Subscription boxes as a whole have grown in popularity over the last decade, but meal kit services are in a league of their own. What began as packages of preportioned ingredients and recipes has now evolved to include not just traditional meals, but smoothies, snacks, and even boxes geared toward kids.
With so many choices, how can you decide on the best meal kit delivery service for your needs? It's doubtful you want to sign up for every service out there to find your Goldilocks box, so we're here to help. Check out some of the most popular meal kits below. We've highlighted starting prices, and even flavors and recent meals, so you'll know what to expect.
Best Meal Kits for Folks on a Budget
Price: From $4.49 per portion
Choose between a 2-person and family-size box, then decide whether you want three, four, or five meals per week. Dinnerly is a good basic meal kit service, and it also lets you make your boxes vegetarian.
Look for recipes that are more on the comfort side of cooking with this service. Recent options include lemony chicken and broccoli, creamy tortelloni, meatloaf burger, and beef taco skillet. Most meals come with a side, as well, so you don't have to worry about adding to them.
Price: $4.99 per serving
Choose the number of people you want to feed with your EveryPlate box. You can customize the 2-person box so it includes three, four, or five dinners per week. Unfortunately, if you want the box for four people, you'll only be able to choose three dinners per week.
EveryPlate's flexible weekly menu offers nine different meals to choose from. Recent options include Tuscan herbed chicken over creamy tomato linguine, ancho chili meatloaves, honey-glazed pork chops, and roasted bell pepper flatbreads. Like other kits, these also include side items in many cases, so you really get a complete meal.
Price: From $6.99 per serving
With a starting price of $6.99 per serving, Home Chef is one of the more budget-friendly meal kits, though it's not as cheap as the ones mentioned above. However, it does have an added element of convenience, in that you can purchase the meals at select Kroger stores, as well. Choose from meals that are ready in 15 to 30 minutes, or even fancier dishes that might take a little longer.
Sort by filters such as calorie-conscious, carb-conscious, less than 30 minutes cook time, and vegetarian. Recent meal options include a huli-huli salmon bowl, blue cheese-crusted chicken, and garlic salsa steak tacos.
Best Meal Kits for Families
Price: From $7.49 per serving or $47.95 per week
Shipping: $7.99 or free on select plans
Choose Blue Apron plans that accommodate two or four people, and anywhere from two to four recipes per week. While the 2-person plan has a vegetarian track, the 4-person plan doesn't.
The service offers some customization for diets, but it's not as extensive as what other services might give you. For instance, Blue Apron can handle vegetarians and pescatarians, as well as folks who don't eat red meat, fish, shellfish, pork, or lamb. However, if you have a serious food allergy and not just a dietary preference, it's recommended that you don't order from Blue Apron, as all boxes are assembled in the same place.
Recipes can take anywhere from 25 to 40 minutes to cook and assemble. Recent 2-person recipes include cheesy tomatillo enchiladas, pork lo mein, and Korean chicken tacos. Recent 4-person recipes range from beef and spinach quesadillas to cornmeal-crusted tilapia and pesto chicken pasta.
Price: From $7.49 per serving
Pick your plan and you'll receive easy-to-follow recipes every week with fresh, premeasured ingredients. Choose HelloFresh plans for two or four people, and go with two, three, or four recipes per week. You can also choose from four different meal types: meat and veggies, veggie, family friendly, or low calorie.
Among the recent meat-and-veggie picks are sweet heat shrimp tempura bowls, chicken sausage flatbreads, and pork and charred corn chimichurri tacos. Veggie options include black bean and poblano flautas, balsamic tomato Parmesan risotto, and Mediterranean couscous bowls. Expect family-friendly meals like cheesy pub burgers, pork and veggie bibimbap, and Tuscan beef-stuffed peppers. And low-calorie picks include meals like sweet 'n' smoky chicken cutlets, meatloaf, and hot honey chicken.
Best Meal Kits for Specific Diets
Price: From $9.99 per meal
This service offers meal plans to accommodate the most popular diets. You can get keto, paleo, balanced-living, plant-powered, or family plans, and have them delivered weekly, biweekly, or monthly. Recipes take about 30 minutes to make, and boxes arrive with ingredients prepped and premeasured so assembly is easy.
SEE ALSO: How to Eat Healthy on a Budget in 2020
Recent examples of meals include sesame-crusted tuna (keto), shrimp scampi with grain-free fettuccini (paleo), buttermilk-brined chicken (balanced living), pesto pasta primavera (plant-powered), and chili con carne (family).
Martha & Marley Spoon
Price: From $6.99 per portion
This service is good for two or four people, and allows you to choose from two, three, or four recipes per week. If you opt for two or three meals, you'll also be able to choose whether or not to make your box vegetarian.
Recent meals include tarragon chicken, bacon-cheddar burgers, 1-pan tortelloni parm, and salmon fajitas. Overall, you'll have 20 recipes to choose from every week.
Price: From $9.99 per serving
This plant-based service lets you subscribe to 2- or 4-serving plans, then choose whether to receive two-to-four dinners per week. Breakfasts and lunches are also available, and can be added to your plan for $5.99 and $11.99 each, respectively.
Recent dinners include kimchi mushroom fried rice, tofu marsala, and gingered pumpkin apple soup. Breakfasts and lunches are ready in five minutes, and consist of meals like matcha overnight oats and stuffed avocados.
Price: From $5.99 per meal
Choose from a variety of plans, including low carb, balance, vegetarian, keto-friendly, high protein, Whole30, and paleo. You can also build your own plan.
Meals are free from gluten, artificial preservatives, antibiotics, added hormones, artificial colors, and artificial flavors. They're also ready to eat in approximately five minutes. Recent best-selling breakfasts include almond butter pancakes and Tex-Mex breakfast wraps. Best-selling lunches and dinners include chicken butternut macaroni, crispy salmon, and naked beef.
Price: From $10.99 per serving
Choose from two different plans — either the Classic Menu or the Family Menu. Classic offers two, three, or four recipes for two-to-four people each week. You'll have 18 recipes to choose from. Family offers two, three, or four recipes per week, and those are designed to serve four people. You'll have six family-friendly recipes to pick from each week.
Sort dinners by filters such as less than 20 minutes to prepare, under 600 calories, paleo, and more. Recent dinners include Thai chicken lettuce cups, sesame-crusted salmon, and sweet potato taquitos. Breakfast options include sous-vide egg bites, yogurt, oatmeal, granola, and "breads and spreads," as well as juice, coffee, and tea.
Lunches include soups, broths, bowls, and flatbreads. Snacks are also available, and include dips, veggies, nuts and seeds, crackers and crisps, jerky and meat snacks, and bars and bites. There's even a sweet option to satisfy your sweet tooth in a healthy way! Choose from items like chocolate bars with quinoa and dark chocolate crickets (yes, crickets!).
Best Meal Kits for Meats and Seafood
Price: From $129 per month
If you care about where your meat comes from, ButcherBox is a great way to feel better about your proteins. It boasts 100% grass-fed and grass-finished beef, free-range organic chicken, and heritage pork.
Choose from a curated or custom box. Curated packages have a cheaper starting price, but you're leaving the selection in ButcherBox's hands, whereas the customized boxes are slightly more expensive, but you can choose what goes into them. Options include The Mixed Box, The Beef & Pork Box, The Beef & Chicken Box, and The All Beef Box. Also, watch for bonus perks, like free ground beef and bacon with your first box.
Price: From $69 per box
Rastelli's allows you to choose from around 30 boxes. Pick one with just beef, beef and chicken, or salmon and shrimp, for instance. You can also get boxes that are completely made up of steak, burgers, or meatballs. Prefer some surf with your turf? There are salmon and steak and salmon and chicken boxes, too. Even a tailgate box is available; it includes plenty of protein for your game day party, with burgers, sausage, chicken wings, and ribs.
Price: From $129 per box
Shipping: Free shipping on $99
Choose from three boxes: the Wild Salmon Box, the Wild Fish Box, or the Wild Seafood Box. These boxes don't just contain filets, either. The box of salmon could include single-serve portions; salmon burgers, dogs, or sausages; smoked salmon; and more.
The Wild Fish Box features wild salmon and other fish, as well as salmon burgers, dogs, or sausages, potentially. The most expensive box boasts salmon, fish, and shellfish, as well as the potential for burgers, dogs, and sausages, like the other boxes.
Best Meal Kit for Bakers
Red Velvet NYC
Price: $49 per month
Subscribe and for $49 per month, you'll receive two baking kits. You can skip shipments or cancel anytime. Plus, you have the option to add any tools you might need, in case you don't have them lying around.
Past kits have included linzer cookies, mint chocolate sandwich cookies, chai spice Bundt cake, maple pecan cupcakes, red velvet cupcakes, and flourless chocolate cake.
Best Meal Kits for Quick Prep
Price: From $8.99 per meal or $49.99 per week
Have no time for food prep? This might be the service for you! Your meals arrive already cooked, and all you have to do is heat and eat. According to the site, meals are ready to go in three minutes.
Choose from four, six, nine, or 12 meals per week. Additionally, select your meals from three different categories: Freshly Faves, Rotating Specials, and Seasonal Selection. Recent meals in each category include sausage baked penne, turkey and mushroom meatloaf, and chicken and rice pilaf, respectively. At the time of this writing, Freshly had 29 meals to choose from, though the menu changes weekly.
Price: From $5.99 per lunch or $11.99 per dinner serving
If you enjoy cooking, but not the prep that goes into it, this is a solid pick. You choose your meals, Gobble's chefs prep all the food, you receive your box, and you put together meals in 15 minutes.
If you opt for Gobble's lunch box, you'll receive recipes that are designed to batch cook in 90 minutes. It's made for those who do meal prep over the weekend, and should provide you with six grab-and-go lunches. You'll choose vegetable bases, then decide if you want classic or premium proteins, and optional grains.
Gobble dinner boxes include recipes, nutritional information, ingredients that are already prepared and portioned, and recyclable ice packs. Recent dinner picks include sirloin steak with smashed potatoes and three peppercorn sauce, chimichurri chicken with sautéed vegetables, and cacio e pepe with shrimp and asparagus.
Best Meal Kit for Kids
Price: From $6.99 per meal
Choose from six, 12, or 24 meals per week, suitable for one, two, or three kids, respectively. You'll then be able to pick meals on a weekly basis from the menu. All dishes are cooked and ready to eat, and you can heat them for 90 seconds before serving.
Note that you can filter menu items in order to accommodate any special dietary needs, including gluten-free, no milk, no soy, no egg, and vegetarian. You can also sort by age groups: 1 to 3, 4 to 8, or 9 to 13. Top-rated items include Creamy Mac N Trees, Cheesy Fusilli Pasta, and Better Chicken Nuggets, among others.
Best Meal Kits for Smoothies and More
Price: From $6.99 per cup
Though this service is known for its smoothies, it offers much more. Choose from smoothies, harvest bowls, soups, bites, oat bowls, chia bowls, and even lattes. You can opt to receive nine to 26 recipes with every order, and whether you want them on a weekly or monthly basis.
At the time of writing, there were 23 smoothies, 16 harvest bowls, 10 soups, three types of snack bites, four oat bowls, three chia bowls, and four lattes to choose from. Needless to say, there should be an option for every taste!
Price: From $99 per month or $123.75 for a 1-time order
Every box comes with 20 smoothie packs, and you can have them delivered once a month. Choose from four flavors: berry, cacao, green, and clementine. Go for a variety pack and receive five of each flavor, or get 20 of your favorites. You can also add 20 packages of collagen peptides to your order, and add one pack to each smoothie.
Price: From $9 per meal or $65 per box
This service offers smoothies, lunch bowls, and Resets that consist of lighter soups. Choose from three plans: five lunch bowls; five smoothies, five lunch bowls, and one full-day Reset; or five smoothies and five lunch bowls. Every plan is delivered weekly.
All choices are plant-based, vegan, and gluten-free. And they're already prepped, so they're ready to eat when they arrive chilled. However, you might want to gently warm your bowls or soups.
Best Meal Kits for Trying New Spices
Price: From $6.80 per month
This isn't quite a meal kit, as you'll only receive recipes and the spices necessary for them. But SpiceBreeze is still a good way to try out new dishes without a massive commitment.
Choose from four plans and either duo or quad sizes. Duo kits contain two recipes from two different countries every month, while quad kits have four recipes from two-to-four different countries every month.
Price: From £18
Similar to the one above, you'll only receive spices with this subscription. The Spicery delivers globally, except to Australia.
Choose from eight different subscription kits, in durations of three, six, or 12 months. (Or you can pick a monthly option.) All kits are designed to serve four, with the exception of the Spicery Highlights for 2 and Date Night subscriptions.
Best Meal Kit for Luxe Lifestyles
Price: From $239 per week
This chic nutritional-focused box offers a few different plans that come with premium price tags. The Total Body Reset and Signature plans both offer either three or five days worth of breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. The Detox plan provides breakfast, lunch, and dinner for five days, and the special Brides program provides 20 days of breakfast, lunch, and dinner to have you ready for your big day.
Curious about the food that'll require this high price point? A typical day of meals could include banana protein bread, wild rice and miso salad, and golden pineapple "un-fried" rice.
Readers, what are your favorite meal kits? Let us know in the comments below!