The N.C. State Fair is looking for home chefs to spice up the competitions at the fair with 11 days of cooking challenges. Included are loaded nachos, ultimate brownies, spirited pies, quirky cobbler, a make-ahead breakfast challenge, chili cook-off, grain bowls, sirloin salad, fair food featuring bacon and chicken casserole.

“Like the N.C. State Fair, cooking is a way to bring people together,” said John Buettner, competitive exhibits director. “I know that the competitions offered this year will bring out the creative side of our home chefs and I can’t wait to see the results. In addition to bragging rights, the winning recipe for each challenge brings home a prize of $500.” Recipes will be judged on appearance, taste and creativity.

A complete list of Home Chef Challenges is list below. The deadline to enter is Oct. 3. The Home Chef Challenge will be held in the North Lobby of Dorton Arena. Contestants will receive two gate tickets and a parking pass to bring their entry to the fair.

More information is online at:

• Loaded Nachos Challenge, presented by NC State Wolfpack Basketball: Thursday, Oct. 13, at 4 p.m. Dream up an ultimate loaded nachos recipe that will wow the judges.

• Ultimate Brownie Showdown, presented by Humana: Friday, Oct. 14, at 10 a.m. Dense and fudgy, or light and fluffy? Extra fillings or simply classic? The judges will try them all

• Spirited Pie Challenge, presented by The Distillers Association of North Carolina, Saturday, Oct. 15, at 10 a.m. Fill them with your best fruit, chocolate, nuts and more — but be sure to add the feature ingredient5 of a spirit made in North Carolina. Check out the competition guidelines for a list of 41 N.C. craft spirits acceptable for the challenge.

• Great Bowls of Fire Chili Cook-Off, Sunday, Oct. 16, and 2 p.m. Beans or no beans? It’s a debate for the ages. Everyone has the best chili recipe, and today’s the day to put yours to the test.

• Morning Mayhem Buster: Make-Ahead Breakfast Challenge, presented by Superior Sleep Experience, Monday, Oct. 17, at 10 a.m. Everyone could use a little more time in the morning. Bring your BEST make-ahead breakfast to make that vision a reality. It could be a casserole, muffins, breakfast burritos, overnight oats, etc.

• Brain Food Healthy Grain Bowl Challenge, Tuesday, Oct. 18, at 11 a.m. The N.C. State Fair’s first super food challenge. Start with a healthy hole grain base and start topping to build a delicious protein-packed meal.

• Tip Top Sirloin Salad Challenge, Wednesday, Oct. 19, at 10 a.m. Make a steak salad that’s meal worthy. Don’t forget a dressing that will put your creation together.

• Bacontastic Fair Food Challenge, presented by the North Carolina Pork Council, Thursday, Oct, 20, at 10 a.m. This competition offers a junior and adult division with two $500 first place prizes. It’s for home chefs that might have dreamed of their own fair booth and know just what fair food they’d offer. Just be sure to add bacon!

• Not Your Mama’s Chicken Casserole Challenge, presented by House of Raeford, Friday, Oct. 21, at 10 a.m. Everyone has that chicken casserole recipe that’s been passed down for generations — that’s not what this competition is about. Put a new spin on an old favorite and add a twist that excites the judges.

• Duke Cancer Care in Wake County Celebrates Cancer Warriors Challenge, presented by Duke Raleigh Hospital, Saturday, Oct. 22, at 10 a.m. This competition is heart-led. Honor or recognize someone who know who has experienced cancer through your appetizer, main dish or dessert. Story matters, so be sure to share our inspiration along with the recipe.

• Quirky Cobbler Challenge, Sunday, Oct. 23, at 10 a.m. Fall calls for cobbler and sonker. Show the judges what you’ve got in this competition looking for the best sweet and savory, or sweet and more sweet, cobbler.

The 2022 N.C. State Fair is slated for Oct. 13-23 at the North Carolina State Fairground in Raleigh. The fair offers an experience unique to North Carolina for all who attend, and features entertainment, rides and games, thousands of animals, family activities, competitions, vendors and deep-fried delights. For more information, visit