The Winning Recipe of the Pillsbury Bake-Off Is Healthy and Heartwarming

Home cooks are our bread and butter around here, and there's nothing we love more than seeing one honored for their amazing recipes. The Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest does just that. This year marked the 48th Pillsbury Bake-Off, which began in 1949. The competition is typically held annually, except for the last three years when Pillsbury took a hiatus to reimagine the competition into a more relevant, modern format. The time and space away from the competition made it feel newer and fresh, and users agreed because the contest received thousands of entries of home cooks' favorite recipes.

The Pillsbury Bake-Off winners were announced on Food Network for the first time ever, and each recipe required a back-story, a new element added to freshen up the competition. With four category winners, one of which claimed the grand prize, the back-story was one of the most important parts of their delicious recipes. Meet the winners!

1. Grand Prize and Cozy Breakfasts Winner: Amy Nelson

Amy Nelson of Zionville, North Carolina took home the top prize in the Pillsbury Bake-Off with her Bejeweled Cranberry-Orange Rolls. The 51-year-old part-time nurse lives on a 20-acre farm with her husband, son, two stepsons, 14 goats, two horses, three dogs, three cats, and one duck.

As USA Today reported, Nelson accidentally submitted the wrong recipe. The version she sent in used a double batch of filling and after checking with judges to see if she could switch her entry, she learned that it could not be changed. Thankfully, this was what brought her recipe over the top.

As for her story, Nelson was inspired by her mother, someone who "was never a fancy or adventurous cook." There was one treat, though, that her mother would buy from the store despite making everything else from scratch: Pillsbury orange rolls. Inspired to make a homemade version that also pulled in her mother's love of cranberries (especially in her beloved cranberry salad), Nelson created a filling that includes cranberry, pineapple, walnuts, and ginger. It sounds exquisite, though Nelson in her application calls it "just food". It's this simple take that allow her amazing recipe to speak for itself.

The Grand Prize

So what did Nelson win?

  • A trip to New York to appear on the Food Network show, The Kitchen
  • A feature in Food Network Magazine
  • A kitchen makeover from GE Appliances
  • $50,000 grand prize

See the full recipe here.

2. Appetizers for Any Party Category Winner: JoAnne Tucker

JoAnne Tucker of Tampa, Florida, took home the Category Prize for her Toasted Spinach Pesto Ravioli. These toasted ravioli are stuffed with spinach, pesto, and cheese for a perfect appetizer that hardly requires two hands.

Pillsbury crescent dough becomes the ravioli's outer shell, making it easy to fill it to the brim with all of the cheese your heart desires.

The Category Prizes

Every Category Winner, including Nelson, receives the following.

  • A trip to New York to appear on the Food Network show, The Kitchen
  • A feature in Food Network Magazine
  • A suite of GE Appliances
  • $5,000

See the full recipe here.

3. Dinners with Heart Category Winner: Sarah Campbell

Sarah Campbell of Palm Bay, Florida created Oktoberfest Pizza that features kielbasa, mustard, gouda, and a Granny Smith apple. The sweet crunch adds a nice texture to the pizza, using Pillsbury's refrigerated classic pizza crust.

See the full recipe here.

4. No-Fuss Desserts Category Winner: Sandy Reiter

From San Mateo, California, Sandy Reiter's Cookies and Cream Caramel Layer Bars swept away the dessert competition with their gorgeous layers and full flavors. Pillsbury's refrigerator cookies 'n' cream cookies are given a brand new life in this sweet recipe that looks like it took you much longer to make than it really did.

See the full recipe here.

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