Between work and home life, finding the time to plan meals, buy groceries, and cook can be challenging. That's where meal delivery kits come in. Meal delivery services can be a great way to save time and alleviate extra stress when it comes to meal planning and cooking. You can have ingredients and sometimes even groceries delivered straight to your doorstep, making it easy to prepare delicious meals without leaving home.
Our team has done extensive research and testing on over 50 different meal delivery services, evaluating them on various criteria like cost, menus, and packaging. After careful consideration, we've narrowed down our top picks for you to choose from. Pros: Blue Apron offers both meal kits and prepared meals with an impressive range of gourmet recipes.
Cons: Some of our tester experienced shipping issues, and the service lacks keto and paleo options. With dozens of flavorful menu choices each week, Blue Apron is the ultimate service for gourmet food lovers.
You can choose from multiple meal preferences, including chef favorites, family-friendly, and vegetarian options. Weekly menu selections feature a range of flavors, with everything from togarashi tilapia to pasta bolognese to duck with thyme butter sauce on the menu.
And in select areas, customers can add on marketplace items, such as pantry essentials, kitchen tools, and even wine.
Blue Apron strikes a nice balance between convenience and flexibility, and we enjoyed the chance to flex our culinary skills with some of these meals. There is a lot of packaging , though we found through our testing that about half of the items were recyclable. Each recipe has its full-color recipe card, which lists the ingredients and step-by-step instructions.
If you want a less hands-on experience, Blue Apron also offers prepared, heat-and-eat meals. These arrive fresh in plastic trays, making preparing these meals as simple as peeling back a corner of plastic film and putting them in the microwave for three to five minutes.
Overall, we enjoyed the diverse and interesting flavors offered by Blue Apron, but customers with more specific dietary preferences or needs, such as keto or paleo, might want to look elsewhere. Pros: HelloFresh gives you a lot of control over your meal selections, with plenty of customization opportunities and the ability to view your menu options to six weeks in advance.
Cons: Our testers noted a lot of single-use plastics and packaging, and the service lacks meal plans for stricter dietary accommodations.
HelloFresh rolls out a menu of over 30 fresh meal kits each week featuring vegetarian, meat and veggies, pescatarian, fit and wholesome, quick and easy, and family-friendly meals. Meals are designed for two or four servings, with an option for two to six meals a week.
You can customize up to 12 sides or proteins each week to create your ideal meal. Plates tend to be more on the filling side , focusing on comfort foods like burgers, rice bowls, pastas, tacos, and sandwiches.
Creating an account lets you choose your plan size and meal preferences which can be changed at any time. HelloFresh is our top pick for variety, with its enormous menu and plentiful customization options.
HelloFresh meal kits arrive in an insulated cardboard box filled with layers of cooling ice packs, fresh ingredients, and pieces of cardboard to separate and contain them.
The service uses paper bags to corral the ingredients for each recipe , saving you the trouble of rummaging through a box full of packaged ingredients to find the items you need for your meal.
Testers tried a mix of HelloFresh recipes, including:. We found the recipes well-written and easy to follow, though we found ourselves reaching for tools like a zester or additional salt or pepper for added flavor.
Some of the dishes did take a few more minutes than the suggested cooking times. Pros: Green Chef's meals are diverse, interesting, and made with organic ingredients.
The company also has meal options with up to six servings, making it a great choice for larger households. Cons: If you're looking for breakfast options, Green Chef's choices are limited, and shipping is not free. Using certified-USDA organic produce, Green Chef curates a rotating weekly selection of 24 gourmet, chef-inspired meals.
You can choose from various dietary preferences, such as vegan, gluten-free, and keto, with an option to mix and match.
Meals are available in servings of two, four, and six, and you can order two, three, or four meals per week. Additionally, Green Chef's menu is available online up to three weeks out so that you can browse future options with ease.
Next, you'll enter your email, create a password, and enter your address and payment info. Once that's done, you'll be taken to the menu to select your meals.
Green Chef allows you to skip or reschedule deliveries whenever you need to , and you can even change your meal plan size if you need more or less food in any given week. If you have any questions about your order, Green Chef offers a live chat customer service option that can be accessed from the FAQ page.
The company's virtual assistant, Olive, will be your first point of contact; if Olive can't answer your question, you will be directed to an associate who can. From there, preparation is up to you. If any additional items typically salt, pepper, and olive oil are required, they will be items that most people will already have on hand.
We ordered and tasted three meals as part of our evaluation of Green Chef; however, we were limited by a shipping issue that caused the vacuum-sealed bags containing the raw pork and chicken to leak in transit, leaving us unable to sample these items. Some packaging leaking in transit was a disappointing turn of events, though we found that the flavors we could sample were reasonably cohesive, and Green Chef earned points for its inventive use of spices and flavor combinations.
Pros: Most of Hungryroot's meals are ready in 10 minutes or less, and customers have access to more than 2, recipes. Cons: The simplicity of Hungryroot's recipes may not appeal to more advanced home cooks. Hungryroot is a meal planning service and grocery ordering site all in one. New customers complete a detailed food preference quiz, and Hungryoot's algorithm creates a tailored meal plan with an accompanying list of groceries and pre-portioned ingredients to make meals in 10 minutes or less.
With an archive of thousands of recipes and tons of search filters, you can mix and match to create nutritious and healthful meals, including salads, rice bowls, soups, pantry items, snacks, beverages, and even ready-to-eat foods.
In addition, Hungryroot focuses on sustainable packaging , with recyclable boxes, biodegradable ice packs, and recipes designed to curb food waste. If you have specific dietary needs or even just a family of picky eaters, Hungryroot allows you to customize your order more than almost any other meal delivery service we tested.
Once your profile is complete, Hungryroot will send you suggested meals based on your preferences every week.
Hungryroot delivers everywhere in the contiguous U. Most recipes require only five or six steps, and we found that actual cooking time was very minimal and estimated hands-on time was very accurate. In fact, both our recipes took under 20 minutes to complete. We tried two recipes from this service:.
The suggested cook time for a medium-rare steak was 3 to 4 minutes per side, but we found this left the steak with a cool, red center. The only other step was adding creme fraiche to the potatoes and mashing them.
Pros: CookUnity offers chef-crafted meals that cover a range of dietary needs, and its focus on sustainable packaging appealed to our eco-conscious testers.
Cons: With only single-serving options, CookUnity isn't an ideal choice if you're looking to feed a family. CookUnity offers an extensive selection of fresh, small-batch chef-to-consumer meals ready to heat and eat in minutes. With east coast, west coast, Texas, and Midwest hubs, you can select from a rotating menu of meals created by award-winning chefs, including Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Esther Choi.
The menu caters to all sorts of dietary preferences , including dairy-free, vegan, low-calorie, low-sodium, and keto.
Culinary and global delights feature bibimbap, Thai curries, barbeque, udon soups, pizza, tacos, and mezze platters. Meals are all single-serving, and you can order up to 16 entrées a week.
The company also includes profiles of all its chefs, which makes the site more engaging. The service only delivers to select regions in 47 states, leaving many testers outside major metropolitan areas out of luck.
The box is insulated with a recyclable paper insert, and the contents are kept cool with a large ice pack at the bottom of the shipping container. Each meal tray is encased in a colorful paper sleeve with the name and photo of the chef who created the recipe, a use-by date, and detailed nutritional information.
The meal tray is made of industrially compostable material and sealed with a plastic film. We were generally impressed with these prepared meals; while we found some portions on the small side, the flavors won over many of our prepared-meal skeptics.
Pros: Daily Harvest's menu is entirely plant-based, and the service makes every effort to use organic ingredients. Cons: More impatient home cooks may not like that all meals arrive frozen; you also must commit to a minimum order of nine items with each delivery.
Since , Daily Harvest has provided plant-based eaters nationwide with top-notch meals that are chock-full of nutrients. Everything on the menu is plant-based and gluten-free, with a strong focus on organic ingredients.
There are more than dishes on the menu , from sweet potato and wild rice bowls to artichoke and spinach flatbread to purple corn and tomatillo soup. With more than 20 weekly recipes, you can choose between oven-ready meals, prepped servings, and classic meals that still require you to do all the chopping; servings vary between two and four.
Sunbasket is best for: A new home cook looking to experiment with new ingredients or techniques. Availability: Currently ships to most zip codes in the United States, excluding Alaska, Hawaii, Montana, and parts of New Mexico.
Both menus can be tailored to work with specific dietary preferences. FlexPro also has a Power Bakery with protein-packed cookies and brownies that you can add to any weekly order.
In the meal prep box, you can order ready-made proteins, like sous vide chicken, prime rib, shrimp scampi, sirloin steak, pulled pork carnitas, and rotisserie chicken.
These are perfect for tossing into salads or bowls throughout the week. Elaheh Nozari. Emily Johnson. Well Equipped Cleaning Gear. Meal Kits. Home Chef.
Buy at Home Chef. Photo by Linda Pugliese. Pros: Marley Spoon meals got our testers and their kids cooking and eating a bit outside their comfort zone—the harissa salmon salad was a big hit. They are clearly labeled as such on the website. We had a couple things leak over a few weeks of orders.
Pros: A lot of meal kits claim they take 20 minutes, when it can often be almost double that. Gobble said its meals could be prepped in 15 and we were pleasantly surprised just how close all of them came to that benchmark.
Nothing took over 20 minutes. There are also a lot of one pot meals to keep you from making too big a mess. They repurpose ingredients like garlic confit in lots of dishes in a way that seems smart and efficient rather than repetitive. Cons: The solution from customer service which is lovely by the way if something is missing from an order is to credit an extra meal to your account.
Gobble is best for: People who want freshly cooked food really fast. On the Menu: Pan-roasted chicken with broccoli-cheddar mac and cheese and chicken breast Portuguese-style shrimp with pinto beans and rustic tomato pimentón sauce and sustainably raised ocean shrimp Cheesy corn and black bean enchiladas suizas with zesty cabbage salad Korean bulgogi beef lettuce cups with vegetable japchae Availability: Continental United States.
Buy at Gobble. Buy at Dinnerly. Green Chef. Photo by David Cicconi. Pros: Green Chef has a way of making even ingredients our testers did not care for they had a thing about green bell peppers very appealing. The step-by-step instructions, which all use pictures, are super helpful and really do teach new techniques.
Cons: Ingredients can get a little repetitive so this is best to slip in just two or three times a week. Green Chef is best for: The beginner cook. Buy at Green Chef. Pros: In general what we got was more filling than expected or than it looked like it might be. Even though so many of the meals are salads, Sakara really knows how to make a salad dressing enticing we loved the avocado tahini and creamy cilantro.
The breakfast parfaits were delicious meals. They were surprisingly complex and ate like fancy desserts. Cons: Per meal cost is around 28 dollars and sometimes one of those meals is a single donut or muffin. Buy at Sakara. Purple Carrot. Pros: It offered new vegetarian recipes that could be incorporated easily into a regular weekly cooking cadence.
Cons: The fresh produce was not always perfectly ripe. Buy at Purple Carrot. Blue Apron. Pros: We really like the way Blue Apron formats their instructions. It really teaches you how to prep everything before cooking.
It's much more detailed than your typical recipe instructions. They offer really nice proteins. The highlight for was the quality fillets of salmon or cod that arrived each week. We even tried scallops in one "premium" basket. If you don't have time to shop at the butcher or fishmonger or feel at all intimidated by that experience, the proteins alone make this kit worth it.
All the Indian meals, for example used the same one spice—curry powder. On the Menu: Vegetable peanut lo mein with chili crisp fried eggs Hoisin pork belly and miso ramen with bok choy and soft-boiled eggs Smoky poblano sausage gnocchi with tomatoes and monterey jack Oregano and olive chicken with farro, zucchini, and carrots.
Availability: Nationwide. Buy at Blue Apron. MICHAEL MARQUAND. On the Menu: Zesty hummus and chicken rainbow bowl Curry tofu and broccoli jasmine rice bowl Tomatoey turkey meatball and bell pepper rice bowl Spinach artichoke chicken stuffed potato Availability: Most zip codes throughout the contiguous U.
Buy at Hungryroot. On the Menu: Thai red curry chicken with coconut lime rice Chicken, root vegetables, and wild rice harvest bowl Crustless chicken potato pot pie Beef, lamb, and eggplant moussaka Availability: Nationwide.
Cons: They repeat ingredients we saw lots of mushrooms and nutritional yeast, for example , which makes this a good addendum to your cooking, but perhaps not something to commit to for five meals a week in perpetuity. Methodology is best for: Busy, health-minded folks. Buy at Methodology. An intuitive interface, easy customization options, and swift checkouts can make all the difference.
If a service offers trial packs or promotional discounts, jump on it! Maybe you decide to go on an impromptu vacation or want to switch services.
Having flexible return and cancellation policies can be a relief. At first glance, ordering a meal from a delivery service might seem pricier than whipping up something with ingredients from your local grocery store.
For those who value their time, enjoy variety in their meals, and dislike the hassles of grocery shopping, meal delivery services might indeed be a cost-effective option.
Hey there, fellow food enthusiast! But how do we separate the sizzle from the steak? Ah, the transformation! Remember when food delivery was just a cheesy pizza or some crispy spring rolls? Well, the culinary world has undergone a revolution, and now, gourmet meals are just a click away.
What once was a domain dominated by a few select fast-food joints has exploded into a myriad of options. Our doorsteps have transformed into landing pads for dishes from every corner of the world. As our schedules become chaotic and our world increasingly digital, the desire for tangible, real-world pleasures like good whole food arrives fresh out has skyrocketed.
No more! These plans are your ticket to more leisure. Think about it: hours previously spent on grocery shopping, prepping, cooking, and the worst part—cleaning up—are now all yours.
Maybe take up painting or perhaps finally start that book you always wanted to read. Most of these plans have menus curated with the help of nutritionists. Think of the myriad of choices at your fingertips, each designed to tantalize and satisfy in unique ways.
Can you imagine diving into the heart of Italy with a rich, creamy risotto one evening, and by the next, venturing into the vibrant streets of Thailand with a tangy pad thai?
And the best part? Ever felt the weight of dietary restrictions pulling down your gourmet dreams? Those days are behind you. Think hearty chickpea stews, sumptuous vegetable curries, or maybe a tofu stir fry that bursts with flavors.
Savor dishes like almond flour pizzas, zucchini pasta, or maybe a succulent steak with roasted veggies. No more sifting through ingredient lists or fretting about cross-contamination.
From fluffy gluten-free pancakes to nut-free desserts, the options are both safe and scrumptious. For those watching their caloric intake, fear not!
Enjoy robust dishes, artfully portioned, and crafted to keep you both fit and fulfilled. Often, these prepared meals might end up being pricier than if you were to source the ingredients and cook them up yourself.
Packaging woes! Meal deliveries mean more boxes, plastic wraps, containers, and ice packs. Although many companies are becoming more eco-conscious, the overall waste generated is a concern. Relying too much on these plans can take away the joy and skill of cooking.
Homemade meals, despite the effort, have a warmth and personal touch to them. While they offer a variety of dishes, customization can sometimes be limited.
Want a tad more spice or perhaps a bit less salt? Are you a big eater or perhaps someone who prefers smaller meals? The one-size-fits-all approach might not always cater to individual appetites. You might often find yourself too full or perhaps still peckish.
After the initial honeymoon phase, you might notice certain patterns or repetitions in the menu. Reflect upon your lifestyle. Are you a freelancer juggling multiple gigs? A parent managing work and kids? Or someone who genuinely enjoys the art of cooking?
Your daily routine plays a significant role in determining if these meal plans align with your life. Can your budget comfortably accommodate these meal plans? Are you on a specific diet or have certain health goals?
Delve deep into the menu options available and see if they align with your nutritional requirements. Is this a fleeting fascination or a long-term commitment? Do you see yourself enjoying delivered meals consistently over months or even years?
Sustainability and satisfaction go hand in hand. While all these companies offer delicious, healthy dishes, think about your unique priorities before you subscribe. If you like the convenience but also would prefer higher-quality ingredients, Sunbasket may be a good fit.
They offer fresh and organic premade meals you can heat up in minutes, as well as meal-kits you can cook yourself. If how you manage your time is especially important to you, Home Chef is an excellent service to try.
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Written by David Weliver Edited by Chris Muller Last updated on February 7, We independently analyze every product we recommend.
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We tested popular meal prep delivery services, like Blue Apron and Hello Fresh, to find the best meal delivery service for every household Explore our comprehensive guide to the best meal delivery service options available. Discover convenience, variety, and top-quality meals for every palate PlateJoy is your personal meal planning assistant, providing custom meal plans and recipes. Start your free trial to enjoy recipes tailored to your