I Tried 10 of the Most Popular Meal Kits — These Are My 3 Favorites
Meal kits have been out here assisting would-be cooks (if not for all that meal planning and grocery shopping) with prix-fixe dinners for over a decade. The concept is simple: One box comes packed with almost everything you need to make a variety of quick and easy meals. Subscribe to any of these services and you can choose from a menu of options for the week, with most coming together in 20 to 30 minutes (more on that below!). Plus, with the planning and shopping already done, you can get right into the actual cooking (and eventually, the eating).
There are a lot of meal kit companies out there, and choosing between them can feel nearly as taxing as planning what to cook. That is, until now. I tried 10 popular meal kit delivery services — all packed into a short two-week span. Here’s how it went.
1. Green Chef
Green Chef’s meal kit was a favorite based on the quality of the produce alone. Much like the name implies, this subsidiary of HelloFresh works directly with farmers to source many of their ingredients. It’s also the first meal kit company certified by California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF).
Above all, I appreciated the flexibility of the recipes that Green Chef offered. You can choose between three or four meals for two, four, or six people, with a weekly menu of more than 30 different meals, including breakfast options. The company also offers customizable meals to fit almost any diet, including vegetarian, gluten-free, keto, and more.
For this test, I selected two meals: Gyro Spiced Pork Tenderloin Kale Salad and Steak and Shrimp with Spicy Peperonata. Both felt like exciting twists on familiar flavors and were relatively low lift to create in my kitchen — I could have easily made one for lunch in the middle of a work-from-home day or a last-minute weeknight dinner. Best, of all, they did not disappoint when it came to flavor.
The pork was a hearty spin on a traditional Greek salad crossed with a juicy gyro. The dish — from seasoning, to chopping, to mixing, to cooking, and even cooling — took just under 30 minutes. It was so good, it rivals my order from the Mediterranean spot nearby.
Even with the batched cooking (steak, then shrimp) and zucchini ribbon-ing, the Peperonata came together just as easily. I don’t usually care for zoodles (just give me the pasta, am I right?), but the tomatoey and slightly spicy zucchini was an appropriately zesty side for the Italian-style surf-and-turf. It actually changed my mind about zucchini noodles!
Depending on the number of meals you order, each individual meal is anywhere from about $11.99 to $13.49 a piece (plus shipping), making it the priciest of the kits on this list. But! The noticeably high-quality ingredients, combined with the ease of preparation, and out-of-the-box (veggie-focused) recipes did not disappoint.
Sign up: Green Chef
Of the three on this list, EveryPlate is the most straightforward meal kit service — meals can start at $4.99 per serving and go up to $7.49 (plus shipping). You can choose between three to six meals for two to four people for the week. Although EveryPlate’s menu is a bit smaller than the other kits I tried, it still includes roughly 25 choices each week. As someone living in a two-person household, I didn’t feel like I missed out on any of the conveniences (or enticement) other services offered.
There was plenty of variety, plus vegetarian and gluten-free options and a family favorites meal plan catered to households with kids. (You can swap out different meats and vegetables based on your family’s preferences). It was the best option for families looking for an affordable and fast way to keep everyone well-fed.
The recipes are crafted with ease in mind, often requiring six steps or fewer and take less than 30 minutes — they were some of the easiest recipes I tested. Many are simple sheet pan dinners, like the Balsamic Glazed Meatballs with Green Beans and French Onion Chicken with Roasted Carrots and Potatoes I received. Everything cooks together, so you save even more time on preparation and cleanup. The third meal — Blackened Shrimp Salad — required some stovetop cooking (homemade croutons, shrimp), but was still ready to eat in 30 minutes.
Sign up: EveryPlate
3. Martha & Marley Spoon
Martha & Marley Spoon offers more than 100 meals weekly from Matha Stewart’s personal recipe archives, including desserts. Of all the kits tested, I found this one was the hardest one to narrow down my meal choices. They all looked and sounded so good!
The two I tried — Beef Ravioli in Mushroom Brodo and Apple-Cheddar Chicken Meatloaf — were as luxurious as if Martha herself had made them for me. (For an added flair, they’re packaged in cardboard crates that feel like they came straight from a farm-share.) They were relatively simple to put together on a busy weeknight, although they took closer to 45 minutes to make. They were also two of the tastiest recipes I sampled in my two-week-long tasting menu. You can read more about Martha & Marley Spoon in my review.
The pre-packaged ravioli (filled with beef and red wine ragu) required little more than boiling some water. I sliced and sauté some mushrooms in garlic and olive oil. (Hold your applause, please.) For the minimal effort, it still felt like a dish I ordered at an upscale restaurant. The real knockout was the meatloaf with roasted carrots and string beans. Despite it being one of the more labor-intensive recipes, my partner and I both gushed over the results: 10/10 would recommend.
Some recipes require you to have extra items on hand that other services do not. To the company’s credit, they’re staples, like eggs or ketchup, that many people already have in their refrigerator. I did find myself in a pinch when I was out of ketchup needed for the meatloaf. (Thankfully, I had a collection of unused ketchup packets from old takeout orders to see me through.)
If you love food and are looking for amped-up comfort food recipes, then Martha & Marley Spoon is the kit for you. The meals can range from $3.09 to $4.62 per portion (although shipping and specialty ingredients, like seafood, are extra). So, depending on what you order, it may also be the most budget-friendly.
Sign up: Martha & Marley Spoon
How I Tested the Meal Kits
I cleared out my fridge to make room for my 14-day kit-off. There were a lot of similarities between the different boxes: Other than a few different flourishes of color and stylish labels, the packaging was mostly the same; sturdy cardboard boxes layered with reusable ice packs to keep everything fresh. All but one service required me to have salt, pepper, water, and cooking oil on hand (more about the one exception below).
All of the companies offered plenty of new-to-me and exciting recipes (although some seemed a little pricey compared to the average grocery bill). The meals were well-organized within their respective boxes — everything I needed was properly packed and easy to find. With all this considered, I judged each kit on four criteria: ingredient quality, total actual recipe time, difficulty level of recipes, and taste.
After eating nothing but these meal kits for two weeks straight, these are the three I’d sign up for again.
Do you have a favorite meal kit delivery service? Tell us about it in the comments below.