Pillsbury Bake-Off

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The Pillsbury Bake-Off is a cooking contest, first run by the Pillsbury Company from 1949–1976, 2013 to 2014, and since 2017 as an annual contest. From 1978 to 2012, the contest was held biennially.[1] There was no contest in 2015 to 2016.[2]


The first contest was held in 1949 as the Grand National Recipe and Baking Contest and hosted in the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. The grand prize was originally $25,000.[3] From 1996 to 2014, the grand prize was $1,000,000. Since 2018, the grand prize is $50,000 plus a kitchen makeover from GE Appliances.

The only required ingredient in the early contests was Pillsbury's BEST Flour.[4] There was no contest in 1965 because the contest was moved from October to February.[5]

Occasionally, there has been a male category winner (1978, 1990, 1992, and 2002). The only male champion was Kurt Wait of Redwood City, California, who won in 1996; that year, 14 of the 100 finalists were men.

The contest had reverted to an annual contest in 2013 and 2014, after the previous 18 contests were held on the even-numbered years.

In 2014, the contest added eight additional "Sponsor Awards" for a prize of $5,000 each.[6] Categories and winners included:[7]

GE Imagination At Work Award: won by MaryJo Watkins of Scottsdale, Arizona – Muffuletta Mini Pies

Jif® Peanut Butter Award: won by Brenda Watts of Gaffney, South Carolina – Macaroon-Peanut Butter-Chocolate Tartlets

Crisco is Cooking™ Award: won by Greg Fontenot of The Woodlands, Texas – Grilled Potato and Roasted Salsa Verde Pizza

Eagle Brand® Signature Recipe Award: won by Barbara Estabrook of Rhinelander, Wisconsin – Peanut and Pretzel-Peanut Butter Thumbprints

Pillsbury® Gluten Free Award: won by Merry Graham of Newhall, California – Herbs and Seeds Parmesan Crackers

Pillsbury® Clever Twist Award: won by Marie Valdes of Brandon, Florida – Spinach Dip-Stuffed Garlic Rolls

Watkins™ Vanilla Award: won by Antoinette Leal of Ridgefield, Connecticut – Very Vanilla Lemon Tarts

Reynolds® Baking Magic Award: won by Elizabeth Bennett of Seattle, Washington – Chocolate-Peanut Butter-Filled Pretzels


Year(s) Host Network Notes
1949–1957 Arthur Godfrey CBS
1958–68 Art Linkletter
1970–82 Bob Barker Placed in the same hour as a half-hour episode of The Price is Right (except 1970–1972, when Bob Barker was only hosting Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants for the CBS Network prior to his Price Is Right days)
1984–88 Gary Collins & Mary Ann Mobley
1990–1992 Willard Scott Willard Scott became the only NBC contracted person to host the Bake-Off for CBS in 1990.
1994–1998 Alex Trebek This was Alex Trebek's second time on the CBS network, he was last seen on the Network 17 years earlier hosting the Goodson-Todman Game Show Double Dare.
2000 Phylicia Rashad The first woman to host.
2002 Marie Osmond
2004–2006 Not aired N/A Dick Clark hosted the bake-off in 2004, but it wasn't shown on television.
2008 Keegan Gerhard Food Network Aired as an episode of Food Network Challenge
2010 Oprah Winfrey Syndication Winner was announced on The Oprah Winfrey Show
2012 Martha Stewart Hallmark Channel Winner was announced on The Martha Stewart Show
2013 Padma Lakshmi Syndication Winner was announced on The Queen Latifah Show
2014 Carla Hall ABC Winner was announced on The Chew
2018 Ree Drummond Food Network Winners are announced on the Food Network television show The Kitchen
2019 Sunny Anderson/Jeff Mauro

Location held[edit]

  • 1949–56, 1958, 1962, since 2018: Manhattan, New York, NY
  • 1957, 1959, 1961, 1963, 1967: Los Angeles, CA
  • 1960: Washington DC
  • 1964, 1980: Miami, FL
  • 1966, 1975, 2000: San Francisco, CA
  • 1967, Century City, CA
  • 1968, 1996, 2008: Dallas, TX
  • 1969: Atlanta, GA
  • 1970, 1984, 1988, 1994: San Diego, CA
  • 1971: Honolulu, HI
  • 1972: Houston, TX
  • 1973, 2004: Hollywood, CA
  • 1974, 1990: Phoenix, AZ
  • 1976: Boston, MA
  • 1978: New Orleans, LA
  • 1982: San Antonio, TX
  • 1986, 1992, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2012: Orlando, FL
  • 2013: Las Vegas, NV
  • 2014: Nashville, TN

Grand Prize Winners[edit]

Year Recipe Grand Prize Winner/City
1949 No-Knead Water-Rising Twists Theodora Smafield (Detroit, MI)
1950 Orange Kiss-Me Cake Lily Wuebel (Redwood City, CA)
1951 Starlight Double-Delight Cake Helen Weston (La Jolla, CA)
1952 Snappy Turtle Cookies Beatrice Harlib (Chicago, IL)
1953 "My Inspiration" Cake Lois Kanago (Weber, SD)
1954 Open Sesame Pie Dorothy Koteen (Washington, DC)
1955 Ring-A-Lings Bertha Jorgensen (Portland, OR)
1956 California Casserole Hildreth H. Hatheway (Santa Barbara, CA)
1957 Accordion Treats Gerda Roderer (Berkeley, CA)
1958 Spicy Apple Twists Dorothy DeVault (Delaware, OH)
1959 Mardi Gras Party Cake Eunice G. Surles (Lake Charles, LA)
1960 Dilly Casserole Bread Leona Schnuelle (Crab Orchard, NE)
1961 Candy Bar Cookies Alice Reese (Minneapolis, MN)
1962 Apple Pie '63 Julia Smogor (South Bend, IN)
1963 Hungry Boys' Casserole Mira Walilko (Detroit, MI)
1964 Peacheesy Pie Janis Boykin (Melbourne, FL)
1966 Golden Gate Snack Bread Mari Petrelli (Las Vegas, NV)
1967 Muffin Mix Buffet Bread Maxine Bullock (Topeka, KS)
1968 Buttercream Pound Cake Phyllis Lidert (Oak Lawn, IL)
1969 Magic Marshmallow Crescent Puffs Edna M. Walker (Hopkins, MN)
1970 Onion Lover's Twist Nan Robb (Huachuca City, AZ)
1971 Pecan Pie Surprise Bars Pearl Hall (Snohomish, WA)
1972 Streusel Spice Cake
Quick 'n Chewy Crescent Bars
Rose DeDominicis (Verona, PA)
Isabelle Collins (Elk River, MN)
1973 Quick Crescent Pecan Pie Bars
Banana Crunch Cake
Mrs. Jerome Flieller, Jr.(Floresville, TX)
Mrs. Ronald L. Brooks (Salisbury, MD)
1974 Chocolate Cherry Bars
Savoury Crescent Chicken Squares
Francis I. Jerzak (Porter, MN)
Doris Castle (River Forest, IL)
1975 Easy Crescent Danish Rolls
Sour Cream Apple Squares
Barbara S. Gibson (Fort Wayne, IN)
Luella Maki (Ely, MN)
1976 Crescent Caramel Swirl
Whole Wheat Raisin Loaf
Lois A. Groves (Greenwood Village, CO)
Lenora H. Smith (Baton Rouge, LA)
1978 Nutty Graham Picnic Cake
Chick-&-Broccoli Pot Pies
Esther Tomich (San Pedro, CA)
Linda Mowery (Worthington, IN)
1980 Italian Zucchini Crescent Pie Millicent (Caplan) Nathan (Boca Ratón, FL)
1982 Almond-Filled Cookie Cake Elizabeth Meijer (Tucson, AZ)
1984 Country Apple Coffee Cake Susan F. Porubcan (Jefferson, WI)
1986 Apple Nut Lattice Tart Mary Lou Warren (Medford, OR)
1988 Chocolate Praline Layer Cake Julie (Konecne) Bengtson (Bemidji, MN)
1990 Blueberry-Poppy Seed Brunch Cake Linda Rahman (Petunia, CA)
1992 Pennsylvania Dutch Cake and Custard Pie Gladys Fulton (Summerville, SC)
1994 Fudgy Bonbons Mary A. Tyndall (Whiteville, NC)
1996 Macadamia Fudge Torte Kurt Wait (Redwood City, CA)
1998 Salsa Couscous Chicken Ellie Mathews (Port Angeles, WA)
2000 Cream Cheese Brownie Pie Roberta Sonefeld (Hopkins, SC)
2002 Chicken Florentine Panini Denise J. Yennie (Nashville, TN)
2004 Oats 'n Honey Granola Pie Suzanne Conrad (Findlay, OH)
2006 Baked Chicken and Spinach Stuffing Anna Ginsberg (Austin, TX)
2008 Double-Delight Peanut Butter Cookies Carolyn Gurtz (Gaithersburg, MD)
2010 Mini Ice Cream Cookie Cups Sue Compton (Delanco, NJ)
2012 Pumpkin Ravioli with Salted Caramel Whipped Cream Christina Verrelli (Devon, PA)
2013 Loaded Potato Pinwheels Glori Spriggs (Henderson, NV)
2014 Peanutty Pie Crust Clusters Beth Royals (Richmond, VA)
2018 Bejeweled Cranberry-Orange Rolls Amy Nelson (Zionville, NC)
2019 Dublin Cheeseboard-Stuffed Appetizer Bread Melissa Jollands (Hudsonville, MI)


External links[edit]