enhancer." Lockdown or not, you'll want to try out Lawson's selection of recipes and savor the rich flavors.

2. Nigella Bites

Although "Nigella Bites" was Lawson's first show and is over 20 years old at this point, Famous For My Dinner Parties indicates that this classic is definitely worth revisiting. The outlet believes that the show is especially great because Lawson is an unpretentious cook. Now, many a TV critic would disagree with such an assertion, but this website makes some compelling arguments. For one thing, Nigella loves basic ingredients like frozen peas. As she says in this series, "I think the snobbery against them is ridiculous, because unless you've got peas in your own garden, there's no advantage in using fresh, because by the time you buy them, they've all gone to starch anyway. So really, I think it's best to use frozen ones."

Moreover, Nigella isn't afraid of using a food hack that's nitty and gritty. In her lemon linguine recipe, she has to separate egg yolks from the whites. Instead of using a hands-free trick, she cracks the egg in her palm and lets the whites pour through her fingers. It's fair to say not everyone would be so comfortable getting their hands dirty! So there you go, "Nigella Bites" is worth revisiting, and while you're at it, you could even try cooking along with this frozen pea advocate.

1. Nigella Express

In 2008, "Nigella Express" was nominated for two Emmys. That's right, this show was in the running to be the best Outstanding Lifestyle Program, and Lawson herself was a contender for the Outstanding Lifestyle Host category. According to IMDb, this is the only time Lawson has been nominated for this prestigious award. And although she didn't win either category, it is still impressive that the series received multiple award nominations.

The Guardian critic also thought this show was a vibe and a half. In their review, they stated that one of Nigella's standout recipes was a croissant dipped into a double cream, bourbon, and caramel custard. In the episode, Nigella described it as "a bread and butter pudding fit for angels to eat on their clouds." If this dessert is anything to go by, then "Nigella Express" is more than capable of delivering its audience members with some memorable and decadent delights.

Moreover, a lot of folks on Twitter also enjoyed this program. As one person wrote, "Nigella Lawson Express on FoodTV. She's excellent — warm, gets to the point, good recipes, knows her stuff." Another user echoed some of these sentiments and stated, "Watching Nigella Express on Food Network. If we didn't have so much to do today I would be making her cheese cake pancakes & tomato bacon hash." These positive comments prove that "Nigella Express" isn't just for TV critics but indeed, for everyone.