The best and worst of 10 meal delivery services

I tried 10 of the best meal delivery services so you don't have to! See the reviews for favorite kits like Freshly, Home Chef, Hellofresh, Blue Apron – the ranking might surprise you.

best meal delivery services

Affiliate links used in this post. Read more about my link usage here.

I've been blogging since 2009, and I don't think a post has ever taken me as long to write as this one. This is a post I started writing in June of 2021 – it's taken almost a full year to get it on the blog! But it was definitely worth it. I was able to try the best home meal delivery services (and a few of the not so great 😂) to let you guys know what I truly thought of some of the 10 most popular companies out there.

best meal delivery services

Now, you're probably thinking, “Isn't this the blogger that sells Freezer Meal prep packs?” I sure am, and I still think that the best home meal delivery services have a time and a place. Sometimes you're just not in the headspace to set aside hours for freezer meal prep. These meal delivery service companies definitely have a value when you're in need of quick and easy meals and don't necessarily have the time or energy for recipe planning, shopping, processing, printing, and organizing. With that being said – you're typically going to pay a premium for meal services like this. The prices on the meals I tested from these companies normally range from $5-13 per serving; with Freezer Meal Boot Camps, I like to keep the price per serving at a maximum of $3-4 per serving. So, while these might not be the route to take for cutting your grocery budget, meals from the best meal delivery services are convenient, simple ways to get dinner on the table without relying on takeout every night. It all just comes down to how much time, energy, and thought you can devote to meal planning/prepping.

I tried these without any company knowing it was for a blog review…on purpose. I didn't want to get the “star treatment;”I wanted to get the same service that any regular customer would get with each company, so I could truly find the best meal delivery services out there. So, I didn't tell any of these companies anything about this review before posting (and they definitely didn't ask me to post this). Although there are affiliate links to the some of the companies below, none of these are sponsored and they are all 100% my honest opinion as a consumer!

I picked the 10 most widely-known meal delivery services as of 2021-2022 to sample. A few of the bigger ones weren't available in my area (namely GreenChef and Gobble). I live in a fairly rural area of the country, so I'm willing to place a bet that if I'm able to get these, you're able to get these.

Let's dive right into it! These are ranked from worst to best.

Ranking of Best Meal Delivery Services of 2021-2022

10. Freshly

Regular Price (3 meals (not the typical 4 I tested) for 4 people per week, plus shipping): $161.86 (Score of 0)

Taste: 2

Selection: 7

Cooking Ease: 9

Service: 7

Freshness/Ingredient Quality: 2

Size/Amount of Food: 3

OVERALL: 30 (Average of 4)

I just wasn't feeling Freshly. I can see how it might work out for a very select group of people – if you need completely pre-made that are supposedly cooked “fresh” that week, have very little time for meal prep, live alone or only have maybe one other person eating at home, and need a very low caloric intake, this might work out for you. But in so many ways, it just didn't work for our family.

I'm not going to sugar coat it – these are essentially TV dinners. I've had Lean Cuisines that tasted better than some of these. You microwave the meals (just like a TV dinner) to prep, so yes, there is basically no cooking difficulty. But the meals, for the most part, were absolutely awful. They did not feel fresh at all – all of the ingredients seemed cooked to death or super processed. The size of the meals was barely enough for one meal, so you definitely weren't getting leftovers out of any of these. Most meals were between 400-600 calories…barely enough for an adult dinner. My husband and I usually needed a snack after dinner. Please also note in the price comparison that I only got 12 meals for this one's price tag – that's the most you can order per week. So, if you're looking to feed a family for a full week, this isn't going to cut it. And that price tag is on up there with some of the pricier meal plans that gives me 16 meals per week.

Save your money and pick up a few TV dinners at the grocery store – you'll get basically the same thing.

9. Home Chef

Regular Price (4 meals for 4 people per week, plus shipping): $153.83 (Score of 5)

Taste: 7

Selection: 8

Cooking Ease: 4

Service: 2

Freshness/Ingredient Quality: 4

Size/Amount of Food: 7

OVERALL: 37 (Average of 5)
best meal delivery services

This did not go down as my favorite meal service. As I did with the other services, I tried two weeks; the first week, I received half of my box on time and half a day later, with everything in the box melted and at outside temperature when I received. Obviously, I had to trash those items. I did email the company, where I was directed to a Google form to fill out any order issues (which leads me to believe that this wasn't a one-off issue for them). I did receive credit for that week, which I used on the second week of service.

The price is on the higher side for the meal plans I tried, so one would expect top-notch ingredients. It's not that the ingredients weren't good, they just weren't amazing for the price. The meals were good though – most had a really gourmet feel to them and the portion sizes were on the bigger side. But, with that often comes meals that are a little bit more difficult to prepare. Again, not super complicated, but not easy either. And, if you're a calorie counter, you might want to calculate the calories yourself on this one – most of the time their estimates were not very accurate for me.

If there had been no issues, I'd say it was “just ok.” But, with the issues, I had a disappointing experience overall with Home Chef. If you do decide to try this one, use this link for $35 off your order!

8. Sunbasket

Regular Price (4 meals for 4 people per week, plus shipping): $207.62 (Score of 0)

Taste: 7

Selection: 8

Cooking Ease: 7

Service: 7

Freshness/Ingredient Quality: 7

Size/Amount of Food: 6

OVERALL: 42 (Average of 6)
best meal delivery services

Sunbasket is the priciest meal planning service on this post, and to be honest? I don't know why. I did test this one towards the end of 2021, when food prices had jumped, so maybe that had something to do with it (note: as of publish time, they were still abnormally high) – but I honestly didn't see a big quality difference between this one and a few of the mid-range priced meal plans I tried. The selection was great – lots of different foods that my family would probably not have otherwise tried. I love that they have both “speedy” options (that basically allow you to combine already prepped ingredients for a quick meal prep) and more from-scratch cooking. Most of the meals we tried were delicious, so no complaining there either. I just don't know that the price of this one makes it worth it.

There's nothing necessarily wrong with this one, my only complaint is the price. I know that I'm not looking to pay $12 a serving to cook at home – my family can eat at a restaurant for that price point! Use this link for $90 off your order plus a free gift!

7. Hungryroot

Regular Price (4 meals for 4 people per week, plus shipping): $143.84 (Score of 6)

Taste: 7

Selection: 8

Cooking Ease: 9

Service: 4

Freshness/Ingredient Quality: 8

Size/Amount of Food: 3

OVERALL: 45 (Average of 6.5)

Hungryroot is a little bit different than your traditional meal delivery service. With Hungryroot, you're still picking meals, but you're sent full-sized packages of ingredients to make those meals instead of just what you need. I both liked and disliked this – of course it's nice to get extra ingredients, but I think one of the things I like about meal delivery services is not having a ton of food waste after cooking a meal. The meals are incredibly easy to prep, usually taking 15-20 minutes just to warm everything up. If you like cooking from scratch, this isn't the service for you – but it's great for those who need something on the table in a hurry.

The instructions weren't the best quality, but the meals were great!

The ingredients were very high quality and the meal selection was great. I actually kind of like how their meal selection process works – they give you an amount of credits per week and you pick your meals (or even some single ingredients) based on those credits. Because of this, I was able to get some fruit for my kids and salad for lunch one day. If you want a higher quality meal, simply budget your credits to accommodate that – no need to pay extra.

We were actually surprised by how much we enjoyed the meals. Most of them look like they're going to be “rabbit food”-like, but they were really tasty! Not a lot of caloric substance to the meals though – to get a full meal, we pretty much had to eat the full serving in our 4-serving plan. And the calories/macros are a little hard to track with this one – you really need to put all of the ingredients into your calorie tracker, as Hungryroot only gives an estimated calorie total and no macros for each meal.

I'd recommend this service to someone who wants really high quality ingredients and needs to cook in a hurry. Click here to get $50 off your first grocery delivery!

6. Marley Spoon

Regular Price (4 meals for 4 people per week, plus shipping): $152.83 (Score of 5)

Taste: 8

Selection: 9

Cooking Ease: 5

Service: 5

Freshness/Ingredient Quality: 8

Size/Amount of Food: 7

OVERALL: 47 (Average of 7)

This one is definitely on the higher end of cost, but I felt that it was on the higher end of quality too. The meals with Marley Spoon were absolutely delicious – filled with unique (but complementary) flavors. The ingredients were absolutely top-notch and the menu selections were so unique and actually fun to pick! You can choose from meals that are as simple as meatloaf or as exotic as Brazilian Stewed Beef Feijoada (we had both in the same week).

Most of the meals were not incredibly complicated to cook, but you are cooking from scratch for the majority of the order – you'll be chopping, browning meat, sautéing, etc. Again, that's not for everybody, but I know a lot of people prefer actually cooking their meals rather than reheating. They do have ready-made options available that were really tasty!

The only (small) compliant I had with Marley Spoon was the service – I was sent an incorrect meal one week, emailed the company about it, and was basically given an “I'm sorry” – no real effort to make up for it besides a discount on a future order. Thankfully, we didn't have an allergy to the meal we were sent, but I could see that being an issue for some families.

If you're looking for a higher-end meal service, this is the one I would recommend!

5. Dinnerly

Regular Price (4 meals for 4 people per week, plus shipping): $92.03 (Score of 10)

Taste: 6

Selection: 8

Cooking Ease: 6

Service: 5

Freshness/Ingredient Quality: 6

Size/Amount of Food: 7

OVERALL: 48 (Average of 7)
best meal delivery services

This is one of the discount meal delivery services that we liked. The only reason that Everyplate (see below) barely edged out this one is a shipping snafu (which is totally to be expected right now) – we were told at the last minute one week that we wouldn't be receiving a box we planned on getting. Not a huge deal, just kind of inconvenient. They did credit the full amount back (plus a shipping credit) to our account for the error.

The taste and selection for this one were amazing for the price. There were a lot of different/unique dishes that you don't see with discounted meal boxes a whole lot. We had Pork Yakisoba and Chicken Pad See Ew in just the two weeks we tried it. Dishes were not very difficult to prepare. The ingredients were not divided by meal when delivered, which I love, but again that's not a huge issue.

4. Home Chef Fresh & Easy

Regular Price (4 meals for 4 people per week, plus shipping): $153.83 (Score of 5)

Taste: 8

Selection: 7

Cooking Ease: 9

Service: 5

Freshness/Ingredient Quality: 8

Size/Amount of Food: 7

OVERALL: 49 (Average of 7)
best meal delivery services

I decided to give Home Chef one more try, but this time I tried a different branch of their service. Home Chef Fresh & Easy touts that they have super simple meal prep kits that give a home-cooked feeling without a ton of work. And I must say, I liked this one a lot more!

The meals were incredibly easy to put together – usually just a few steps with a lot of pre-prepped ingredients. For example, one of our meals had pre-cooked, pre-seasoned chicken, with pre-cooked rice…so really all you were doing was assembling. But you wouldn't really know it with the freshness and flavor of these meals. We definitely liked them a lot more than the traditional Home Chef Meals. They were probably about the same size as traditional Home Chef meals. Once again, we did have a snafu in shipping; one week we were sent the wrong meal, but that was corrected with a credit to my account for that meal.

I would definitely recommend this service over traditional Home Chef meals!

3. Blue Apron

Regular Price (4 meals for 4 people per week, plus shipping): $129.83 (Score of 7)

Taste: 9

Selection: 8

Cooking Ease: 6

Service: 7

Freshness/Ingredient Quality: 9

Size/Amount of Food: 7

OVERALL: 53 (Average of 7.5)

I feel like Blue Apron is one of the OGs of the meal delivery service world. We actually tried this one years and years ago, but I wanted to put it back in the rotation for this experiment to see if anything has changed. I feel like the quality and meals are still great – really just like we remembered.

best meal delivery services

The ingredients and taste is just about the best you're going to find in the meal service world. Even my notoriously picky kids loved most of these. These meals feel like you're actually cooking, not just assembling a few ingredients (if that makes sense) – you chop, you season, you bake, etc. That might not be for some people who are strapped on time or energy, but I personally prefer it.

Service was great with Blue Apron too – after a little bit of a delay in hearing back from them after an incorrect meal, they ended up refunding the entire cost of my box for that week because of the error. I was really impressed!

And one more note – I love the Blue Apron app! It's probably my favorite of the meal service apps. Super easy to use, has tons of info (like nutrition – you can even add to Apple Health from the app), and really clear instructions.

2. Everyplate

Regular Price (4 meals for 4 people per week, plus shipping): $89.84 (Score of 10)

Taste: 7

Selection: 5

Cooking Ease: 7

Service: 9

Freshness/Ingredient Quality: 6

Size/Amount of Food: 9

OVERALL: 53 (Average of 7.5)
best meal delivery services

Everyplate is the way to go if you're looking for a discount meal delivery service. Their parent company is Hellofresh – they're just a lower-cost alternative. With Everyplate, you're not going to get as amazing of a recipe selection and you're not going to get some of the higher-cost ingredients that you do with Hellofresh. As a matter of fact, you'll see kind of a rotation of meals – the same ones come around every few weeks to a month. If you're willing to trade selection/higher quality off for better prices, this is the company for you!

I thought the recipe preparation process was very similar to Hellofresh. Same detailed instructions in print or on your phone, fairly accurate cook times, and usually an actual 5-6 servings per 4-serving plan. Calorie/macro content was pretty accurate on this as well (although, it's easy to cut some of those calories if needed by adding less butter/oil/sugar. I did this a few times and didn't notice a taste difference.) One slight negative is the image you see above – you don't get the order in neat, organized-by-meal bags…everything is just kind of bunched together. Not a huge deal at all, but I do miss the organization of the other services.

I totally think the lower price is worth the trade off. This is one I'll go back to! Click here to get $80 off your first three boxes.

1. Winner of the best meal delivery services – Hellofresh

Regular Price (4 meals for 4 people per week, plus shipping): $137.83 (Score of 6)

Taste: 8

Selection: 8

Cooking Ease: 8

Service: 9

Freshness/Ingredient Quality: 7

Size/Amount of Food: 9

OVERALL: 55 (Average of 8)
best meal delivery services

I'm a huge fan of Hellofresh. No, it's not the cheapest plan on the list, but sometimes you have to balance out quality vs. price – Hellofresh totally does that. The meals really have a “dinnertime” feel to them – not exactly gourmet, but crowd-pleasing dinners that aren't too out there. My kids, who can be on the picky side, loved most of these. And the selection is fabulous – they have a great mix of regular favorites and dishes that might be a little more exotic for your family to try.

best meal delivery services

The recipes aren't very complicated to prepare and come with great, detailed instructions (whether in print or in their app). I found the calorie/macro breakdowns to be fairly accurate, as was the meal prep time. Portions were great – for our family, I could usually get 5-6 servings out of the 4 serving plan.

When you factor in time, value, quality, and taste – Hellofresh was our go-to. If you're going to try one service on this list, I'd make it this one.

There you have it folks – about a year of testing in one post! I hope this is helpful to some of those meal planners out there. If you simply don't have the time and energy to plan your own meals, at least use one of the best meal delivery services out there.

Click here to see more of my meal planning posts.

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2 Comments

  1. Karan Damanti says:

    I have been using Hello Fresh for a couple of months and we have liked all the meals we have made. The meals are so full of flavor and I have lost weight since starting this service because if forces me to cook at home and not eat out all the time. I also like that you can skip a week if the meals aren’t appealing to you. I would highly recommend this service!

  2. I have to respectfully disagree about Hello Fresh. There was So. Much. Chopping. It would take me a hour to get dinner ready every night, and then the clean up. Plus my family rebelled at the constant rotation of lemon-roasted vegetables and rice as sides, because you can’t change the sides offered with each main dish. We felt like the meals were too much alike too often, and all the really interesting meals were a really big up-charge to add. We enjoyed it, but not enough to go back.
    I’m still searching for that elusive service that offers less prep and more variety. This post will be super helpful! Thanks for trying so many so we don’t have to.