Meal kit subscriptions are getting more popular by the week. Everybody seems to be getting busier these days and something’s got to give – home cooking is usually the first thing.
Rather than ordering takeout on the regular, plenty of people have turned to meal kits. After all, takeout can get really expensive, and eating it often isn’t great for your health. Meal kits are the most affordable meal delivery option – as long as you choose the right one.
They take a little more work than ordering in, but most of the recipes are super easy to follow, even when you’re a zombie from work. And although meal kits can get expensive too, the cheapest meal delivery services aren’t that much more than grocery shopping. Plus, your body will thank you, and you might learn a thing or two along the way.
So whether you’re trying to break a takeout habit, suffering from meal-planning burnout, or looking for something new – this round-up should help you find the cheapest meal delivery service to suit your diet, ethics, and tastes.
In This Article:
- The 5 Best and Cheapest Meal Delivery Plans
- Bottom Line
The 5 Best and Cheapest Meal Delivery Plans
If you really enjoy simplicity but also want some control over your meals, Home Chef is the way to go. With this service, you can choose as many – or as few – meals as you’d like each week, all with the ability to customize to your preferences.
Every Monday you get an email with 20+ meals to choose from. Most come in at around $10 or less, with the cheapest starting at $6.99 per serving. There are upgrades available for most meals, which will make things a bit more expensive, but they’re great for treating yourself!
For example, I can opt for organic meats or upgrade to prime cuts, for a few extra dollars per serving. If I want to switch my protein on a specific meal, that’s also an option … and there isn’t always an extra charge, depending on the meal and my choice.
Some services will throw all of your fresh ingredients together, forcing you to sift through veggies and spices to figure out which goes with what recipe. Home Chef boxes come with each meal in its own bag (sans meat), so it’s easy to keep everything organized.
Lastly, one of the reasons I most love Home Chef is that their meals feel like a mix between my grandma’s house and my favorite restaurant. The meals are exciting and drool-worthy, but not so “unique” that you worry about hating them. I’ve tried meals from other services that sounded great on paper, but the flavors were simply weird once put together. I’ve never found this to be the case with Home Chef.
Some reasons why Home Chef is worth a try:
- It’s affordable. Starting from $6.99 per serving, you can have a delicious, fresh, home-cooked meal with no waste and no hassle.
- So. Many. Options. Many competitor services will give you a handful of recipes to choose from each week – with Home Chef, you always get 20+ to choose from.
- If you have dietary preferences, you’re covered. Home Chef lets you choose between meals that are vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free, and even low-calorie.
- Skip specific weeks or pause your account at any time, without penalty.
Downsides of Home Chef:
- It’s not the cheapest meal delivery service around. (Though it’s still very affordable!)
- If you only want to cook for one, be prepared for leftovers: Two servings is the minimum order size for each meal.
One of my last praises for Home Chef: their instruction cards are very in-depth and the photos are quite helpful. Rather than just telling you what to do, they show you. There are usually a few important tips in the sidebar, too, which make the recipe even more fool-proof. (Don’t believe me? Ask my husband.)
Touted as “America’s Best Value Meal Kit”, EveryPlate seeks to make dinner-in-a-box more accessible for all.
This is definitely the most affordable meal delivery service I have come across in my search, at $4.99 per serving, whatever you choose. That’s right: for less than $5 per person, you can put a hot, home-cooked meal in front of your family … without ever stepping foot in a grocery store.
There is no commitment when you buy through EveryPlate, and you can cancel or pause your membership at any time. When you go to sign up, you’ll be charged for your first box before you’re able to pick your meals. However, you can always change your delivery date if you decide you don’t like the meals on offer.
Why you should order EveryPlate:
- They are definitely the most affordable meal delivery service I’ve found. Coming in at less than $5 per serving for each and every meal, they’re more affordable than eating at your local fast food joint!
- Family plan (four serving) portions are adult-sized. Few meal delivery services actually calculate this reasonably–in many cases, my husband and I could have split a four-serving meal just between the two of us.
- There are 16 recipes to choose from each week, so you are given a good variety of meals.
- EveryPlate does its part for the environment: Delivery boxes, separators, and ice packs are recyclable.
Downsides to EveryPlate:
- They cannot accommodate special diets yet – so if you are gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, etc. you may struggle to find recipes that fit the bill.
- Not all ingredients are provided. Some services will only ask you to contribute things like olive oil, salt, and pepper. With EveryPlate, we were asked to provide a handful of ingredients, including flour, butter, oil, salt, and pepper.
EveryPlate is available for “the vast majority” of the continental U.S., and new shipping areas are being added all the time. Deliveries are currently available Tuesday through Saturday, though this window may expand as the company continues to grow.
One of the most impactful things our family has done (at least in terms of diet) was going organic. Not only did this cause our monthly food bill to grow substantially, but it has really limited our options for convenience.
Yes, we still eat out on occasion and get non-organic snacks, but we do make a conscious effort to make primarily organic meals. And until Sun Basket, this made it very difficult to take advantage of a meal delivery service while still avoiding chemicals and GMOs.
Sun Basket strives to source 100% organic ingredients for each of their meals, whenever possible. They are a certified organic handler and are also passionate about sustainability. Your delivery packaging is recyclable, meats and eggs are both antibiotic- and hormone-free, and their farmers implement crop rotation and water efficiency practices.
Not only are the meals delicious, organic, and just as affordable as the other leading companies out there, but you’ll be doing your part for the earth while you’re at it.
Sun Basket meal plans are available for a range of dietary concerns, including gluten-free, vegetarian, paleo, diabetic, low carb, pescatarian, vegan, and more.
You can choose between a family menu and a classic menu, for either two or four people, and meals start at $8.99 per two-person serving. It’s not the cheapest meal delivery service, but it’s not much more than non-organic alternatives, making it pretty good value if you’re dedicated to eating organic!
You can skip or cancel your membership at any time, and Sun Basket offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
Why to consider Sun Basket:
- Meals are entirely (or almost entirely) organic, and sourced from trusted, sustainable farms.
- Servings start at $8.99 for two people.
- No matter your dietary concerns, you can find the meal plan that works for you.
- You can order more than just dinner through Sun Basket. They also offer snacks, quick breakfasts (such as oats, sous vides, and granolas), yogurts, bread, lunches, and more.
- This company does serious good. They partner with farmers who raise and grow organic food with conservation and sustainability in mind. Their packaging is recyclable. And they donate an average of 1000 pounds to local food banks each week.
Things to keep in mind:
- Even though they “strive to source organic produce 100% all the time,” this doesn’t necessarily mean they are always successful. Occasionally, you may receive meals that aren’t entirely organic, though they say over 99% is organic.
- The gluten-free option is excellent for those who choose to avoid gluten out of preference or necessity. However, it’s important to note that they cannot guarantee against cross-contamination, as wheat is handled in their facility. For that reason, they don’t recommend their meals for those with a severe intolerance.
Whether you’re looking for paleo, keto, vegetarian, or typical balanced meals, Green Chef has you covered. They strive to include as many certified-organic ingredients as possible, in addition to using recyclable packaging and offsetting both their carbon footprint and limited plastic use.
They were also the first meal kit company to receive gluten-free certification, meaning that their meals are safe even for customers with celiac disease.
Meals through Green Chef start at $11.99 depending on your dietary choice. You can cancel or skip at any time, and there is no commitment required from you when signing up.
Boxes can be scheduled to arrive Monday through Saturday, based on your preferences. Aside from Hawaii, Alaska, and parts of Louisiana, Green Chef is available everywhere in the continental U.S. Oh, and the only ingredients you’ll need to have on-hand are salt, pepper, and oils.
Why Green Chef is great:
- Meals are designed to be ready in about 30 minutes, whether you choose the family or two-person plan.
- Organic meats, spices, and produce are sourced wherever available, and Green Chef works with local, sustainable farmers.
- All packaging is recyclable, and they also offset both their carbon footprint and the small amount of plastic that they do use in their packaging.
- It caters to niche dietary requirements without breaking the bank.
Things to consider:
- Green Chef isn’t available everywhere; Alaska, Hawaii, and certain areas of Louisiana are out of luck.
- Not all ingredients will be organic – some simply won’t be able to be sourced organic at certain times, while others aren’t ever available as certified organic (such as sea salt or salmon).
- Special diets are a bit more pricey; for example, the keto menu starts at $12.99 per meal. It’s definitely not the most affordable meal delivery service – though your options are restricted the more restrictive your diet.
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Dinnerly also lays claim to being the “most affordable meal kit.” With meals starting at only $4.29 per person and 16 meal options to choose from each week, this might be a great way for you and your family to select a variety of meals without breaking the bank.
With Dinnerly, you can choose meals for two or four. Whether you choose the two- or four-person (family) meal plan, you have a choice between three, four, five, or six recipes to be delivered each week.
Your cost per-portion will change based on how many servings are included in your box.
You can view the menu selections for up to a month in advance, giving you ample time to skip a week if desired. When choosing your meals, you’re able to select between the 20+ recipes offered for that week – which may include smoothies or dessert options – or even a protein variety pack.
The protein pack includes two different meat choices, which you can use to whip up quick meals on your own throughout the week.
Why you should consider Dinnerly:
- One of the cheapest meal delivery services, starting at less than $5 per person.
- 20+ meals to choose from each week.
- Vegetarian, kid-friendly, dairy-free, and even dessert options available.
- You can choose from protein variety packs, giving you a pair of meats that you can use in various quick meals throughout the week.
- You can cancel or pause your membership at any time, without penalty.
Things to keep in mind:
- While Dinnerly offers 20+ different meals each week, many of them are simple in nature. If you’re looking to try exotic meals or branch out into new foods, this might not be the subscription service for you.
- You may need to provide more ingredients than you’re used to. Some meal services include everything from pats of butter to little bottles of oil. With Dinnerly, though, you may be asked to provide eggs, flour, butter, oil, and the like (don’t worry, though, they’ll only expect you to have the common kitchen ingredients).
If you’re struggling to find the time – and mental energy! – to cook from scratch, an affordable meal delivery subscription can be a lifesaver. Meal kits have never been more affordable, or more responsive to even the most restrictive diets.
Even if you just give yourself a night or two off a week, choosing the cheapest meal delivery service that suits your tastes could save you a lot of takeout money. And it’ll keep you healthier, too, giving you more energy to start from scratch the rest of the week!