I won't lie, my wife and I regularly use meal delivery services.
I get it, I get it, why in the world would a personal finance blogger who talks about saving money and making money promote/use meal and dinner delivery services? Aren't they overpriced?
My answer is simple, it makes life easier.
The best meal delivery services can add value to your life and it really boils down to first recognizing what that may be for you. Is it:
- More time for yourself
- Avoiding the grocery store
- Easy to use process and instructions (for those who can't cook at all like me)
- Saving money on impulse buying at the store
- Preventing overeating
Regardless of WHY you are considering using a meal delivery service, if you're someone who is looking to save time and you have a few dollars to spare, today we will review the very best meal delivery services.
Additionally, this article will help establish the best delivery service for you based on factors like ease of use, health, and price point. But first;
A Quick List of The Best Meal Delivery Service Options:
Below, you will find a list of the best meal delivery service options to choose from. Keep reading to see details on each including:
- Pricing per serving
- Time to make
- Other pertinent information to consider
Quick List of Meal Delivery Service Providers:
- Home Chef
- Every Plate
- Green Chef
- Blue Apron
- Fresh Direct
- Purple Carrot
- Butcher Box
The 12 Best Meal Delivery Services
Quick Freshly Summary:
- Average Price Per Meal: $8.49 – $11.49
- Quality & Calories: Fresh ingredients, 350-650 calories
- Other: Pre-made, ready to go, “Heat and Eat.” No clean-up necessary & dinner in under 5 minutes!
Freshly is the equivalent of frozen TV dinners from when you were a kid only they don't come with a dessert and they're ACTUALLY good for you.
So maybe the only comparable item is the fact that freshly goes in the microwave because they are (unlike TV dinners):
- Always fresh
- Use fresh ingredients
- Not frozen
- Easy to heat up, just use the microwave, ready in under 4 minutes
That being said, if you're someone who is opposed to cooking, don't have time to cook, or simply need something to grab for lunch in the mornings before work, consider Freshly.
Freshly ranks #1 on the list because it is fresh, easy to cook, healthy (averages 500 calories per serving) and relatively affordable considering what it offers.
On the other hand, someone who enjoys cooking and not eating out of a microwave may rank Freshly lower on the list!
Either way, the most common about Freshly is the price question:
How much does Freshly cost?
Freshly is not the most affordable, but it also not the most expensive meal delivery dinner kit. You get what you pay for in saving time and still eating health with Freshly.
Depending on the number of meals you want each week (4,6,10,12), your price per meal will range from $11.49 per meal to $8.49 meal.
|Number of Meals||Total Price Per Week|
As you can see, the more meals per week, the cheaper Freshly gets. If you're someone who is eating for themselves, the 10 meal option would provide you with lunch and dinner 5x per week.
Considering many eat out for lunch, ultimately electing to go the 10 meal option would save money over the course of a month if you're someone who eats out a ton.
Interested in Freshly? Learn about their packages and current promotions here.
2. Home Chef
Quick Home Chef Summary:
- Average Price Per Meal: $7 per meal, delivery FREE over $49
- Other: Available nationwide & highly customizable
Home Chef is the largest meal delivery service out there! And starting at just $6.99 per serving, Home Chef is also relatively affordable considering what they offer!
The process to ordering Home Chef is pretty simple, simply select the type of meals you would enjoy such as vegeterian, caloorie concious, or carb concious.
Next, customize your meals and frequency of deliveries, followed by enjoying your new Home Chef meals!
Home Chef shines in the area of customization, variety, and price point overall!
Unlike other meal delivery services that use an app and online instructions, while this might seem trivial, the step by step directions for Home Chef are really easy to use!
You don't have to worry about your iPhone screen locking on you and you can get a quick idea of how long it all takes!
To get started with my personal favorite (my wife likes Freshly) you can get $60 off with Home Chef here.
Quick Dinnerly Summary:
- Average Price Per Meal: $5
- Other: One of the most affordable meal delivery services out there
When it comes to saving money on the best meal delivery service, Dinnerly and Every Plate take the cake for being the best priced, which is why they are #3 and #4 on this list!
Since this is a list from a personal finance blog, it is important to note that saving money is still important – and one simple way to do that is to watch what you eat!
That being said, time is of the essence, and to some regards, you get what you pay for in terms of ingredients when it comes to the best meal delivery services!
Pros of Dinnerly:
- Cheap, just $5 per meal, or $50 per week for a couple who wants 5 dinners
- Easy to cook, good selection
- Ingredients are fresh
Cons of Dinnerly:
- Instructions come on an app (not as user friendly as cards)
- Sometimes ingredients can be misplaced or not packaged
- Rice seems to come with every meal
We use Dinnerly monthly and we have been pleased. Feel free to use my discount code here to checkout America's cheapest dinner delivery service!
4. Every Plate
Quick Every Plate Summary:
- Average Price Per Meal: $4.99 Per Serving/Meal
- Quality: Good overall, healthy options less frequent
- Other: Great pricing, comes with recipe cards, however, ingredient options not as diverse or as healthy as others
EveryPlate and Dinnerly are neck and neck when it comes to price!
In fact, the two compete over being the “Most Affordable Dinner Delivery Service” in the country and they ring in just a penny under $5 per meal. And if the price point wasn't enough, the meals are pretty good too!
Whether you like roasted red pepper flatbreads, Asian style chicken and rice, or my favorite – chicken sausage orzotto, the menu has quite the diversity overall.
And yes, for real, the answer to “How much does EveryPlate cost?” is $5. That being said, the lower price point must mean what?
Ingredients and overall diversity of meals is not as high as #5 on the list (Green Chef). We use EveryPlate, but I feel like I eat more high starch carbs like rice and carrots when it is EveryPlate week!
However, with the already low price point, and a discount code, EveryPlate is worth trying!
5. Green Chef
Quick Green Chef Summary:
- Average Price Per Meal: $11.80 to $13 per meal
- Quality: High-quality ingredients
- Other: Great recipe cards and easy to use bags with ingredients, fresh and high quality, lots of variety
Green Chef might be one of my personal favorite meal delivery services, but there is a reason I have them at #5 which I will highlight in a few (price).
First, I love how everything comes in one bag and how simple cooking is! See below, but Green Chef has the best recipe cards and the bags make it super easy to find ingredients (instead of digging through your crisper drawer).
Where Green Chef also shines is their quality of ingredients. Truth be told, I personally could rank them higher on this list, but someone has to rank number 5! That and Green Chef is slightly pricey.
How much does Green Chef cost?
Green Chef costs $79 for three meals for two people, 6 meals total, or $13 per meal! The other option is to pay $95 for two meals for four people, 8 total, or $11.87 per meal!
The trick to making Green Chef work for your budget is to go with the bigger option, however, your only get two selections!
6. Blue Apron
Quick Blue Apron Summary:
- Average Price Per Meal: $8-$10
- Quality: Wide variety of health options
- Other: Under 45-minute dinners, easy to use
Blue Apron is the original meal delivery service company, then the competitors set in.
Designed to have dinner in under 45 minutes (of cooking), I first heard about Blue Apron in 2016 and I thought ordering meals was a complete waste of money.
Now, just four years later, I am writing an article why you should use them! That being said I have not personally used Blue Apron, however, based on some digging here are the pros and cons of Blue Apron:
Pros of Blue Apron:
- Huge selection available
- Accomodate dietary needs very well
- Still cheaper than take out
- Founder of meal delivery, so we have to give them credit
Cons of Blue Apron:
- Cost, Blue Apron is on the higher side for price per meal at $10 average
- Wilted and not so fresh vegetables and ingredients
- Meals & dinners take too long to cook
Quick HelloFresh Summary:
- Average Price Per Meal: $8.99 – $11.99
- Quality: Great quality of ingredients
We have used HelloFresh and overall our experience was very good.
However, like many of the higher quality meal delivery kits, after the discount codes are done, HelloFresh can be a little pricey. To put $9 per meal in perspective, Chipotle burrito bowls are under $8.
That being said if you're someone who wants to learn HOW TO COOK or you simply don't have time to shop and then cook, HelloFresh, is a great option!
Quick Sunbasket Summary:
- Average Price Per Meal: $10.99 to $11.99
- Quality: Great ingredients
- Other: Meals are great, but require lots of prep work
Sunbasket is a very popular meal kit because of their selection and ingredients. Where Sun Basket “Shines” is their selection:
- Chef's Choice
- Lean & Clean
- Quick & Easy
They have a wide variety of options for dinner, but also lunch and breakfast. The toggle option on their website is a nice feature too when customizing dinner kits for time/health/diet, etc.
However, because the price point per meal is pretty high, coupled with the fact that making the recipes can be a little time consuming, we have them ranked lower on the list.
Even so, it is still worth giving it a shot! Check out Sun Basket here and save on your first box!
9. Fresh Direct
Quick Fresh Direct Summary:
- Average Price Per Meal:
Fresh Direct is one of the meal delivery services I wasn't so familiar with to be quite honest. However, the excel in offering more than just dinner!
Whether you want meal kits, fresh seafood, or even beer and wine, Fresh Direct has you covered. That being said, since this article is about the best meal delivery options, we will focus on their meal kits.
10. Purple Carrot
Quick Purple Carrot Summary:
- Average Price Per Meal: $9.99 – $11.99
- Quality: Great!
- Other: All plant-based meal plans, customizable, skip features included.
Are you a vegetarian or someone like me who is looking to steer away from meat and introduce more plant-based meals into your diet?
If so, then Purple Carrot is a great option for you!
Purple Carrot is a plant-based meal delivery service that offers dinner, lunch, and even breakfast all with free shipping. For the plant-based crowd, you can choose from 2 or 4 person meals, and have them delivered to feed you dinner 3-4x per week!
You can get $20 off your first Purple Carrot order here.
Quick Gobble Summary:
- Average Price Per Meal: $11.99 per meal
- Quality: Good
- Other: Make dinner in 15 minutes or less! Side options, lunch, and dinner available!
Gobble shines in the time department by providing you with quick and easy dinners under 15 minutes.
With a wide variety of quick dinner entries and even lunch options, Gobble is great for those who don't have a ton of time to cook. They also offer a “Lean and Clean” option for the health-conscious crew.
Where Gobble doesn't shine is the price point. At virtually $12 a meal, for a couple, that is $120 week to eat five dinners. That being said, everything is worth trying at least once.
Gobble offers first-time users of their meal delivery service a rate of 6 meals for just $36 here.
12. Butcher Box
Butcher Box and Easy Summary:
- Average Price Per Meal: $4.97 & Up
- Quality: Great quality, grass-fed beef & more
- Other: 5 possible boxes to choose from
If we are going to talk about plant-based meals (Purple Carrot) we have to also talk about the opposite, meat only boxes such as Butcher Box.
While not necessarily a “Meal Delivery Service,” Butcher Box delivers fresh grass-fed beef, chicken, and poultry to your door for you to cook and enjoy.
Ranging from 8-14 pounds of meat, each butcher box (sounds better than meat box) comes with a variety of meet and you can choose 1 of 5 possible boxes:
|The Mixed Box||$129||8.5-11|
|The Beef & Pork Box||$129||8-11|
|The Beef & Chicken Box||$129||8.5-11|
|The All Beef Box||$129||8-10|
In each box has different cuts of meat, for example the “Custom Box” has 20 cuts (or 20 meals at $4.97 per) that are all the upmost quality:
- Beef is 100% grass-fed and grass-finished
- Chicken is free-range organic
- Pork is heritage breed
For those who like HIGH QUALITY meats delivered to your door, Butcher Box is a great go to. If you're like me and recognize that $10-$14 per pound of meat is a bit pricey, then perhaps Dinnerly or EveryPlate is a cheaper option.
Also, you still need to cook and get the sides!
Bonus: Meal Delivery Kits that Missed the Cut:
13. Marley Spoon with Martha
So I knew this would happen when I wrote this article, I would be bombarded with endless meal delivery service ads on social media.
However, I did happen to let this one catch my attention – Marley Spoon with none other than Martha Stewart.
The, “Choose from 22 deliciously different Martha Stewart recipes each week. Menu options include meat & fish, poultry, low-carb, gluten- and keto-friendly, and vegetarian (6 of this per week),” had me hooked.
So I did a little research and I found that overall, Marley Spoon is relatively affordable and costs $8.99 per person (if 2 people) or $7.49 per person (if 4) with the ability to make meals vegetarian.
The verdict is still out on this one, but it is worth considering if Martha created it and each recipe consists of 6 steps that take less than 30 minutes!
14. Mountain Primal Meats
Similar to Butcher Box, but unique in its own way, if you're looking for more options when it comes to ordering high quality, no antibiotic meats – then you can check out Mountain Primal Meats.
The subscription based meal delivery doesn't quite exist (yet) with Mountain Primal Meats, but you can customize your orders and if you're like me and want to eat lean meats like elk and bison – they have ton's of variety!
Get 2 FREE pounds of Primal Ground Beef here!
Pros & Cons of Meal Delivery Services:
Real quick, meal delivery services do have pros and cons that exist that you need to consider (like everything else).
Many users claim that dinner delivery is expensive and meal delivery services save time without having to worry about shopping and cooking.
However, others claim that managing subscriptions can also be a bit of a pain and overall, you spend more with meal deliveries.
Pros of Meal Delivery:
- Saves you time
- Can be affordable
- Simple to use
- Solid variety
- Easy to use instructions
Cons of Meal Delivery:
- Usually costs more than shopping for yourself
- Uses a lot of packaging (some are recyclable, some are not)
- Sometimes items are missing
- The subscriptions can be a hassle to manage (cancel, postpone, etc)
- Missing emails (A box was delivered without us knowing while on a vacation)
How to save on meal delivery services:
I love my wife, because she is super thrifty. Some people house hack, we meal delivery hack!
She has got the whole meal delivery service & dinner delivery thing down to a science. Here are the steps we used to get the most bang for our buck and save money in the process:
- Figure out which meal delivery service you want to try first and use an offer (never buy full price).
- DO NOT SIGN UP for recurring shipments
- Use another discount coupon to try another box
- Repeat the process 7-8x
- Next, you will want to figure out your “Top 4”
- Set it so that you get one of your Top 4 each month, spacing them out so that you get one each week
- For example, we have decided that Freshly (we freeze to have in a pinch), Dinnerly, Home Chef, and EveryPlate are our favorites!
- Dinnerly and EveryPlate are less than $50 each time, Freshly comes in at the highest at $101 and Home Chef is a tad over $50.
- In total, we pay around $275 per month for dinner!
While we could certainly save money if we bought the ingredients at the store, the ease and simplicity is a game-changer for our busy/hectic lifestyle!
Another quick idea to help you save on meal delivery kits is to get the bigger “Feed Four” option. This way you can get the bigger order discount and keep your meal costs low.
On that note, you will have to make sure you're cool with eating the same thing 2x per week!
Final Word on Meal Delivery:
One of the overarching themes here at Money Life Wax is take care of your finances so you can CHOOSE what you do with your money.
There are some personal finance blogs that condemn those who spend money on trivial things like meal delivery services, but that is not our Mode of Operandi.
No, we truly believe that if you're financially responsible you can take advantage of things like a dog walker, meal delivery services, or personal trainers – all of which make life better – so long as you're meeting savings goals.
That being said, this list could be reorganized in many different ways and three factors that helped us rank this list was:
However, it is important to note that personal preference was also involved too! The first four happen to be our top 4, which is based on a little of each – time, cost and quality!
As we part, what I typically recommend is trying them for yourselves,
Frequently Asked Questions:
Based on our research and personal experience, without discounts, $5 and up to $12+ seems to be the going price range for meal delivery services.
That being said, many companies incentivize consumers with subscription based models and also you can double your serving to save money (2 vs 4 people).
Most meal delivery services and dinner services do a good job of using fresh ingredients, offering a variety of healthy options, and keeping processed foods out of their dinner kids.
That being said, each offers a wide variety of options including Keto specific plans, vegetarian plans, and more.
Josh writes about ways to make money, pay off debt, and improve yourself. After paying off $300,000 in student loans with his wife in less than five years, Josh started Money Life Wax and has been featured on Forbes, Business Insider, Huffington Post, and more! In addition to being a life-long entrepreneur, Josh and his wife enjoy spending time with their chocolate lab named Morgan, working out, being outside, traveling, and helping others with their finances! I got serious with money when I used Personal Capital to track my finances.