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“What do you want to eat?” is a question that haunts people everywhere. Whether you’re cooking for your family, trying to agree on dinner with your significant other and getting nowhere or planning a solo meal, figuring out what to eat is often the longest and most arduous part of the process. Sure, you can order takeout, but that gets tiresome (and expensive) really quickly. That’s where the best meal kit delivery services come in.
Most of Blue Apron’s meals are ready in less than 30 minutes.
Meal kits offer the best of both worlds. They give you a home-cooked meal that you don’t have to think about (or grocery shop for)—a win-win. Each box includes fresh ingredients, complete with condiments and spices, and detailed recipe cards to make up to four meals at home. While you still have to put in a little bit of effort in the kitchen, everything is pre-measured and ready to go—it’s basically the paint-by-numbers of cooking.
Whether you’re new to the idea and looking to dip your toes into your first meal kit or you’d rather get some prepped meals instead, here are the best meal kit delivery options.
As one of the original meal kit services, HelloFresh put meal kit delivery on the map. It offers six customizable plans—Meat and Veggies, Veggie, Family-Friendly, Calorie Smart, Quick and Easy and Pescatarian. For each plan, you can choose two or four servings and two to five recipes per week. After you select your plan, you can curate your box from 23 recipes that change every week. Conveniently, each recipe has a tag that tells you how long it will take to make each meal—most fall around 35 minutes, but some are more involved and require 50 minutes of your time.
As its name implies, HelloFresh prides itself on sourcing fresh, high-quality and sustainable ingredients from regular suppliers. Prices start at $12.49 per serving for the smallest plan and go down to $7.49 per serving if you commit to the largest option.
Home Chef nails convenience on a budget. Each week you get to choose from a regularly-changing menu of meal kits or fully-cooked, heat-and-eat meals—the best of both worlds. You can also customize each meal by doubling up on protein portions or swapping out certain ingredients (keep in mind this may add to the final cost).
All of the recipes are available online, so you can see everything you need and exactly what you’ll need to do before including a meal in your meal kit. If it’s more complicated than you’d like, you can skip it and choose something else. Prices start at $6.99 per serving, and Home Chef has a minimum order requirement of $49.95 (but you can skip a week whenever you want).
Blue Apron offers two- and four-serving plans. With each plan, you can choose from two, three or, in some cases, four recipes per week. No matter which one you choose, all ingredients are sourced from suppliers with sustainable farming practices and high-quality produce. To help you with the decision-making process, some meals include a qualifier—easy prep and cleanup—so you can identify which meals will be on the table in the shortest amount of time (most take less than 30 minutes to prepare).
Each week you can take your pick from a constantly-changing menu that includes meat, fish, plant-based alternatives, WW-approved and low-carb, diabetic-friendly meals. You can opt for the Signature plan, which includes all meal options, or Vegetarian and Wellness plans, which offer more specific fare. Prices range from $7.49 to $9.99 per serving.
Purple Carrot offers 100% plant-based meal kits that utilize fresh, whole ingredients to create meals that are big on flavor. You can pick a specific plan—the options are High-Protein, Gluten-Free, Quick & Easy or Chef’s Choice—or customize your order every week by individually selecting which meals you’d like included. Before selecting your meals, you can see the estimated time it takes to cook each one—most are done in about 30 minutes, but cooking times can range from 20 to 50 minutes. You can also add breakfasts, lunches and packaged snacks, like mushroom jerky and oat milk chocolate bars, to your box.
There are two-serving and four-serving plans and you can opt for two to four dinners per week. Each box includes everything you need to prepare your weekly meals, including a recipe booklet, condiments and most spices—the only ingredients you have to supply yourself are vegetable/olive oil, salt, pepper and non-dairy milks. Pricing ranges from $9.99 to $11.99 per serving, depending on whether you get two or four servings.
Green Chef, a certified organic company, has three meal plan combos—Plant-Powered (vegan and vegetarian meals), Keto and Paleo and Balanced Living, which includes healthier versions of all types of dishes. In addition to selecting your meal type, you can choose from two, four or six servings and three or four meals per week. Most meals are ready in 30 minutes, but some more involved recipes take 40 minutes to prepare.
All ingredients are sourced with quality top of mind and Green Chef prioritizes supporting local family farms and craft economies. All produce and eggs are organic, and everything else is the highest quality available. If proteins aren’t organic, they’re raised with high animal welfare standards. Prices range from $11.49 to $12.99 per serving.
If variety is what you’re after, Sunbasket is the meal kit delivery service for you. There are ten different meal plans to choose from, including Paleo, Gluten-Free, Vegetarian, Pescatarian, Mediterranean, Lean & Clean and Chef’s Choice, or you can mix and match any of the weekly recipes to create your own custom menu. You can also filter meals by cooking time. Many meals are ready in 20 minutes, but there are several that require 45 minutes of cooking time.
In addition to meal kits, Sunbasket offers ready-to-heat meals that are pre-cooked and portioned out and can be on your table in less than 10 minutes (if you use a microwave). You can also customize your box with a wide range of add-ons, like gluten-free waffles, sustainably-raised fish and goat milk cheesecake from Sunbasket’s marketplace. Meal kits start at $10.99 per serving and prepared meals start at $8.99 per serving.
Want to spend as little time in the kitchen as possible? Freshly delivers heat-and-eat meals rather than meal kits. You have the option to choose four, six, 10 or 12 meals each week from ever-changing menus crafted—and cooked—by trained chefs. Since they’re pre-cooked and all you have to do is heat them up, each meal is ready in three minutes (if you don’t count the two minutes of cooling time).
While the regular meals are fairly health-conscious—they utilize whole ingredients, use less sugar and sneak in veggies in unexpected places—Freshly also offers FreshlyFit, a carb-conscious menu designed by nutritionists. If you’re on the hunt for low-carb, high-protein meals only, FreshlyFit is the option for you. Prices range from $8.49 to $11.49 per meal.