Not everyone is born to cook, and only a select few are lucky enough to be controlled by a rat who is a culinary genius. Even though we all need food to survive, sometimes it can be daunting to know where to start with a recipe. Heck, even sometimes just the trip to the grocery store can leave people frozen in their tracks with indecision. Meal subscription kits are here, in theory, to help.
There’s no shame in cutting corners to learn the basics of cooking. Meal subscription boxes that send pre-portioned ingredients and easy-to-follow instructions are, at their best, akin to remote culinary school classes. And there are enough meal kit subscription boxes out there for you to try that you’re bound to pick up a thing or two along the way.
Pro tip: Most of these boxes offer a major discount or even some free boxes for first timers—you can work your way through all of them at the discounted price before deciding which is worth committing to. Plus, you can collect recipes along the way if you’d rather recreate them with ingredients from your local market. Soon you won’t need the boxes at all—you’ll be cooking a regular rotation of your favorite dishes.
Blue Apron is the OG subscription meal box, finding its claim to fame as an ad on nearly every podcast during the 2010s auditory boom. And it’s still going strong, offering boxes in the categories of chef favorites, wellness, family friendly, and fast & easy, the latter of which includes already assembled dishes that just need to be heated up. In recent years Blue Apron has also added a wine subscription to pair with meals.
Pricing for three meals for two/week: $69.93 plus shipping
Sample recipes: Miso Butter & Panko-Crusted Cod, Chicken & Poblano Tacos, Sweet Chili Duck & Mango Rice
Biggest con: The company itself has been struggling financially over the last couple years, and customers have complained that quality of ingredients hasn’t been as consistent because of that.
Biggest pro: A mixture of accessible, easy recipes and exciting dishes you probably haven’t tried before.
The range of meals Dinnerly offers are sure to please anyone, including several breakfast and dessert options notably absent from other boxes. Extra points for having extremely easy step-by-step instructions for each recipe in the app.
Pricing for three meals for two/week: $48.33
Sample recipes: BBQ Glazed Mini Meatloaves, Creamy Tomato-Basil Tortelloni with Peas, Chicken Satay Noodles
Biggest con: Some recipes are too basic; be prepared to spice things up once you get the hang of cheffing.
Biggest pros: Affordable; uses noticeably less packaging for ingredients than other boxes; good variety of dishes.
Everyplate markets itself as the affordable meal kit, and it proves itself to be just that at the lowest price point on this list—you’d be hard pressed to buy groceries for the same amount of meals at a price lower than this box.
Pricing for three meals for two/week: $45.33
Sample recipes: Gravy Lover’s Meatballs, Baja Shrimp Tacos, Chicken Sausage & Tomato Linguine
Biggest cons: Repetitive menu—you’ll see many of the same options from week to week—and few non-meat options.
Gobble is a no-prep delivery service, meaning your ingredients will arrive chopped, grated, and perfectly measured. But the dishes aren’t fully ready to go—you’re still able to put the dish together yourself and reserving bragging rights for cooking dinner. And you can have a hand in customizing some recipes with swaps, upgrades, and added courses available.
Pricing for three meals for two/week: $71.94 plus shipping
Sample recipes: Tuscan Sirloin Steak with Mushrooms & Fettuccine in Three Peppercorn Sauce, Salmon with Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce over Pearl Couscous, Chicken Paillard with Asparagus & Lemon Butter Sauce
Biggest cons: A more expensive option and limited menu choices each week.
Biggest pros: Eliminating the prep work makes these dishes faster and easier to put together.
Green Chef bills itself as the “healthy” meal kit, and while we tend to bristle at anyone hopping on the wellness bandwagon , the advantage here is that there are more fish, vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options, categories that other meal kits often ignore.
Pricing for three meals for two/week: $90.93
Sample recipes: Creamy Lemon Butter Penne, Tofu with Cherry Barbecue Sauce, Barramundi with Teriyaki Mushroom Sauce
Biggest con: One of the most expensive offerings.
Biggest pro: Recipes suited to different dietary restrictions, like gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan.
Hello Fresh is now one of the most well-known meal kits out there, likely in part due its celebrity endorsements from folks like Mindy Kaling and in-episode promotions from Queer Eye’s Antoni Porowski. They offer up at least 25 different meals for customers to choose from every week to keep things, well, fresh.
Pricing for three meals for two/week: $70.93
Sample recipes: Cheesy Beef & Fried Pickles Burger, Honey Mustard Chicken, Garden Spinach Ricotta Ravioli
Biggest cons: TikTok seems to really hate this service for a number of reasons including missing ingredients , moldy ingredients , and more—someone in the comments of one video said they once found a dead lizard in their Hello Fresh box.
Biggest pros: Accessible recipes and a large variety of dishes to choose from every week.
Pricing for Home Chef meals varies week to week depending what you order—the ingredient bundles, oven-ready dishes, and sides range from $3.98 to $13.99 each. Recently the company also started offering bundles like ingredients for a pizza with a ready-to-eat salad for $13.98.
Pricing for three meals for two/week: $65.37 (on average)
Sample recipes: Philly Cheesesteak Tacos, Butter Cracker-Crusted Chicken, Mango Mostarda Pork Medallions
Biggest cons: The most individual packaging of the services.
Biggest pro: Good for a flexible budget and lifestyle with plenty of time saving ready-to-cook options alongside more involved recipes.
The queen of dinner parties put her stamp on subscription meal kits with Martha Stewart & Marley Spoon , which offers Martha’s original recipes for you to easily cook at home. Meals are sorted into categories like kid friendly, one-pot meal, and dairy free to meet every eater’s needs. Sadly, table decor is not also included.
Pricing for three meals for two/week: $75.93
Sample recipes: Ranch Steak Tagliata, Citrus-Glazed Tilapia, Sheet Pan Shrimp Scampi
Biggest con: Bad for single people—it’s much more expensive per serving for the lower meal to serving ratios.
Biggest pros: Once you nail these recipes, you’re basically Martha Stewart—and there are a huge variety of recipes to choose from that consider using the least amount of dishes possible.
Purple Carrot is an all-vegan subscription box that offers both plant-based meal kits and prepared meals. Offering breakfast, lunch, and dinner options, this box is useful for herbivores and meat-eaters alike, introducing some new, delicious ways to cook up veggies.
Pricing for three meals for two/week: $71.94
Sample recipes: Smoky Portobello Tacos, Zhoug Spiced Carrot Fritters, Panko-Crusted Tempeh
Biggest cons: There is no mixing and matching between the meal kit and prepared meal plans—you’re either cooking all your recipes or getting all ready-to-heat meals. There’s a small variety of both to choose from each week.
Biggest pro: A great primer on different techniques for preparing vegetables and plant-based meats.
Sunbasket ’s website says “healthy meals should taste good first and do good always.” Along with including all organic ingredients for meals, the company has a focus on sustainability—most of their packaging is recyclable and compostable—and giving back, donating food to Second Harvest Food Bank, Farmers Against Hunger, Hope Food Pantry, and other food-focused nonprofits. Meal price varies week to week depending what you order.
Pricing for three meals for two/week: $96.14 (on average)
Sample recipes: Curried Pork Chops with Roasted Broccoli and Apple-Ginger Compote, Sea Scallops over Spaghetti with Pancetta and Lemon-Parmesan Sauce, Broccoli Mac and Cheese
Biggest con: By far the most expensive offering.
Biggest pro: Lack of waste created in packaging and mission toward sustainability.