I Tried a Week’s Worth of Amazon Meal Kits and Here’s What I Thought
Over the past decade, meal kits have taken over the food world — and I’m a fan. I’m can get behind anything that gets people into the kitchen and cooking, and feeling good about their ability to put a homemade meal on the table. It doesn’t bother me that there are shortcuts involved. And yes, there’s a lot of packaging involved — but there is also minimal food waste (if any). These kits give people the chance and the motivation to try lots of new cuisines and ingredients with a low barrier to entry and no long-term commitment.
How Amazon Meal Kits Are Different
Like other meal kits, the Amazon kits are meant to be make short work of weeknight dinners. Most meals can be made in 30 minutes or less, and the flavors are sophisticated but still homey. But there are a few things that separate Amazon meal kits from other options out there.
First, you can order a la carte, no subscription necessary. This is a big deal because it means, if, say, you forgot to cancel your subscription and you’re going out of town, you’re not letting meal kits go to waste. Then there’s the fact that Prime members can get the kits in two hours, depending on where you live and if the time slots are available.
On the negative side, there isn’t a huge meal selection, and they don’t seem to rotate in new kits all that often. Amazon also only guarantees freshness for one day after delivery, which seems a little narrow, but their model and their customers seem much more based on immediate gratification than longer-term meal planning.
My Week of Amazon Meal Kits
Here’s what I made during my week-long trial and what I thought of each dish. Note: Not all of these are still available but they rotate in and out, so keep checking back if there’s something you want to try!
Steak au Poivre with Parmesan Fries and Snap Peas
The Parmesan fries were pretty heavenly and the meat was tender and flavorful, but the portion was a little skimpy. One slightly weird thing: The directions told you to add water to the green beans at the end of sautéing, and then turn off the heat — so the water didn’t have a chance to either further steam the beans or to evaporate.
I loved that they included parchment paper in the kit, because that’s something that not everyone has on hand. And there was a lot of sauce, so I saved it — and then promptly forgot about it. Iit would have been good drizzled over a chicken breast the next day.
Find it: Steak au Poivre with Parmesan Fries and Snap Peas, $19
Salmon & Mushroom Fettuccine
This was our least favorite meal. There was an absence of flavor for all of the work and the ingredients that went into it. Still, it was comforting and had good substance.
Find it: Salmon & Mushroom Fettuccine, $20
Chicken & Vegetable Stir Fry
My teenage son and husband liked it, but we all agreed it was somehow spicy (thanks to lots of chile-garlic sauce) and bland at the same time; you really tasted heat, but not that much of the other seasonings. The jasmine rice that served as the base of the stir fry was sautéed with some scrambled egg for a stir-fried rice kind of vibe. One ding for this kit: One of the two baby peppers was starting to spoil.
Find it: Chicken & Vegetable Stir Fry, $18
Lemongrass Steak with Cucumber-Tomato Salad
The cucumber, tomato, and mint salad was spicy but balanced really nicely by the delicate lemongrass-infused steak and the plain jasmine rice. My family thought the fried onions made it interesting. The included chopped cashews would have also added to the flavor and texture, but we skipped them. I am allergic and was grateful that they came in a little self-contained packet.
Find it: Lemongrass Steak with Cucumber-Tomato Salad, $20
Chicken and Shrimp Paella
This was probably the most ambitious dish. The clam juice really gave the dish nice flavor, but I needed to supplement with some water as the liquid evaporated before the rice and other ingredients were cooked. Also, the whole thing could (and really should) have been made on the stovetop, so as not to waste preheating the oven for the final seven minutes of cooking. But, all around, I thought this dish had very nice flavor.
Find it: Chicken and Shrimp Paella, $20
Rigatoni Beef Bolognese with Peas and Ricotta
This was my husband’s favorite, but then again say the word “Bolognese” around him and his head snaps up like a puppy around bacon. Bolognese usually requires a pretty long simmer, so this is really a shortcut version of the classic sauce, but when you need dinner on the table, that’s what you want. The mint and ricotta were nice with the sugar snap peas.
Find it: Rigatoni Beef Bolognese with Peas and Ricotta, $19
Have you tried Amazon’s meal kits? What’d you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!