The Best Meal Delivery Service for Every Lifestyle

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There are plenty of options when it comes to meal kits—so we tested the most popular brands to find the best meal delivery service for every kind of cook.

Anyone with a busy schedule can understand the appeal of meal plan delivery services—portioned-out ingredients to make healthy meals, delivered right to our door? Sign us up!

There are a lot of meal delivery kits to choose from these days, catering to just about every want, need and dietary preference.

We know what you’re wondering, because we had the same questions: How much is a meal prep service? Which meal delivery service is cheapest? What is the best meal kit delivery service?

To answer these questions, we tried several of the most popular brands to see if they’re worth the money. Here are our thoughts!

How to Choose the Best Meal Delivery Service

There are so many meal delivery plans out there today that it can be hard to pick just one! Here are a few things to keep in mind when deciding which brand is best for you:

  • Price: Price is one of the major factors to consider when selecting a meal kit delivery service, and it’s not always straightforward to figure out how much it will cost you. It’s common for brands to use phrases like “Prices as low as $6.99 per serving,” but the price per serving varies depending on how many meals you’re ordering each week. Most brands only offer the lowest price if you buy their most expensive meal plan. Other plans might cost $7.99 or $8.99 (or more) per serving, and don’t forget to factor in shipping costs, as well.
  • Servings: Most meal delivery services offer a variety of plans, allowing you to select how many meals you get per week—two is typically the minimum. You can also choose plans that feed two or four people with each meal.
  • Recipes: It’s always a good idea to look at each service’s menu to see how many recipe options they offer each week, and if they have recipes that appeal to you. Some services have more complex meals with bold flavors, while others stick to basic recipes—the best option depends on your personal preference.
  • Dietary Restrictions: If you’re vegan or vegetarian or follow a paleo or low-carb diet, your options will be limited when it comes to meal kits. Some brands do offer special plans for those with dietary restrictions, but they’re typically aren’t as many recipe options to choose from.
  • Add-Ons: One new trend is for meal kit services to offer add-on items in their boxes. You might be able to buy extra protein, such as chicken breasts or frozen shrimp, and some brands also offer wine and desserts.

Best for Empty Nesters: Green Chef

Green ChefCourtesy Green Chef

Green Chef stands out from the crowd thanks to its certified organic ingredients and diverse meal plans. You can choose from standard or vegetarian plans, but the company also offers keto, paleo and “balanced living” menus. But what about the taste?

First, we made the Teriyaki Pork Patties, and here’s what one of our testers had to say: “It was delicious! The salad was really great: crunchy kale with pineapple chunks. That wasn’t my typical go-to salad, but it was amazing. Then the teriyaki pork patties: I was surprised at how juicy and flavorful they were!”

We also tested out the Moroccan Stir-Fry: “This recipe checked all the boxes for flavor, texture, even visuals. It had a bit of spice and some unusual flavors (if you’re used to American comfort food), so this meal may not have been for everyone, especially little kids.”

Price: Starts at $9.99 per serving + $7.99 for shipping and handling

Pros:

  • Fresh ingredients
  • Certified organic ingredients
  • Unique flavors
  • Easy-to-follow instructions
  • Recyclable packaging

Cons:

  • Limited meal selection on certain plans
  • Specialty plans are more pricey
  • Not necessarily family-friendly

Best for Dietary Restrictions: Sunbasket

SunbasketCourtesy Sunbasket

Sunbasket is another meal delivery service that focuses on healthy, sustainably sourced ingredients. Of all the boxes we tested, they also offer the widest variety of meal plans, including gluten-free, paleo, carb-conscious, diabetes-friendly, Mediterranean and more options.

However, we weren’t wowed by the delivery. In all three of the recipes we tested, there were either missing or completely wrong ingredients, forcing us to go off-recipe or stop by the market to replace them.

Some of the recipes we tested were tasty, like the Hawaiian Tuna Bowls with Brown Rice and Nori: “The marinade sauce is sooo good I wish there was twice as much as there is. Definitely a lot of toppings and a lot of rice.”

Other meals, such as the Saimin Noodle Soup, were a bit underwhelming: “Tasty, but lacking. I think it could have used more of the noodle sauce it came with. I found myself having to add salt and pepper to taste, and even then it was still not super flavorful.”

Price: Starts at $10.99 per serving + $5.99 delivery fee

Pros:

  • Caters to many dietary preferences
  • Certified organic produce and sustainably sourced protein
  • Easy-to-follow instructions
  • Lunch, breakfast, and snack add-ons

Cons:

  • Wrong or missing ingredients
  • Lacked flavor
  • Requires a lot of prep dishes

Best Budget-Friendly: EveryPlate

EveryplateCourtesy Everyplate

Most meal prep delivery services charge around $10 per serving, so you might be surprised to see that EveryPlate is just $4.99 per serving—what gives? They claim they’re able to offer these low prices thanks to a limited meal selection—just eight recipes per week—but we wanted to see if the taste quality was on par with the other services.

Right off the bat, we were impressed by the delicious flavors of Ponzu-Glazed Pork Meatballs: “The directions were clear and simple and the meal was quick to make. It even felt elevated, as the steps called for carrot ribbons—when usually I would have cut mine into medallions.”

The Mexican Street Corn Tacos didn’t disappoint, either: “Flavor was good! Definitely a step up flavor-wise from my typical taco night. It was nice to have all of the little extras I normally don’t think to buy, like sour cream and jalapeno.”

Price: Starts at $4.99 per serving + $8.99 shipping fee

Pros:

  • Tasty recipes
  • Easy-to-follow instructions
  • Large portions

Cons:

  • Lots of packaging waste
  • Not the freshest ingredients
  • Limited meal selection
  • High calorie count on some meals

Best for Families: Hello Fresh

Hello FreshCourtesy Hello Fresh

Hello Fresh is one of the meal kits that’s been around for years. They offer a large variety of meals to choose from, including both simple and more complex dishes. Plus, their servings are on the more affordable side, and they offer a few different plans, including family-friendly and calorie-smart options.

Our testers were really impressed with the Crab Cakes and Chesapeake-Style Mayo: “This was amazing! The crab cakes were crispy on the outside and felt like restaurant-quality. The Chesapeake-style mayo was delicious and made a huge difference.”

Price: Starting at $7.49 per serving + $6.99 shipping fee

Pros:

  • Less expensive
  • More recipe choices
  • Great flavor
  • Easy-to-follow recipes
  • Good portion sizes
  • Family-friendly options

Cons:

  • Not the freshest ingredients
  • Sometimes sends more of an ingredient than needed

Best for Busy Schedules: Freshly

FreshlyCourtesy Freshly

Unlike most meal kit boxes, there’s no prep or cooking required with Freshly meals. Instead, these meals come pre-cooked and individually portioned, and all you have to do is heat them up in the microwave, which usually takes less than 5 minutes. You can order anywhere from four to 12 Freshly meals per week, and there are more than 30 recipes to choose from, offering lots of variety.

We tested several popular Freshly recipes, and the Citrus-Kissed Orange Chicken stood out as a favorite: “I’m a big fan of traditional orange chicken, so I had high hopes for this ‘healthy’ spin on the recipe. To my surprise, it was quite good! It definitely had the same citrusy flavor, and I liked that they incorporated additional veggies in a way that complemented the dish.”

The Chicken Tikka Masala was another standout: “It didn’t have the same level of heat as you’d expect from authentic Indian food, but this was a tasty ‘tame’ version of the dish. The chicken was tender, and the sauce was really creamy.”

Price: Starting at $8.49 per meal + shipping fee (varies depending on the number of meals)

Pros:

  • Extremely fast to prepare
  • Good portion sizes
  • Large selection of meals
  • Lots of healthy choices

Cons:

  • Some recipes lack flavor
  • Single serving only
  • Not the “prettiest” meals
  • Several recipes repeat each week

Best for Foodies: Blue Apron

Blue ApronCourtesy Blue Apron

One of the most recognizable names in the game, Blue Apron is arguably the brand that kickstarted the meal delivery craze. They’re still going strong today, with a variety of meal plans and a relatively new wine-delivery option. Blue Apron offers 12 different recipes each week, including vegetarian and “Wellness” options, and their meals stand out for their complexity and delicious flavor profiles.

The Sheet Pan Za’atar Chicken Pitas knocked our socks off with its bold flavors: “I’ve never cooked with za’atar seasoning before, so I didn’t know what to expect from this meal. However, I ended up loving the herby taste, which went perfectly with the tzatziki and roasted onions. The leftovers were just as good the next day for lunch!”

Price: Starting at $7.49 per serving + free shipping

Pros:

  • Unique recipes
  • Fresh meat and ingredients
  • Extremely flavorful meals
  • Option to add on wine pairings

Cons:

  • Prep can be time-consuming
  • Not as many recipe options as other services
  • “Premium” meals cost more

Best for Simple Tastes: Dinnerly

DinnerlyCourtesy Dinnerly

Dinnerly is another meal delivery service with notably low per-serving prices, which are possible thanks to their simple recipes. There are fewer ingredients per dish (which translates into less prep work!) and all their recipe cards are digital—though you’ll sometimes need to use ingredients from your own pantry, such as vinegar or eggs. Dinnerly offer 16 recipes per week, often including dessert or breakfast options.

Despite its simple nature, the Greek Stuffed Pitza with Spinach, Feta & Olives got top marks from our testers: “I’m definitely saving this recipe to make again! The toasted ‘pitzas’ came together in 15 minutes, and the combination of sun-dried tomatoes, feta cheese, and red wine vinegar was amazing. The only downside was that they don’t send you the vinegar—luckily, I had some in my pantry, but it’s not an ingredient everyone keeps handy.”

We also couldn’t resist trying the Ready-Made Chocolate Lava Cakes, which were a perfectly portioned sweet treat after the meal.

Price: Starting at $4.69 per serving + $8.99 shipping fee

Pros:

  • Fast, easy prep
  • Simple, yet delicious meals
  • Affordable
  • Option to add on extra protein

Cons:

  • Recipe cards are digital
  • Requires additional ingredients

Best Recipe Selection: Martha Stewart & Marley Spoon

Marley SpoonCourtesy Marley Spoon

Queen of the kitchen Martha Stewart is the face of the Marley Spoon meal kit, which offers an impressive selection of meals to choose from each week. You have your choice of 29 different recipes, including vegetarian, vegan, and family-friendly options, as well as meals that take less than 30 minutes to make. In addition to a wide variety of entries, Marley Spoon also offers some breakfast and dessert recipes, as well as protein add-ons.

First, our testers tried the Vegetarian Pad Thai with Carrots & Peanuts: “This recipe required quite a bit of prep, which I didn’t love. I was also a bit confused as to why they sent extra noodles—the recipe says to just use two-thirds, but I ended up cooking them all so I didn’t have extra. However, this messed up the vegetable-to-noodle ratio. Still, the flavors were good, and the peanuts added a delicious crunch to the meal.”

There were also a few hiccups with the 20-Min Chicken Tacos: “The tacos required less prep, since it was a 20-minute meal, but the chicken wasn’t cubed like it was supposed to be. The salsa container also leaked during transport, so I ended up using my own. I wasn’t wowed by the flavors, but it was pretty good for a quick weeknight meal.”

Price: Starting at $6.99 per serving + $8.99 shipping fee

Pros:

  • Lots of recipes to choose from
  • Good flavors
  • Ingredients packaged by recipe
  • Dessert and breakfast options

Cons:

  • Problems with ingredients
  • Often sends extra ingredients
  • Time-consuming meal prep

Best Customization Options: Home Chef

Home ChefCourtesy Home Chef

Have you ever been browsing a meal delivery service menu and thought to yourself, “That recipe looks good, but I wish it had shrimp instead of chicken”? If so, you’ll definitely want to check out Home Chef. One of the biggest things that sets this brand apart from its competitors is its “Customize It” feature, which is available on the majority of their recipes and allows you to swap in alternative ingredients, most commonly for the meal’s protein. Plus, in addition to their classic meal kits, Home Chef also offers 15-Minute Meal and Easy Prep Meals for those days when you don’t feel like cooking for hours.

The recipe we tried from Home Chef was the Fried Fish and Chips, and our testers were impressed at how easy it was to make: “I’ve tried to make fish and chips at home before, and it didn’t come out nearly as good as this dish! The tempura-dredged tilapia came out perfectly brown and crispy, and the spices on the fries were delicious. However, I have to say the chipotle ranch coleslaw wasn’t very good—neither me nor my boyfriend liked it.”

Price: Starting at $6.99 per serving + $7.99 shipping fee

Pros:

  • Recipes can be customized to suit your preferences
  • Easy-to-follow instructions
  • Several types of meals available
  • Up to 6 servings per recipe
  • Option to add on extra protein
  • Meal kits available in certain grocery stores

Cons:

  • Not the most family-friendly
  • Lots of packaging

Best for Minimal Prep: Fresh & Easy

Fast And FrsehCourtesy Fast And Frseh

Fresh & Easy is actually a specific plan from Home Chef, and it includes ready-to-cook meals that require little to no preparation. You can choose from six Fast & Fresh or Oven-Ready meals each week, or if you have more time to spare, you can opt for the 15-Minute Meals.

Unfortunately, the Fresh & Fresh meal that we tried—the Pork Al Pastor Tacos with Chipotle Ranch Slaw—was a miss on several levels. Here’s what our tester had to say: “I wanted to like this meal since it was so easy to prepare, but it just didn’t do it for me. The precooked pulled pork had a weird texture, and the pineapple chunks were way too big. Plus, this recipe included the same chipotle ranch slaw that came with the regular Home Chef meal—I didn’t like it then, and I didn’t like it this time around, either.”

The 15-Minute Meal was better, though: “The Brown Sugar Pecan Chicken only took around 15 minutes to cook, and I really enjoyed the sweet sauce. The butternut squash was good too, but I wished it had a little more seasoning.”

Price: Starting at $6.99 per serving + $7.99 shipping fee

Pros:

  • Little to no prep required
  • Customization available for some recipes
  • Can still purchase regular Home Chef kits

Cons:

  • Meals lack flavor and visual appeal
  • Extra packaging means more waste
  • Fewer recipe options

No matter your needs, dietary restrictions or personal tastes, there’s a meal prep delivery service that will please your taste buds and stay within your budget. But if you’d rather stick to prepping your own recipes, our meal planning guide is a must-read.

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Camryn Rabideau
Camryn Rabideau is freelance writer specializing in fashion, beauty, home, smart technology and general lifestyle content. She holds a degree in fashion merchandising from the University of Rhode Island and jumps at any opportunity to combine her love for fashion and writing. Despite pressure from her peers, she remains on team #NoOxfordComma.