Choose from 5 of the cheapest meal kits to start cooking up delicious meals at home. Order from Home Chef, Sun Basket, HelloFresh, Plated or Marley Spoon for as low as $7.99 per serving.
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Value and Convenience
✔Whats in the box - 2-6 meals, 2,4 or 6 servings each
✔Special diets - Vegetarian, soy-free, dairy-free and more
✔Price - $7.99 or $9.95, per serving
Home Chef lets its customers set up a "taste profile” to help it to determine the meals best suited to them. Each week there is a selection of 18 different dishes to choose from, including quick, 5-minute lunches and entrées, and there are also add-ons such as smoothies. Plus there are options for all types of dietary specifications, including nut-free, gluten-free and dairy-free. The recipes are simple and easy to prepare, and some of the ingredients even arrive pre-cooked, which is a huge time saver.
As the name suggests Home Chef’s meals do have a homey feel to them, meaning they’re not overly exotic or ambitious, which may put off some of the more adventurous home cooks. That said Home Chef certainly delivers on its promise to save you time, reduce food waste and bring people together around the dinner table.
|✔Helps you build a "taste profile" to match you with recipes||xLimited range|
|✔Convenience of 5-minute lunches||xUnadventurous recipes|
|✔Lets you choose meals a month in advance|
Best for convenience
✔Whats in the box - 3-5 meals, 2 or 4 servings each
✔Special diets - Vegetarien-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free
✔Price - $7.87 or $8.99, per serving
HelloFresh is one of the easiest and most convenient meal kit delivery services. With straightforward recipes and pre-portioned ingredients, all of its meals are done and dusted in 6 steps or less, allowing you to sit down and enjoy your dinner within 30 minutes. What’s more is that the convenience doesn’t end with the meals: HelloFresh’s website is extremely user-friendly, and modifying, cancelling or reactivating a subscription is as easy as pie.
There are 3 different meal plans: the Classic Box, Family Box and Veggie Box, with 17 recipes overall but a somewhat limited choice for the vegetarian option. However, if you’re an omnivore, there is plenty of variety, with an array of proteins, fresh produce and grains. Dishes range from zucchini flatbread to lobster ravioli and Korean beef Bibimbap, offering something to suit everyone’s tastes. Plus there’s a recommended wine pairing with each recipe, which we felt was a nice touch.
The diversity of meal plans may not be as great as other meal kit delivery services but the quality, ease and convenience of HelloFresh is second to none.
|✔Fresh ingredients||xFresh ingredients need to be used in a timely fashion|
|✔Simple and time-efficient recipes||xSmaller, less diverse menu|
|✔Easy to manage subscriptions|
Best for improving your kitchen skills
✔Whats in the box - 2-4 meals, 2-4 servings each
✔Special diets - Gluten-free, low carb, diabetic
✔Price - $9.99 or $10.99, per serving
Chances are, the first time you heard about home meal kits it was through Blue Apron. The company is the most well-known in the industry and has taken leaps and bounds in recent years to try and change how we’re eating at home.
Blue Apron is trying to “pioneer a new model of the food to table journey,” and while that may seem a bit lofty, basically the company is just trying to provide better, more sustainably produced food for all of their clients.
The company wants to help customers learn more about how to cook well at home, and to become more intimately acquainted with their food and the ingredients that go into it. One drawback of Blue Apron si that there are only 8 meals to choose from each week, and only 4 if you’re on the family plan. That said, even with the smaller selection you can experiment with some brilliantly designed and delicious recipes.
|✔Top flight ingredients from trusted suppliers||xLess recipes than some competitors|
|✔Shipping is (almost) always free||xNo lunch, snack, or dessert options|
Organic, clean eating
✔Whats in the box - 2-4 meals, 2-4 servings each
✔Special diets - Vegan, quick and easy, lean and clean and many more
✔Price - $10.99 - $11.99, per serving
If you’re looking for innovative, healthy, tasty and sustainable meals, then Sun Basket is undoubtedly the service for you. The company caters to a variety of diets, including vegetarian, paleo, gluten-free and pescatarian, with 18 different recipes to choose from each week for all of its special plans.
Developed by award-winning San Francisco chef Justine Kelly, Sun Basket’s menus showcase ingredients and flavors from around the world. You may be eating Okinawa flaked tuna and egg stir-fry with arugula-mango salad one night, and Tex-Mex chicken fajitas with sweet-pepper tomato salsa the next. But while seductive and exotic, the recipes are neither gimmicky nor overly complex, but rather they are simple to follow and easy to prepare.
The variety of meal plans and dishes as well as the high-quality of ingredients and focus on sustainability sets Sun Basket apart from many of its competitors. There is a higher price tag for this premium product, but when it comes to interesting, easy-to-make meals and clean, organic eating, Sun Basket won’t let you down.
|✔Organic ingredients||xMore expensive than other services|
|✔Chef driven menus|
Meal Kits that anyone can afford
✔Whats in the box - 3 meals, 2 - 4 servings each
✔Special diets - None
✔Price - $4.99, per serving
EveryPlate is known as being the budget-friendly meal kit delivery service. And if you are watching your spending, there’s no better option than this. Each week, EveryPlate offers a variety of scrumptious meal options that you can throw together yourself. But the best part is the price tag. For less than $5 a meal, you can have healthy, hearty, and home-cooked meals all week long.
EveryPlate is also generous when it comes to portion sizes, so you will never walk away from one of these delicious meals hungry. Meals take about half an hour to prepare, and you don’t need to be Gordon Ramsay to prepare these dishes either. Instructions are clear, colorful, and easy to follow.
|✔Delicious meals for under $5||xDisorganized packaging system|
|✔Big portions||xNot a ton of variety to choose from|
|✔Easy to follow instruction cards|
Martha Stewart's signature recipes
✔Whats in the box - 2-4 meals, 2 or 4 servings each
✔Special diets - Vegetarian, low-calorie, family-friendly
✔Price - $8.10, $12, per serving
If you’re a Martha Stewart fan, this service will make you feel like a kid in a candy store. Straight from her cookbooks, Martha & Marley Spoon offers the domestic goddess’ signature recipes each week, with a choice of at least 20 different dishes.
Martha & Marley Spoon caters to a number of specialty diets, including gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, and low-carb, but it’s worth noting that the majority of the recipes do revolve around meat or seafood.
What we enjoyed about Martha & Marley Spoon is that many of the dishes come with unique and flavorful side dishes and garnishes. Grilled steak for instance comes with a tomato-ciabatta panzanella salad; and mustard-glazed salmon is paired with a delightful side of summer corn, snap peas and tomatoes, with a mustard and dill vinaigrette.
Simple to prepare, Martha & Marley Spoon’s meals are both tasty and look great on the plate. If you're looking to step up your cooking game with new techniques and interesting sauces and dressings, this is a delicious choice.
|✔High-quality ingredients||xLess choice for vegetarians|
|✔Simple, 6-step recipes||xPricey|
|✔Unique and flavorful side dishes|
Top quality ingredients
✔Whats in the box - 2-4 meals, 2 or 4 servings each
✔Special diets - Carnivore, pescatarian, paleo, keto and more
✔Price - $10.99-$12.99, per serving
Green Chef is your one-stop shop for chef-driven recipes using organic, non-GMO, and sustainable ingredients from trusted suppliers. The first certified organic meal kit delivery service, the company has a cooperation with farmers, purveyors and fishermen, bringing you the kind of top quality ingredients you’d otherwise have to hunt for at the farmer’s market.
All of its recipes are designed to be cooked and ready to eat within 30 minutes. Ingredients come pre-portioned and many additional items such as flatbreads, sauces or dressings arrive premade. This convenience simplifies things and makes for a definite time saver,but the downside is you’re not learning how to make them.
Green Chef’s mantra is “you are what you eat,” and its family of meal plans gives you enough choice and flexibility to make up your own mind about who you want to be. Whether that’s an omnivore, carnivore, pescatarian, vegan, vegetarian, paleo or keto, its diverse range of meal plans has your eating habits covered.
|✔Certified organic||xLots of premade/processed ingredients|
|✔Quality ingredients||xShipping not included|
|Many specialty diets available|
Convenient, calorie-controlled, prepared meals
✔Whats in the box - 2-3 meals, 5 or 7 days per week
✔Special diets - Keto, diabetes, low carb, low calorie
✔Price - From $7.52
If you’ve tried to lose weight in the past to no avail, Diet to Go is the right meal delivery service for you. Based on science and research, these meals are each designed to deliver the proper nutritional balance to keep your body healthy while promoting weight loss at the same time.
Diet to Go takes all the hard work out of meal prep, cooking, and dieting by providing you with meals that are already cooked and ready to eat. And since the plans are geared toward healthy eating and weight loss, you don’t even need to count calories or guestimate amounts. Each meal gives you just what you need. Losing weight and eating right has never been easier!
|✔Portioned and calorie-calculated for weight loss||xNot 100% organic|
|✔Absolutely no meal prep, just heat and eat||xHigh shipping costs|
|✔Lots of variety within the menu and plans|
Dieting made easy
✔Whats in the box - 10-21 servings per week
✔Special diets - Diabetic, menopause, heart-health and more
✔Price - $6.42 - $9.00 , per serving
If you’re having a hard time staying on the path to healthy eating, BistroMD can really help you. By providing tried and tested meals developed by a team of doctors and chefs, the company makes it easy for you to stick to a diet plan without the hassle of worrying about poor food choices and portion control.
BistroMD offers 6 different programs: standard, vegetarian, gluten free, diabetic, heart healthy and menopause. There are 4 meal plans designed specifically for women and men: a 5-day plan, comprised of 5 breakfasts, lunches and dinners (15 meals in total); a 7-day plan, which includes 7 breakfasts and lunches, and 6 dinners, for a total of 20 meals, and 2 custom plans of only lunches and dinners.
For naturally healthy eaters, who enjoy fresh, wholesome foods, BistroMD is probably not the best choice. The meals arrive frozen and must be heated up in the microwave, a bit like airline food. But if you’re at a loss and struggling to shed pounds and need guidance, the service will take the guesswork out of dieting and help you stay the course to meet your weight loss goals.
|✔Doctors and chefs collaborate on dishes||xFood is not fresh|
|✔Customizable programs||xCan’t order individual dishes|
To rate these meal delivery services and help you to decide which companies are worth your money and kitchen time, we dug in deep so you don’t have to. We ordered and tried out each of these meal kits to assess the user experience online, the flexibility of a subscription, the diversity and variety of meal plans, as well as the quality of the ingredients, recipe accuracy, difficulty level, time, and of course the most important aspect: taste.
With a meal kit service, you choose recipes each week, are shipped fresh, pre-portioned ingredients along with a step-by-step recipe card, and put it all together to cook up the meal when you’re ready.
This takes care of the hassle of grocery shopping—and of thinking of what to eat—leaving you only to cook up the food. It’s a fresh and convenient way to get familiar with different cooking techniques and seasonings.
Some of the main advantages of meal delivery services are:
1) Creativity and variety
One of the hardest parts of cooking at home is finding inspiration. By the time we get home after work, we put a premium on easy and fast, and even if we have the energy to cook, the lack of ideas can be a deal-breaker. With meal kits, there is virtually an endless variety of recipes that you can instantly work into your repertoire without waiting for inspiration to strike.
2) No shopping, no prep
With meal kits you don’t have to worry about heading out to the grocery store hungry (and coming back with all types of stuff you didn’t need) and wrangling with a long ingredients list. The recipes come broken down into their components for easy cooking and preparing.
3) Mix healthy and convenient
Meal kit delivery services have found a way to combine the speed and convenience of fast food, with the healthy, fresh ingredients of home cooking. You don’t have to be a Michelin-starred chef to whip up the recipes, and the prices are affordable, so you can start phasing out the fast food.
4) Dietary restrictions
If you have dietary specifications other than being vegan—like a gluten allergy, or you’re abiding by a low-carb diet—meal kits can be a great way to help you break the monotony. Most companies have special meal plans that are suited for specific diets, so you don’t need to feel so limited by your dietary limitations.
5) Weight loss and dieting
Most meal kit companies print the nutritional information online, so if you’re on a diet, it can be an easy way to track what you’re eating. Some companies will offer low-calorie dishes and low-carb dishes designed for dieters.
The question that stops most people in their tracks is, which meal delivery service is right for me? With so many options out there, placing that first order can be overwhelming. As with any decision, when picking a meal delivery service, you'll want to look at your particular needs and circumstances to narrow down the selection. We’ll take you through the top questions you should consider when choosing the right meal delivery service for your needs.
These types of questions will help lead you to the meal delivery service that will best suit you. Let’s take a look.
1) Are You Tied to Any Dietary Restrictions?
If you have an allergy to nuts, are staying away from gluten, or are vegetarian or vegan—you’ll need to make sure the meal delivery service you choose offers meal plans that suit your needs.
Some meal delivery providers like Sun Basket will let you select a meal plan tailored to your dietary preferences—be it paleo, diabetes-friendly or vegan. Services like Martha & Marley Spoon label dishes clearly so you’ll know what you can order and what to stay away from, and you select exactly which ingredients you like and don’t like so your meal options will be tailored according to your preferences.
Whether you prefer a specialty meal plan or want to pick dishes from a full list of options is entirely up to you.
2) Are You Looking to Lose Weight?
Another way to narrow down the options is if you are looking to lose weight. Fast and convenient generally translate to unhealthy, so you might be concerned with the ingredients and cooking methods of some meal delivery services.
Health-focused meal delivery services won’t just offer you better quality ingredients and recipes, but they’ll also offer you tools, instructions, and support to guide you in your weight loss journey. Pick from services that are focused on portion control, calorie reduction, and healthy menu planning.
3) Are You Cooking for Kids?
Ordering meals when there are kids in the house is a totally different ballgame. Not only will you require more food, but you'll also want kid-friendly options and lots of them.
Chances are you don’t want to be standing in the kitchen for 3 hours preparing a meal every day. If you’re concerned with time-management and kid-friendly recipes, choose from the best meal delivery services for families with kids.
4) Are You Cooking for One?
What if it’s just you—you don’t have too many preferences, and you are pretty flexible with your food requirements? Well then, you can easily go with just about any meal delivery service with a good reputation that delivers to your area.
If you’re cooking dinner for one, keep in mind that most companies offer a 2-serving minimum per recipe. Of course, that allows you to invite a friend for dinner or save the tasty leftovers for the next day’s lunch.
5) Are You Trying to Save Money?
The idea of meal delivery sounds great, but to some people, all they'll hear is the cha-ching of the cash register. While some services charge an arm and a leg for choosing, preparing, and delivering your meals, there are still several options that will fit even the tightest budget.
Meal delivery companies like Dinnerly charge just $5 per portion for all meals. You can also opt for a higher priced service and take advantage of special offers to keep the price down.
Get 50% off your first order with Sun Basket
6) Are You New to Cooking or Do You Struggle with Cooking?
Okay, getting the ingredients is nice and all, but if you're the type who can burn water, meal prep can be intimidating. If this sounds like you, you may want to choose a meal delivery service that will walk you through every step of the cooking process—or better yet—do all the work for you!
Companies like Home Chef focus on offering tasty meals while keeping the prep work and difficulty level to a minimum. Most recipes will take less than 30 minutes to prepare, and the step-by-step recipe cards will walk you through it all.
If you’ve decided to cut out cooking altogether, services like Freshly or Balance MD will deliver ready-made meals to your door. All you’re left to do is heat and enjoy!
7) How Much Does the Environment Factor into Your Daily Decisions?
Do you care about your carbon imprint? Do you recycle your bottles, sort your papers, and collect the deposit on your cans? If sustainability and environmental awareness is a priority for you, you’ll want to go with a meal delivery service that shares these values.
Ordering a meal kit every week can mean a lot of waste. There’s the carton box, the plastic packaging, the ice packs, and everything else used to deliver your ingredients in a convenient and organized way. So, if your meal kit company doesn’t take recycling seriously, you’ll be asking for some green guilt.
Luckily, most meal delivery services have earth-conscious values that make it possible to enjoy their services without causing too much harm to the environment.
With HelloFresh, for example, all packaging is fully recyclable—from the insulating liners to the ice packs and the meal separators.
There’s nothing quite like a delicious, healthy home-cooked meal, but sometimes the hassle of meal prep can leave you heading for the drive-thru for another fast food dinner. Luckily for you, help is on the way from the best meal kit delivery services.
With meal kit delivery services, you receive pre-packaged meals that are broken down into their individual ingredients and come with easy to follow recipes. Even if you’re a stranger to the kitchen, you can throw together fantastic meals that’ll have you forgetting about those pizza delivery magnets on the fridge. It’s meal prep made easy.
Most meal kit delivery companies offer fairly extensive vegetarian meal options. These tend to cost the same or less than the meat meal plans, and can provide you with new and interesting ways to make tasty vegetarian meals. Some companies have more extensive options than others, for instance HelloFresh, which has a veggie plan as one of the 3 meal plans offered.
Check out our best vegetarian meal delivery kits >>
When ordering from a meal kit delivery company, check if it has specifically vegan meal plans, and if not, read the fine print and see if you can get enough mileage out of the vegetarian options. As a vegan, it can at times be hard to find out new recipes to stretch your no-animal products diet - meal kits can help.
Check out our best vegan meal delivery kits >>
Gluten-free menu options are a feature offered by most meal kit companies, which know how important it is to many consumers today, especially those with celiac disease or sensitivity to gluten. A number of companies also specially-wrap their products in order to prevent gluten cross-contamination.
Check out our best gluten free meal delivery kits >>
The meal kit delivery industry has its finger on the pulse when it comes to organic food. Most companies tout their investment in finding sustainable, organic food, and this has become a major selling point for these companies.
Check out our best organic meal delivery kits >>
Meal kits help you plan out meals ahead of time with interesting, healthy ingredients. In time, you will learn new recipes and cooking techniques that you can then integrate into your daily life. This can help you eat healthy at home more often, which can be a great way to lose weight, even without a rigid diet.
Lose weight with the help of meal delivery services >>
For the most part, the paleo diet focuses on meat, fruits and vegetables, and cuts out breads, dairy and sugars. A number of meal delivery companies offer menu items which are suited to the paleo diet. SunBasket takes it farther, offering more than 120 Paleo meals that feature high-quality lean meats.
Check out our best paleo meal delivery kits >>
Many companies feature family meal plans, as well as “kid-friendly” recipes. Kid-friendly recipes are dishes your kids may recognize and are typically not spicy. The family meal plans typically include meals that are designed for 4 people and are easier to make. The family plans often have a lower cost per serving as well.
Check out these tasty meal delivery services that your kids will love>>
For diabetics focusing on weight loss, dietitian-designed meal plans like South Beach Diet may be the right fit for you. Many companies have meal plans specifically for diabetics, while others will help customers design their own diabetes-friendly meal plan through consultation with a dietician.
Check out our best diabetic meal delivery kits >>