As we head into 2021, you may need to call on the best meal kit delivery services, if you find yourself stuck at home and needing to cook more. After all, COVID-19 is still a factor, even as the vaccine is rolling out, so it's better to prepare yourself for a few more months of not-going-out. Meal kits are pre-prepared packages, which give you all the ingredients to create a meal from scratch, but without having to source (or even chop) most of the ingredients. It's cooking made a little easier, and most meal kits can be delivered direct to your door.
The best meal kit services offer a range of dishes that include a mixture of fresh produce and store cupboard ingredients, and they will usually specify portion sizes too, so you can scale your cooking up or down depending on who is in your household. We're pleased to see that most meal kits give nutritional and health information too, and you can see that most of them work out cheaper and healthier than regular takeout food.
Meal kits are an excellent way to make sure you and your family have freshly-cooked meals, even if you can't leave the home to shop (and even if you're not the greatest cook in the world). Delivery fees are often small, and although you pay more than you would for raw ingredients, they're still good value for money. If you need it, we also have guide to the best grocery delivery services, if you'd rather shop yourself. And if you're looking to treat yourself to luxury, check out the best gift baskets available for delivery.
1. HelloFresh: Best meal kit delivery overall
HelloFresh is one of the original players in the meal kit game, and has had ample time to fine tune its formula. It’s simple and effective: provide flavorful meals that can be made in little time and with quality ingredients. And the formula works - HelloFresh is our best overall pick for the best meal kit delivery services. The meals feel familiar, but often have a creative twist: how does creamy lemon butter chicken sound for dinner? Or perhaps the Philly-style beef melts (voted the best recipe of 2019)? All meals are nutritious and well-balanced. And they’re great for most people, who have some experience in the kitchen but are, by no means, experienced home cooks. With HelloFresh, expect to spend no more than 45 in the kitchen, but also as little as 20 minutes. If protecting the environment is high on your list of priorities when choosing one of the best meal kit delivery services, HelloFresh prides itself on helping customers eat more sustainably by buying ingredients with few middlemen involved, preventing unnecessary food waste, and investing in greener packaging.
All in all, with HelloFresh, you’re getting a good meal for less than $9 per serving, but it’s not the cheapest option on the market. If you have a preference for vegetarian meals, you have options - but not many. It’s still our pick for the best meal kit delivery service overall thanks to its dependable and delicious meals.
- Visit HelloFresh to see meal plan details and menus. Sign up for email updates and get $15 off your first order.
2. Martha & Marley Spoon: Best for comfort food
Martha Stewart’s meal kit has her household name behind it, but it’s also a quality buy. While it’s a little on the pricier side, Martha & Marley Spoon has a wonderful array of recipes, some healthy, but most are riffs off traditional comfort food recipes. The rich, tasty meals are made of exceptionally fresh ingredients, so the higher price makes the kit worth it for those who value the quality of their produce. The recipes require a little more knowledge and experience in the kitchen, and the recipes are more elaborate than ones of other of the best meal kit delivery services, but if you’re looking for some of the best-tasting meals in this realm, look no further. Indulge in comforting classics like cheese ravioli with broccolini and walnuts in lemon-basil butter, or hot honey chicken thighs - but if you’re looking for more health-conscious options, look elsewhere on this list, as many recipes will run well over 600 calories per serving. Otherwise, these Martha Stewart-approved recipes won’t fail you.
- Visit Martha & Marley Spoon for meal plan details and menus
3. Sun Basket: Best for covering all meals
Sun Basket is an emerging star in the world of meal kit delivery services. It’s dietary-restriction friendly, with recipes for Paleo-friendly meals, diabetic-friendly meals, and more. The recipes are relatively adventurous and the meals turn out to be delicious. The ingredients are fresh, and in most cases organic. In addition to dinner, Sun Basket can also take care of breakfast, lunch, snacks, and everything in between. Folks who choose Sun Basket will find that the service has two types of meals available - heat-and-eat meals that can be ready in 6 minutes and recipe kits - so there are options for people who have a preference for one or the other or who want a mix of both. And meals of both types sound equally delicious: chow down on thai green curry with shrimp ready in a few minutes one night, then whip up a chicken and tortilla soup yourself the next night. And in between, indulge in other items you’ve added to your box, like Mexican hot chocolate walnuts or burnt almond brittle. Overall, Sun Basket is a truly excellent meal delivery service, but meals don’t come cheap. If you can sustain the investment, it’s well worth looking into.
- Visit Sun Basket for meal plans and menus. Get four free gifts in your first month of ordering.
4. Home Chef: Best for families
If you plan on feeding upwards of four people, Home Chef is your best bet - the service can accommodate up to six people. And to keep everyone happy, you can easily customize your recipes to, for example, double protein amounts. But if you’re someone who values a ton of choices, Home Chef isn’t the meal kit delivery service for you - it only has around 13 recipes to choose from every week, but you can make up for the lack of options with some add-ons. Try delicious meals like shrimp and coconut risotto or chicken with mushroom gravy and pair it with a protein pack that will beef up your food supply. If you have adventurous eaters at home who like global flavors throughout the week, Home Chef isn’t ideal (although it has its fair share of international favorites). But as a meal kit delivery service that aims to feed many at a time, these recipes are perfectly easy to make. Take advantage of free delivery with most plans, which isn’t common with most of the best meal kit delivery services.
5. Blue Apron: Best for more experienced cooks
If you’re an experienced home chef who loves getting creative in the kitchen but is short on time or often wasting groceries, you’ll be happy with the meal kids from Blue Apron. Blue Apron’s recipes are made for those who want to feel like they’re in control and who want a cost-effective delicious meal made with quality ingredients. Plus, you can now opt to get your wine delivered with your meal kit, meaning that you don’t have to step outside for your food and booze needs. With interesting global flavors and meals that can be made in a relatively small amount of time, Blue Apron is a worthy buy- just think about savoring sweet potato and mushroom bao or a piping hot pimento cheeseburger - but if you have any special diet restrictions, (Keto, gluten-free, low carb, Paleo, and more), look elsewhere. Weight Watchers adherents, however, will be pleased to know that Blue Apron provides plan-friendly meals, so you can keep your points low while still eating flavorful meals. For wine, click on any recipe to find the perfect pairing and add those to your monthly wine order.
- Visit Blue Apron for meal plans and menus
6. Gobble: Best takeout substitution
Love takeout but hate the prices? Gobble is the best meal kit delivery service for you. Gobble combines a love for restaurant food with the will to eat at home (whether it’s for cost reduction or health reasons) to create a unique meal kit delivery service experience. Exotic meals like Burmese shredded chicken, Carribean shrimp rondon, and Mexican-style steak will make you feel like you’re trekking around the world without leaving your home, so there’s little chance you’ll get bored of the flavors and tastes Gobble provides. While Gobble is expensive, and is one of the most expensive services on this list, it will still cost less than ordering takeout or delivery every night. And the best part? Gobble claims that its meals only take 15 minutes and one pan to cook, so you’ll barely have to lift a finger to make a tasty meal. If you’re concerned about calories adding up but don’t want to sacrifice taste, Gobble has a “lean & clean” dinner plan, which is made of low-carb, lean protein-filled meals under 600 calories each.
- Visit Gobble for meal plans and menus. Order now and get your first 6 meals for just $36.
7. Purple Carrot: Best health-conscious
Purple Carrot is the go-to choice for people who want to adopt a plant-based diet. Depending on your food preferences, this can play for or against Purple Carrot (meat-lovers, look elsewhere), but if this is something you’re open to, no other service does plant-based as well as Purple Carrot does. With fresh and colorful ingredients on hand, you’ll create beautiful dinners you’ll want to savor, like the crispy lemon tofu or the mint walnut pesto penne. In fact, Purple Carrot had the most visually interesting meals of all of the best meal kit delivery services, if that ranks high on your priorities list. With breakfast, lunch, and snack options (try the lime twist wrapped cashews) to add to your box, Purple Carrot will keep your hunger satisfied throughout the day (meat not required). We found the matcha pancakes hard to ignore, which made us want to order straight away. Though the relatively hefty price tag is hard to ignore, the free shipping is a consolation. Vegan dining at home is at its finest with Purple Carrot, and if you’re new to veganism, this meal kit is how you make the diet work for you.
- Visit Purple Carrot for meal plans and menus. Right now, get $30 off your first box with code Carrot30.
8. Freshly: Best prepared meals
Freshly exclusively has heat-and eat meals, meaning that anyone who opts for this service will get chef-cooked meals that only need to be heated up - no prep or cooking involved. This is truly the most time-efficient way to eat healthfully, but it also means that you’ll have little say in how the meals are made. It’s truly the best service for the busiest people who don’t want to bother in the kitchen. Freshly offers 35 meals to choose from each week - a high number compared to all the other best meal kit delivery services. But while there is a rotation each week, you’re likely to have tried all meals after about 2 months. If you want more variety over a longer period of time, Freshly isn’t the best choice, but it’s well-worth considering if you’re consistently strapped for time - the meals are, after all, ready to eat in just 3 minutes. Freshly is also a good choice for singles - people living alone or who are otherwise ordering just for themselves. With Freshly, there won’t be any weekly repeats of meals, unlike with other of the best meal kit delivery services, which automatically require a minimum of two servings per recipe. Try the steak peppercorn one day and the sausage and peppers another - no repeats necessary.
- Visit Freshly for details and menus. For a limited time, get $30 off your first two weeks
9. EveryPlate: Best for budding chefs
EveryPlate strong suits are that it’s both cost effective and that the service’s meals are a breeze to prepare - that’s checks the boxes of many people who are looking into the best meal kit delivery services. It also makes EveryPlate the best choice for people who want to venture into cooking, but have no prior experience in the kitchen. However, this means that the recipes are not the most adventurous or elaborate, and that can be a big no-no for people who want their meals to be an experience: while menu items like the veggie-loaded tacos and the apricot-dijon chicken legs sound like they’ll be full of flavor, they won’t turn out as expected. EveryPlate’s recipes are simple to make because of the relatively few ingredients required. That being said, if ease of preparation is high on your priority list, EveryPlate will bring the best bang for your buck - just beware of the few options you’ll have every week. At less than $5 per serving, you’re getting what you pay for, but that’s not necessarily the worst thing. And with EveryPlate being the brainchild of the folks behind HelloFresh, our top pick of the best meal kit delivery services, you know that you’re getting the same quality ingredients at a bargain price.
- Visit EveryPlate for meal plans and menus
10. Green Chef: Best for specific diets
If you’re on a specific diet like the ever-popular Paleo and Keto diets, then Green Chef is a great choice, as not many other of the best meal kit delivery services will cater to those sometimes stringent rules. Opting for this service will ensure that your eating preferences are respected - but if you don’t adhere to a specific diet, you will be turned off by Green Chef’s requirement to pick one before ordering your meals. People who want to eat healthy foods and the right portions can opt for the “balanced living” meal plan, but may find the options still just as restrictive as if they followed a specific diet. Green Chef is considered to me one of the most expensive options on this list, but if you’re adhering to dieting rules, it’s a small price to pay to forgo the hassle of making everything from scratch yourself. But don’t forget: because many of the meals tend to be veggie-heavy, you’ll find yourself chopping more than you anticipated, and perhaps, in some cases, still hungry.
- Visit Green Chef for meal plans and menus. For a limited time, get free shipping on your first order.
11. Dinnerly: Best value meal kits
Dinnerly has, by far, the cheapest cost per serving of all the best meal kit delivery services, costing you $4.29 per meal if you opt for the Family Box. But the low price comes at a - you guessed it - cost. Despite having enticing entrees like skillet chicken enchiladas and shrimp taco salad, the meals are not the most flavorful, and you’ll have relatively few options to pick from every week. You’ll also find that the menu items are somewhat formulaic, meaning that each entree relies on a carb, a veggie, and a protein prepared separately and with few flavorings like spices. But if you’re willing to sacrifice these aspects of the experience, then Dinnerly is a satisfactory option. Be prepared to follow instructions online, as your meal kit won’t come with recipe cards. Take advantage of add-ons, like dessert and protein packs, if you choose Dinnerly - while the dinners themselves are a little bland, even on paper, you can supplement your desire for more food with items like the dessert option or extra protein packs.
- Visit Dinnerly for meal plans and menus
12. Factor75: Best for fitness gurus
Factor 75 is not the right option for most people, but it is the best one for folks looking to maintain their hard-earned physique. The meals are incredibly pricey, and the meals are relatively less varied, but each meal is designed to be perfectly balanced for people who want to eat for their physique and not for taste. If meals like grilled chicken with polenta or garlic-parmesan chicken breast sound like food you would otherwise make for yourself, Factor 75 won’t be a bad bet. And Factor 75 only provides heat-and-eat meals, so there’s little to no work needed in the kitchen (even if abs are, indeed, made in the kitchen). If you choose Factor 75, take advantage of the complementary nutrition coaching offered at the beginning of your subscription as well as the health and fitness-oriented snacks like wellness shots, energy bites, cold-pressed juices, and protein power packs. As the meal kit service claims, it takes the guesswork out of health and fitness, as well as the work in the kitchen.
- Visit Factor 75 for menus
How to pick the best meal kit delivery service for you
Picking the best meal kit delivery service is no walk in the park: with so many options on the market it’s hard to know which one is the right fit, and how they differ from one another. Here are a few questions to ask yourself before making the choice:
- What is my budget?
- Does the service deliver to my area?
- Do I need to follow a specific diet, or do I have allergies that restrict my food choices?
- How much time can and do I want to spend preparing and cooking?
- What are my flavors of choice? Do I prefer more adventurous and global flavors, or do I have a taste for comfort food?
- Does greener, more sustainable packaging matter to me?
- Does sustainability and responsible ingredient sourcing matter to me?
These are only a few questions to help narrow down the list of potential meal kit candidates, but ultimately, you may experience some trial and error before you find one that fits your needs. Meal kits aren’t for everyone - those of us who enjoy grocery shopping and cooking will find meal kits tiresome. But, if you are looking for respite from those daily or weekly chores, one of the best meal kit delivery services is the way to go.