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Pillsbury Bake-Off

The Pillsbury Bake-Off is a cooking contest, first run by Pillsbury Company from 1949 to 1976 as an annual contest. Since then, the contest has been held biennially.


The Grand Prize in the first contest — then called the Grand National Recipe and Baking Contest and hosted in the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel — was $ 50,000. The winner of the 2008 contest held at the Fairmont Dallas Hotel took home a million dollars.

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

Since 1996, the Grand Prize has been $1 million. The first $1 million prize was won by a man, and that year 14 of the 100 finalists were men.

CBS has always televised this event, up to 2002. Hosts have included Arthur Godfrey (1949–1950s), Art Linkletter (1960's), Bob Barker (1970's), Gary Collins (1980's), Willard Scott (1990–1994), Alex Trebek (1996–1998), Phylicia Rashad (2000) and Marie Osmond (2002). The television airings were produced by Mark Goodson Productions. Bob Barker was the first host to have a male category champ in 1978. Willard Scott & Marie Osmond also had male category champs (1990 & 1992 for Willard) while Alex Trebek had the pleasure to witness history when Kurt Wait won the 1996 Bake-Off.

Grand Prize Winners

Year Recipe Grand Prize Winner
1949 No-Knead Water-Rising Twists Theodora Smafield
1950 Orange Kiss-Me Cake Lily Wuebel
1951 Starlight Double-Delight Cake Helen Weston
1952 Snappy Turtle Cookies Beatrice Harlib
1953 "My Inspiration" Cake Lois Kanago
1954 Open Sesame Pie Dorothy Koteen
1955 Ring-A-Lings Bertha Jorgensen
1956 California Casserole Hildreth H. Hatheway
1957 Accordion Treats Gerda Roderer
1958 Spicy Apple Twists Dorothy DeVault
1959 Mardi Gras Party Cake Eunice G. Surles
1960 Dilly Casserole Bread Leona Schnuelle
1961 Candy Bar Cookies Alice Reese
1962 Apple Pie '63 Julia Smogor
1963 Hungry Boys' Casserole Mira Walilko
1964 Peacheesy Pie Janis Risley
1966 Golden Gate Snack Bread Mari Petrelli
1967 Muffin Mix Buffet Bread Maxine Bullock
1968 Buttercream Pound Cake Phyllis Lidert
1969 Magic Marshmallow Crescent Puffs Edna M. Walker
1970 Onion Lover's Twist Nan Robb
1971 Pecan Pie Surprise Bars Pearl Hall
1972 Streusel Spice Cake
Quick 'n Chewy Crescent Bars
Rose DeDominicis
Isabelle Collins
1973 Quick Crescent Pecan Pie Bars
Banana Crunch Cake
Albina Flieller
Bonnie Brooks
1974 Chocolate Cherry Bars
Savory Crescent Chicken Sandwiches
Francis I. Jerzak
Doris Castle
1975 Easy Crescent Danish Rolls
Sour Cream Apple Squares
Barbara S. Gibson
Luella Maki
1976 Crescent Caramel Swirl
Whole Wheat Raisin Loaf
Lois Ann Groves
Lenora H. Smith
1978 Nutty Graham Picnic Cake
Chick-N-Broccoli Pot Pies
Esther Tomich
Linda Mowery
1980 Italian Zucchini Crescent Pie Millicent (Caplan) Nathan
1982 Almond-Filled Cookie Cake Elizabeth Meijer
1984 Country Apple Coffee Cake Susan F. Porubcan
1986 Apple Nut Lattice Tart Mary Lou Warren
1988 Chocolate Praline Layer Cake Julie Bengtson
1990 Blueberry-Poppy Seed Brunch Cake Linda Rahman
1992 Pennsylvania Dutch Cake and Custard Pie Gladys Fulton
1994 Fudgy Bonbons Mary Anne Tyndall
1996 Macadamia Fudge Torte Kurt Wait
1998 Salsa Couscous Chicken Ellie Mathews
2000 Cream Cheese Brownie Pie Roberta Sonefeld
2002 Chicken Florentine Panini Denise JoAnne Yennie
2004 Oats 'n Honey Granola Pie Suzanne Conrad
2006 Baked Chicken and Spinach Stuffing Anna Ginsberg
2008 Double-Delight Peanut Butter Cookies Carolyn Gurtz


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