Low-cost ready-made meal alternatives

For best results, you should heat in the oven or on the stovetop, not the microwave. And don't worry, because they are fresh they include a use-by date! SHOP COOKUNITY. They heat up in just minutes in the microwave or oven.

Most portions are meant for two, so it's great for couples. Plus, the food is delivered in sustainable packaging—it's all recyclable, compostable, or biodegradable! SHOP SUNBASKET. This service's menu is packed with whole fruit- and veggie-based smoothies, harvest bowls, soups, and treats. Daily Harvest even has its own lines of plant-based milk, ice cream, and lattes.

The meals arrive frozen, giving you flexibility to eat on your schedule. SHOP DAILY HARVEST. All the meals are guaranteed to be chock-full of nutrition and flavor, too.

There are over options to choose from each week, and you can choose from an existing plan or add items a la carte. SHOP FRESH N' LEAN. They are all single-serve and heat up within five minutes. You can also add them onto any existing Blue Apron order!

SHOP BLUE APRON. The service has over heart-healthy, diabetic-friendly, low sodium, and gluten-free choices each week! There are no minimum orders either, so it's really flexible. SHOP SILVER CUISINE. This service provides tasty seasonal dishes featuring fresh, nutrient-dense ingredients.

Whether you're paleo, vegan, or just trying to get on a healthier diet, Territory Food's got you covered. There are over 35 weekly options that can be delivered once or twice a week, and they heat up in a mere two minutes. SHOP TERRITORY FOODS.

Looking for organic, plant-based meals? Choose 6, 12, 18 meals per week, and the options change every single week so you'll never get bored.

SHOP SPRINLY. This meal delivery service is both low-FODMAP and gluten-free. Its yummy fare is ideal for those with GI disorders, including Crohn's disease, Celiac disease, and irritable bowel syndrome. There are 50 recipes available each week and you can plan up to a month in advance.

Easy-peasy and pain-free! SHOP EPICURED. The Good Kitchen uses responsibly and sustainably source ingredients, including grass-fed and grass-finished beef and hormone-free poultry and eggs.

The company also carries lots of delightful plant-based meals, such as Vegan Paella with Catalan Roasted Vegetables and Mushroom Bolognese with Spaghetti Squash. You can choose up to 12 meals a week that heat up in five minutes or less.

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sign in. Dinner Ideas for Two Brownie Recipes Soup Recipes Valentine's Day Desserts Crock-Pot Recipes. But you'll want to hone in on exactly how much food makes sent for your household.

If you can't imagine yourself cooking more than twice per week, don't order more than two meal kits because they typically won't last more than a week in the fridge.

Most prepared meals either arrive frozen or can be frozen after unboxing. That means it's less of an issue if you order too many meals on your first go around.

Most services allow you to change the number of meals or servings in your plan even after you've started.

Our meal delivery experts have logged more than 5 years of cooking more than 75 meal kits and tasting more than prepared meals from various services to help land on our list of the best healthy meal subscriptions in While everything else has got more expensive, meal kit subscriptions seem to be getting cheaper.

The absolute cheapest meal kit is EveryPlate , and with consistently tasty meals -- we've tested it three times now -- that take as little as 20 minutes to cook, it's an easy pick for the best cheap meal service for Read more: Are Some Meal Kits Cheaper Than Buying Groceries?

I Did the Math. If you're looking for inexpensive vegan meals by mail or an affordable meal kit service that includes steak and seafood in the standard plan, we have picks for those, too.

The takeaway? Being budget-friendly certainly doesn't mean the food has to suck. If you're looking to eliminate a few weekly tasks -- grocery shopping, meal planning, prep, cooking -- without squeezing your budget, we tested more than 10 top wallet-friendly services to find the best cheap meal delivery for The bottom line : EveryPlate's meal kits were all solid and easy to make.

EveryPlate meal kits are easy to prepare and I loved everything I made in multiple rounds of testing. You won't find a lot of foofy, upscale cuisine or complicated recipes, but you will get a lot of satisfying comfort food, such as hoisin meatloaf with mashed potatoes, cheeseburgers, umami pork chops and sweet potato quesadillas.

I tested EveryPlate and was pleasantly surprised with how much I liked the meals. Having tested all of the leading prepared meal delivery service options, Fresh N Lean ran away from the competition, ticking more boxes than any other.

The food is healthy, thoughtfully prepared, tastes fantastic, looks appetizing and is fairly affordable, depending on the plan you select. Fresh N Lean has five meal plans to help keep folks on track with their specific nutrition goals, including low-carb, vegan, paleo and protein-plus options.

The food I tried was all made exceptionally well, made from simple, whole ingredients. This is the perfect service for families with picky eaters trying to eat well on a budget.

Much like EveryPlate, Dinnerly has a lot of comfort foods such as ravioli with spinach and parmesan sauce, carne asada tacos and chicken pad thai. Dinnerly has an enormous menu of recipes -- typically more than 60 to choose from in a given week. The bottom line: This plant-based meal delivery service had some of the best, healthy prepared meals of any service we tried.

I sampled about nine of Mosaic Food's plant-based prepared meal offerings and the vegetarian prepared meal delivery service had an astoundingly high hit rate. Mosaic uses bold and interesting global flavors and employs creative use of meat substitutes such as tofu, jackfruit, cauliflower and vegan sausages to create tasty and satisfying vegetarian meals -- even for this omnivore.

There are some vegan meals, but many of them use dairy products, so vegans must choose their Mosaic meals more carefully. The bottom line: Blue Apron is a classic example of a quality meal delivery service. One of the original providers of this service, it also stands out for eco-friendliness.

Blue Apron is one of the original meal kit services and it's also one of the best. In fact, Blue Apron topped our list of best meal delivery services for with a wide range of excellent recipes, all for an affordable price. It's true, you can order bistro steaks and roasted trout dinners with Blue Apron's standard plan, where many services charge extra for those premium proteins.

In addition to solid meal kits, Blue Apron is the most eco-friendly service of the major players, according to a recent study.

The heartier meals are great too, like the cauliflower rice and pesto harvest bowl with cashews and spinach. You won't need more than a saucepan, toaster or blender to prepare most of the meals, and most can be made in as little as 5 minutes. When I tried Daily Harvest , I loved the interesting smoothie combos such as a chocolate blueberry smoothie with greens, banana and almond butter.

The bottom line : It doesn't get much easier than HelloFresh. This service has tons of cheap meal kit options, more than 50 per week, and allows you to add proteins or extra servings to keep the whole crew fed and happy. HelloFresh has as many as 25 dinner meal kits per week, so it is nearly impossible not to find something you'll like.

HelloFresh also has five or six plant-based recipes a week, making it the best cheap meal kit service for vegetarians. Over the past few years, we've tested nearly every meal kit delivery and prepared meal delivery service we could get our oven mitts on, and that includes the best budget meal delivery services.

Many of the menu options for the meal delivery services we've listed include nutritious plant-based food or high-protein recipes with lots of veggies and lean meats.

To test each cheap meal delivery service, I tried at least four and sometimes as many as 10 meals from any given service. I always choose a range of meals from the various menu and meal plan offerings. For instance, if a meal subscription service offers vegan or vegetarian meals I was sure to try at least one.

I also mixed up the cuisine types to include pasta, meat dishes, bowls and other various styles offered by the brand. To test the best cheap meal kits, there was another set of standards and protocols to adhere to.

Here's more on how we test meal kits at CNET. The first big decision you'll make is whether you want meal kits, which require some prep and cooking, or a prepared meal service that sends fully cooked meals ready to heat and eat.

Prepared meals require almost no time and energy, other than what it takes to actually eat the food, but typically run a few dollars more per serving. If you're keen on eating low-calorie, low-carb, plant-based or pescatarian food, certain meal kits and meal delivery services are better than others.

Our list of the healthiest meal delivery services for is a good place to find the most nutritious options. With almost every service, the more meals or servings are in your order per delivery, the cheaper it becomes per meal. Ideally, you'll want to determine exactly how much food makes sense for your household.

That means it's less of an issue if you order too many meals on your first go-around. Services like Daily Harvest and Splendid Spoon have meals for similar prices but are focused more on grain bowls and smoothies and might be better for breakfast or lunch versus dinner. When it comes to meal kits, your options are many, and most services provide weekly recipes that are low on calories but still filling.

HelloFresh has the most recipes per week of any meal kit service, so that might be your best bet for finding consistent meals that keep your diet goals on track.

But all services list the calorie content for each recipe, along with carbs, protein, sugar and sodium. Depending on your weight loss goals, a healthy prepared meal delivery or meal kit service can help. Fresh N Lean, Pete's Real Food and Daily Harvest all have low-calorie meals to choose from.

Some of the services listed here are healthy prepared meal delivery services , sending fully cooked meals -- often frozen or partially frozen -- and ready to eat when you receive them. Others include health-focused meal kits with premeasured ingredients all boxed up and ready for easy weeknight cooking.

There's a stark difference between meal kits and meal delivery, but both make dinnertime easier and can translate into healthier eating choices for you in Plus, we sussed out the best healthy meal services for those on special diets like keto or paleo or for those who wish to eat organic prepared meals and meal kits.

Wellness Nutrition. Written by David Watsky. Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks.

If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement. David lives in Brooklyn where he's spent more than a decade covering all things edible, including meal kit services, food subscriptions, kitchen tools and cooking tips.

Since earning a BA in English from Northeastern in Boston, he's toiled in nearly every aspect of the food business, including as a line cook in Rhode Island where he once made a steak sandwich for Lamar Odom.

Right now, he's likely somewhere stress-testing a blender or researching the best way to make bacon. Anything with sesame is his all-time favorite food this week.

Expertise Kitchen tools, appliances, food science, subscriptions and meal kits. See full bio. Why You Can Trust CNET.

Table of Contents Top. Cheapest Meal Delivery Services of What's the best cheap meal delivery service? Cheapest meal delivery services for Cheapest prepared meal services compared. How we test meal kits and meal delivery services.

Daily Harvest, prepared EveryPlate and Dinnerly are the cheapest meal kits with most plans clocking in at under $6 per serving. HelloFresh and Home Chef are in the next Find the best meal kit delivery services providing you with fresh ingredients and healthier, more convenient eating from CNET

The Best Meal Kit Delivery Services of 2024

Low-cost ready-made meal alternatives - Dinnerly, meal kit Daily Harvest, prepared EveryPlate and Dinnerly are the cheapest meal kits with most plans clocking in at under $6 per serving. HelloFresh and Home Chef are in the next Find the best meal kit delivery services providing you with fresh ingredients and healthier, more convenient eating from CNET

You can customize the number of meals you get per week — ranging from six to 10 frozen meals. Deliveries take place on Mondays, Tuesdays or Wednesdays depending on your shipping location, and you can choose to skip a delivery on any given week. This makes them a great option for those with small intestinal bacterial overgrowth SIBO , irritable bowel syndrome IBS or a generally sensitive stomach, according to Moskovitz.

It presents you with a rotating menu of over 50 prepared foods spanning breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and desserts. Price is based on three meals per day for three days in the brand's Signature Nutrition Program.

On the pricier side, Sakara Life offers a selection of ready-to-eat meals, all of which are gluten-free, organic, dairy-free and plant-based, according to the service.

The Signature Nutrition Program comes with up to three meals per day and your choice of two, three or five days. Other programs include the Metabolism Reset , a one- four- or eight-week program that sends you a specifically curated menu for up to five days per week.

We also take steps to ensure that all expert advice and recommendations are made independently and with no undisclosed financial conflicts of interest. Mili Godio is an editor at NBC Select who has extensive experience covering meal delivery services, including gluten-free and vegetarian options.

For this article, Godio spoke to six experts about what to consider when shopping for a meal delivery service and how to determine the best one for you.

They also shared their favorite meal delivery services to try out. IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser. SKIP TO CONTENT. CNBC Select. Follow Select.

By Mili Godio. SKIP AHEAD Best prepared meal delivery services Selected. Our top picks. Learn more. Home Chef. Vegetarian, keto, even meals for the plus set are available, so just wait until you see what's out there! And in case you need more incentive, several of these options have some major Black Friday deals going on right now.

But hurry, just like the holiday weekend, they'll be over before you know it! Scroll for more info. Factor's menu is refreshed with more than 30 dietician-approved meals each week.

The chef-cooked offerings are also refined sugar-, GMO-, hormone-, and antibiotic-free. Choose between 6 to 18 meals per week, and they arrive fresh, not frozen. They last up to seven days if you don't eat them right away.

They have keto, vegan and veggie, calorie smart, and protein plus options. SHOP FACTOR. If you have a bigger budget and prioritize an organic, plant-rich, and whole food-based diet, you might find Sakara to be worth the price tag.

You can supplement the health-forward three- and five-day meal plans with the company's snacks, vitamins, probiotics, and teas, too! SHOP SAKARA LIFE. If you're focused on athletic performance and nutrition, give Trifecta a try. Each plan works within a particular macro count to help you achieve your goals, and you can choose between their clean, paleo, keto, and plant-based options.

There are several meal count options per week, too, ranging from 5 to 14, and everything arrives vacuum sealed for freshness. SHOP TRIFECTA. This meal plan is medically approved, so it's great for those looking to maintain their weight, slim down, or are concerned about diabetes.

There are over meals to choose from, and you can choose from several plans including gluten-free, diabetic, heart healthy, and even menopause. Items arrive frozen, so just require quick trip in the microwave. SHOP BISTROMD.

On a mission to eat more plant-based foods that taste amazing? Good, because that's Mosaic's mission, too! Their meal plan options are great for food sensitivities, so they offer wheat-free, nut-free, and soy-free meals as well as vegan and vegetarian.

Opt for 6, 12, or 18 meals per box, and your meals will be delivered frozen either each week or up to every 4 weeks. SHOP MOSAIC FOODS. If you want truly award-winning options, try a service that brings restaurant chefs right to your table. Select your region and then pick between dozens of options each week.

You can choose as little as four and as many as 16 meals each week, and fresh options will be delivered in environmentally friendly packaging. For best results, you should heat in the oven or on the stovetop, not the microwave. And don't worry, because they are fresh they include a use-by date!

Read our full review of Pete's Real Food here. Why our testers picked CookUnity : This is a prepared meal service aimed at those with refined tastes and an adventurous palate. The best thing about CookUnity is the sheer volume of meal options you can choose from, all originating from chefs -- some famous and some not -- of different backgrounds and culinary styles.

I liked almost everything I tried, with recipes ranging from very healthy to more comfort-style food. There are plenty of options for vegetarians, too, but note that the menu will vary depending on where you live since they pull from local chefs to create the weekly offerings.

Read our full review of CookUnity here. Why our testers picked Mosaic Foods : This plant-based service was one of the best prepared meal services we tried, and not just among vegan options.

I sampled more than 10 of Mosaic Food's plant-based prepared meal offerings and the vegetarian prepared meal delivery service had an astoundingly high hit rate. Mosaic uses global flavors and employs creative use of meat substitutes such as tofu, jackfruit, cauliflower and vegan sausages to create tasty and satisfying vegetarian meals.

While everything I ate from Mosaic was at least good, some standouts included the bean and jackfruit chili, tomato olive and feta ragout and a tangy Thai noodle dish.

Why our testers picked HelloFresh : HelloFresh combines, convenience, selection and family-friendly options for an all-around excellent meal kit experience. HelloFresh has the most recipes per week of any meal kit service we tried making it a good pick for families and homes with picky eaters.

This meal kit service's portion sizes are generous and there are meals to fir eating plans and diets of all sorts. It's also affordable, especially if you order larger meals. Ya know, for a family.

HelloFresh recipes are mostly fast and easy to follow, even for beginner cooks. Plus, they'll allow you to make substitutions so you can always find a recipe that suits your taste. Factor is a healthy prepared meal service and had some of the best meals I tried in all my testing of prepared meal services, including a zesty pesto salmon and a divine keto cheesecake.

Among the hits, however, were the occasional misses, so you may have to learn the menu over time. Factor puts a focus on healthy meals with plenty of low-carb options, and all the nutritional information is listed on the website before you choose your meals each week.

With all the keto and paleo meal options, it's certainly a solid choice for people keeping to either of those plans. Read our full review of Factor here. Why our testers picked Purple Carrot : For authentic, organic, plant-based cooking, Purple Carrot delivered big with a bounty of interesting recipes and fresh ingredients.

Out of all the vegan meal kits I've tried, Purple Carrot's provided me with the best base for cooking vegan cuisine and its ingredient mainstays such as lentils and grains. There are about eight recipes to choose from each week.

I tested a full week's worth of meals and enjoyed all of them. Read our full Purple Carrot review here. Why our testers picked Green Chef : This meal kit service uses almost all organic meats and produce, and offers interesting and healthy recipes for the discerning home cook.

While it may be one of the pricier options, we like Green Chef for its versatility in the different specific diet plans available. The healthy meal kit service also boasts the most organic ingredients of any meal kit service including produce, meats and fish. Green Chef also offers paleo, keto, pescatarian, vegan and vegetarian meals as well as gluten-free meal kit recipes and meals.

Read our full review of Green Chef here. EveryPlate keeps overhead costs low by offering just eight easy meal kit recipes to choose from weekly, which mostly excludes vegetarians and those on special diets, but the eight available meals are full of variety and flavor otherwise.

You can expect a lot of comfort food from this meal kit service such as meatloaf, burgers and pasta dishes but everything I made was solid. Why our testers picked Home Chef : Home Chef is a meal kit service with a sprawling menu that includes tons of low-carb options.

Even if you're not going full keto, but just want to curb your carb intake, Home Chef offers 15 recipes per week with less than 15 grams of net carbs in each. On balance, Home Chef meal kits weren't the best we tried, but the bulk of meals we made took less than 25 minutes and the portions were more than satisfying.

That, coupled with its slew of easy, healthy low-carb options, makes Home Chef the best meal kit service for keto eaters.

The first big decision you'll make is whether you want meal kits, which require some prep and cooking, or a prepared meal service that sends fully cooked meals that are ready to heat and eat.

After you've picked between meal kits or meal delivery, you'll want to find a service within your budget. Here we've outlined all the best cheap meal delivery services for Our list of the healthiest meal delivery services for is a good place to find all the most nutritious options.

Lastly, you'll want to hone in on exactly how much food you'll want sent to you per week. Most services allow you to change the number of meals or servings in your plan even after you've started. With nearly every service, the more meals your order per delivery, the cheaper it is per meal.

All the meal delivery services may look delicious in their website glamour shots, but that's certainly not enough to convince me.

To settle on this list of the best meal delivery service I tried as many as we could get our hands on, noting everything about them from freshness and flavor to ordering, packaging and delivery. Testing meal kits for CNET means rolling up our sleeves and cooking at least one week's worth of meals from each service, often more.

How each meal kit tastes, how easy it was to prepare and the portion sizes are all considered. We also evaluate the website and how easy it is to navigate along with determining how easy it is to pause, cancel or change your order at any given time. To learn more, we have an in-depth look at how we test meal kits here at CNET.

To test each meal delivery service, we tried at least five and sometimes as many as 10 meals from any given service. I choose a range of meals from the various menu and meal plan offerings and took note of the ordering process, recipe variety and information available. I reheated meals according to the instructions.

If there were none, I heated them the way I would if left to my own devices. Often that meant warming gently in a nonstick skillet or reheating in my air fryer. Many of the meal delivery services offer a microwave heating option, but I almost always found that produced worse results than my trusted methods, even if they typically take a few seconds longer.

Not all meal kits are created equally. Some services are much better depending on your dietary preferences, budget and culinary skill level. If you're looking to cut some of the legwork out of dinner, meal kits and prepared meal services are definitely worth it.

The most budget-friendly services cost about the same as buying all the groceries you'd need to make the same meal, with the convenience of having all the ingredients or a box of fully prepared meals sent to your home each week.

That's definitely cheaper than eating out or getting restaurant food delivered, and about the same cost as buying the groceries needed to make the same meals. In a previous story, we crunched the numbers to find out how much meal kits cost versus buying the same groceries.

In reviews and best lists, Blue Apron and HelloFresh are two of the most popular meal kit services for Fresh N Lean and Factor are some of the most popular options for prepared meal subscriptions.

Wellness Nutrition. Best Meal Delivery Services of We've tested and reviewed more than two dozen meal delivery services. Written by David Watsky. Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks.

If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement. David lives in Brooklyn where he's spent more than a decade covering all things edible, including meal kit services, food subscriptions, kitchen tools and cooking tips.

Since earning a BA in English from Northeastern in Boston, he's toiled in nearly every aspect of the food business, including as a line cook in Rhode Island where he once made a steak sandwich for Lamar Odom.

Right now, he's likely somewhere stress-testing a blender or researching the best way to make bacon. Anything with sesame is his all-time favorite food this week.

Expertise Kitchen tools, appliances, food science, subscriptions and meal kits. See full bio. Why You Can Trust CNET. Table of Contents Top. Best Meal Delivery Services of What's the best meal delivery service?

Best meal delivery services of

Low-cost ready-made meal alternatives - Dinnerly, meal kit Daily Harvest, prepared EveryPlate and Dinnerly are the cheapest meal kits with most plans clocking in at under $6 per serving. HelloFresh and Home Chef are in the next Find the best meal kit delivery services providing you with fresh ingredients and healthier, more convenient eating from CNET

No minute meals here: Instead, you'll be sent a week's worth of fully prepped, fully cooked meals. Truly easy dinners , here you come! Most heat in the microwave or oven in just a few minutes. That's even faster than ordering takeout. But with dozens of new companies to choose from, where to begin?

Well, first, figure out what you're looking for. Filling dinners or healthy snacks? How about fruit-filled breakfast smoothies?

Something for every single meal of the day? The wide assortment of options means that there's a subscription for virtually every kind of budget, family size, and dietary restriction or preference — really. Vegetarian, keto, even meals for the plus set are available, so just wait until you see what's out there!

And in case you need more incentive, several of these options have some major Black Friday deals going on right now. But hurry, just like the holiday weekend, they'll be over before you know it! Scroll for more info. Factor's menu is refreshed with more than 30 dietician-approved meals each week.

The chef-cooked offerings are also refined sugar-, GMO-, hormone-, and antibiotic-free. Choose between 6 to 18 meals per week, and they arrive fresh, not frozen. They last up to seven days if you don't eat them right away. They have keto, vegan and veggie, calorie smart, and protein plus options.

SHOP FACTOR. If you have a bigger budget and prioritize an organic, plant-rich, and whole food-based diet, you might find Sakara to be worth the price tag. You can supplement the health-forward three- and five-day meal plans with the company's snacks, vitamins, probiotics, and teas, too!

SHOP SAKARA LIFE. If you're focused on athletic performance and nutrition, give Trifecta a try. Each plan works within a particular macro count to help you achieve your goals, and you can choose between their clean, paleo, keto, and plant-based options.

There are several meal count options per week, too, ranging from 5 to 14, and everything arrives vacuum sealed for freshness.

SHOP TRIFECTA. This meal plan is medically approved, so it's great for those looking to maintain their weight, slim down, or are concerned about diabetes. There are over meals to choose from, and you can choose from several plans including gluten-free, diabetic, heart healthy, and even menopause.

Items arrive frozen, so just require quick trip in the microwave. SHOP BISTROMD. On a mission to eat more plant-based foods that taste amazing? Good, because that's Mosaic's mission, too! Their meal plan options are great for food sensitivities, so they offer wheat-free, nut-free, and soy-free meals as well as vegan and vegetarian.

Opt for 6, 12, or 18 meals per box, and your meals will be delivered frozen either each week or up to every 4 weeks. SHOP MOSAIC FOODS. If you want truly award-winning options, try a service that brings restaurant chefs right to your table.

Select your region and then pick between dozens of options each week. You can choose as little as four and as many as 16 meals each week, and fresh options will be delivered in environmentally friendly packaging.

For best results, you should heat in the oven or on the stovetop, not the microwave. And don't worry, because they are fresh they include a use-by date!

SHOP COOKUNITY. They heat up in just minutes in the microwave or oven. Most portions are meant for two, so it's great for couples. Plus, the food is delivered in sustainable packaging—it's all recyclable, compostable, or biodegradable!

SHOP SUNBASKET. This service's menu is packed with whole fruit- and veggie-based smoothies, harvest bowls, soups, and treats.

You can choose your combination of desired servings and recipes each week. The valuable convenience of most meal kit delivery services come at a price—but not at Dinnerly.

But cutting down on price doesn't mean cutting down on quality. When we tested Dinnerly, we were taken aback by the flavor and portion sizes of each meal.

Dishes with global flair like chicken satay and Moroccan-spiced chicken soup felt akin to ordering takeout from an international restaurant. Better yet, Dinnerly is devoted to simple, fuss-free prep. That means every recipe has just five steps or less, and uses minimal pots and pans so post-dinner clean-up is a breeze.

And a lot of the dishes we tested were actually ready faster than the estimated recipe time. There are a few minor downsides we found, though, like disorganized packaging and fewer included ingredients.

The ingredients are not organized according to each recipe, which means you'll have to sift through a pile of produce and packaged spices before cooking each meal. Dinnerly also doesn't deliver printed recipe cards, so you'll have to refer back to your email as you cook.

We also found that you may need to have some staples on hand before your package gets delivered, like fresh garlic and apple cider vinegar. But don't worry: Dinnerly will send you a list of ingredients via email before the box arrives. Despite these minor hiccups, we think Dinnerly delivers major value for the price, and you'd be hard-pressed to find a better meal delivery service with such excellent value.

Read the full Dinnerly review. Favorite meal: Soy-ginger pork tenderloin with garlic rice and green beans. Cost: Visit Dinnerly for updated pricing. Subscriptions can serve two or four people, and you can choose anywhere from two to six meals per week.

Like its name suggests, Home Chef provides customers with the tools necessary to become true masters of the kitchen. Home Chef also offers oven-ready meals which come with their own cooking trays and the option to swap out proteins, making it appealing to an even wider swath of busy cooks.

Aside from classics like the farmhouse fried chicken with mashed potatoes, green onion gravy, and corn , Home Chef also offerings meals that are diverse enough to include healthy meal options.

It also accommodates almost any dietary preference, including vegetarians and vegans. The menu offers at least 25 dinner options per week, as well as a handful of oven-ready meals.

There are also some lunch and snack choices as add-ons to its main menu. We were impressed by the depth of flavor in the yang-yang beef with shishito peppers , a lighter alternative to traditional American Chinese food, and loved the hot honey salmon with zucchini and tomatoes for its summer simplicity.

What we love most about Home Chef is its organization. Ingredients are divided per meal into labeled bags that easily slide into the fridge, recipe instructions are consistently clear, and time estimates are always accurate.

Plus, the website is easy to navigate, allowing you the freedom to choose what you want and skip delivery weeks at will. One of its only downsides is the lack of variety on the weekly menu. We would describe most of Home Chef's recipes as American-style, with a few Italian or Mexican-inspired options each week.

HelloFresh, on the other hand, offers a wide range of dishes with international flair every week, like Peruvian chicken and Indian-inspired curry.

Home Chef would be also wise to incorporate more biodegradable packaging into its existing model. Read the full Home Chef review. Favorite meal: Farmhouse fried chicken with mashed potatoes, green onion gravy, and corn.

Cost: Visit Home Chef for updated pricing. Subscriptions can serve two, four, or six people, and you can choose anywhere from two to six meals per week.

Paneer Tikka Masala was our favorite dish we tested from Gobble, our pick for best pre-prepped meal kit. That means your box will contain pre-portioned ingredients, pre-made sauces, and partially-cooked starches that require simple reheating, plus pre-sliced, -diced, and -minced veggies.

We were pleasantly surprised by the ingredients' freshness, and found that everything survived a day or two in the fridge before cooking. Our biggest qualm with Gobble is that not all recipes are created equally. While some dishes were inventive, balanced, and super flavorful, others had us wishing we tweaked some of the ingredients ourselves.

That said, most of what we tried was very tasty and we would definitely make most of the dishes again. But because Gobble preps most of the veggies for you, there's unnecessary albeit recyclable packaging for things like chopped onions, which means more stuff for you to dispose of.

Read the full Gobble review. Favorite meal: Paneer and cauliflower tikka masala with garam masala basmati rice. Cost: Visit Gobble for updated pricing. Although we found some flaws with this fully vegan meal delivery service a few years back, our second time testing proved most if not all of our issues had been remedied.

We tried Purple Carrot for two weeks—trying meals from both the meal kit menu and the prepared meals section—and were impressed by the results. Previously, we found the brand to suffer from confusing recipes, bland flavors, and unsatisfying portions.

This time around, we were excited by the menu's international variety, protein-packed ingredients, and overall tastiness. Standout plant based meals included the tamarind cauliflower with gingered fried rice and cashews , which was addictively tasty, and the buffalo tempeh quinoa bowl , which had a satisfying balance of heat and freshness.

We also tried the brand's single-serve prepared meals, which arrive ready to eat after a few minutes in the microwave. These meals weren't to the same level of deliciousness as the freshly made stuff, but they were still hearty, balanced, and decently tasty.

We were happy enough to take them to work on in-office days. Subscribers to Purple Carrot can choose between either two or four servings a week for a meal kit subscription, or three or four meals a week for a prepared meal subscription. You can also add prepared meals to your meal kit subscription for an additional cost—that's what we did.

There are about a dozen meals to choose from each week, and several are conveniently labeled for folks with dietary restrictions, like Gluten-Free or Nut-Free.

There are even a few Less Prep options, which feature pre-mixed sauces, pre-cut veggies, and recipes that require fewer pots and pans. The service also offers breakfast and lunch dishes, plus add-ons think snacks and pantry staples from the cleverly named Plantry.

There were still a few minor hiccups during testing, like an unusual recipe card format and slightly inaccurate cook times. But once you get used to this learning curve it's not a dealbreaker.

Whether you're a longtime vegan or just someone looking to add more plant-based ingredients into their life, we recommend subscribing. Read the full Purple Carrot review.

Favorite meal: Tamarind cauliflower with gingered fried rice and cashews. Cost: Visit Purple Carrot for updated pricing. Unlike the other services in this roundup, CookUnity delivers fresh, fully prepared meals directly to your door—no cooking required. CookUnity wowed us from the moment we created an account and started browsing the hundreds—yes, hundreds —of meal options that are offered in any given week.

Each dish on the website is curated by one of CookUnity's featured chefs, who typically specialize in a certain style of cooking.

Subscribers can choose to filter the overwhelming number of offerings by anything from diet type think vegan and keto , ethnicity think Mexican, African, or Mediterranean , or by featured chef once you become familiar with them.

When we tested these meals, it felt like we were dining at a restaurant. Each dish was flavorful, fresh, and enticing; they felt like they had been cooked fresh—but the prep took mere seconds. The meal packaging prompts you to choose between a typical pre-made meal preparation read: microwave or a chef-suggested preparation.

The latter requires popping the tray into the oven or transferring the food into a pan. We opted for the chef's suggestions—and it was worth it.

A few of the dishes we tried had smaller portions and left us craving more of a balance of protein, carbs, and veggies. But this issue can easily be avoided by reading the in-depth meal guides on the website to see what's featured in each dish and what its nutritional information is.

Read the full CookUnity review. Favorite meal: Sesame-ginger tofu poke bowl. Cost: Visit CookUnity for updated pricing. Despite the success of its competition, the original meal kit service still has some fight left in them. Time and experience has allowed Blue Apron to keep prices low, perfect time estimates on recipes, and offer fun wine-pairing and gift options.

When we originally tested this service, we had problems with flavors and ratios being off. Oregano overpowered orecchiette , jalapeño overwhelmed peach salsa, and my polenta was in desperate need of salt, spice, or anything to make it more than a bland mush. But when we tested it again in , we found that the menu offered much more variety.

Flavorful meals like Mexican-spiced shrimp bake and shawarma chicken and currant rice had us enjoying every last bite. A few details continue to fall short, though, like disorganized packaging and inaccurate time estimates.

There's also a lack of vegan offerings with this meal kit. But if you're someone looking for dietician-approved meals, tasty recipes, and options for wine and breakfast, you might be very satisfied with this kit.

Read the full Blue Apron review. Favorite meal: Crispy skin salmon with salsa verde and farro salad. Cost: Visit Blue Apron for updated pricing. Different plans are available.

Each dish we tested, from hibachi-style steak and rice bowls to apricot dijon chicken legs, was quick and easy to prepare and used high-quality ingredients.

While we were disappointed by the recipe for creamy peppercorn chicken with roasted potatoes and carrots chicken breast can easily dry out when baked, and the sauce was overwhelmingly peppery , we found the other meals satisfying.

However, EveryPlate is focused on affordability and not specific diet plans, which means its recipes may not suit everyone. But if you're looking to subscribe to a meal kit on a budget, EveryPlate just might do. Read the full EveryPlate review. Favorite meal: Apricot dijon chicken legs with roasted carrots and lemon garlic couscous.

Cost: Visit EveryPlate for updated pricing. Meals like chipotle-spiced steak with potato salad were simple, sophisticated, and downright American, just like the homemaking queen.

The service is also far from ideal for those with dietary restrictions—in typical American fashion, every recipe revolves around an animal protein or heavy carbs. Since we originally posted our review, Martha and Marley Spoon has added more vegetarian and low-carb options, but we haven't tested them yet.

The service did score points with us for its eco-friendly packaging, made almost entirely from biodegradable materials. Most of its recipes were also easy to follow for new cooks.

Want to learn more? Read our full Martha and Marley Spoon review. Favorite meal: Chipotle-spiced steak with potato salad and charred snap peas. Like Sunbasket, Green Chef promises organic ingredients and a variety of different diet-based meal plans think keto, paleo, and vegan at different price points, with about eight options to choose from per week.

What sets Green Chef apart from other services is its commitment to organic and ethically sourced ingredients.

The company is USDA-certified organic, meaning that customers are buying certified ingredients from suppliers that follow strict standards. When we tore open our bags for dishes like red-miso steak stir-fry and chicken with harissa apricot sauce, we were surprised to see that many of the ingredients were pre-prepped.

The carrots and cabbage were already chopped, the miso sauce was already prepared, and there was a baggie of finely minced garlic and ginger that was almost a paste. All these pre-prepped ingredients made preparing our food very speedy and simple.

Most were plated and ready to eat in 30 minutes, and we only dirtied a handful of prep bowls, one pan, one pot, and a cutting board. However, convenience has its drawbacks. Many of the pre-chopped veggies were brown or wilting by the time we went to cook with them.

But otherwise, we quite enjoyed Green Chef. Read the full Green Chef Review. Favorite meal: Red-miso steak stir-fry with udon noodles, carrots, edamame, pickled ginger and carrots. Cost: Visit Green Chef for updated pricing.

This meal delivery service offers a wide variety of recipes that will satisfy omnivores and vegan customers alike with its certified organic produce. Fresh pappardelle verde with sweet pea pistou and sugar snap peas and crispy tempeh tenders with barbecue sauce and lemon-shallot green beans were among its standout offerings when we tested.

We were impressed by how easily our Sunbasket dinners came together, relying on just a few key ingredients and spice blends to do most of the heavy lifting. That meant spending less time cooking and more time enjoying the food. We particularly loved the flavorful veggies and non-meat protein options, making Sunbasket perfect for people who avoid eating meat.

You can easily skip weeks, adjust delivery frequency, pause your account, or cancel your subscription entirely by easily navigating the Sunbasket website. Favorite meal: Fresh pappardelle verde with sweet pea pistou and sugar snap peas. Cost: Visit Sunbasket for updated pricing.

There are several options to choose from when it comes to buying a meal delivery kit. To help make your selection a little easier, here are some of the most important factors to keep in mind before you subscribe to a delivery service:.

As with any subscription service, the price is one detail that should not be overlooked, especially since you'll be paying for the delivery on a weekly or monthly basis. As a rule of thumb, stick to the basics when you first start out with a meal delivery service. See what it has to offer at a price point that matches your budget, and then weigh your options if you decide you want to switch things up.

Not everyone is a connoisseur in the kitchen, and some folks may want their dinner to be prepared more quickly or easily than others. Certain recipes can take longer to prepare, while some may be less labor intensive. Before ordering your meal kit, check to see how long each recipe is intended to take, as well as how much additional chopping, cutting, or prepping you may have to perform.

If you find yourself having little to no time to cook, then a pre-made meal kit like CookUnity could be your best option. Meal delivery services tend to offer a variety of options to meet a wide range of dietary needs, whether it be low calorie, vegan, or gluten-free dishes.

There's also the benefit of customization, which allows consumers to change some of the ingredients within the meal kit to suit their needs. This is particularly useful when it comes to protein options or excluding a particular ingredient due to an allergy or taste preference. Before you select your meal kit delivery service, check to see what delivery days or times it offers.

Some may vary based on your location, but you'll typically be able to select a delivery date for Monday-Friday, with some services offering weekend availability. This is important to keep in mind as you sign up for your first delivery to ensure you are receiving your meals at the most convenient time for you.

For each service, we ordered at least one box of three or four meals worth two to four servings each. Using the service's website, we chose a diverse variety of meals when available. We prepared the food on a weeknight for ourselves and our partners or families, and evaluated the quality of ingredients, recipe accuracy and variety, difficulty, speed, cleanup, taste, and more.

We scored and compared each meal and kept detailed notes like true food nerds. Meal prepping and grocery shopping can feel overwhelming.

Meal kits are a great way to expand your tastes and eat healthier, bringing you through the cooking process one step at a time and slicing the time it takes to prepare your food in half.

We found many recipes that only took 15 or 20 minutes, and oftentimes less! One study found that popular restaurant meals can have a whopping 1, calories on average per serving.

Using a meal kit service can help you better manage your portions and ingredients to eat more nutritious meals and lead a healthier lifestyle. They can also help you control grocery costs because you won't have excess food going bad in your fridge before you can decide what to do with it.

Almost every service we tried offers a large discount on the first box. Your box is good to sit on your doorstep until the end of the day.

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I ordered HelloFresh to see if it was a scam. Best Pre-Prepped Kit. Meal kit services also Low-cost ready-made meal alternatives family Rwady-made that cost alterantives per serving geady-made buying meal kits for readu-made or two people. Hungryroot mixes in some Walmart and Instacart by also offering a grocery delivery service to its meals. One tester said, "I did not feel that microwaving my meals compromised the integrity of the taste or texture either. The cost per meal can be higher than if you sourced the ingredients yourself. Buy at Purple Carrot.

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