Image: Photo courtesy of Netflix © 2020

14 Go-To Cooking Shows for Fast and Easy Meals

Are you an amateur cook with a busy schedule? Are you looking for ways to create masterful meals while also cutting down on your time in the kitchen? 

If you’re not quite ready to commit to taking a cooking class from a chef online, there are plenty of streaming and cable shows you can turn to for guidance and inspiration with great resources for quick, easy and family-friendly meals. 

PBS

“America’s Test Kitchen”

Highly approachable, “America’s Test Kitchen” is the most-watched cooking show on public television. The hosts, Bridget Lancaster and Julia Collin Davison, along with a slew of expert chefs, food scientists, tasters and cookware specialists, break down recipes from every angle. 

Taking home cooks to school in a cool way, this show provides a true classroom step-by-step experience, which makes it especially valuable for those looking to up their culinary skills.

Where to watch: PBS and PBS Living (subscription available through Prime Video)

“The Mind of a Chef”

Originally produced by the late Anthony Bourdain, each season focuses on a chef or pair of chefs. The show offers an inspiring and eclectic look at food from all around the world, combining cooking, history, science and more. Find out how to make fusion-style delicacies like a French burrito or down-home fare like chicken ‘n’ dumplings.

Where to stream: PBS.org (Seasons 1–5) and on Facebook Watch (Season 6)

“Simply Ming”

Host Chef Ming Tsai is really good at breaking down each step of the culinary process. Now in its 18th season, the show is a veritable buffet: Ming invites his chef friends into his Boston home to make an impromptu meal by blending Eastern and Western staples from his personal pantry. He even travels around to show off other culinary offerings throughout the U.S., providing plenty of opportunities to learn quick, simple yet supremely tasty dishes.

Where to stream: PBS Living (subscription available through Prime Video

Food Network/Discovery+

“The Pioneer Woman”

Chef/host Ree Drummond is one of today’s most popular and relatable TV chefs. She tapes “The Pioneer Woman” in a cozy house on the Oklahoma ranch where she lives and whips up fast, family-friendly meals anyone can follow. Plus, this mom of four demonstrates each recipe in a soft, soothing voice that makes you feel like one of her friends. 

Where to watch: Food Network and stream on Discovery+

“Magnolia Table with Joanna Gaines”

Joanna Gaines fixes up and flips houses, writes children’s books and she can cook, too. In her show, the popular host gets comfortable in her beautiful kitchen and makes her favorite recipes. 

The multitasking mom comes up with fun, simple, tasty dishes that can be made between rounds of carpooling and helping with homework. And she’s not above making a mess. Some of her season 2 creations: French toast crunch, fresh guacamole and Dutch oven lasagna. 

Where to stream: Discovery+

“Barefoot Contessa”

See why Ina Garten just may be the queen of quick and easy meals. On her Food Network cooking show “Barefoot Contessa,” she simply wants to get viewers cooking like pros at home. And she does so by offering up helpful tips, shortcuts and doable recipes, from appetizers and entrees to cocktails. 

Where to watch: Food Network and stream on Discovery+

“5 Ingredient Fix”

The concept of “5 Ingredient Fix” is simple: Host Claire Robinson makes mouthwatering meals using just five ingredients or less. Breakfast to lunch to dinner, she’s all about making dishes that are healthy, affordable and stress-free. 

Where to stream: Discovery+

“Good Eats: The Return

Tune in for the history, stay for the comedy and the cuisine. Culinary icon Alton Brown first explored the origin of ingredients in his classic show “Good Eats,” offering informative and hilarious takes. “Good Eats: The Return” is Brown’s latest incarnation. He covers everything from bone marrow to cold brew to fried breads.

Where to stream: Discovery+

“Guy’s Big Bite”

Guy Fieri is a go big or go home kind of chef. He’s fun, fearless and larger than life. It’s how he approaches good food and how he approaches his shows about food. 

On “Guy’s Big Bite,” his cooking demos are exciting and easy to follow. While he preps the food for grill, stove or oven, he serves up tips and techniques to make the whole experience quicker and easier. 

Where to stream: Discovery+

“The Kitchen”

Welcome to Food Network’s happy place. Hosts Sunny Anderson, Katie Lee, Jeff Mauro and Geoffrey Zakarian provide a fun atmosphere, conjure up simple and quick-to-make dishes, discuss the latest food trends and more. 

They tackle everything from sheet pan meals to creative appetizers and snacks to appealing options for vegans and vegetarians.

Where to watch: Food Network and stream it on Discovery+

“Delicious Miss Brown”

Kardea Brown—Miss Brown, if you’re hungry—highlights scrumptious Southern meals and good old Southern hospitality. She cooks from her home in South Carolina, passing along recipes that have been in her family for generations. She carefully explains each step of the process, sharing her vast knowledge to help you bring great food to the table. 

Where to watch: Food Network and stream it on Discovery+

Netflix

“Waffles + Mochi”

Former First Lady Michelle Obama’s whole mission for “Waffles + Mochi” is to teach kids about fresh, healthy food while at the same time slipping in some cooking lessons. The puppet besties at the heart of this kid cooking show leave their animated home and open themselves to new adventures, new places, new friends and new foods. 

In the premiere episode, Waffles and Mochi learn about the tomato. Famous chef Samin Nosrat (of Netflix’s “Salt Fat Acid Heat”) and celebrity chef/activist José Andrés spread the good word about healthy, delicious meals.

Where to stream: Netflix

“Best Leftovers Ever!”

Cooking competitions are the best examples of quick cooking! Competitors are under strict deadlines to create tasty meals fast. Netflix’s “Best Leftovers Ever!” is no different. 

The show provides takeaway tips, and the home cook contestants give their own play-by-play as they deconstruct leftovers and transform them into competitive masterpieces.

Where to stream: Netflix

HBO Max

“Selena + Chef”

During the pandemic, Selena Gomez decided to learn how to cook. It turned into a hugely successful HBO Max series where she invited us into her kitchen to cook under the guidance of famous chefs. 

The endearing and relatable part is how the chefs teach Selena fundamental skills while also explaining how to cook simple and complex dishes. She makes messes and mistakes, and we love her for it.

Where to stream: HBO Max

A good cooking show binge might be just what you need to boost your confidence and comfort in the kitchen!

Program availability may have changed and is subject to change. Streaming services may require a subscription and sometimes an additional fee.

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