Person in apron watching tablet with salad

When you don’t have a chef available in your house to cook you up a delicious, gourmet meal, the next best thing is to watch talented (and sometimes not-so-talented) foodies whip up their best edible concoctions to calm your mind’s cravings. And Netflix knows people are looking for food and cooking shows they can stream online to inspire future kitchen adventures, while comfortably enjoying takeout from their own couches.

As such, they’ve curated excellent cooking content from other networks while also creating their own original TV shows. Some of these shows are classic competitions pitting chefs or bakers head-to-head to win a cash prize, while others are more documentary-style, investigating the role that food plays in communities and cultures around the world. Regardless, there’s a food show for every flavor or fancy … and since everyone has to eat, why not take a break from binge-watching old episodes of "Grey’s Anatomy" and tune into one of Netflix’s best cooking or food shows. You’ll want to add these titles to your must-watch list.

Nailed It!

Netflix Nailed It!

If you’re not a proficient baker (but you aspire to be), don’t worry, you’re not alone. "Nailed It!" is the show that makes amateur bakers feel better about their own lacking skills. It features three (generally sub-par) bakers going head-to-head in two separate challenges trying to recreate professional-level pastries and desserts, all with a $10,000 prize on the line. The results usually leave the hosts in fits of laughter, with the challenging task of deciding which baker did the least terrible job of recreating the original item.

While some people might find the main host, Nicole Byer, a bit grating, if you can make it through an episode, you’ll probably have no problem stomaching the cheesy jokes in order to see the ridiculous results. And while Rotten Tomatoes audience scores came in at a not-too-shabby 78%, the rating website’s top critics really enjoyed the break from the average baking show, rating "Nailed It!" at a strong 98%..

The Chef Show

Netflix's The Chef Show Jon Favreau

If you loved the 2014 film "Chef," directed and written by heavy hitter, John Favreau, you need to watch "The Chef Show," stat. This Netflix original is basically a spinoff of the film, but takes a documentary-style trip around the country (and in succeeding seasons, around the world) with John Favreau and chef Roy Choi to investigate the role of cooking and meal-making as an outlet for community and creativity. Given Favreau’s connection to celebrity heavy-hitters like Gwenyth Paltrow and Seth Rogan, each show brings in guests to take part in the road trip-like experience. And, of course, the meals that are made and discussed on the show are the types of food you’re going to drool over, featuring everything from Southern barbecue to Korean cuisine. And, like cooking shows of old, you may actually learn a thing or two about whipping up crowd-pleasing meals for your family and friends. And who doesn’t want that?

Chef’s Table

Netflix's Chef's Table food spread

"Chef’s Table" is essentially Netflix’s love story about food. Each episode follows a singular, world-renowned chef and dives into his or her story, detailing the drive and obsession that landed them in the upper-echelons of the culinary arts. The reality is, chefs aren’t known for being particularly laid-back people, and with millions of restaurants and eateries around the world, it takes something truly different to stand out and craft the perfect meal.

Directed by David Gelb, the mastermind behind "Jiro Dreams of Sushi," this docu-series offers a somewhat more serious view of the world of food, and takes viewers on a trip to locations far and wide, enabling you to feast on beautiful scenery as much as tantalizing treats. Even if you’re not usually a documentary-lover, the storytelling in "Chef’s Table" just might make you a believer, like it has so many other viewers. In fact, on IMDb, the more than 13,000 ratings give "Chef’s Table" an impressive 8.6 stars.

Ugly Delicious

David Chang holding big steak

If you’ve been missing Anthony Bourdain-style food-meets-travel documentaries, you need to tune in to "Ugly Delicious," hosted by celebrity chef and mastermind behind the Momofuku restaurants, David Chang. Unlike many other food shows, Chang dives into food culture and history, while touching on important subjects like politics and cultural appropriation, focusing on a different type of food for each episode. And unlike many other food shows, there’s less focus on high-end, gourmet dishes and perfect presentation, and more focus on food that just tastes good, with the goal to help remove elitism from the food industry. As such, there are shows discussing crawfish, tacos, pizza, fried chicken, and even curry.

"Ugly Delicious" was nominated for an Emmy award in 2020, and has a solid 7.8 stars with more than 3,000 ratings on IMDb. And while the show only has two seasons (one is a short, four episodes), that just means you can knock out all of the available shows in a single weekend (you know, if you’re into binging TV). We suggest planning ahead and whipping up (or ordering in) the same type of food featured on each show.

Waffles + Mochi

Netflix's Waffles + Mochi puppet with michelle obama

If you’ve got kids in the house and you’re looking for a way to encourage healthy eating, it’s time to tune in to "Waffles + Mochi," the educational cooking show hosted by former First Lady, Michelle Obama. As a continuation of her long-standing crusade to promote children’s physical activity and nutrition, Mrs. Obama teamed up with a duo of puppets (named Waffles and Mochi, respectively) to travel the world, investigate where different foods and cuisines come from, then get in the kitchen to cook them up.

As one of the newer shows on this list — released in March 2021 — there are fewer reviews to consider when looking for audience response, but IMDb has a solid 7.5 stars from more than 400 reviews, and Rotten Tomatoes’ audience score is sitting at an excellent 74%. Best of all, it’s a show that’s truly designed to appeal to a young audience, which automatically sets it apart from most other cooking and food shows around.

Nadiya Bakes

Netflix's Nadiya Hussain cooking

If you’ve been watching "The Great British Baking Show" (unfortunately it was pulled from Netflix in April 2021), then you might be familiar with one of the show’s favorite winners, Nadiya Hussain. Now, Nadiya is hosting her own baking show for Netflix, appropriately titled "Nadiya Bakes." What makes the show a little different from some of the others on this list, is it’s really a more traditional baking show, where she spends each episode teaching the ins and outs of how to tackle specific types of dishes, whether it’s cookies, cakes, or quiches.

The show is a slightly different take on the BBC’s version that goes by the same name. This means, like "The Great British Baking Show," you can expect a slightly slower pace and more "British feel" than many other Netflix food shows. But, if you decide you love learning with Nadiya, and the eight episodes of Season 1 just don’t give you enough to work with, you’re in luck. Nadiya actually has a second Netflix show titled "Nadiya’s Time To Eat," where she dives into making other types of cuisine.

Best Leftovers Ever!

Netflix's Best Leftovers Ever!

When searching for another lighthearted baking competition show akin to (but different from) "Nailed It!," look no further than Netflix’s "Best Leftovers Ever!" In this show, three trained chefs are given different types of leftovers and are tasked with transforming whatever they’re given into an entirely new (and fancy) dish. So whether they receive day-old tacos or food from a kid’s birthday party, their culinary prowess is truly put to the test.

And while the show itself is all fun and games (with the winner taking home $10,000), it’s actually a good way to learn how to repurpose those leftovers you never know how to re-use. Just keep in mind, the contestants being featured are actual chefs, so the repurposed meals they make may not be in your own leftovers wheelhouse. That said, it’s good for getting the creative juices flowing. Plus, the hosts (and contestants) offer tips on rehydrating and reheating meats, how to mask overpowering spices, and even how to turn rice into an unexpected topping, rather than a starchy base. So you can actually pick up a few helpful tips to apply to your own home-cooked menus.

The show was released at the end of 2020, and there’s no word as of April 2021 if there will be a second season, but according to Fansided’s "Hidden Remote," it’s a no-brainer. The show must go on. But even if it doesn’t, you must tune in to Season 1.

Salt Fat Acid Heat

Netflix's Salt Fat Acid Heat

Netflix’s four-part mini-series, "Salt Fat Acid Heat," features one episode on each of the four key ingredients that host, Samin Nasrat, says make food taste good. And not only did she travel the world to investigate how different foods and flavors come together to create a delicious menu, but she did so in a truly Anthony Bourdain-style docuseries that combines storytelling and travel experiences with a little bit of cooking instruction, too. The approach has resonated with viewers, with IMDb accumulating a 7.7 star rating amongst almost 2,000 reviews.

And really, her thesis makes sense — whether you’re eating fried chicken or gelato, you can identify where one (or more) of these four elements plays a critical role in crafting the perfect dish. So if your curiosity is piqued, and you’re ready to start applying these "rules" to your own cooking, go ahead and take a deep dive to watch the full series (it’s only four episodes long, so surely you can find the time).

Zumbo’s Just Desserts

Netflix's Zumbo's Just Desserts

If you’re a dessert fan who wants to be transported to a fanciful world filled with chocolates, cookies, and cakes that are not your grandma’s bundt cake, look no further than "Zumbo’s Just Desserts." This show can be streamed on Netflix, but it originally aired in Australia before Netflix acquired the rights, which means this competition cooking show is also filled with contestants and hosts who have dreamy, Australian accents.

The show itself is hosted by Australia’s go-to pastry chef, Adriano Zumbo, who also happens to be one of the judges on another Netflix Show — "Sugar Rush." The desserts the contestants are trying to whip up are inspired by Zumbo’s own ingenious creations, hence the title of the show. Zumbo also serves to guide viewers with tips and instructions, while pointing out common dessert-making pitfalls. So between the out-of-this-world desserts, the delicious accents, and the zest of an exciting competition show, it’s a no-brainer to add "Zumbo’s Just Desserts" to your much-watch list.

The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell

Netflix's The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell

If your favorite holiday is Halloween, and you love the thought of being walked through delightfully creepy bakes by a Morticia Addams-like host, then "The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell" should be on the top of your Netflix viewing list. Admittedly, this is not your typical cooking show. Sure, the show’s host (Christine McConnell, naturally), walks you through baking and craft tutorials that are hauntingly weird, but the show is filled with creepy monster-like characters that really do lend an Addam’s Family vibe to the whole thing.

The fact that the show is so … different … could explain why it only had a single, six-episode season. But those who found it, watched it, and reviewed it, proving that the show clearly resonated and was worthy of its 7.8 star rating on IMDb with more than 2,000 reviews. So even if you’re not into off-beat shows on a regular basis, it might be worth tuning in around Halloween, just to help you get in the spooky holiday spirit.

Crazy Delicious

Netflix's Crazy Delicious

"Crazy Delicious" is another cooking show that falls into the realm of "fanciful," — borrowing a bit from "Zumbo’s Just Desserts" as an out-of-this-world competition show focused on creative cooking. It has a dash of "The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell," in that it wants you to enter a different world when watching the show. In fact, the set, as a whole, is edible, and contestants gather many of their cooking elements from the set to pull together their recipes in the hopes of winning "the golden apple."

The thing is, if you’re into Willy Wonka and more of an off-beat approach to cooking and baking, you’ll probably love "Crazy Delicious," but if you’re more of a stickler for reality-based reality competitions, it might not be for you. As a mid-2020 release, reviews are still rolling in as more people discover the show and rate and review it, but as of January 2022, IMDb had almost 900 reviews with a respectable 6.7-star average.

The American Barbecue Showdown

holding barbecued brisket

With all the baking and general cooking competition shows available to stream on Netflix, it’s kinda nice to have a show that’s entirely focused on a different and specific type of cuisine. And that’s exactly what Netflix delivers with "The American Barbecue Showdown." This competition show pits eight grill masters against each other to claim the title of "best meat."

Considering how big barbecue competitions are around the country, it makes sense that Netflix would center a show around this Southern staple. And having been released in the heat of barbecue’s hottest season — summer — it quickly rose in popularity, becoming one of Netflix’s favorite summer 2020 titles, and IMDb has amassed a nice 7.2-star rating with more than 800 reviews. Of course, it’s unlikely to appeal to vegans or vegetarians, but if you’re a fan of brisket, pulled pork, and a good ol’ hamburger, you’re bound to start drooling while watching the pits heat up. Just one fair warning — episode five features "wild meats" like iguana, raccoon, beaver, and alligator … so it’s definitely not just standard grilling fare.

Cooked with Cannabis

Netflix's Cooked with Cannabis

Okay, so depending on your personal views of marijuana, you may or may not love one of Netflix’s 2020 releases, "Cooked with Cannabis." But if you’ve always been curious about how to incorporate marijuana into an edible form (aside from baking brownies), this competition show may just be your jam. The format doesn’t break the mold of competition cooking shows, so you’re not in for any big surprises, and unsurprisingly, the contestants and judges have certainly been enjoying their own fair share of weed.

According to Mashable, the resulting stoner humor might not be as funny to someone who’s not as high as the hosts and contestants themselves. That said, if you’re into weed culture and recent legalizations have made it easier for you to do your own cannabis cooking experimentations, "Cooked with Cannabis" does a better job of delivering on viewer’s expectations than Netflix’s previous attempt (which is also available to stream), "Cooking on High." According to IMDb viewer ratings, the two shows scored 6.6 and 4.9 stars, respectively.