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The 5 Best Meal Kit Delivery Services in 2019

Editor's Choice
Our Rating5/5 Rating

#1 Sun Basket

Sun Basket is a meal delivery service that ships fresh and organic ingredients and recipes every month. It offers:

  • Antibiotic and hormone-free meat and eggs
  • Sustainable packaging to fight wasteful packaging
  • Wide range of diet plans like paleo, lean and clean, vegan, pescatarian and more
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Editor's Choice
Our Rating5/5 Rating

#2 Plated

If you’re looking for a meal delivery service with the highest quality ingredients and the most flexible meal plans, that’s Plated. This meal delivery service offers:

  • Flexible meal plan and customization options
  • Gourmet, globally inspired recipes
  • Superior ingredient quality
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Editor's Choice
Our Rating4/5 Rating

#3 Dinnerly

If you love to cook but don’t have the time, Dinnerly is the best option for you. They are the most affordable meal delivery service on the market now. They offer:

  • Affordable but fresh products
  • Digital recipe cards instead of paper cards
  • Kid friendly options
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Editor's Choice
Our Rating3.5/5 Rating

#4 Home Chef

Home Chef offers weekly deliveries that have fresh, pre-portioned ingredients that will make you feel like a perfect chef in about 30 minutes. It offers:

  • Fruit basket or smoothie additions for an extra cost
  • Meals that can be cooked in 30 minutes or less
  • Three vegetarian options per week
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Editor's Choice
Our Rating3.5/5 Rating

#5 Marley Spoon

Martha Stewart and Marley Spoon teamed up to make weeknight dinners more exciting and easy that includes easy-to-follow photos for the recipes, and most of the ingredients are pre-portioned. It offers:

  • 10 different recipes every week
  • Ability to plan your meals five weeks ahead of time
  • Gluten-free meals
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Grocery shopping and meal planning can be overwhelming and a drain on your time and energy, especially if you’re living a busy, fast-paced lifestyle. Are you a working parent, a full-time student struggling to keep up with classes or just trying to balance the demands of work while maintaining some sort of a social life? You might want to consider using one of the best meal kit delivery service options.

It can be difficult to make healthy choices when you’re always on the go. Grabbing any convenient to-go food seems like the easiest and most practical way to fuel yourself. But it isn’t always the healthiest option. Meal kit delivery might just be the answer to maintaining your health in the midst of your busy lifestyle.

We’ve done research on the available meal kit options. Check out our picks for the top 5 best meal kit delivery service companies to see what might be the best choice for you, then keep reading to learn everything you’d need to know before you purchase your first kit.

 

Editors Choice: Sun Basket

sun basket meal delivery kit boxes

Sun Basket is the best meal kit delivery service for many people because the menus and recipes are customizable to a wide range of diets. This meal kit delivery option caters to gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, paleo and clean and lean diets. You’ll find recipe options that are suitable for just about any diet you might follow.

Healthy cooking is made easy when you subscribe to Sun Basket. This meal delivery service delivers only organic, high-quality ingredients. Recipes are designed to take 30 minutes or less to go from start to finish.

If you lead a busy lifestyle but want to save money and calories by cooking at home, Sun Basket can help.

Sun Basket Pros

  • Diet-friendly: Many of the best meal kit delivery service companies are still out of reach for people who have diet restrictions. However, Sun Basket chooses recipes that work with most diets.
  • Organic ingredients: In every meal, you’ll get only high-quality, organic ingredients, making it easier to eat healthy food.
  • Pre-prepared sauces and spice kits: Some of the most time-consuming parts of meal preparation can be making sauces and gathering the spices. Sun Basket cuts down on your prep time by sending you pre-prepared kits.
  • Recipe choices: You can mix and match from 18 different weekly recipes.

Sun Basket Cons

  • Flavor is not the focus: Focus on super healthy recipes somewhat affects flavor. While most of the meals are still great, this box isn’t as focused on delicious as much as it is on health.
  • Higher prices: Many other meal kit delivery services focus on offering affordable services. Because Sun Basket is dedicated to high-quality, organic ingredients and catering to special diets, these meal kits cost a little more than most other services.
  • Swapped produce: Produce listed in recipes is frequently swapped out for other available ingredients
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Best for Budget Minded: Dinnerly

dinnerly meal kit delivery box

This is the best meal kit delivery service for anyone concerned with their budget. Dinnerly touts itself as “the most affordable meal delivery service.”

Dinnerly meal kits are always 50% off, which means customers pay an average of just $4.99 per serving. That’s cheaper than the cost of a full meal at McDonald’s!

This budget-minded meal delivery kit also takes busy schedules into account. Each recipe features just six different ingredients and takes no more than 30 minutes to whip up.

Dinnerly Pros

  • Easy and quick recipes: What’s the point of a meal kit if it doesn’t make your life easier? These recipes are simple to make.
  • Kid-friendly meal options: Sometimes pleasing the youngest eaters can be difficult. Dinnerly gives you plenty of easy-to-make, kid-friendly recipes your littles will love.
  • Most affordable: If you want to try a meal delivery kit but you’re worried about this cost, this might be the best one for you. Dinnerly offers the most affordable meal delivery service.

Dinnerly Cons

  • Focus is not on organic ingredients: Some meal kit delivery options focus on giving you the best, high-quality ingredients. Because Dinnerly is focused on saving you money, you’re less likely to get the highest-quality products.
  • Little organization: Some of the best meal kit delivery service options organize the food by meal or item type. Dinnerly doesn’t offer that kind of organization to save you time in meal prep.
  • Missing ingredients: Some Dinnerly customers report that there are often missing ingredients in meal kit boxes
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Best for Large Families: Home Chef

home chef meal delivery box

If you have a large family of more than four, Home Chef is the best meal kit delivery service to try. Unlike other services, Home Chef offers up to six portions per recipe.

Home Chef makes cooking simple by delivering all the ingredients you need to make delicious meals for a reasonable price. Each portion costs just $7.99 per person, which is competitive with the cost of buying the groceries from the store for a meal yourself.

Every week, you can choose from 13 different menu options and even have the choice of adding in lunch options that take just 5 minutes to make. Every dinner recipe takes just 30 minutes, including both prep and cook time.

Home Chef Pros

  • Competitive price per serving: Compared to both grocery store ingredient costs and other meal delivery services, Home Chef offers a comparative price.
  • Five-minute lunches: If you’re always wondering what to have for quick, easy lunches, Home Chef gives you the option to add five-minute lunches to your order.
  • Lots of recipe options: Each week, you’ll have lots of simple but delicious recipes to choose from.
  • Options for the number of servings: Most meal kit options only let you choose between two and four servings. Home Chef lets you choose between two, four, and six servings.

Home Chef Cons

  • Limited ingredient information: Home Chef doesn’t provide much information about the sourcing of ingredients. If this is something that is important to you, you may want to choose another service.
  • Limited menu options: Although you have lots of recipe suggestions, the general menu options are more limited than they are with other services like Plated.
  • Some repeated recipes: If you want brand-new recipes all the time, you may be disappointed with Home Chef repeating some recipes from week to week.
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Best for Menu Selection: Plated

plated meal delivery box

Looking for a meal delivery service with a diverse weekly menu? Try Plated. It’s the best meal kit delivery service for people who love cooking fancier, exciting food at home.

Plated offers a globally inspired menu with 20 different chef-designed recipes to choose from every week. Unlike other meal delivery services, you have the option of having a meal kit delivered for every night of the week.

Although you can only add up to four individual portions, Plated is also unique in that they give you the option to add dessert recipes for just $4 per serving.

The one drawback to this meal kit is that the price per portion is one of the highest. Each portion will cost you about $12, but the quality of the ingredients is among the best for meal kits.

Plated Pros

  • Chef designed recipes: These recipes will elevate the typical meals most people make in their homes.
  • Dessert recipes: Most meal kit delivery services don’t offer dessert, but Plated does. If you have a sweet tooth, you can add exciting desserts to your delivery.
  • Globally inspired menu: If you like to vary the kind of foods you eat, you’ll love being able to choose delicious meals inspired by cultures all over the world.
  • High-quality ingredients: Ingredients are organic and locally sourced when possible. The meats are raised without antibiotics.

Plated Cons

  • More expensive: Plated is more expensive per serving compared to other meal delivery kits.
  • Only four portions allowed: You can only add up to four portions per recipe. If you’re trying to feed more than four people, this meal kit might not be convenient for you.
  • Plastic packaging: Plated uses a lot of plastic packaging compared to other meal kits.
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Best for New Recipes: Martha & Marley Spoon

martha and marley spoon meal delivery box

Haven’t heard of Martha & Marley Spoon? This new meal delivery service delivers pre-portioned ingredients for all of Martha Stuart’s best recipes. It’s a meal delivery from the queen of cooking herself. This is the best meal delivery kit service for people who love Martha Stewart and her great recipes.

Martha Stewart’s recipes have been known to make delicious and reliable family meals for a while now. These Martha Stewart approved recipes ensure that all of the meals you receive are sure to be a crowd pleaser. Even picky eaters will approve.

Every week you have the option of choosing from a menu of 10 different recipes drawn from an archive of over 18,000 of Martha Stewart’s most beloved recipes.

Recipes have just six simple steps and ingredients are seasonal. Although there’s not a lot of information about the sourcing of produce on their website, this meal delivery service does mention that meats are always grass fed.

Portions cost about $10.25 per person when buying for two, and $9 per person when buying portion for 3 or 4 per meal.  You can add up to 12 servings a week per box and choose from 2, 3, or 4 meals per week.

Martha & Marley Spoon Pros

  • Martha Stewart’s best recipes: These are all tried-and-true recipes perfected by Martha Stewart. All the recipes are simple and delicious.
  • Paper packaging: This meal kit mostly uses paper for packaging, make it more environmentally friendly.
  • Vegetarian options: If you prefer not to eat meat, you’ll still get delicious recipes with this option

Martha & Marley Spoon Cons

  • Cooking experience needed: The instructions on the recipes require you to have some prior cooking experience. Other boxes are easier for people new to cooking.
  • Longer prep time: Recipes take about 45 minutes on average to make. Most of the best meal delivery kits keep recipes at 30 minutes or less.
  • Some ingredients not included: The ingredients you get don’t include things like flour, eggs and oils.
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What Is a Meal Kit Delivery Service

what is the best meal kit delivery service

Meal kit delivery services first came on the food scene in 2012. Now in 2019 the, meal kit market makes up about $1.5 billion of the annual $800 billion spent on grocery sales. The main reason home delivery meals have become so popular is how convenient they are.

A meal delivery service allows you to choose from chef-designed recipes online, then get everything you need to make them delivered straight to your door.

Ingredients come pre-portioned so that you get the exact amount you need for the serving sizes you selected. No more and no less. This helps reduce food waste and helps you stick to your diet and weight loss goals.

There’s a variety of different kinds of meal delivery services available. Many companies offer recipe options for different diets like vegan, vegetarian, paleo and gluten-free.

You can also find unique meal kit delivery services that focus on strictly plant-based meals, whole food cleanses and global cuisines. Some kits are even meant to help customers learn new culinary skills.

How Meal Kit Delivery Works

how meal delivery service works

Wondering how meal kit delivery services actually work? Most meal delivery services allow you to choose 3-4 different recipes per week and offer varying options for portion sizes. Some services like Home Chef allow you to choose up to 6 portions per recipes, but most meal kit delivery services limit the portion options to just 2, 3 or 4 servings.

To choose the recipes you want to be delivered for the week, you log into your customer account and browse the upcoming menus. All meal kit delivery services update their menus weekly with new recipes but differ in the number of recipes you can select from. You generally have the choice of selecting from 8-20 different recipes per week depending on the meal delivery service you subscribe to.

Next, you’ll pay for your meal kit box by checking out and updating your shipping address. The cost per serving varies from company to company. Dinnerly is the most affordable, offering meals for as low as $4.99 per servings, while Plated is one of the most expensive meal delivery services coming in at around $12 per serving.

Ingredients arrive individually wrapped (usually grouped based on the recipe they’ll be used for) in insulated boxes that can keep ingredients fresh for up to 12 hours after delivery.

Each meal kit box includes individual recipe cards with a step-by-step photo guide to make following the instructions simple.

After cooking your meals, you can log back into your customer account and rate the recipes you received. Most meal kit delivery services also give you the option of tagging or saving your favorite recipes for future reference or reordering.

Types of Meal Kit Delivery Services

types of meal delivery services available

Meal kit delivery services come in lots of options, making it hard to decide which one might right for you. To help you decide, here’s a quick breakdown of the different options available.

Globally Inspired Cuisine

Some meal delivery services like Plated offer globally inspired weekly menus with recipes created by chefs from around the world. If you like trying out different cuisines, this is something to look for in the meal kit delivery option you choose.

Other meal delivery services offer more standard American and European inspired dishes that are a little more straightforward in both cooking instructions and flavor profile.

Examples of globally inspired recipes on the Plated menu include Indian spiced chicken, chicken and za’atar chickpea salad, togarashi butter basted steak, flounder tostadas and garlic soy pork chops.

Easy, Affordable Recipes

Other meal kit delivery services like Dinnerly are focused on delivering the easiest, most affordable recipe to make. While Plated costs around $12 per serving, Dinnerly charged just $4.99 per serving.

For such a low price per serving and with limited ingredients involved, you won’t find as many different recipes options as you will using a service like Plated.

Browse through the recipes options and read through an example of recipe card instruction before choosing a meal delivery service. If you want easy-to-make recipes, make sure the instructions are simple and on par with the cooking skills you already have.

Chef-Designed Menus and Recipes

Martha & Marley Spoon and Plated are two of the best meal kit delivery service companies to subscribe to for chef-designed menus and recipes.

With Martha & Marley Spoon, you’ll have the choice of recipes from an archive of over 18,000 of Martha Stewarts best recipes. With Plated, you can choose from weekly menus with recipes designed by globally inspired and trained professional chefs.

Diet Options

Almost all meal delivery services give you the option to customize recipes for some diets. You can find vegetarian and even vegan customization options and recipes on all the meal delivery services we reviewed like Dinnerly, Plated, Martha & Marley, Sun Basket and Home Chef.

However, Sun Basket is the best meal kit delivery service for finding recipes that fit diets like paleo, gluten-free and even just lean and clean.

Health Benefits of Using a Meal Delivery Service

vegetables and healthy food

Believe it or not, you can actually lose weight (fast) using a meal delivery service. The main reason is that they make it easy to manage portion control. You only get the number of servings for each recipe that you selected, so there’s likely to be no leftovers tempting you.

Meal delivery services also give you a full nutritional breakdown for each recipe before choosing your meals. This makes it easy to only cook recipes that meet your diet restrictions and weight loss goals. If you’re trying to lose weight, you can select recipes that are all under 500 calories a portion.

Using a meal delivery kit also makes it more likely that you’ll have a good balance of vegetables, grains and other healthy elements in your emails.

Why Meal Kit Delivery Is for You

what meal delivery is for you

Meal delivery services are great for lots of people. Here are some ways you may benefit from a meal delivery kit.

You’ll Save Valuable Time

If you have a large family you want to provide home-cooked meals for, but you don’t have the time to plan out different menus or shop for specific groceries every week, a meal kit delivery service can save you a lot of time and frustration.

Even if you’re a busy single person or a couple, you’ll find value in creating your weekly dinner menu with a meal delivery service instead of on your own.

You can sit down on your computer or smartphone and plan 3-4 nights worth of dinners in just 15 minutes. While you’ll still likely have to head to the grocery store for staples, you’ll save yourself a lot of time shopping and meal planning.

Stick to Your Diet With Ease

It can be hard to stick to a new diet when you have the temptation of larger portion sizes and aren’t satisfied with the meals you came up with yourself. The switch from carnivore to vegetarian or even going totally gluten-free can be tough at first. It’s hard to find tasty recipes without cheating on your health goals.

Meal delivery services make life easier when you’re transitioning to a new diet by providing delicious recipes that fit your diet and delivering only the ingredients you need for the portions you selected.

If you want to try the best meal kit delivery service for different diets, go with Sun Basket.

Learn New Cooking Skills

Meal delivery kits are also great for anyone looking to expand their culinary skills. Every week you get to choose 3-4 different recipes to cook and can pick recipes you’re interested in learning how to make.

Recipes come with pre-portioned ingredients and instruction cards with photo guidance. This makes it easy to follow along and make sure you’re nailing the techniques.

Meal delivery kits from Martha & Marley Spoon and Plated are the best for anyone interested in learning how to cook. You’ll learn new cooking techniques from the pros and from Martha Stewart herself.

Why Meal Kit Delivery Is NOT for You

why meal delivery isn't for you

Sure, the best meal kit delivery service companies sound convenient and even like they’ll save you some money, but they aren’t for everyone. If any of the following scenarios apply to you, you might want to skip out on this at home cooking trend.

You’re Concerned About Packing Waste

Trying to live that zero-waste lifestyle? A meal delivery kit probably isn’t for you. Most meal delivery services package ingredients individually in plastic and include excessive cardboard and styrofoam to keep contents safe inside.

You’ll also find plenty of ice packs inside your weekly boxes to keep ingredients from spoiling. These are difficult to recycle. Even if you do reuse them, you’ll probably end up with too many to keep if you’re getting frequent deliveries. Meal delivery kits aren’t exactly the most environmentally friendly way to feed yourself.

You’re Already a Great Cook

If you already cook often and even consider yourself to be a “professional home cook” you might not enjoy making the recipes that meal delivery services offer. Most recipes are designed for novice cooks and take under 3o minutes to prepare.

The exception here is Martha & Marley Spoon where you’ll be able to pick from Martha Stewarts favorite recipes. The recipes from this meal delivery service take on average 45 minutes to prepare, but again, they’re slightly adapted to be easier to make.

You Travel Often With Short Notice

When you travel a lot for work or for pleasure at last minute notice, subscribing to a meal delivery service might not be your best option for meals. Although meal kit boxes are packaged with insulation to keep ingredients fresh for up to 12 hours after delivery, you’ll have to get eventually or your food will go bad.

Even if you do manage to bring your meal kit box inside and unload the contents into your fridge, the ingredients still might go to waste if your boss asks you to fly to Chicago for two days midweek without any notice. Meal kit delivery services are best for people who know their schedules in advance.

You Cook to Save Money

Most of the best meal kit delivery service companies cost anywhere from $7.50-$12 per portion, with the exception of Dinnerly. While that might not sound like a lot of money to some, anyone who’s already managed to plan out weekly menu’s for under $5 a portion might not benefit from this type of service.

If you have the time and the patience to plan your own meals and shop for your own groceries, you’re likely to save more money in the long run.

You Prefer Dining Out and Don’t Mind the Cost

Are you somewhat of a food snob? Have all your favorite restaurants on speed dial and don’t worry about a food budget? If so, it’s unlikely you’ll find a meal delivery service to be useful.

While recipes from meal delivery services can be delicious, they hardly compete with restaurant-quality food prepared by expert chefs. If money is not a factor for you, you’ll likely enjoy dining out or ordering in more than cooking from meal kits. Even the best meal kit delivery service may not meet your needs.

How Meal Kit Delivery Services Can Save You Money

You can save a lot of money cooking at home. But that doesn’t always mean that using a meal delivery service will save you money. It depends how much money you currently spend on food (including eating out and groceries) and how you much you value your time.

If you decide to give up eating out or ordering in from restaurants and switch to only using a meal delivery service, you’re likely to save money. You’ll also save yourself a lot of time.

Browsing recipes, looking up ingredients, cross-referencing ingredients needed with what you already have at home and then hitting the grocery store can be a huge time suck. When you use one of the best meal delivery services instead, all you have to do is pick recipes through your account and everything you need is delivered to you.

How to Choose the Right Meal Kit Delivery Service

Box of food

The best meal delivery service for you is the one that fits your diet and lifestyle. But you also want to choose one that’s focused on delivering quality ingredients.

What are some of the best meal kit delivery service options on the market? There are many! Sun Basket, Dinnerly, Marley Spoon, HomeChef, Hello Fresh, Blue Apron, Plated, Daily Harvest and Splendid Spoon are just a few. That’s why we reviewed our top 5 so you could decide which one’s right for you.

Here are some things to consider, so you can pick the best option for your wants and desires.

Consider Your Budget

The first thing you need to ask yourself is how much you want to spend per meal. Meal delivery kits vary in price per portion. It’s important to consider your weekly budget for food before choosing signing up for a meal delivery service.

If you’re looking for the most affordable meal delivery service, consider Dinnerly where you can find meals for just $4.99 per serving. If budget is not a problem for you, you might enjoy Plated. While this service costs more like $12+ per servings, you have more variety in the recipes you choose from.

Consider Your Cooking Skills

The next question you need to consider is this: do you want to learn additional cooking skills? If the answer is no and you’re not that experienced in the kitchen, read through recipe card examples before subscribing to any meal delivery service.

While most meal kit delivery service say their recipes are “easy and quick,” reading examples of instruction for recipes will give you a more realistic idea.

Also, check the list of necessary cooking supplies. You won’t find it fun to get a delicious recipe and all the ingredients to make it delivered only to realize you don’t own the necessary kitchen tools to make it.

Consider Your Favorite Cuisines

Be realistic about your taste in food when choosing a meal delivery service. Do you prefer the American classics like hamburgers and pot roasts? Or would you rather take a culinary trip around the world every week in your own kitchen?

Not every meal delivery service offers globally inspired menus. If you like having the most variety in recipes, sign up for Plated where you can choose from recipes created by chefs from around the world.

In conclusion, we think that meal delivery kits can be a great way to grow cooking skills, save time, stick to a diet, save money or experience different kinds of food. If you’re not sure which is the best meal kit delivery service for you, read our detailed reviews for more information.

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