Meal home delivery services, between the ones that offer just the ingredients for recipes, or a week’s worth of ready-made meals, scratch a very important itch that so many Americans have: the need for more free time while still eating nutritiously at home. They may be pricier than doing your own grocery shopping and chopping, but they’re also far less expensive when you do the breakdown than ordering delivery from a restaurant. For many overworked individuals, they’re the perfect solution. Coming home after a long day to remember that you don’t have to go to the store, or possibly even use a cutting board, can be a real blessing.
But we also get it: the number of meal delivery services out there is overwhelming. And many require a commitment. How are you supposed to hand over your credit card info and commit to a month or several weeks’ worth of meals when you don’t know what you’re getting into? The whole point of these is to save you time and money, which won’t happen if you find the food unpalatable or too difficult to make, throw it away, and go to the store anyway. So we’ve compared some of the top home meal delivery services below, including information about which plans are best for which diets, and budgets.
If you’re open to trying lots of foods, enjoy interacting with your ingredients, and are on a bit of a budget, Hello Fresh is a good choice. You can get meals for around $8 a person, but they also have family-size meal options, and the more meals you order each week, the less each serving becomes. Along with fresh ingredients, they send you detailed menu cards, and it’s nice that they send you the exact amount of ingredients needed for just each recipe. So you’re not stuck buying, say, a whole tin of some rare spice that will go to waste. However, this one isn’t ideal for those with severe food allergies as you have to go through several steps to confirm the allergens in recipes.
Freshly is best for those who typically order lots of delivery, and want to cut down the cost of that, but aren’t ready to cook all their meals from scratch. They deliver sealed, ready-to-eat meals that only take about three minutes to heat up. All meals are gluten-free and created to be protein-rich. The menu is constantly rotating, and you can choose anywhere from one to three meals a day, and up to 12 meals a week. Getting 12 meals a week will cost about $108.
Every Plate is for those on a tight budget who don’t have time to come up with new recipes each week or make anything too complicated. Every Plate will send you ingredients and recipe cards for nutritious and uncomplicated meals. Servings come out to about $5 each, but if you order one of their larger packages, servings can cost just $4 each. Part of the reason they can keep costs so low is that they don’t use gourmet ingredients, and don’t claim to. The meals are simple – kind of like something mom would’ve made when you were a kid.
Sun Basket is a good choice for those who value sustainable, organic food – and it’s good for families because many recipes include instructions on how kids can help in the cooking process. You choose your plan based on the number of people in your household, and a lengthy list of diet options like Paleo, Mediterranean, vegetarian, and others. Meals come out to about $11 a serving and take between 20 and 30 minutes to cook. They also use recyclable packaging.
Consider Blue Apron the opposite of Every Plate. Blue Apron does set out to make you a gourmet chef. They even have a wine subscription plan you can add to your meal plan. They send recipes and ingredients made to expand your palate, and most items take 45 minutes or less to create. They also include the stories behind your ingredients (like where they came from) and are focused on sustainability. Moderately-priced, you can get meals for about $10 each.
Hungry Root will still require quite a bit of prep by you, but it goes a step beyond simply grocery shopping for you. Unlike with something like InstaCart, you don’t just send out for a list of specific groceries. You tell Hungry Root what types of foods you like to eat (like complete dishes), and then they deliver a box of items that they think will appeal to you, along with suggested recipes, and some stand-alone staples. So it’s groceries, selected around your favorite dishes, plus a boost of inspiration. This service easily caters to food sensitivities and dietary restrictions. Pricing is harder to predict since you choose a plan for one, two, or three people, with one- or two-serving options. And if you have a more gourmet palate, your groceries will be a bit pricier.
Gobble is a true meal prep service in that, your ingredients arrive washed, chopped, and prepped – all you need to do is put them in the pan or oven. Recipes are designed to be ready in 15 minutes or less, making them ideal for busy individuals who still want to cook – a little. Their menu options are diverse, catering to dairy-free, vegan, gluten-free, and vegetarian individuals. Keep in mind these are just entrees, but you can add extras like salads and soups. Meals will cost around $12 or $13 per serving, but you can “add servings” if you want enough for leftovers.
Home Chef is a good choice for those who want to make something quick and easy one night but may have the time and energy to explore a more advanced recipe another because it categorizes its recipes by difficulty level, ranging from easy to expert. A meal prep service, they’ll send you the ingredients and recipe, and you do the work. They have a large selection of menu items each week and cater to many different diets including soy-free and low-calorie. Meals come out to about $8 each, and they’re typically good at having a lot of vegetables in their dishes.
Plated is a meal prep service that is known for its variety, with an impressive 20 new recipes rotating each week. They also label their recipes like “Fast and fun” or “Encore” to give you some idea of what you’re getting into. You can order up to seven regular meals a week, or you can choose nine, to get two bonus “chef-inspired” recipes that will be a little pricier. Speaking of price, meals will hover around $9 or $10 each, depending on the plan you choose. Their recipe cards include helpful photos that show things like how small to cut vegetables, so there’s little guesswork.
If you’re a vegan and budget isn’t exactly a concern but eating clean is, Purple Carrot is a great choice. Their chefs come up with new, creative recipes each week that remove any stigmas surrounding the tastiness of a vegan diet. Their recipes are categorized by “high-protein,” “quick and easy,” and “chef’s choice,” as well as a special athlete’s plan that’s high in protein and calories and low in sugar. They stick to seasonal produce and organize the ingredients for each meal in separate bags. Plans include three meals a week for two people at $72 or three meals a week for four people at $120.
Green Chef has caught foodies’ attention because it’s one of the few meal prep services offering Keto options (it also offers carnivore, vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and paleo). They aim to include at least 90 percent organic ingredients and to give you recipes that can be made in 30 minutes or less. They’re known for especially tasty sauces, and for meals that feel fancy but don’t require much expertise. They have several plans ranging from $79 a week for three meals for two people to $95 a week for two meals for four people.
If you like to consume most of your meals with a straw or a spoon, Daily Harvest could be for you. They’re all about smoothies, oat bowls, chia bowls, and soups, but they also have “bites” which are nutritional powerhouse snacks. They send you the ingredients in a cup, you pour those into either a blender, pot, or bowl and add liquid when applicable. They recently expanded their menu to include flatbreads if you want a little carb kick. Price comes out to roughly $6 to $8 per cup.
Though it isn’t available nationwide yet, Snap Kitchen probably will be soon because of what it offers. Created by a team of fitness trainers, chefs, and dieticians, this plan lets you select meals catered to keto, paleo, high-protein, dairy-free, and gluten-free diets. Then it has you select a calorie goal. Based on your selections, it sends you ready-to-eat meals that take 20 minutes or less to reheat in the oven. Plans range from about $30 to $40 a day, and that includes three meals and two snacks. Though it may be pricey, it takes the guesswork out of calculating calories for those who need to do so.
Yumble is a meal delivery service for kids ages one to 12 and was created by a real mom, who consulted a team of nutritionists. It focuses on using regional produce, and creating meals picky kids will want to eat, that are well-balanced. Meals come ready-to-eat and just need some reheating. Plus, they come with stickers and activities to keep kids busy. Plans range from $24 a week for six meals for one kid to $48 a week for 12 meals for two kids.
One Potato caters to families, creating meals that introduce kids to new flavors that parents can enjoy, too. They use organic ingredients and have plans ranging from the “Two Potato” (two people) plan up to the “Six Potato” (six people) plan, offering two to three recipes a week. In addition to five new rotating recipes each week, they have staple family favorites that are always available. Pricing ranges from about $9 to $13 per serving, but each plan gives you detailed information about which size of family (how many kids plus parents) each plan is best for.