Meal delivery kits can save time and help you eat healthier. Some services prioritize cost, others focus on convenience, but they all offer delicious meals delivered right to your door.

I love a good home-cooked meal. My mom’s Cajun seafood pasta. My homemade black bean burgers. UGH! My mouth is watering.

But anything good in life comes at a cost, and for many the price of a good meal is time. We can easily lose hours scrolling for recipes and wandering grocery store aisles, not to mention actually cooking. That’s why meal delivery services have grown popular in recent years.

Meal delivery kits can help you save time, eat healthier, try new cuisines, cut down on dining out, and more. If anything, the trouble is choosing one.

Learn how different meal kits compare and find out which one is right for you here.

Quickly compare: Home Chef vs. EveryPlate vs. Blue Apron vs. Freshly vs. HelloFresh vs. Sunbasket

This skimmable table can help you spot your best meal delivery match.

 Home ChefEveryPlateBlue ApronFreshlyHelloFreshSunbasket
Best ForTime managementPriceVarietyConvenienceCustomizable optionsQuality ingredients
Price per meal$6.99+$4.99+
$7.99+$8.99+$7.99+$9.99+
Minimum order2 meals / 2 plates3 meals / 2 plates2 meals / 2 plates4-12 individual meals2 meals / 2 plates2 meals / 2 plates
Delivery CostStarts at $9.99$9.99$9.99Starts at $9.99$9.99$9.99
Vegetarian plansYesNoYesYesYesYes
Kid-friendly mealsNoYesNoNoYesYes
PromotionTry Home Chef - Get $90 off your first 3 orders!Try Everyplate at $1.49/meal on 1st box + 20% off next 2 boxes! Blue Apron new customers: Enjoy $180 off across 6 orders—plus, your first order ships free! Try Freshly - For a Limited Time Get $140 Off Your First 5 Boxes! or Try FreshlyFIT - Save $40 off your first order!Try HelloFresh - Get 18 Free Meals + 3 Surprise Gifts + Free Shipping!Try Sunbasket - Get $90 off + a free gift and free shipping on your first box!
Our Score9.7/108/107.5/109/109/109/10

Best for time management: Home Chef

home chef

Pros

  • Several gluten-free and vegetarian meals each week
  • Many customization options

Cons

  • Excessive packaging
  • No plant-based meal plan

If time management is important to you, Home Chef is an excellent service to try.

Home Chef arranges many of their dishes by the time it takes to make them, from 15-minute meals like their prosciutto and fig mini flatbreads to elaborate dinners in their Culinary Collection like the bacon jalapeno popper steak sandwich.

Try Home Chef - Get $90 off your first 3 orders!

Fairly priced at $6.99+ per serving (plus shipping), Home Chef is attractive because they offer 20 or more meal choices each week, with a good variety to meet dietary needs. You can opt for the traditional Home Chef plan or their “Fresh and Easy” plan, which provides low- or no-prep meals.

Best Meal Delivery Options For 2021 - Home Chef

Image source: Home Chef

Home Chef can also accommodate many common allergies and dietary preferences, including calorie- and carb-conscious meals, vegetarian dishes, soy- and gluten-free foods, and more. You can customize your protein too, such as swapping a dish with ground pork for ground turkey, and add a la carte items, including breakfasts and desserts.

Some Home Chef kits are even available for purchase at your local Kroger grocery store.

Try a Home Chef subscription or read our full Home Chef Review.

Best for price: EveryPlate

Meal Delivery Comparison: Home Chef vs. HelloFresh vs. Blue Apron vs. Freshly vs. EveryPlate vs. SunBasket - EveryPlate Logo

Pros

  • Lower cost than most meal kits
  • Minimal packaging

Cons

  • May receive lower quality produce
  • Limited variety of meals and ingredients
  • No plant-based meal plan and very few vegetarian and gluten-free options

If the cost of meal delivery kits gives you sticker shock, look at EveryPlate. This meal delivery service is a much cheaper alternative to most others, including its parent company HelloFresh.

EveryPlate meals cost between $4.99 and $5.89 per serving plus a flat rate of $9.99 for shipping. These meal kits are cheaper than takeout and often groceries, and half the price or less of other meal kit delivery services. To keep costs low, EveryPlate uses simpler ingredients, recipes, and packaging. You can order three, four, or five meals per week for two or four people.

Each week, you choose from a menu of 18 different dishes, which includes about five vegetarian meals. The meal plan options are Meat & Veggie, Family-Friendly, Veggie, and Quick & Easy. You can customize many meals for free or a modest fee by swapping the protein or side.

EveryPlate meals are fuss-free and familiar, not fancy. If you want to kick your dinners up a notch, you can pay extra for premium meals. This will cost you between $4.99 and $6.99 more per serving for ingredients like seafood and steak and slightly more sophisticated dishes.

I tried EveryPlate for myself and found the meal kits to be practical and delicious. The recipes were easy to follow and most of the ingredients looked and tasted good. I did have issues with the quality of some of my produce, but not enough that I wouldn’t consider ordering again. And while the meal options are more limited than other services, there are still plenty of tasty dishes on the menu, especially if you love comfort food and classic flavors.

EveryPlate meal with chicken and roasted root vegetables

This is a great meal kit for anyone looking to save money on dinner, whether you’re single or cooking for a family. EveryPlate is also a good choice if you don’t like to cook or just don’t have much time for it, since all recipes are just six steps or less and are beginner-friendly.

If you’re looking for strictly healthy meals, you’re following a certain diet or you have dietary restrictions, or you like a lot of variety in your dinners, this might not be the right meal kit service for you.

Try Everyplate at $1.49/meal on 1st box + 20% off next 2 boxes! or read our full EveryPlate review.

Best for variety: Blue Apron

Meal Delivery Comparison: blueapron

Pros

  • Extensive variety of meals and ingredients
  • More balanced recipes than many other meal kits

Cons

  • Excessive packaging
  • No plant-based meal plan and very few vegetarian and gluten-free options

Blue Apron is the second most popular meal delivery service. This company is known for unique dishes that often feel more elevated than other meal kits.

Blue Apron offers about 19 different meals per week including (usually) 14 meal kits, three prepared meals, and two ready-to-cook meals that you just put in the oven. The meal plans are Chef Favorites, Wellness, Family Friendly, and Fast & Easy. Compared to other meal kit services, Blue Apron’s menu features a lot more international flavors and outside-the-box combinations.

Compared to the price of other meal kit services, Blue Apron is on the higher end of average. The cost per meal ranges from $7.99 to $11.99. When setting up your account, you choose two, three, or four meals per week at two or four servings each. You can add optional wine pairings to your box for $11 per bottle or market items like breakfast, side dishes, and dessert.

When I tried Blue Apron, I was impressed by the variety. There were so many different globally inspired, gourmet, and nutritious meals to choose from. The quality of ingredients was excellent and the food was restaurant-quality fantastic. Overall, this meal kit service made me feel like a pro and saved me a lot of time. I didn’t love the amount of plastic packaging Blue Apron uses and thought the recipes could be clearer, but I would order again.

Blue Apron salmon dinner with zucchinis and tomatoes and side of potatoes

If you’re looking for meals that are varied and interesting every week, this is the best meal delivery service for you. Blue Apron would be one of my first choices for people watching their weight too since so many meals are WeightWatchers approved and under 600 calories. This meal kit delivery service is also great for people who want quick prep or prepared meals.

Blue Apron might not be right for you if you have picky eaters in your family, are on a tight grocery budget as it is, or don’t have a lot of time to cook (but don’t want prepared meals). Also, it helps if you have more experience in the kitchen because the recipes can be a little vague, which beginners might find frustrating.

Blue Apron new customers: Enjoy $180 off across 6 orders—plus, your first order ships free!  or read our full Blue Apron review.

Best for convenience: Freshly

Meal Delivery Comparison: Home Chef vs. HelloFresh vs. Blue Apron vs. Freshly vs. EveryPlate vs. Sun Basket - Freshly

Pros

  • Plant-based meal plan available
  • Several gluten-free and vegetarian meals each week
  • More balanced recipes than many other meal kits

Cons

  • Higher cost than most meal kits
  • Only single-portion meals

If you want balanced meals delivered each week without the hassle of cooking, check out Freshly.

Freshly ships single-serving meals that are healthy, tasty, and convenient. So convenient, in fact, that you just stick ’em in the microwave for about three minutes.

Try Freshly - For a Limited Time Get $140 Off Your First 5 Boxes! or Try FreshlyFIT - Save $40 off your first order!

Unlike their competitors, Freshly doesn’t offer plan options designed for families of two, three, or four. Instead, you can order four to 12 individual meals, like their sausage baked penne or unwrapped salsa verde burrito, for lunches and dinners throughout the week. And since Freshly’s meals are single-serving, they can accommodate a number of dietary preferences, including gluten-free, dairy-free, peanut-free, plant-based, low-calorie, and carb-conscious.

CHICKEN & RICE PILAF - Freshly

Chicken & Rice Pilaf from Freshly | Image source: Freshly

For the singles, the workaholics, and the oven-averse, Freshly can’t be beaten. If anything, their downside is the price. At $8.99 or more per meal, plus $9.99 or more for shipping, Freshly is one of the more expensive meal delivery services out there. While that may seem steep for a fancy microwave meal, you’re paying more to skip the prep time, cook time, and cleanup.

Try a Freshly subscription or read our full Freshly review.

Best for beginners: HelloFresh

Hello Fresh logo

Pros

  • Easy-to-follow recipe cards
  • Many customization options
  • Several gluten-free and vegetarian options each week

Cons

  • No plant-based meal plan
  • Longer cook times than some other meal kits

One of the first meal kit delivery services ever and the most popular still today, HelloFresh has meal kits figured out. Fun recipes that are easy and educational make this the best meal delivery service for beginners.

HelloFresh offers six different meal plans to choose from, including a vegetarian option, a family-friendly option, and a pescatarian option. Each recipe includes a Climate Score, a difficulty rating, and nutrition facts. Including custom combinations like swapping your protein or side, the rotating menu features over 30 recipes.

HelloFresh is better than many meal services at catering to different dietary needs. While most meals aren’t allergy-friendly, there are a lot of options to change ingredients so you can make recipes work for you (often for free).

You can order anywhere from two to six recipes per week — way more options than other meal delivery services — for two or four people each. The cost per serving is between $7.99 and $11.99 plus $9.99 shipping, comparable to Blue Apron.

I tried three meals from Try HelloFresh - Get 18 Free Meals + 3 Surprise Gifts + Free Shipping! and I loved the whole experience. My favorite things about this company were the packaging and the recipe cards. HelloFresh boxes contain surprisingly little plastic and the meals are separated into individual paper bags, which was way more convenient than sorting through a box full of ingredients. The recipes, another huge strength, included large pictures of each step and helpful tips.

HelloFresh meal on a plate with chicken, carrots, and rice

I’d recommend HelloFresh for beginners, people who want to reduce their waste, and families who need meals both children and adults will love. The recipes are easy to follow and there are several kid-friendly dishes on the menu. Plus, HelloFresh lets you customize to your liking.

If it’s healthy meals you’re after, you’re probably going to want to choose a different meal delivery service. HelloFresh has some balanced meals, but a lot of recipes are high in fat and calories. This also isn’t the most affordable meal kit. HelloFresh will save you time grocery shopping but might not save you money or might cost more than you spend on dinner now.

Try HelloFresh - Get 18 Free Meals + 3 Surprise Gifts + Free Shipping! or read our full HelloFresh Review.

Best for quality ingredients: Sunbasket

Meal Delivery Comparison: Home Chef vs. HelloFresh vs. Blue Apron vs. Freshly vs. EveryPlate vs. Sunbasket - Sunbasket

Pros

  • Gluten-free, paleo, and keto meal plans
  • Several vegetarian options each week

Cons

  • Higher cost than most meal kits
  • Fewer box size and frequency options than other meal kits

Sunbasket is a meal delivery service that caters to people valuing sustainable business practices and healthy, organic ingredients.

This service prioritizes quality, first and foremost. They work with select ranchers and fisherman who respect and care for their animals, as well as farmers who provide 100% organic produce.

Try Sunbasket - Get $90 off + a free gift and free shipping on your first box!

Sunbasket has a variety of meals for those who are paleo, vegetarian, gluten-free, and more. You can also select preferences like “High Protein,” “Low Calorie,” and even “Diabetes-Friendly.” For families, Sunbasket has kid-friendly dishes, which feature recipe instructions that include suggestions for how kids can help.

Sun Basket

Image source: Sunbasket

In addition to their many creative dishes — like the Moroccan-spiced salmon with jeweled couscous and lemon yogurt or the triple-mushroom quinoa with watercress, scallions, and peas — Sunbasket has an online market, similar to Blue Apron, where you can purchase everything from breakfasts to snacks, to quick lunches and even specialty meats.

The catch with Sunbasket is the price tag. For $9.99 per serving (plus shipping), you’ll receive a pre-made meal, ready in under four minutes. However, if you prefer a meal kit with fresh ingredients you can cook yourself, Sunbasket’s prices are a little steeper at $11.49 per serving.

Try a Sunbasket subscription or read our full Sunbasket review.

How meal subscriptions work

All of these meal delivery options are similar in many ways.

Their chefs create delicious, healthy recipes, and the service ships everything right to your door. All deliver to most US zip codes and use packaging that keeps ingredients fresh for up to 24 hours after delivery and between four and five days in the fridge.

With the exception of Freshly, which delivers four to 12 single-serving meals, each company offers plans that serve at least two meals to families of two or more every week. If your schedule changes or you go out of town, these subscriptions are easy to pause or cancel whenever you like.

One downside to consider with meal-kit deliveries, however, is the environmental impact of the packaging. While most of the packaging is recyclable, everything is individually wrapped (plastic containers for liquids and plastic/paper bags for dry ingredients), and all meals come surrounded by foam liners and/or sandwiched between gigantic ice packs. Be sure to check their websites for each company’s recommendations on recycling their packages.

How to save on meal kits

Meal delivery kits can be expensive, but there are plenty of ways to cut costs.

Sign-up discounts

Almost every meal kit out there gives new members a discount on their first boxes. Usually, a sign-up offer includes free shipping as well. And when you sign up through a site like MoneyUnder30 and use affiliate links, the savings get even better.

Here are just a few examples:

Credit card offers

Several credit cards offer rewards for meal kits, including account bonuses and cash back.

For example, AMEX cardholders can earn up to 8,000 Membership Rewards® points when they purchase Home Chef boxes (four total, 2,000 points per box) with their card. All American Express rewards credit cards qualify.

And when you purchase a HelloFresh meal-kit delivery with the Chase Freedom FlexSM card, you’ll receive 5% back to use towards your next box.

Additionally, there are a number of credit cards that let you choose your bonus categories yourself or pay the highest rewards rate on your top spending category. For example, the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card pays up to 3% back on a category of your choice (including online shopping). And while meal kits don’t count as groceries for every credit card, many users have reported that they do for Chase and Capital One cards.

You can often use credit card rewards points to purchase meal kit gift cards as well, and different credit card shopping portals may run promotions for select services. Keep an eye on the offers and redemption options available for your card to take advantage of occasional meal kit savings.

Referrals

Another great way to save money on meal kits is through referrals. Once you’ve joined a service, you may receive a unique referral code you can share with friends. If they sign up, they’ll save on their first order or may even receive a free box and you’ll earn an account bonus, often in the form of credits.

For example, you may receive a $20 credit for EveryPlate when you refer a friend and they become a member, and they’ll save $20 on their first box.

Summary

If you want to eat well, but don’t have the time to plan and shop for every dinner, meal subscription services offer a solution. You’ll pay a hefty premium over doing your own shopping, but these services will likely save you money (and be better for you) than take-out.

While all these companies offer delicious, healthy dishes, think about your unique priorities before you subscribe. Need something quick and low maintenance? Freshly meals come ready to devour in just three minutes or less.

If you like the convenience of Freshly but would prefer higher-quality ingredients, Sunbasket may be a better fit. They offer fresh and organic premade meals you can heat up in minutes, as well as meal-kits you can cook yourself.

If cost is your primary concern, EveryPlate can’t be beaten, providing tasty dishes at as little as $4.99 per serving.

No matter your preference, there’s likely a meal delivery service to suit your appetite.

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About the author

Photo of MoneyUnder30 writer Kate Van Pelt
Total Articles: 51
Kate Van Pelt is a writer and editor based in the Pacific Northwest. She has a bachelor’s degree in business management and English and has established her professional career in marketing and research writing. Since 2015, Kate has created educational materials covering a variety of financial topics, from home loans and credit cards to retirement accounts and estate planning. She spends her free time thrift shopping, making cocktails, and enjoying the outdoors with her dogs, Vira and Elmer.