- Best Overall
- Best Crowd-Pleaser
- Most Sophisticated
Martha Stewart & Marley Spoon
- Most Flexible
- Best Time-Saver
- Best Organic and Sustainable
- Best Vegetarian/Vegan
- Best Budget
If the question “what’s for dinner?” makes you want to bury your head in the sand or order takeout, we've got the answer: tasty and healthy meal options customized to your dietary preferences and delivered right to your door. This type of meal plan is surprisingly affordable — some for as little as $5 per serving — and makes preparing nutritious meals that are low-calorie a no-brainer. Review weekly menus, select your recipes and then — presto — a mail-order meal kit box will arrive on your doorstep within a few days. After a long day, you'll be able to cook a delicious meal that you’ll feel good about and that doesn't require a trip to the grocery store or too much forethought.
There are so many different meal kits aimed at the home chef on the market, it's tough to decide where to start to find the best meal delivery service for your needs. That’s where I come in. I’ve been eating for a living for many years now, have a degree from the French Culinary Institute and have worked for various food publications. I'm also a mom, with an active teen and tween whom I cook for daily.
For this review, I tried all the kits in the article at dinner with my family. I started with the most popular ones — the ones you’ve probably already heard of — choosing seven brands to evaluate based on the following criteria:
Subscription price, because everyone has different budgets.
Ease of use, because you’re getting a meal kit to make your life easier. You don’t want anything too complicated or time-consuming.
Menu choices, because you want a good variety of meals, recipes and high-quality ingredients that change seasonally.
Taste, because above all, you want your dinner to be yummy!
Packaging Is there too much? Too little? Is it adding too much waste into the world? We factored this into our reviews.
In making the selections, I also considered feedback from other on-staff meal kit testers for a variety of opinions (we got reviews from a family of five, a family with both an infant and a tween, and a family of three with vegetarians and vegans). I also weighed info from Facebook Groups devoted to discussing meal kits, plus expert advice from Jaclyn London, a New York City–based registered dietitian.
Every meal kit we reviewed has different strengths and weaknesses. Some are very easy, others offer more variety; some are great for families with picky eaters and special diets, and others are geared toward noncarnivores. We also tested some heat-and-eat premade meal options (remember when we used to call them TV dinners?) to throw into the mix as the easiest to make of the bunch.
Before I share my top picks, though, let’s address some FAQs:
What are meal kits?
Meal kits are meals that are delivered to your home in a box. They contain premeasured ingredients and an accompanying recipe, enabling you to create a fresh-cooked meal at home without having to run to the supermarket or measure your own ingredients. You can usually order a kit to come between one and seven days per week, and you'll find services that offer meals for two, four and, with a few services, even more people.
What can I expect from a meal delivery service?
A weight lifted off your shoulders! With each delivery of preportioned ingredients and an accompanying recipe, you won't have to worry about what’s for dinner or a meal plan. There are meal delivery services to suit every budget and dietary need. These companies generally allow you to filter meals by your food restrictions and specific diets (omnivore, vegan or plant-based, keto, gluten-free, pescatarian, carb-conscious, low-carb, etc.), ease of use and time constraints. You can usually choose your delivery day and even add extras like portions of protein, breakfast foods, quick lunches and desserts.
What’s the best meal kit delivery service for me?
With the market flooded with options, choosing the right meal kit delivery service can feel overwhelming. Don’t worry — we tested loads of them so we could recommend the best meal kit of 2023 that’s right for you. Because each brand has its own points of difference and offers kits for people focused on everything from allergies to wellness to weight loss, you're sure to find a meal delivery kit that suits your needs. Some services even let you swap out the protein in a particular dish.
I'm nervous about taking the meal kit plunge. Should I be?
Most meal kit companies offer major discounts to first-time customers, making it very affordable to try a bunch before you commit (or don’t) to any one plan. All you have to do is take advantage of any one of these offers and then mark your calendar with an alert for the date by which you must cancel the subscription.
Best overall meal kit: HelloFresh
Hello Fresh was our overall favorite meal kit service for its variety of flavorful recipes and ability to customize meal options. For example, if you like shrimp instead of fish, you can swap out that ingredient. I appreciated the generous portion sizes of some meals, which means you can (and will want to!) reheat the leftovers for lunch the next day. Of note, Hello Fresh offers plant-based meals and rotating menu options.
Subscription: $10.42 per serving if you order meals for four people (less if you can lay your hands on a promo code). Three meals per week for four people costs $125.
Ease of use: Some meals took longer to prep than what the recipe cards estimated and were occasionally too much work at the end of a long day. However, some of the portion sizes were extra generous. We recommend this kit for cooks with at least some experience.
Menu choices: There are 35 meal choices per week, with the ability to filter recipes by the following categories and dietary restrictions: Omnivore, Plant-Based, Pescatarian, Quick and Easy, Family-Friendly and Under 650 Calories. A notable feature is the ability to swap or upgrade proteins and some side dishes. You may order a maximum of four servings per meal and up to six meals per week.
Packaging: Most of the packaging is recyclable, plus the company determines each order’s most efficient ice levels and box sizes to ensure that each delivery vehicle can carry more boxes and produce fewer carbon emissions.
Read my full review on the Hello Fresh meal delivery service, and how it holds up in 2023.
Best crowd-pleaser meal kit: EveryPlate
EveryPlate recipes may not be super sophisticated or feature 12 ingredients in each dish, but that’s exactly what you want when you have to feed a crowd of hungry people who are looking for familiar flavors. You’ll save time and money and will likely have leftovers.
Subscription: $5.49 per serving if you order meals for four people (less if you use a promo code). Three meals per week for four people costs $66.
Ease of use: Some meal prep times turned out to be longer than advertised, but there are only six steps in any given recipe, making EveryPlate a good choice for even the most skittish cooks.
Menu choices: With 21 menu options to choose from each week, you're bound to find a few that appeal. They do not cater to specific dietary restrictions, though some plant-based recipes were available. You may order a maximum of four servings per meal and up to six meals per week.
Taste: 7/10. Some dishes were too creamy and didn’t seem healthy enough to eat frequently.
Packaging: Most of the packaging is recyclable.
Read my full review on the EveryPlate meal delivery service, and how it holds up in 2023.
Most sophisticated meal kit: Marley Spoon
Marley Spoon brings delicious recipes, but they're also sophisticated, which meant I occasionally had to cut corners on prep since some were too labor-intensive for weeknights. If you have time for that and are a foodie, then this is the meal kit for you. Personally, while I was impressed with the quality of ingredients and elegant recipes, I would prefer to cook Marley Spoon meals on weekends or days when I have more time to get through the numerous steps.
Subscription: $10.49 per serving if you order meals for four people (or less if you use a promo code). Three meals per week for four people costs $126, including shipping.
Ease of use: Some recipes were more complex than others. When I read that a zucchini and a piece of Parmesan would need to be grated at the end of a particularly exhausting day, I quickly diced the zucchini and saved the Parmesan for later while substituting some pregrated Parm from the fridge instead. This kit is best suited to people who cook regularly.
Menu choices: With more than 100 recipes and meal options each week that fall into categories like Health and Diet, Vegetarian and Vegan, Meat and Fish, Under 30 Minutes and Family-Friendly, you can satisfy most dietary restrictions. The weekly menus also feature breakfast options, desserts and party-friendly appetizers. You may order a maximum of four servings per meal and up to six meals per week.
Taste: 10/10. These were the best-tasting meals we tried. The quality and fresh ingredients were noteworthy, as were the portion sizes.
Packaging: Marley Spoon strives for carbon neutrality, which is achieved by offsetting emissions through decreased food waste, mostly via recyclable packaging and supporting carbon offset projects.
Most flexible meal kit: Home Chef
Home Chef is very solutions-oriented. It's certainly the meal kit delivery service we would turn to when faced with a variety of weeknight schedule quirks. With roughly 35 or more kits available each week, you'll be able to choose from dishes that come together in as little as 15 minutes and some that are more elaborate and take up to 60 minutes to prepare. Across the board, the recipes were easy to follow and the meals were flavorful, if not adventurous.
Subscription: Starting at 7.99 per serving (depending on the type of kit) if you order meals for four people (less if you use a promo code). Three meals per week for four people costs $131.
Ease of use: Most meal prep times were accurate and none of the steps were particularly complicated. Even novice cooks could make any of the meals we tested.
Menu choices: There are about 35 menu options to choose from each week with familiar flavors inspired by global cuisine (Italian, Tex-Mex, Greek, American classics, etc.). They do not cater to specific dietary restrictions, though some vegetarian/plant-based recipes were available. There was an option to filter recipes by the following categories: Calorie-conscious, Carb-conscious, Vegetarian and Under 30 minutes. You may order a maximum of 6 servings per meal and up to 4 meals per week.
Taste: 7/10. All three meals we tried seemed reasonably healthy and tasty. One tester said the Japanese-Style Steak Tacos were the best meal I had cooked in awhile. We tried the Souvlaki Greek-Style Chicken one night, which is a version of a dinner I make two or three times a month anyway, which is to say that many of the options are perfect for newer cooks and perhaps a bit too familiar to more experiences ones.
Packaging: Most of the packaging is recyclable.
Read my full review on the Home Chef meal delivery service, and how it holds up in 2023.
Best time-saving meal kit: Blue Apron
I felt very efficient using a Blue Apron kit for weeknight dinners. Plus, I liked the variety of the weekly menu, which could be tailored to specific dietary restrictions. In terms of flavor, I found these meals to be average overall, with the proteins rating lower in quality than expected. But I really appreciated the easy and clear recipe instructions — and the fact that I was able to put dinner on the table relatively quickly.
Subscription: $8.49 per serving if you order meals for four people. Three meals per week for four people costs $102, plus a $9.99 shipping fee.
Ease of use: The instructions were easy to follow and execute. For the most part, I was able to prepare the meals in the time suggested. This kit is appropriate for cooks of all skill levels.
Menu choices: There are 50-plus weekly options that range from Fast and Easy to Vegetarian to Wellness and beyond. The weekly menus also include add-on items like breakfast kits, à la carte proteins and party-friendly appetizers and desserts. You may order a maximum of four servings per meal and up to four meals per week.
Taste: 7/10. We found the proteins provided to be only average in quality and taste, and therefore the meals themselves were bland.
Packaging: Over 85% of Blue Apron packaging is recyclable by weight, and its website provides easy-to-understand recycling instructions for specific components. However, I wished the packaging had featured allergen and ingredient labeling, rather than directing me to the website.
Best organic and sustainable meal kit: GreenChef
I preferred GreenChef's vegetarian meals to the omnivore dishes I tried, and I found them appealing enough to continue eating them for lunch the next day. Though I appreciated the California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) designation, I was left wondering about the nutritional value of some of the marinades and sauces.
Subscription: $12.49 per serving if you order meals for four people (less if there's a promo code). Three meals per week for four people costs $150, including shipping.
Ease of use: The directions were clear and easy to follow, though I would have liked a tip on which size pan to use. The protein provided for the chicken dish we tried was cut into small, uneven pieces, which resulted in overcooking. However, this kit is workable for cooks of all levels.
Menu choices: There are 24 recipes to choose from each week across categories including Keto + Paleo, Vegan, Vegetarian, Fast & Fit, Mediterranean and Gluten-Free. GreenChef also offers a high protein option. The weekly menus also offer a couple of 10-minute lunch kits. You may order a maximum of six servings per meal and up to four meals per week.
Taste: 9/10. The meals my family tried were a mix of vegetarian and omnivore recipes (all featuring organic produce). We loved the taste of both and found that the flavors were much more complex than our usual weeknight go-tos.
Packaging: GreenChef boasts a 100% offset of the direct carbon emissions and plastic from every box sold. Most of the packaging components are recyclable, depending on what types of items your community recycling system supports. We found the allergen labeling clear and helpful.
Best vegetarian/vegan meal kit: Purple Carrot
For vegan meals and vegetarian options, Purple Carrot's pricing seems a bit high, but the quality, freshness and variety of recipes were better than that of other meal kits we tried. Overall, Purple Carrot helped my family get out of our weeknight dinner rut with new veggies, and we would probably try it every few months for that reason.
Subscription: $11 per serving if you order meals for four people (less if there's a promo code). Three meals per week for four people costs $132 (including shipping).
Ease of use: These recipes took a bit longer to cook than the instructions suggested but could easily be prepared by most home cooks.
Menu choices: There are roughly six to 10 menu choices per week, ranging from breakfast to dinner options. There are also categories based on dietary preference such as Soy-Free, Gluten-Free and Nut-Free. You may order a maximum of four servings per meal and up to three meals per week.
Taste: 8/10. We loved the flavors and textures and found the recipes to be a nice change of pace from our usual home-cooked dinners.
Packaging: The majority of the packaging components are recyclable, depending on what types of items your community recycling system supports.
Best budget meal kit: Dinnerly
Dinnerly meal kits are ideal for even the most inexperienced home chef and anyone on a budget. With few ingredients, little prep work and simple instructions, they are easy meals to prepare and feature familiar flavors. Most of these meals are ready in under 30 minutes.
Subscription: $6.14 per serving is the cost of three meals per week for four people. Three meals per week for four people will cost $74, plus a shipping fee of $11.99.
Ease of use: Teenagers could probably get these meals on the table. That’s how easy the recipes are to follow and execute, none with more than six steps. Most dishes came with only five ingredients, making even the greenest of cooks feel like chefs.
Menu choices: There were more than 100 meal options to try each week across categories like Kid-Friendly, Dairy-Free, Under 30 Minutes, Vegetarian and more. The weekly menus also include breakfast options, as well as party-friendly appetizers and desserts. You may order a maximum of four servings per meal and up to six meals per week.
Packaging: Dinnerly does not include recipe cards but rather directs you to a digital recipe card for instructions. Most of the streamlined packaging is recyclable.