Shelina Permalloo's cooking victory was seen by 5.62m (23.8%) on BBC One in the 9pm hour, beating the premiere of ITV's new romantic drama Love Life, which drew 3.93m (16.6%) and 255k on ITV1 +1.
MasterChef's final show average is down 300k on last year when it aired on Wednesday nights, while its peak is down nearly 1 million.
Before the reality show, Anne Robinson's Watchdog held a respectable 3.81m (16%) against ITV's 8pm soap hour.
Live football boosted Channel 5's early evening ratings between 5.15pm and 8.05pm, as 2.53m (13%) and a peak of 4m watched Manchester United crash out of the Europa League.
Action film XxX followed with 1.05m (4.6%) and 105k (0.6%) on Channel 5 +1.
Location, Location, Location climbed to 1.59m (6.7%) for Channel 4 at 8pm (+1: 164k/0.7%), then factual series Mary's Bottom Line opened with 1.49m (6.3%) at 9pm (+1: 224k/1.3%).
Overall, BBC One overtook ITV1 in the Thursday night primetime battle with 21.5% against 20.3% (+1: 0.7%). Once again, Channel 5 secured third place with 7.5% (+1: 0.4%), ahead of BBC Two's 5.5% and Channel 4's 5.2% (+1: 0.7%).
Keith Lemon's Celebrity Juice continued to dominate the multichannel airwaves with a total of 1.6m, after grabbing 1.43m (7.7%) for ITV2 at 10pm, and adding 251k (2.4%) on timeshift.
After last week's low, Glee limped back up for Sky1 with 339k (1.4%) at 9pm.
BARB ratings data supplied by Attentional