When it comes to relaxing content, cooking shows are the crème de la crème of easy-watching feel-good TV. Whether a host is taking you on a tour of essential culinary destinations and uncovering the hidden foodie gems of the world, teaching you the history behind a favorite food you take for granted, or competing in a high-stakes cooking contest for the grand prize, there’s something about food that takes us back to our comfort zone. Whether you’re looking for some feel-good foodie fun to watch on Netflix, want to do some second-hand traveling, or need some inspiration for what to cook tonight, we’ve got you covered with the best food and cooking shows on Netflix right now.
Looking for more nonfiction content? Check out our lists of the best food docs, overall documentaries, reality shows, and shows on Netflix, or check out the best shows to binge-watch across all genres and platforms.
Editor’s note: This article was updated May 2023 to include Cooking with Paris.
Ugly Delicious (2018-present)
You’d be hard-pressed to name a celebrity chef with more cultural cache than David Chang right now, and the restauranteur and Momofuku founder brings all that heat to his personality-fueled series Ugly Delicious, which is equal parts travel food doc, culinary history, and reality hangout. Featuring a rotating lineup of familiar guests, including Danny McBride and Stephen Yeun, Chang picks up the mantle of the brash and boisterous travel food show popularized by Anthony Bourdain and travels across the world on a fascinating mission to understand the cultural and historical influences behind humanity’s favorite foods.
Whether he’s trying to understand the universal obsession with tacos, investigating how New Orleans’ obsession with tradition keeps their food scene stagnant, or in the series most powerful episode yet, processing the birth of his firstborn in an episode focused on kids’ food, Chang makes for a fascinating, perfectionist sounding board through which the audiences gets a new perspective on international cuisine. Unless you’re a food historian yourself, you’re gonna get a crash course on the foods you love, from Pizza to Curry, and with Chang’s fanatical drive to consider and uncover an endless array of context, it’s one of the most insightful, surprisingly emotional, and undeniably stellar food shows out there.
Cooking with Paris (2021)
Creator: Paris Hilton
Cast: Paris Hilton, Lele Pons, Demi Lovato
Listen, when Lil B coined the phrase “.et that boy cook,” he definitely wasn’t talking about Paris Hilton (House of Wax), who uses her six-episode series to showcase her beautiful kitchen and awful food. Cooking with Paris is essentially her own personal Nailed It, where she stumbles about trying to make different dishes with fun celebrity guests like Demi Lovato, Nikki Glaser, and Kim Kardashian. Though Hilton has mostly dropped her aloof, ditzy character from the early 2000s, it’s almost nostalgic to watch her pick it up again for the show and give us another little taste of The Simple Life on a smaller scale. Overall, it’s a cute show to pop on when looking for something with low stakes and high entertainment value.
Easy Bake Battle (2022-present)
Cast: Antoni Porowski, Jacques Torres, Alyse Whitney, Monti Carlo
Queer Eye star Antoni Porowski hosts Easy Bake Battle, which is loosely inspired by Hasbro’s iconic toy, the Easy-Bake Oven. In Easy Bake Battle, amateur cooks compete within specific parameters to create delicious foods utilizing ingenious kitchen hacks. With a unique goal of crafting easy and fast treats, Easy Bake Battle challenges the contestants, who are often home cooks, parents, or just homemakers, setting itself apart from more traditional cooking shows. Joining bubbly host Porowski are incredible expert judges like Nailed It’s Jacques Torres, as well as Alyse Whitney and Monti Carlo. – Yael Tygiel
Snack Vs. Chef (2022-present)
Hosted by: Megan Stalter, Hari Kondabolu
A new cooking show with a twist, Snack Vs. Chef follows 12 professional chefs as they compete for $50,000. In Snack vs. Chef, these cooks are asked to make iconic snacks like Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. These recreations are graded on more than taste, consistency, and appearance, as the chefs must also ensure the signature experience like messy bright red cheese powder. In a delicious blend of Chopped meets Top Chef, Snack vs. Chef allows three contestants at a time, narrowing down the 12 until only two remain to battle it out for the grand prize. With hosts like Megan Stalter (Hacks) and Hari Kondabolu, Snack vs. Chef is a tasty good time.
Junior Baking Show (2011-present)
Directed by: Amanda Westwood
A spinoff of the ultra-popular The Great British Bake-Off, Junior Baking Show sees kids aged 9 to 15 compete to be crowned the champion. It’s incredible to see what these children can do, working under pressure to create gorgeous and delicious-looking treats. From cookies to cakes, pastries to puddings, Junior Baking Show is sure to make your mouth water and heart soar, as it’s impossible not to root for these talented young chefs. – Taylor Gates
Is It Cake? (2022-present)
Created by: Dan Cutforth, Jane Lipsitz
Cast: Mikey Day, Jonny Manganello, Andrew Fuller, Loni Love
Inspired by the viral phenomenon, Is It Cake? allows skilled artists in the field of cake design to compete for money by crafting cakes that look like other things. Hosted by SNL’s Mikey Day, and starring breakout internet sensation Jonny Manganello, Is It Cake? Is a competition game show pitting talented creators against each other with elaborate challenges such as building a replica of a sewing machine out of nothing but deliciously edible cake. With a cast of hilarious bakers, as well as famous comedian judges like Loni Love, Bobby Moynihan, and Fortune Feimster, Is It Cake is a fun and funny experience for the whole family. – Yael Tygiel
Nadiya’s Time To Eat (2019-present)
Nadiya’s Time to Eat is a joyful, colorful, and deliciously fun show perfect for stress-free watching (and for learning stress-free recipes). Starring the Season 6 winner of the Great British Baking Show, Nadiya Hassain, the show puts an emphasis on easy cooking cheats that will help home chefs cook delicious meals while still making time for the things they love; family, friends, and good times. Nadiya is bright and funny, and her love for cooking shines almost as brightly as her love for the ones she cooks for. Notable recipes include a salmon poke bowl, raspberry cheesecake croissants, and even barbecue lamb with a rhubarb glaze! — Olivia Fitzpatrick
The American Barbecue Showdown (2020-present)
If you love barbecue, you’re probably going to be addicted to The American Barbecue Showdown, and upset that there’s currently only one season of it. The show has a similar format to The Great British Baking Show where a group of contestants has a different challenge every week for two esteemed judges (Kevin Bludso and Melissa Cookston), and at the end of the episode, someone is sent home until the finale when one contestant is crowned the winner.
What gives Barbecue its unique flavor is that there are so many different things to do with the various meats the contestants have at their disposal as well as the different ways that cooking barbecue can go awry. While there are times when The American Barbecue Showdown gets too much into the game rather than the food (one episode has the contestants cooking up animals like raccoon and iguana), the barbecue and the sides look fantastic, and like Baking Show, the show is savvy enough to know that it’s better when contestants have a positive attitude towards each other rather than being cutthroat competitors. They know to save the cutting for the meat. – Matt Goldberg
Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat (2018)
Samin Nosrat won a James Beard Award for her cookbook Salt. Fat. Acid. Heat. before she decided to dig even deeper with her Netflix docuseries also named Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat. Spread across four episodes, each focused on one of those titular elements, the series follows Nosrat around the world on a mission to further understand and educate about the tenants of great cooking. Nosrat got her start in the kitchen of the great Alice Waters at Chez Panisse, where she learned how chefs embraced their understanding of those core tenants to move beyond recipes to instinctual cooking. But those four components: salt, fat, acid, and heat just kept coming up, no matter which accomplished chef she was talking to. Combining elements of documentary filmmaking, education, cooking instructional, historiography, and personality-led travel adventure, Salt. Fat. Acid. Heat. is a killer watch for anyone who wants a holistic understanding of great cooking, and the unsung chefs behind it.
Somebody Feed Phil (2018-present)
Another absolute gem in the travel food category, Somebody Feed Phil finds comedian and Everybody Loves Raymond creator Phil Rosenthal heading to culinary hot spots all around the world to sample the wares, mingle with the locals, and generally share his endless supply of good vibes with everyone he meets. Rosenthal isn’t a chef, he’s not a restauranteur, but he is a vocally passionate enthusiast of yummy food and good company. And it’s just that simple. Rosenthal’s is infectious, which makes joining him on his adventures an absolute joy. Whether he’s grinning from ear to ear after chowing down on a local delicacy or delighting in an especially witty verbal sparring partner, Rosenthal makes you feel like you’re part of the fun. And just try to get the jazzy theme song out of your head after your feel-good binge, I dare you.
The Chef Show (2019-present)
With beloved hits like Iron Man, Elf, and most recently, Disney’s first live-action Star Wars series, The Mandalorian, Jon Favreau has established himself as a king of crowd-pleasing content, and with Netflix’s relentlessly charming cooking series The Chef Show, Favreau brings all that feel-good energy to one of the best easy-watching shows on Netflix. Re-teaming with his Chef consultant Chef Roy Choi, Favreau takes a cross-country food journey with his friend and mentor, meeting up with some of the biggest names in cuisine and entertainment alike along the way. Unfortunately, The Chef Show first went viral thanks to the moment Gwenyth Paltrow had no idea she was in Spider-Man, which doesn’t do service to how powerfully pleasant the series is in its own right. Favreau is infectiously enthusiastic, about his all-star guests, but most of all, about the food and the art of making it so damn delicious, and with one of America’s great chefs at his side, he makes for a dream companion for a streaming foodie road trip.
Zumbo’s Just Desserts (2016-2020)
Zumbo’s Just Desserts may have flown under your radar, but you’re going to want to fix that because the Australian baking competition is extra in the highest order. Inspired by the over-the-top confectionary creations of Sugar Rush and MasterChef Australia familiar Adriano Zumbo, the cooking competition series pits aspiring bakers against each other in a series of themed contests. The twist is that the bottom-scoring pair of competitors square off at the end of each episode to recreate one of Zumbo’s outrageously intricate and flashy concoctions. Literally nobody is up to the task, ever, but they do their darnedest and it’s endlessly entertaining to watch them race the clock to finish a 13-layer cylindrical cake, melting hover chocolate, or whatever insanity Zumbo cooks up in each new episode.
Dropped into a Willy Wonka-style candyland of neon-drenched whimsy, the competitors are by and large charming, likable people you can’t help but root for, but Season 1 also has the advantage of showcasing one of the best cooking contest “villains” in recent memory. Well cast, edited, and arranged (and set-designed to filth) Zumbo’s Just Desserts is intentionally flamboyant and playful, from the design to the deserts themselves, to the point that it’s about two notches away from becoming an all-out parody. But that’s what makes it such an indulgent treat.
Nadiya Bakes (2020-present)
If her success as the Season 6 winner of the Great British Baking Show doesn’t make you want to learn her recipes, her joyful attitude and genuine excitement over the things she makes certainly will. Nadiya Hussain is a tidal wave of warmth and laughter in this feel-good journey through some of her favorite recipes, from mango coconut cake to a tower made out of biscuits. Each episode features a fellow baker, showing off their skills and baking prowess, and it is nearly impossible to keep your stomach from grumbling when each new recipe looks more delicious than the last. This show is the kind of feel-good watch where each episode will leave you hungry for more. — Olivia Fitzpatrick
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Chef’s Table (2015-2019)
If you’re a hardcore foodie or casual student of the culinary arts, you can’t do much better than Chef’s Table for an insightful look into the artistry, ethos, and often all-consuming obsession that chefs around the world bring to their trade. The series was created by Jiro Dreams of Sushi director David Gelb and much like his celebrated 2011 documentary, Chef’s Table is all about the mastery of technique and lifelong dedication behind the world’s most celebrated chefs. Each episode of the Netflix original focuses on a different chef, and whether they forged a career in the culinary arts as a path to embrace their culture or through a compulsive drive to bake the perfect loaf of bread, each story is a one-of-a-kind glimpse at what drives someone to dedicate their life to food and how some of the foremost innovators in their trade developed their style. It’s a bit more serious and contemplative than the standard food doc, but it’s educational, gorgeously composed, and like all great docs, leaves you absorbed in the personalities it profiles.
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The Final Table (2018-present)
Netflix’s take on the elite cooking competition series à la MasterChef and Iron Chef, The Final Table is straight-up not on the level of the series from which it takes its inspiration. It is, however, an unintentionally scathing insight into a darker side of food culture and the power disparities that disenfranchise minority chefs in the culinary world, and for that, it’s a pretty fascinating watch. The set-up finds 24 celebrated chefs from around the world, adorned with various accolades from Michelin stars to regional prizes, competing to execute the perfect dish from destinations around the globe. For their “trip” to America, they must craft a Thanksgiving dinner. For Brazil, the traditional Feijoada stew. And so on, through various cuisines, from India to Japan. And what’s it all for? Where most cooking shows have cash prizes, book deals, or other career-making opportunities as a reward, the already established chefs here are competing for the nebulous honor of winding up at the “final table”.
So far, so good if a bit overfamiliar, but The Final Table is a strangely out-of-touch series, too. It sports a seemingly willfully blithe attitude towards the historical implications of the food cultures they’re exploring (the oh-so-casual glancing over slavery and sugar plantations in the Feijoada episode is a particularly insert “excuse me” gif moment, not to mention the uncomfortable ogling over Brazilian model and guest judge Alessandra Ambrosia.) And then there’s the matter of the inherently biased contests themselves, which favor the classically-trained chefs all along the way, leaving those with more regionally refined or distinct palettes and skillsets on the sidelines when they fail to execute a perfect traditional dish. There’s also the notable gender disparity in the competitors and judges alike, a general empty-woosh feeling to the absurdly massive cooking arena, and the absolute choice to pick Thanksgiving Dinner of all dishes to represent USA cuisine (again, with absolutely no introspection about the complicated historical connotations of that choice.) In short, it’s a mess, but it’s a fascinating mess. Best paired with Ugly Delicious as a contrast case for how you explore international cuisine with grace, The Final Table is one of the most interesting because it is such an oddity in Netflix’s lineup.
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The elevator pitch for Million Pound Menu is that it’s Netflix’s Shark Tank for chefs and aspiring restaurateurs. Basically, would-be restaurant owners and established folks looking to expand have the opportunity to pitch their business to a panel of judges and would-be investors. The BBC Two series makes for an entertaining watch and it certainly knows how to layer on the dramatics, making the contestants wait for an hour in an empty room for their potential investors to show up and doling out the intense music for audiences to experience the agony along with them in hyper-speed. If you’re curious about the ins and outs of running a fast-casual restaurant, there’s a decent amount of actual information tucked into the dramatics, but for the most part, Million Pound Menu leans heavily on the “competition” side of the food entertainment spectrum rather than “educational” — which is exactly what makes it such a fun binge-watch, even if like so many fast food options, you barely remember the flavor the moment it’s done.
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The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell (2018)
Without a doubt the most unique and innovative food and cooking shows on Netflix, The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell tragically only lasted one season, but what a delightful six episodes of television we were blessed with. The title host and creator of the series, McConnell earned viral fame for her phenomenally ornate, goth-influenced creations, from wondrous sugary concoctions to her equally impressive home transformations. With The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell, she took all that impressive aesthetic and infused it into a classic kitchen cooking show by way of Henson puppet sitcom, and yes it’s every bit as fun and unusual as it sounds. McConnell’s decadent, absurdly detailed deserts are all but impossible to recreate at home and the series knows it, skimping on the tutorial portion in favor of bizarre comedy beats and Tim Burton meets Dita Von Teese showmanship. From the tentacled creature in McConnell’s refrigerator to the fashionable ghost in her mirror (played by Von Teese no less,) McConnell’s home is a wonderland of weirdness. And not to be dramatic, but I would literally die for the emotionally unstable and endlessly horny reanimated roadkill, Rose.
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Taco Chronicles (2019-present)
It’s pretty much undisputed truth that if you don’t like tacos, you probably just haven’t had the right taco yet. Heck, the great food critic Jonathan Gold basically built a brand around the belief that they’re the perfect food. But the little tortilla-shelled snacks aren’t just the height of deliciousness, they represent a vast legacy of culinary tradition and food history that traces back to various cultures.
In Taco Chronicles, you get a crash course in the varied roots of the beloved menu staple, from its roots in Mayan and Lebanese cuisine to becoming a beloved essential in Mexico, the States, and the world over. To trace the origins of the taco is to look back on centuries of immigration, adaptation, and intermingling cultures, and Taco Chronicles charts that rich history by documenting six different types of tacos; their history, regional importance, cooking methods, essential ingredients, and the chefs who lead the contemporary field.
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Sugar Rush (2018-2020)
The Martha Stewart Show helped make baking accessible. Cake Boss and Ace of Cakes helped make it glamorous. Cake Wars and The Great British Baking Show made it competitive. And with Sugar Rush, Netflix gets in on the game with a next-level, post-Instagram, neon-lit baking competition that pits four teams of bakers against each other in a triple tournament to sugary victory. Round one is cupcakes, round two is confections, and round three serves up the most over-the-top cakes in a battle royale of edible aesthetics and showmanship. Squaring off against their opponents and the relentlessly ticking clock, the teams have to craft their sweets around sometimes nebulous concepts like “surprise” or “trending”. It’s not a particularly innovative idea for a baking competition and it’s got a whole heap of that Netflix polish to keep your eyes well-fed with visual candy, but it’s the competitors themselves who bring the innovation and it’s consistently fun to see what wild concoctions they come up within each new challenge.
Watch on Netflix
The Great British Baking Show (2010-present)
I say this without hyperbole: The Great British Baking Show is one of the best TV shows ever made. I had seen a lot of food/cooking TV before mine eyes witnessed the glory of TGBBS, so I was primed for some dramatic editing, contestants painted as “characters,” and cutthroat competition. What makes The Great British Baking Show so good is it dispenses with the pretense and is simply just about baking. There’s no cash prize at the end, just bragging rights. Contestants tackle three different challenges each week, where they’re given a set time to complete a specific bake. But in contrast to most American competition series, these contestants openly and willingly help one another. They’re nice. So nice that you may spontaneously burst into tears once you start digging in, taken aback at the sheer and utter humanity on display. These are just normal people who love baking, coming together to whip up some savory bread or dainty tarts or extravagant cakes. It’s all just so pleasant, and this has become a go-to for me when I need a pick-me-up or a pure feel-good television show. It’s utterly unique, and in the world of cooking shows, that’s genuinely hard to find. – Adam Chitwood