11 Best Meal Kit Delivery Services in 2023, Reviewed by GQ Editors
It is extremely easy to hate on the idea of assemble-your-own meal delivery services, and pretty fun, too. Even the best meal kit delivery services usually equate to a cardboard box full of ingredients shipped to your door, along with instructions on how to turn said ingredients into a meal. They’re a perfect vessel for making lazy riffs about startups, millennials, people who can’t cook, and Instagram ads. So many Instagram ads.
People who regularly cook are flabbergasted that someone would pay a premium to avoid going to the grocery store. People who regularly order delivery think paying for a box of uncooked ingredients is like paying to be given homework. But in reality, meal delivery services are a pretty solid option to keep in your home-eating repertoire if you’re someone who wants just the right amount of ingredients for a dish without buying that whole jar of sauce, or are seeking some culinary inspiration (and fresh ingredients) to expand the limited range of dishes you can passably throw together. Or, if you’re hunting for a solid alternative to takeout that doesn’t require cooking at all. Among the dozens of competitors, there will probably be one that you’ll like.
Some meal kits are built for the experienced cook, throwing in challenging recipes and new flavor profiles to explore. A few offer family-friendly portion sizes for feeding several mouths, delivering simple meals for those nights when there is no time for Beef Wellington but you had Domino’s the night before. Some are built to get you to eat more veggies and on the whole, live a little healthier. Others can help you lean into your ultra-specific dietary needs (no gluten! dairy-free options that don’t give you the gurgles! exclusively vegan or vegetarian options! Paleo meals or low-carb, diabetes-friendly foods!), and fine-tune your diet thanks to filtering systems and ingredient breakdowns. Still, other meal kits are built to wean you off your Postmates habit with what are essentially culinary training wheels (all the meal prep ingredients bagged up and pre-cut for you so all you have to do is follow step-by-step recipe cards). No matter how you’re looking to cook, there’s an option worth trying.
Here at GQ, we’ve tested dozens of meal kits over a number of work nights and weekdays, to maximize the “low on time” aspect (the best control for testing a meal kit, in our humble opinion) and really figure out which were the easiest to pull together in the 30 minutes post logging off and pre-booting up Netflix.
The best meal kits offered lots of tasty-looking recipes and fresh ingredients, as a baseline. But the absolute “neck and shoulders above” options fully streamlined the entire process—from planning online to unpacking to meal prepping to the actual sautéing (or simply popping into the microwave, no shame in that). Hell, some even come with tiny wine options for pairing with your food that feel like the Michelin star version of a meal out of a cardboard box.
It can be a little disorienting wading through all of the options. Thankfully, all of the startups will happily hand you some of their venture capital money to experiment in your own kitchen. Every company will give you a discount on your first meal kit, praying that you will either be enraptured by their food or, like a good millennial, too lazy to unsubscribe to yet another subscription service afterward. But with all of these introductory discounts, you can test all of our favorites below pretty easily.
And you should. Below, our picks for the best meal kit delivery services: There should be something in here for every type of home cook.
The Best Standard Meal Kit: Blue Apron
Blue Apron is the OG meal kit, and against all of its knockoffs, the company established (and continually redefines!) the blueprint for a good meal kit. The ingredients are fresh, the recipes are smart, and there are enough options to satisfy most people. If we were to recommend one meal kit to someone and we knew nothing about their experience and fussiness level, we’d recommend Blue Apron.
You can think of Blue Apron as your starting point. Get your feet wet here, and you’ll soon have much to judge the others off of. The entire process feels more thoughtful than most of the others. Your recipe options vary from easy to complex, and you can plan your meals and deliveries using the site pretty easily. The recipe cards are clear and useful, and the corresponding app is also nice, too. And, since all the recipes are listed on there, this kit is one of the best options for learning new recipes and then later recreating them on your own. The recipes lean on the simple side, but not always—one week offered a feta and olive pizza, tempura zucchini bao, and crispy chicken and potato salad.
Where other meal kits often feel like someone just went to the grocery store for you, the Blue Apron kits are a bit more color-by-numbers. Things like spices, honey, and vinegar come in nice Blue Apron bottles and tear-off packets that feel made for the recipe; other meal kits often cobble together these things in odd looking plastic vials or create food waste by giving you more than you need. The vegetarian recipes are somewhat limited, better for someone who occasionally goes meatless rather than someone who is a no-messing-around vegetarian. (For that, we suggest Purple Carrot.) Its expansion into Beyond Meat burgers is a nice touch, though, that feels like the service is taking a step in the right direction.
Other add-ons like Blue Apron’s wine delivery service for an additional fee gives it an edge over its other food-focused competitors. It sends you six mini 500-milliliter bottles, paired to your food options, that elevates the experience beyond the TV dinner-esque meals you might be expecting with a box subscription.
Overall, Blue Apron feels the most polished and makes the cooking process less confusing than anywhere else. Whether you’re a knife neophyte or a curious cook, a single person in roommate or a parent in need of a family plan, here’s where you start.
Price: The “Signature Plan” gets you 3 recipes for two people each week for $60, and individual servings start at $8.
Another Solid Standard Meal Kit Option: Home Chef
Home Chef, like Blue Apron, delivers the baseline meal kit experience—and that’s a good thing. The recipes vary in length and complexity, and your weekly menu is completely customizable depending on your dietary preferences and how much effort you want to exert. That means you can have an interesting cooking experience when you want to and a super easy one when you just want to stuff some food in your children’s mouths. Most of the meals take between 30 to 45 mins to cook, but some are even quicker: a Carolina BBQ chicken we tried came oven-ready, pan and all. Add chicken and cheese on top of the broccoli, and you’re good to go. Also in the mix are Greek spinach and feta chicken, fajita-butter strip steak, and a French onion steak risotto. With all of the different options in prep time and cost (the strip steak was $15 per serving), it actually feels like you have a lot of control week-to-week.
The recipes below each option are super clear, so you can look ahead to see if you actually know how to do everything in the recipe (hey, you gotta push yourself to get better). You can actually customize each kit with your preferred meat, which makes choosing recipes for picky eaters way easier.
The extras are great too. You can add chicken breasts and burgers for the weekend grill session, smoothies, and lunches that you just have to reheat or mix. If you’re trying to buy yourself some buffer time in between trips to the grocery store, that goes a long way.
Price: Each Home Chef serving starts at $9, and the minimum weekly order value is $50.
The Best Slightly Elevated Meal Kit: Sunbasket
Sunbasket’s meals are pricier than average, but that cost is covering the high-quality ingredients: This isn’t a regular meal kit, it’s a (slightly) fancier, healthy meal kit. You may not necessarily be saving that much money, but it may be worth it for the convenience and health benefits of ordering organic ingredients that can be shaped into a variety of meal options.
The weekly menu can be organized by diet and dietary preference, which is a nice touch. Sunbasket’s list of plans is vast and makes picking recipes much easier for those who stick to a specific diet. There’s a plan for paleo, those who are “carb-conscious,” vegan, gluten-free, pescatarian, vegetarian, you name it. And there are also plans that just help you find something that works for you. “Quick & Easy” makes sense for beginners or the convenience-driven, whereas “Chef’s Choice” features premium meals that are perfectly suited for people who are ready to graduate to more advanced meals that feel a little more sophisticated than chicken and pasta. Some past Chef’s Choice offerings: Moroccan lamb tagine, seared tuna with kiwi-avocado salad, and a chickpea paella. Dang.
For people who are hand-wringing about the environmental impact of having boxes of food shipped to your doorstep every week, take some comfort in Sunbasket’s packaging, which uses exclusively recyclable, compostable, and reusable containers. It also works with local farmers, ranchers, and fishermen to source the tastiest ethically-sourced meat, and only uses organic produce in its meals.
Overall, Sunbasket is great for anyone who wants a slightly nicer experience and is willing to pay for it. More seasonal recipes, more high-quality meat, better-for-the-environment packaging, and plenty of house-made sauces that are tasty and require absolutely zero effort from you to make.
Price: The Classic Menu gets you three recipes a week for two people each week for $72, and each serving starts at $8.
The Best Meal Kit for Delivery and Takeout Converts: Gobble
If you want to feel like a television chef, there’s nothing better than Gobble. Gobble does as much of the work for you as they can, promising that all of their recipes can be made in 15 minutes or less. They do the “peeling, chopping & marinating,” leaving you to throw things in bowls, cook things, and tell made-up stories about your childhood that led you to this recipe. (Hey, no one said you have to tell your friends all of this stuff came in a box before they arrived.)
Many of the recipes are simple, but tasty. And while the easy prep times suggest less complex dishes, they usually got around this with pre-made sauces or spices that helped. A spectrum of what you might make in a week: red curry, baby back ribs, New York steak with potatoes and green beans. While the shorter cook times were obviously convenient, they usually meant that the recipes could be made with just a single pan; other meal kits leave lots of dishes in their wake. You pay a bit extra for this prepping convenience, but you’re already doing the whole convenience thing with meal kits anyway. Might as well go all-in.
This meal kit is perfect for those who shudder at the thought of spending a whole hour preparing their meal, and the recipes are stress-free. Also great: their lunch kit, which allows you to batch cook six healthy lunches on Sunday all at once. Again, no one said you have to tell your coworkers you didn’t whip these up each morning.
Price: The “3 Nights, 2 People” plan gets you three recipes for two people each week for $72, plus $7 for shipping.
The Best Meal Kit for Vegetarians and Vegans: Purple Carrot
A lot of the meal kits have similar, crowd-pleasing recipes—American classics, recipes from other cuisines that are varying degrees of authentic, and, like, three vegetarian dishes that appear to just be regular recipes where they removed the meat and called it a day. Purple Carrot gives you a true assortment of vegetarian and vegan meals, and with fresh ingredients that will be up to snuff for even the fussiest of farmer’s market attendees. (Okay, there’s no pleasing them. But for everyone else.) There was a creamy corn bisque in its recent rotating menu of organic meals, and also crispy quinoa cakes, almond butter tofu with pea shoots, and roasted sweet potatoes with a citrus salad.
Purple Carrot sells in serving sizes of two or four. You can tack on extra add-ons to your order, like salads, avocado smoothies, and whatever “golden milk chia pudding” is. They’re meant to be ordered as breakfasts or lunches, but they seem like they’d be equally useful as appetizers or snacks throughout the week.
Price: Its “2 Serving Plan” gets you three veggie-focused recipes a week for two people at $12 per serving, or $72.
The Best “Oh Shit, I Actually Don’t Want to Cook” Meal Kit: Freshly
Freshly isn’t really a meal kit—it’s more like a fancy microwaveable dinner. There’s no prep involved. Each meal comes in its own plastic container, ready for you to microwave and eat. It’s like a slightly fancier, slightly fresher version of a meal you’d be served in a first class cabin of a transatlantic flight.
While you’re paying a bit for the convenience, this actually worked out great as a lunch or light dinner option. One caveat is that some of the meals were a little lacking in terms of portion sizing, though you can always check out the calorie count on these if you want to cherry pick the more filling options (or do the opposite and choose a low-calorie meal).
If we didn’t live in a city where takeout options are vast and tasty, it would be even better. The food is pretty fresh, and the dishes are a little more interesting than you usually get in the freezer aisle: Recent menu options included sesame ginger chicken and noodles, a three-grain harvest bowl, along with comfort foods like mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, and vegetarian shepherd’s pie. Speaking of, there aren’t a ton of enticing vegetarian options here, but if you’re tempted by the conveniently prepless, ready meals, filter by the “Purely Plant” meal options.
Everything comes in individual servings, so you can choose exactly how many meals you want per week. Once you’re ready to heat and serve, the microwaving instructions are incredibly accurate (no burned tongues!). Table for one, please.
Price: Freshly is priced by each individual prepared meal—meals start at $9, and you can shop for up to 12 meals per week.
The Best Ready-Made Meal Kit for Feeding a Family, or Just One Hungry Person: Mosaic
Several meal kits specialize in blends and purees for babies who are finally getting into solids or toddlers graduating to finger foods, but if you’re just looking to feed a few fussy kids and teenagers (or just one grown adult with a voracious appetite) without digging into the pantry, there’s also Mosaic Foods. It’s one of the rare meal delivery kits we’ve tried that offers ready-made, chef-prepared, family-size meals in a single serving, instead of having you order multiple servings of the same dish. It’s a pretty welcome addition to the, uh, meal kit canon as you find out from testing these services that some of these meals aren’t terribly filling.
Family meals arrive frozen in a large metal dish that’s ready to be popped in the oven. Mosaic’s founders were inspired by the good home cooking they grew up with, which pretty accurately captures the essence of Mosaic’s family-size dishes. They’re like unfussy home cooked meals in a TV dinner format, with an emphasis on plant-based ingredients.
Some dishes do feel a little sparse (the veggie pot pie is basically a thin wisp of puff pastry laid over a bunch of vegetables), but on the whole, you’re looking at a pretty well-balanced menu of delicious meals with interesting flavor profiles: BBQ meatloaf and sweet potato mash, an enchilada verde bake, and a crowd-pleasing penne alla vodka. It would be nice if there was a little more exploration beyond the universe of pastas and mashes, but for a meal that’s meant to please everyone in the family (including young children), we get it. If you’d prefer buying individual meals, Mosaic also sells a variety of veggie bowls, risottos, soups, and oat bowls that are flavorful and filling.
Price: Family-size meals (serving four) cost $20 per dish; oat bowls, soups, and veggie bowls range from $5 to $11 per dish. Minimum orders start at $70, and orders ship free over $100.
6 Other Meal Kits You Should Consider
Hungryroot is something of a healthy food delivery service slash weekly meal kit subscription. Instead of selling dedicated meals, or clearly defined ingredients for said meal, the whole thing is like a one-stop grocery store that lets you pick and choose, while scooping up other pantry items like Banza pasta. Before you sign up and input your credit card information, the company guides you through a short quiz to clock some basic info on how much you eat and what kinds of foods you prefer. From there, you’ll get a curated grocery plan that includes suggestions for primarily plant-based recipes (though it does sell meats and seafood), along with the corresponding grocery items you’ll need to complete them.
The freedom to go grocery shopping online and plan meals all at once is super convenient, with all things being adjustable: Maybe you want to add on crackers and fair-trade coffee to the mix à la carte, or maybe you want to swap out the suggested quinoa in a vegan chorizo taco bowl recipe for some other grain. And the meals themselves are also meant to be ready to go in under 10 minutes, usually with around three ingredients each, so they tend to be extremely easy to prepare. It’s food that saves you time and somehow tastes pretty good! A welcome treat for the time-starved. (Everyone.)
Price: Pricing depends on the amount of servings for breakfast, dinner, and lunch you choose (along with how many add-ons you want to tack on for additional groceries). Weekly boxes start at $65 for three two-serving meals, and shipping is free when you spend more than $70.
If the goal is to find filling and healthy, heat-and-serve alternatives to takeout (even if that means spending a little more money to do so), Territory Foods is one of the best services out there. It works with local chefs and nutritionists to curate a plan that works for your tastes and dietary restrictions. Each menu lists meals and the chefs who made them—like Chef Seamus Mullen’s za’atar pesto chicken, Chef Damian’s roasted shrimp with poblano sauce, or Nouri’s mung bean curry with coconut sticky rice—along with some quick stats on fats, carbs, proteins, and calories.
What’s nice about these meals is that they taste like something you’d pick up at a fancy restaurant: Since the service works with a roster of diverse chefs, meals are varied, and get experimental with cuisines and flavorings (so not just your standard mac and cheese, or steak and mash). They don’t come in measly servings, either, so you might have some food left for tomorrow’s lunch. In order to keep things as fresh as possible, it also delivers twice a week in compostable packaging. One other feel-good benefit is that Territory Foods donates part of its proceeds to nonprofits like Feeding America and the James Beard Foundation, and provides an option for customers to donate (instead of purchasing meals).
Price: Meals start at $11 for low-calorie meals between 250 and 450 calories, and range up to $14 per meal for “standard-size” meals between 400 and 650 calories.
Sakara is very much a meal plan catered to the Goop crowd. 100 percent of the meals are plant-based and advertise a litany of health benefits, including boosted energy, improved digestion, reduced bloat, and better skin—though of course we’d recommend taking those glowing promises with several fistfuls of salt. You’ll also hear the word “detoxing” thrown around a lot (including a meal plan tailored to just that), but since the health science on that is dubious at best, we’d instead invite you to appreciate this service for what it does best: really delicious, inventive salads. Maybe you’re outside Sweetgreen’s delivery zone, or just a sucker for a good leafy lunch (but want to skip the prepping and tossing). There are options like shiitake mushroom-dusted, vegetarian Cobb salads dressed in a coconut ranch dressing to fill that void, plus lighter fare like veggie satay bowls if you want to mix it up. The snacks and wellness products here aren’t bad, either, including lemon poppy seed donuts and granola mixes.
Price: A subscription to the company’s signature program costs $70 per day for 5 days worth of food per week. If you only want two or three days of meals, it’ll cost $80 per meal.
Daily Harvest’s meal kit delivery service doesn’t really deliver meal kits, in the traditional sense of a full-size entree. Instead, you’ll get a selection of frozen smoothies, oat bowls, bites, soups, lattes, ice cream, flatbreads, harvest bowls, almond milks and more that you can heat and serve (or enjoy cold) for breakfast, lunch, or some nibbles in between. Daily Harvest packs its servings with a medley of organic fruits and vegetables that come through especially in its signature smoothies—featuring inventive combos like pineapple and matcha or dragonfruit and lychee. You’ll need to have a good blender to get the most value out of your subscription if you’re zeroing in on those, but at least you don’t have to know how to dice an onion.
Price: Individual items range from $6 to $9, and your frequency can range from weekly to monthly shipments. You have to buy at least nine items at a time for weekly installments, but you can save a bit of money if you spring for over 14 items in one go.
Snap Kitchen started out as a brick-and-mortar food chain—with locations in places like Austin, New Orleans, and Tulsa—that eventually moved into a takeout delivery version of its offerings. That tracks because its meals taste like a tastier version of takeout (and might even save you money on what you’d normally spend for Seamless). It also lets you get picky with your menu between options like high protein, keto-friendly, vegetarian, or “balanced” food—though all dishes are gluten-free across the board. Popular meals include bison quinoa hash and chicken butternut macaroni, though you can also pick up juices and snacks like banana plantain chips, RX bars, and bars of dark chocolate.
Price: The company’s six meal per week plan costs $76, which nets out to about $13 per meal. The company’s 12 meal per week plan costs $126 per week, which nets out to about $11 per meal.
Pulling together protein-rich vegan meals can be tough, and a veritable crap shoot if you’re trying to find something good in the takeout menu that doesn’t feel like an afterthought. Veestro’s vegan, preservative-free meals are designed to be a tastier alternative to whatever tired grain bowl and veggie sheet pan rotation you’ve got going. For the time-deficient, everything arrives frozen and ready to toss in the oven or skillet after a long day of work. The meals take a whack at replicating a variety of different cuisines in a frozen format, including Turkish “meatballs,” vegan crab cakes, Thai curries, and shawarma. One big perk is that every dish comes with user ratings and reviews so you can pass on anything unfavorably received, and scan the comments for clues on general goodness. And you have options for filtering: there’s a weight loss plan, plus menus that cater to restrictions and preferences, like high-protein and nut-free meals.
Price: Buy meals à la carte, in a massive box of 10 meals for $130 to 30 meals for $330, not including shipping. If you subscribe to bi-weekly deliveries of your a la carte box, or the company’s “Chef’s Choice” plan, you’ll save 10% and get free shipping.
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