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The best meal kit delivery services: Let's get cooking

What is the best meal kit delivery service? HelloFresh is our number one choice. We analyzed recipe directions, meal variety, overall taste, price, and more below.
allison-murray
Written by Allison Murray, Staff Writer on

Sometimes the thought of going to the grocery store is entirely daunting, and that's where meal kit services come in. Meal kit delivery services have become popular in recent years because of their accessible offerings and helping people stick to cooking at home over ordering out.

Meal kits deliver everything to your door: the exact amount of ingredients you need, including fresh produce and meat (if that's your thing), as well as recipes to help you make a chef-worthy meal. So whether you are a working parent, a busy student, looking to eat healthier, or just have run out of ideas on what to cook for dinner, meal kits make cooking a whole lot easier.

There are many brands of meal kits on the market today that cater to anyone's dietary restrictions, time limit, and budget. We've rounded up the best meal kit services to help you choose which one is right for you to get you back in the kitchen. 

You can't go wrong with HelloFresh's simple recipes that don't require professional cooking skills to complete. The service lets you choose between different meal preferences such as meat and veggies, family-friendly, fit and wholesome, and quick and easy, as well as different dietary options like salt conscious, carb smart, or high protein, so there is literally something for everyone.

What's great about HelloFresh is that if you are a first-time user, there are discount codes that can get you up to five boxes (five weeks of meals) at a highly discounted price ($28.14). Otherwise, it's priced average as far as meal kits go at $9.99 per serving for three meals a week for two people.

However, as someone who has personally used this service, after a few weeks, you may notice recipes start to repeat or are at least very similar to ones you've recently had with just minor ingredient adjustments.

Pros

  • Easy-to-follow directions for any level chef
  • Quick meals
  • Discounts for first-time buyers 

Cons

  • Recipes can become redundant/repetitive week after week
  • Not enough variety as other kits

With recipes like "cheesy truffle and pancetta gnocchi," "hoisin duck and orange lo mein," and "pork chorizo, potato and fig bake," the Blue Apron recipes I have tried are a little more on the adventurous side while still being easy and delicious. At $8.99 per serving for three two-person meals or $7.99 per serving for three four-person meals, Blue Apron lets you choose between signature, wellness, and vegetarian meal options.

An extra perk for Blue Apron is that you can pair wine with your meals. Blue Apron will match the perfect red or white based on your meal choices for the week for $10 a bottle or $69.99 a month (including shipping) for six bottles. While this will cost you extra, if you're already buying wine to have with your home-cooked meals, it makes sense to get it all in one place.

Keep in mind that if you want a recipe that includes something like steak, it'll cost you extra to upgrade for a "special" meal. Also, Blue Apron only offers three dietary options, which is the least amount on our list. 

Pros

  • Unique recipes
  • Meat substitute options like Beyond Meat 

Cons

  • Meals are hard to recreate in the future since ingredients can be too unique or difficult to come by for the average person
  • Costs more money per serving to upgrade to meals like steak r
  • Not as many dietary options (only three) 

Whether you are eating Keto, Paleo, Mediterranean, plant-based, etc., Green Chef is a good choice for specific lifestyle meals.

The company is a certified USDA organic company, so rest assured that all the ingredients that come to your door are premium organic. Green Chef takes pride in its green practices like recyclable packaging, offsetting 100% of its direct carbon emissions and plastic packaging in every box, and producing less food waste since the ingredients are perfectly portioned. In addition, Green Chef's website explains what all its packaging materials are made from and how you can recycle or get rid of them in a sustainable way.

Green Chef is by far the most expensive option on this list, so it's not for the budget-minded chef. Also, its meals are more eccentric and feature standout flavors, so if you're looking for signature everyday recipes, this may not be the meal kit option for you.

Pros

  • Has the option for a six-person meal
  • Lots of different dietary options (six)
  • Has a gluten-free option

Cons

  • The average serving for a two-person meal is $13.49
  • Not really options for signature, everyday meals, more so unique with big flavors  

The focus of EveryPlate is offering customers meals that are low priced and are simple to make. Compared to other meal kits on this list, EveryPlate charges $5.89 per serving for three two-person meals a week.

Because it's the cheapest on the list, don't expect expensive or over-the-top ingredients. Instead, EveryPlate is great for simple meals like tacos, pasta, burgers, and bowls. Every week offers 17 different meals to choose from, so your options are almost limitless.

One drawback is that EveryPlate does not offer meals for specific dietary needs like gluten-free or vegan. And while the price per meal is low, keep in mind that you'll still need to pay $9 for shipping. 

Pros

  • Cheapest serving for two people
  • Option of five meals per week

Cons

  • Doesn't cater to specific dietary needs such as gluten-free or vegan
  • Still must pay $9 for shipping 

Sunbasket prides itself in offering all USDA organic ingredients, so you know you're getting the freshest and cleanest produce to your doorstep every week. In addition, you can expect sustainably raised seafood and meat raised without hormones or antibiotics.

Like most other options on this list, Sunbasket has recipes that cater to different dietary restrictions, including soy-free, no added sugar, dairy-free, and diabetes-friendly. You can also filter recipes by the time it takes to cook a meal and by total calories.

Each week, you can choose from various meals, including breakfast, lunch, and snack options like granola, grab-n-go bars, and nuts. Sunbasket also offers fresh and ready meals that you can pop in an oven or microwave if you don't feel like cooking from scratch but still want healthy options during the week.

While Sunbasket is a great option for some, families may find its meal choices less family-friendly than other meal kit services, especially if you have picky eaters. Also, it is more on the expensive side for meal kit pricing at $11.49 per serving.

Pros

  • Lots of meal options and recipe filters to fit your needs
  • Offers breakfast, lunch, and snack options

Cons

  • Expensive per serving
  • Limited family-friendly meal options

What is the best meal kit delivery service?

The best meal kit delivery service is HelloFresh due to its easy-to-follow recipes, great discounts, and overall flavor.

How did we choose these meal kits?

We looked at each meal kit's meal plans and offered meal options, as well as tried out some of the meal kits first-hand. We chose to include and compare the most well-known and popular meal kits since they have built a reputation over the years and have a solid customer base. All the meal kits were compared at the two servings, three meals a week price point. 

We only looked at subscription-based meal kit services, which include all the ingredients you need to cook a meal and the recipes, and chose not to include ready-made meal services, which we consider a different category. 

Which meal kit is right for you?

While all of these meal kits provide the same type of service to consumers, your needs may differ depending on your cooking experience or budget. For beginner chefs, HelloFresh is the best option with its easy-to-follow recipes. For those on a budget, EveryPlate offers the lowest price per serving out of any other meal kit on our list. And, for those with specific dietary restrictions or lifestyles, we think Green Chef is the best option. 

Do you have to get a meal kit delivered every week?

All the above meal kit options allow you to skip a week or even multiple weeks if you don't feel like receiving a kit. You can cancel or skip a meal kit at any time, but pay attention to the skipping deadline, or you will be charged for the upcoming week. 

Can you swap ingredients in a meal kit?

Some meal kit services will let you swap out an ingredient or two when choosing your meals. Usually, you will see this option when you select a meal to add to your week, but you can always email customer service to find out if a simple swap is possible.

Are meal kits and meal deliveries the same?

Both meal kits and meal deliveries bring food to your door, but they are different. Like the ones we mentioned above, meal kits provide you with all the ingredients (usually measured out in the appropriate portions) and recipes to make a few meals each week. In comparison, meal deliveries are pre-cooked, usually frozen meals that require you to heat them in the oven or microwave.

Are there alternative meal kits worth considering?

Here are a couple of other meal kit options to look into: 

Tovala: Ingredients and cooking method delivered to your door

If you're literally starting from scratch as a cook, Tovala is a great place to start since not only do you get meal ingredients delivered to your door, but you get an all-in-one smart oven as well. This option is definitely a splurge compared to the other meal kits since the included oven is $200, but once you have the stove, the meal plans start at $11.99 per meal with the option to skip or cancel at any time.

In addition, you can utilize the stove for meals outside of Tovala's weekly meal plans, so it's a win-win if you just moved into a new home or apartment and don't have appliances yet. 

Gobble: Cook a meal in half the time 

Gobble's meals take meal kits for busy people to the next level by including all the ingredients you need and chopping, peeling, and measuring them for you. This means you can make a meal in 15 minutes or less since you just have to factor in the actual cooking time rather than the prep time.

Pricing for Gobble falls in the average range for meal kit delivery services at $11.99 per serving, no matter if you choose two- or four-person meals. 

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