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Frequently Asked Questions about The Pillsbury Bake-Off® Contest

Want to enter your recipe in the Pillsbury Bake-Off® Contest but have questions? We’ve got answers to your most common questions right here! MORE+ LESS-
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Entering Your Recipe

Can I enter more than one Entry into the contest? 
Yes. The official rules state that each entry should be submitted only once, but there are no restrictions on the total number of different recipe Entries you can submit for this contest.

How do I know that my online entry was accepted?
If your online entry is successfully submitted, you will see a message on your screen that includes, “You are officially entered in the 49th Pillsbury Bake-Off® Contest.”

My Entry could belong in more than one category. Can I enter the same recipe and story in multiple categories?
No, you must choose the one category that you think best fits your recipe creation’s purpose. Your Entry will only be judged in the category you choose.

Can I save an entry that I’m working on and then finish it later?
No, entries cannot be saved and submitted at a later time.

Can I send a picture and/or diagram of what the recipe should look like?
No, photos or diagrams cannot be submitted.

Can I submit my Entry in a language other than English?
No. Entries must be submitted in English.

How do I print a copy of my recipe submission?
The entry form does not provide a way to print your completed submission. However, your computer system may allow you to take screen shots as you move through the entry form or print the page you are on.

How can I find out how my recipe was rated among all the Bake-Off® Contest Entries?
The volume of Entries we receive does not allow us to provide individual feedback on the scoring of Entries.  

Can I use a mobile device to submit my Entry?
Although you can access the entry submission pages from your mobile device, we do not recommend it. It may take some time to fill out the entry form completely so a desktop, laptop or tablet device may be easier.

Recipe Questions

I’d like to offer toppings for my recipe, like sour cream or Parmesan cheese. Do I have to indicate how much of those toppings to use, since each person will add toppings as they like?
You should indicate suggested amounts in your recipe. This will allow the test kitchen staff to evaluate the recipe as you intended. Please note that toppings must be included as one of your eight ingredients.

Does a garnish in my recipe count as one of my eight ingredients?
Yes, any recipe garnish must be listed as one of your eight ingredients.

Do cooking sprays count as an ingredient?
If you use the cooking spray for pan preparation, it does not count as an ingredient but should be mentioned in the method of your recipe. If cooking spray is used on food during recipe preparation, it does count as one of your eight ingredients and should be included in the ingredient list.

If two of the same containers of product (e.g. cinnamon rolls) are used in the recipe, would the two containers count as one ingredient?
Yes, two containers of the exact same product counts as one ingredient.

If I suggest an accompaniment like rice in my recipe, will the kitchen testers determine that amount?
If an ingredient or accompaniment other than salt (table, kosher or sea salt), black pepper, flour for dusting, or water is essential for the finished dish, the recipe Entry should provide the amount of the ingredient needed and it must be listed as one of your eight ingredients.

Can you explain what should be included in preparation time?
Any time spent actively preparing your recipe is part of the 30-minute preparation time. This includes chopping, mixing, stirring (frequently or occasionally), or any time that you are actively working on your recipe. This does not include marinating, baking, cooling or chilling time.

What if my recipe includes both cooking and baking steps, and requires multiple pans? How should I list this in my recipe?
Please describe in detail all pans and other tools used in your “Recipe Steps” and/or the “Pans or Dish Type and Size” entry form boxes.

I want to use flavored salts or peppers (such as garlic salt or lemon pepper) in my recipe. Can they be used as salt and pepper in my recipe and not count as one of my eight ingredients?
No. Plain salt (table, kosher or sea salt) and black pepper are the only salt and pepper ingredients that do not count as one of your eight ingredients.

Can I enter a recipe that uses a preparation method like marinating overnight or cooking for 8 to 10 hours in a slow cooker?
Yes. The only time limitation for your recipe is 30 minutes of active prep time. There is no limitation on total recipe time.

Can I enter a recipe that uses grilling as a preparation method?
Yes. Grilling is an acceptable preparation method for a recipe.

Many recipes online and in cookbooks use raw ingredients like eggs and flour without cooking or baking them. Can I submit a recipe using raw ingredients without a baking or cooking step?
No. Recipes that contain eggs, baking mixes, flour, cookie dough or other fresh dough products require a baking or cooking step.

Eligible Product Questions

An ingredient I like to cook with was an eligible product for the last contest, but it is not listed for this contest. Is that an error?
Eligible products are selected for each Pillsbury Bake-Off® Contest. Many products that were eligible in the last contest are not included in this contest and some new ones have been added. Find the list of eligible product ingredients here.

I can't find an eligible product in my local grocery store. Can you help me locate the product in my area?
If you’re looking for a Pillsbury™ refrigerated dough product, please use the online General Mills product locator. Otherwise, we suggest that you ask your grocery store manager if the store can order the product, purchase the product yourself from an online retailer, or select another eligible product that is available in your area.

How do I know what different varieties or flavors are available of an eligible product?
Please check the Eligible Product list in the Official Rules. All eligible flavors and varieties are listed there.

I’m using refrigerated sweet rolls with icing as my eligible product ingredient. Do I need to use both the icing and dough in my recipe?
You are not required to use the icing, but you must use the entire can of sweet roll dough. 

My recipe cuts shapes out of the Pillsbury™ dough. Is it okay to have scraps of dough left over?
Yes, it is okay to have small amounts of unused dough left over.

Eligibility Questions

Can you provide further clarification on eligibility for food professionals?
Our interpretation of the food professional rule means generally that if someone is paid for work related to their original recipes, then they are not eligible. This includes selling food made using your original recipes, no matter how much (or how little) money you make and whether it is your sole or primary source of income.

“Food professional” may also be defined by a career; for example, chefs, food writers, culinary specialists or food educators, or someone who creates recipes for pay would not be eligible.

You are not eligible if you graduated from a culinary school/program or are enrolled in a culinary school/program at any time between August 7, 2018 and March 31, 2019.

I work in a restaurant; does that disqualify me?
Some people who work in a restaurant (or for a caterer) are food professionals and some are not. Contest officials will consider your job responsibilities and training when determining whether you are a food professional, but you are not automatically disqualified because you work in a restaurant.

I get paid to decorate cakes; does that disqualify me?
Contest officials will consider all relevant circumstances, but if you are not using your own recipes to make the cakes or the decorations, you are not automatically disqualified.

I write a food blog; does that disqualify me?
Some blog writers are food professionals and some are not. Contest officials will consider your blog when determining whether you are a food professional, but you are not automatically disqualified because you write a food blog.

I wrote a cookbook; does that disqualify me?
Contest officials consider selling a cookbook as being paid for your original recipes. However, some activities, such as contributing recipes to a family or charitable cookbook or self-publishing a cookbook that is given away for free, may not make you a food professional, depending on the situation.

I have taken some cooking classes; does that disqualify me?
Contest officials will consider the circumstances of your classes. Enrolling in a formal culinary degree or certificate program would disqualify you, while taking a community education class would not. You are not automatically disqualified because you have taken some cooking classes.

I worked on a recipe with another person. Can we enter the contest as a team?
No. Because our contest rules are based on an individual person entering and participating, partners cannot enter recipes together.

Can I enter on behalf of someone who is unable to enter themselves?
No, you must personally enter your own original Entry. If you know someone with a great original recipe and story, please encourage them to enter themselves.

I see that GE Appliances is a sponsor. Am I required to use these products in my Entry? Will there be special prizes if I do?
No, you are not required to use sponsor products, and there are no special prizes if you do.

Awards Questions

What are the awards for this year’s Pillsbury Bake-Off® Contest?
This year there will be four (4) Category winners, one (1) of which will be the Grand-Prize Winner, and one (1) Special Prize winner, for a total of 5 winning entries. The awards for each are as follows:

A. GRAND PRIZE
One Category Winner will be awarded the Grand Prize, which includes:

  1. A check for $50,000; 
  2. An option to choose among a select group of kitchen suites from GE Appliances, valued at approximately $10,000.
  3. A trip to New York City, New York during the month of December 2018 or January 2019 and an appearance on the Food Network show The Kitchen. Trip includes round-trip coach air transportation for the Grand Prize Winner and one guest from the major airport nearest Grand Prize Winner’s home, hotel accommodations consisting of one double occupancy room for three to four nights, daily meals, and activities; and
  4. Grand Prize Winner and his/her recipe will be featured in a 2019 edition of Food Network Magazine.
  5. Retail value of the Grand Prize is approximately $65,000.

B. CATEGORY WINNER PRIZES
The three (3) Category Winners who do not win the Grand Prize will each receive a Category Winner Prize, which includes:

  1. A check for $5,000;
  2. An option to choose among a select group of kitchen suites from GE Appliances, valued at approximately $10,000;
  3. A trip to New York City, New York during the month of December 2018 or January 2019 to be featured on the Food Network show The Kitchen. Trip includes round-trip coach air transportation for each Category Winner and one guest from the major airport nearest Category Winner’s home, hotel accommodations consisting of one double occupancy room for three to four nights, daily meals, and activities; and
  4. Category Winners and their recipes will be featured in a 2019 edition of Food Network Magazine.
  5. Combined retail value of each Category Winner Prize is approximately $20,000.

C. Special Awards

  1. Meijer Award will be awarded to the Finalist with the highest Initial Score, defined below, among all entrants who chose Meijer as their primary or secondary grocery store on the entry form. The Meijer Award winner must live within 45 miles of a Meijer retail store to be eligible. The Meijer Award winner will receive $10,000 worth of gift cards to Meijer stores. In the event that there is not a qualifying Entry from an eligible entrant, the Award will not be awarded.

Approximate retail value of all prizes is $135,000.

Why did the awards for this year change?
We know that people value making memories together and often food and well-loved recipes are at the center of those memories. We’re partnering with the Food Network to take that to the next level by offering our winner a chance to experience something that money can’t buy. A monetary gift will still be part of the prize, but just as the contest is about sharing memories, the prize package also reflects this new focus.

Contest Judging and Contest Finals Questions

What are the awards for this year’s Pillsbury Bake-Off® Contest?
This year there will be four (4) Category winners, one (1) of which will be the Grand-Prize Winner, and one (1) Special Prize winner, for a total of 5 winning entries. The awards for each are as follows:

A. GRAND PRIZE
One Category Winner will be awarded the Grand Prize, which includes:

  1. A check for $50,000; 
  2. An option to choose among a select group of kitchen suites from GE Appliances, valued at approximately $10,000.
  3. A trip to New York City, New York during the month of December 2018 or January 2019 and an appearance on the Food Network show The Kitchen. Trip includes round-trip coach air transportation for the Grand Prize Winner and one guest from the major airport nearest Grand Prize Winner’s home, hotel accommodations consisting of one double occupancy room for three to four nights, daily meals, and activities; and
  4. Grand Prize Winner and his/her recipe will be featured in a 2019 edition of Food Network Magazine.
  5. Retail value of the Grand Prize is approximately $65,000.

B. CATEGORY WINNER PRIZES
The three (3) Category Winners who do not win the Grand Prize will each receive a Category Winner Prize, which includes:

  1. A check for $5,000;
  2. An option to choose among a select group of kitchen suites from GE Appliances, valued at approximately $10,000;
  3. A trip to New York City, New York during the month of December 2018 or January 2019 to be featured on the Food Network show The Kitchen. Trip includes round-trip coach air transportation for each Category Winner and one guest from the major airport nearest Category Winner’s home, hotel accommodations consisting of one double occupancy room for three to four nights, daily meals, and activities; and
  4. Category Winners and their recipes will be featured in a 2019 edition of Food Network Magazine.
  5. Combined retail value of each Category Winner Prize is approximately $20,000.

C. Special Awards

  1. Meijer Award will be awarded to the Finalist with the highest Initial Score, defined below, among all entrants who chose Meijer as their primary or secondary grocery store on the entry form. The Meijer Award winner must live within 45 miles of a Meijer retail store to be eligible. The Meijer Award winner will receive $10,000 worth of gift cards to Meijer stores. In the event that there is not a qualifying Entry from an eligible entrant, the Award will not be awarded.

Approximate retail value of all prizes is $135,000.

Why did the awards for this year change?
We know that people value making memories together and often food and well-loved recipes are at the center of those memories. We’re partnering with the Food Network to take that to the next level by offering our winner a chance to experience something that money can’t buy. A monetary gift will still be part of the prize, but just as the contest is about sharing memories, the prize package also reflects this new focus.

Bake-Off is a registered trademark of The Pillsbury Company