Since making its Netflix premiere in 2018, the competitive reality baking show Nailed It! has continued to rank among the most popular culinary TV series today. Aside from its fun format, which borrows from Food Network’s flagship program Chopped, replete with three competitors, a trio of corresponding judges per episode, and a $10,000 grand prize, much of the show’s appeal is derived from the hilarious chemistry between co-hosts Nicole Byer and French pastry chef, Jacques Torres.

To date, there have been five official seasons of Nailed It! and two Nailed It Holiday! spinoff seasons. Here’s how they rank in qualitative order.

7 Season 3 (2019)

When season 3 of Nailed It! opened up with “The Marvel Episode!” co-judged by Felicia Day, fans felt pretty enthusiastic about where the series was headed for the year. However, after the contestants failed to bake delicious Black Panther cupcakes, the season went downhill from there.

After two episodes involving a creepy clown cake and a challenging recreation of Michaelangelo’s statue of David, the season hit a high point in episode 4, “Prehistoric Bakes,” when the contestants were forced to bake an exotic T-Rex cake and Neanderthalic cupcakes. Alas, the finale flamed out with the lowest-rated episode of the season when the contestants were pitted in a high-fashion challenge.

6 Season 4 (2020)

Every new season of Nailed It! boasts higher-profile celebrity guest judges. In season 4, the judges included Adam Scott, Matt Walsh, Fortune Feimster, Gabby Douglas, and more. Still, the season didn’t resonate quite as well as some of the others.

With eight episodes for the first time in series history, season 4 was perhaps mired by some of the more scholastic episodes, such as the Shakespearean-themed “Let’s Get Lit,” and the science-based episode, “The Big Bake Theory.” By contrast, “The One With the 90s Theme” and the western-themed “Howdy, Failure!” were among the most entertaining episodes of the season.


5 Season 2 (2018)

Released roughly 15 weeks after season 1, Nailed It! 2 was received comparably to the inaugural season. The high point came in episode 2 when the contestants epically failed at baking cupcake pops modeled after fairytale characters and a unicorn.

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Another standout in the season came in the penultimate episode, “Out of This World,” in which the contestants tried their best to bake a giant solar system cake. However, the finale saw a massive dip when the bonus episode allowed five fans of the show to participate in the competition. Despite claiming to be fans, the contestants seemed more interested in appearing on TV than actually baking.

4 Season 5: Double Trouble (2021)

To accommodate the COVID-19 protocols, Nailed It! Double Trouble made some technical format changes. In addition to contestants remaining socially distanced and working in pairs this time, the cake choices were made verbally instead of physically. The judging table was also changed from a rectangle to a semi-circle.

Despite the hiccups, season 5 marked a qualitative return to form for the show. The judges included the hilarious Lil Rel Howery, Andrea Savage, Ron Funches, Bobby Lee, Brian Posehn, as well as rapper, A$AP Ferg. The season finale proved to be the best of the bunch when the trio of contestants utterly failed at attempting to make a giant hamburger and french fry cake.

3 Season 1 (2018)

Given the excitement and ingenuity of Nailed It! season 1, it’s no real surprise that the first six episodes rank among the collective upper half of the show to date. The 30-minute format and hilarious interplay between Nicole and Jacques, not to mention everyone’s favorite silent stagehand, Wes, took the world by storm.

In addition to the provocative premise, one of the things that made the first season so enjoyable was the wide array of challenges. The contestants were tasked with baking fancy wedding cakes, cake pops, jelly doughnuts, an edible tower, a chocolate hot tub, and an open-mouthed shark cake, a bubbling volcano cake, a cupcake-themed cocktail, and perhaps most gratifying, an edible statue of Donald Trump.

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2 Nailed It Holiday! Season 2 (2019)

For a variety of reasons, the two seasons of the yuletide spinoff, Nailed It Holiday!, take the format of the original show and improve the overall quality of entertainment. For starters, the holiday season makes everyone happier. Secondly, the Christmas-themed challenges are inherently festive and fun.

Highlights of Nailed It Holiday! 2 include the return of the hysterical Jason Mantzoukas as a judge in episode 1 and his The League costar Paul Scheer participating as a contestant in episode 3. The hilarious Maya Rudolph also appears as a guest-judge in episode 2, while baking challenges range from creating an Ebenezer Scrooge cake and a Grinch-themed spread to decorating ornamental cake pops and a dazzling cake ball to drop on New Year’s.

1 Nailed It Holiday! Season 1 (2018)

Nailed It Holiday! season 1 is the best that the series has to offer so far. The show took the tried-and-true format of the first two non-holiday-themed seasons and augmented the overall experience through sheer yuletide cheer, warmth, and happiness.

In addition to the refreshing holiday wrinkle, one of the season’s high points came when three fan-favorite contestants returned during the penultimate episode and once again made fools of themselves. Another fun moment came in the finale when the contestants were tasked with making ugly Christmas sweaters and a hand-crafted diorama rather than baking treats. Other standout challenges included baking upsidedown Santa Claus cakes, hand-dipped dreidels for Hanukkah, an elaborate turkey cake, and a shiny robot cake with flashing lights.

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