15 Best Meal Boxes of 2019 – Voted by Readers


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The Best Meal Subscription Boxes

Get ready! Voting for our 2020 readers’ choice awards starts this winter. Stay tuned for info on how YOU can weigh in on the year’s best subscription boxes!


Updated: November 14, 2019

Make cooking for your family easy, convenient, and fun! These meal kit subscription boxes promise to replace your typical dinners, lunches, and even breakfasts with wholesome restaurant-quality meals. Not only do these boxes make cooking for your family easy and delicious—they’re also great for helping inexperienced chefs learn to cook, giving busy families more time to connect, or just getting your out the door faster every morning.

Summary – Our 2019 List of The Best Meal Kit Delivery Services

These are the best subscription boxes for cooking & meals according to our readers, including everything from fresh ingredients and full meal recipes delivered weekly, to heat-and-eat lunches and dinners, and even blend-able smoothies for breakfast on the go. Click a brand name to jump to more information, and compare boxes to find one that is right for you:

  1. Hello Fresh: Best Overall Meal Kit
  2. Blue Apron: Best for Classic Recipes With A Twist
  3. Home Chef: Best for Dinner + No-Cook Lunches
  4. Plated: Best Choice If You Never Skip Dessert (Plated subscriptions have ended as of November 13, 2019)
  5. Sun Basket: Best for Sustainable Eating
  6. Purple Carrot: Best for Vegans
  7. Freshly: Best for Fully Prepared Meals
  8. Green Chef: Best for Organic Produce
  9. Gobble: Best for Families (& Fastest Prep)
  10. Hungryroot: Best for Plant-Based & Clean Eating
  11. CrateChef: Best for Food Network Fans
  12. Martha & Marley Spoon: Best for Modern Homestyle Meals
  13. Butcher Box: Best for Grass Fed Beef & Healthy Meats
  14. Daily Harvest: Best for Breakfast On The Go
  15. Dinnerly: Best Affordable Meal Kit

Our Readers’ Favorite Home Meal Kit Services for Dinner & More

Meal kits have made a lot of news in recent years, but which ones are really worth it (and have recipes worth repeating)? Our readers weigh in:

1. Hello Fresh – User Rating 4.2 out of 5 Stars

hello fresh example meal kit box and ingredients

The Cost: Subscriptions cost between $8.74-$9.99 per serving depending on your plan, plus shipping. Sign up here!

Here’s what readers had to say about Hello Fresh:

“First (and only) box subscription I use. It is great!” – Sherry

What kind of food do you get?: Hello Fresh serves up classic, crowd-pleasing flavors, plus a few fun twists to help expand your palette! We love that their ingredients come bundled by recipe, so that you can easily take them from the fridge to the countertop and get started. We think the approachable, yet interesting recipes would be great for families! Check out our Hello Fresh reviews to learn more!

Which special diets do they cater to?: Vegetarian

Example recipes: Gorgeous Greens Farro Bowl, Korean Beef Bibimbap, Pineapple Poblano Beef Tacos, Chicken Sausage Pizzas

Ships to: US only

 

2. Blue Apron – User Rating 4.4 Out of 5 Stars

blue apron box and example ingredients

The Cost: Subscriptions cost between $7.49-$9.99 per serving, depending on your plan, plus shipping. Sign up here!

What kind of food do you get?: Blue Apron meals put flavorful twists on classic fare, sort of like what you might expect from a hip neighborhood bistro. Each week, you’ll get pre-portioned ingredients for balanced, seasonal recipes that cook up quickly and reflect a myriad of global flavors. The company takes sustainability seriously and aims to use responsibly farmed meats and produce as often as possible. Blue Apron has also done fun, limited-edition menus with programs like Whole30, Weight Watchers, Chrissy Teigen and Bob’s Burgers. Check out our Blue Apron reviews to learn more!

Which special diets do they cater to?: Vegetarian, Mediterranean Diet

Popular recipes: Provolone Cheeseburgers and Marinated Kale, Baked Rigatoni and Creamy Tomato Sauce, Brown Butter Gnocchi, Spiced Fish Tacos

Ships to: US only

 

3. Home Chef – User Rating 4.2 Out of 5 Stars

home chef example box and ingredients packaged up

The Cost: Meals start at $9.95 per serving, and delivery is free for orders over $45. Sign up here!

What kind of food do you get?: Home Chef recipes are always yummy and family friendly. The flavors are familiar, yet fun, plus the portions are always filling. Home Chef also offers add-ons like fruit, snacks, no-cook lunches and smoothies! Check out our Home Chef reviews to learn more!

Which special diets do they cater to?: Vegetarian, Milk Free, Carb Conscious, Calorie Conscious, Soy Free, Wheat Free, Nut Free

Example recipes: Teriyaki Ginger Glazed Salmon, Parisian Bistro Steak, Wood-Fired BBQ Chicken Pizza, Brussels and Brown Butter Risotto

Ships to: Most of the US (You can check to see if Home Chef delivers to your zip code here.)

 

4. Plated – User Rating 3.8 Out of 5 Stars (UPDATE: Plated Subscriptions have ended.)

plated meal kit box ingredients

The Cost: Recipes begin at $12.00 per plate. Get free shipping with 3+ recipes per week plans. Sign up here!

What kind of food do you get?: Plated meals put a trendy, hip spin on popular flavors. Their ingredients include antibiotic-free meats, seasonal produce, and other quality ingredients. Everything is bundled by recipe for your convenience, too! They also offer incredible desserts for just $4 per serving (available after your first order). Check out our Plated reviews to learn more!

Which special diets do they cater to?: Vegetarian

Example recipes: Seared Steak with Bell Pepper Panzanella, Buffalo Chicken Pizza with Greek Yogurt Ranch Dressing, Fontina and Brie Grilled Cheese with Fig Compote and Frisée Salad, Salmon Burgers with Chive Aioli and Mâche

Ships to: 95% of the U.S. (Currently, Plated does not ship to Hawaii and Alaska, and there are also a few cities in Texas, including San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Laredo, and Midland, where they don’t yet ship.)

 

5. Sun Basket – User Rating 4.3 Out of 5 Stars

Sunbasket meal kit subscription box example ingredients

The Cost: Most plans are $11.99 per meal + shipping ($6.99 shipping fee per order). Sign up here!

What kind of food do you get?: Sun Basket was created by Chef Justine Kelly of San Francisco’s famed Slanted Door restaurant. The recipes in the subscription reflect her passion for sustainable eating. The dishes are wholesome, fresh, and deliciously uncomplicated. Their simple recipes feature organic vegetables, antibiotic and hormone free meats, and sustainable seafood, all of which comes pre-portioned and ready to prepare! Check out our Sun Basket reviews to learn more!

Which special diets do they cater to?: Gluten-Free, Paleo, Lean and Clean, Vegetarian, Mediterranean, Vegan, Pescatarian, and Diabetes Friendly.

Example recipes: Thai Turkey Lettuce Cups, Seared Albacore Tuna Steaks with Green Beans and Soft-Cooked Eggs, Spicy Shrimp Diablo Tacos with Pickled Cabbage and Lime, Korean-Style Tofu Burgers with Quick-Pickled Cucumber and Kimchi

Ships to: Currently shipping to most zip codes in the United States, excluding AK, HI, MT, and parts of NM.

 

6. Purple Carrot – User Rating 3 Out of 5 Stars

Purple Carrot

The Cost: $12.00 per serving. Sign up here!

What kind of food do you get?: Vegans, this one’s for you! Purple Carrot offers three new completely vegan meals per week. They’re dairy and meat-free, but each recipe is overflowing with flavor. Vegan eaters love the yummy dishes in this box, which range from familiar to just adventurous enough. Curious about going vegan? This box might be the place to start! Check out our Purple Carrot reviews to learn more!

Which special diets do they cater to?: Vegan, Vegetarian

Example recipes: Buffalo Cauliflower Tacos, Eggplant Moussaka, Peruvian Jackfruit Torta, Sushirito, Spaghetti and Beet Balls

Ships to: Contiguous US

 

7. Freshly – User Rating 3.2 Out of 5 Stars

stack of freshly pre-made meal subscription box

The Cost: Ranges from $49.99 for 4 meals per week to $197.989 for 12 meals per week, with free shipping. Sign up here!

What kind of food do you get?: Not a fan of cooking? Freshly’s meals arrive fresh and ready to eat in 3 minutes or less! The chef-curated dishes, which include entrees and breakfasts, are simple, healthy, and clean—they’re gluten-free, protein-packed, free from refined sugars, and all natural. Check out our Freshly reviews to learn more!

Which special diets do they cater to?: Vegetarian, Gluten-Free, Peanut-Free, Dairy-Free

Example recipes: Three Bean Ancho Turkey Chili, Steak Peppercorn, Chicken Tikka Masala, Southwest Veggie Bowl

Ships to: Most of the contiguous US (they’ve been working on expanding their delivery area in 2019!). Check here to make sure they deliver to you.

 

8. Green Chef – User Rating 4.6 Out of 5 Stars

Green Chef example box and ingredients

The Cost: $11.49-$12.99 per meal, depending on your preferences. Sign up here!

What kind of food do you get?: Green Chef connects you with fresh, sustainable, organic ingredients and delicious, healthy recipes. Their menus include everything from fresh twists on classic comfort foods to globally inspired cuisine. Plus, everything you get is GMO free, USDA certified organic, sustainable and traceable, and best of all, designed with amateur cooks in mind. Even if you’re new to the kitchen, you’ll be able to make these flavorful dishes! Check out our Green Chef reviews to learn more!

Which special diets do they cater to?: Vegetarian, Vegan, Ketogenic, Paleo, Gluten-Free (Green Chef is actually Certified Gluten-Free, so it’s a fantastic option for celiac customers!)

Example recipes: Coconut Shrimp Curry, Mustard-Balsamic Chicken, Vegan Crab Cakes, Saag Haloumi

Ships to: Ships to most of the contiguous US

 

9. Gobble – User Rating 4.3 Out of 5 Stars

Gobble October 2017

The Cost: $11.99 per serving + $6.99 shipping. Sign up here!

What kind of food do you get?: Gobble’s 15-minute dinners help you get from the kitchen to the dinner table fast. They do much of the portioning, chopping, and marinating for you, so cooking is as simple and easy as can be. Their meals come with a healthy balance of flavors and fresh ingredients, helping you create classic, familiar flavors for you and your family. Check out our Gobble reviews to learn more!

Which special diets do they cater to?: Vegetarian

Example recipes: Parmesan Crusted Chicken with Basil Orzo Salad, Beef Bourguignon with Mashed Potatoes, Meyer Lemon Gnocchi with Asparagus Tips and Artichoke Hearts, Potato Pierogies with Caramelized Onions and Sautéed Spinach

Ships to: Continental US only

 

10. Hungryroot – User Rating 3.5 Out of 5 Stars

My Hungryroot Review

The Cost: $69.99 – $129.00 depending on your subscription level  + free ground shipping. Sign up here!

What kind of food do you get?: Anyone looking to incorporate more plants into their diet will love this ultra-simple plant-based food subscription. Choose your dietary restrictions, and you’ll receive the pre-prepped ingredients in grocery-style packages. Use Hungryroot’s suggestions to mix and match your items to create flavorful and healthy meals with handful of ingredients, in 15 minutes or less. They also have pre-made sweets and snacks worth checking out! Hungryroot was formerly vegan, but have since introduced meats and other products to their ever increasing product line-up. Check out our Hungryroot reviews to learn more!

Which special diets do they cater to?: Vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, nut-free, low calorie.

Example recipes: Sweet Potato Pad Thai, Black Bean Brownie Batter, Fluffy Maple Chickpea Pancakes, Cheesy Butternut Squash Fries, Sweet Barbecue Chili Jackfruit, Vanilla Bean Snickerdoodle Dough

Ships to: Contiguous US only

 

11. CrateChef – User Rating 4.9 Out of 5 Stars

CrateChef chef curated kitchen gifts

The Cost: $45 a box (plus $6 shipping per box) or $44 a box when you choose a 3-month subscription. You may also purchase a one-time gift box for $49 a box (plus $6 shipping). Sign up here!

What kind of food do you get?: Unlike some other meal kits on this list, CrateChef sends you a selection of a celebrity chef’s favorite kitchen goodies that you can use across a myriad of recipes. Think cookbooks, tools, and pantry items. If you’re a more experienced cook who likes to design their own recipes, then you’ll love the inspiration in this box! Check out our CrateChef reviews to learn more!

Which special diets do they cater to?: None.

Example products: High-quality ice cream scoopers, alphabet cookie cutters, organic tahini, cookbooks like Whitney Miller’s New Southern Table and Knife: Texas Steakhouse Meals at Home, artisan jerky and sausage, specialty salts, and more.

Ships to: US only

 

12. Martha & Marley Spoon – User Rating 3.5 Out of 5 Stars

martha stewart and marley spoon meal kit box

The Cost: Meals start at $8.20 per serving + free shipping. Sign up here!

What kind of food do you get?: Marley Spoon sends you the quality, artisanal ingredients and recipes to make some of Martha Stewart’s favorite dishes. Choose your favorites from a wide variety of classic and creative recipes, then schedule and receive your box at your convenience. Check out our Martha & Marley Spoon reviews to learn more!

Which special diets do they cater to?: Vegetarian, other special diets, but inconsistently

Example recipes: Broccoli Cheddar Soup, Cheesy Baked Pinto Beans, Kimchi Spiced Pork Burgers, Sumac Grilled Chicken

Ships to: Most of the contiguous US

 

13. Butcher Box – User Rating 4.5 Out of 5 Stars

butcher box meat subscription box example products

The Cost: $129 a month + free shipping. You can also save $20 by doubling any order, or pay $149 to choose all your own meats. Sign up here!

What kind of food do you get?: Butcher Box is a subscription just for the meat lovers out there! Each box contains 8-11 pounds of grass-fed beef, heritage pork, and free-range organic chicken, depending on the preferences you set. They also offer a pick-your-own box where you can subscribe to any combination of steaks, bacon, and ground meats that you like. These exceptional, nutritionally rich products are perfect for paleo dieters and families looking for an easy source for grass-fed hormone-free meats! Check out our Butcher Box reviews to learn more!

Which special diets do they cater to?: None.

Example products: USDA certified organic, certified humane, 100% grass-fed lamb, 100% antibiotic and hormone free, pasture-fed beef, certified humane, antibiotic and hormone free pork, cage-free, free-range, certified humane, USDA certified organic chicken.

Ships to: Continental US

 

14. Daily Harvest – User Rating 3.4 Out of 5 Stars

Daily Harvest

The Cost: Ranges from $7.75 per cup for 9 per box, to $6.99 per cup for 24 per box.

What kind of food do you get?: Daily Harvest started as a smoothie brand, but they’ve expanded into lots of other superfood categories since: Smoothies, Harvest Bowls, soups, lattes, oat bowls, chia bowls, and even plant-based gluten-free cookies! They’re all designed to fill you up with healthy fruits and veggies with minimal prep work (most simply require adding liquid and heating or blending). Check out our Daily Harvest Reviews to learn more!

Which special diets do they cater to?: Vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, plant-based, dairy-free, paleo

Example recipes: Strawberry + Peach Smoothie, Spinach + Shiitake Grits Harvest Bowl, Ginger + Turmeric Latte, Cacao Nib Cookie Dough

Ships to: US only

 

15. Dinnerly – User Rating 2.8 Out of 5 Stars

Dinnerly meal kit subscription box ingredients

The Cost: $4.99 per portion + $8.99 shipping. Sign up here!

What kind of food do you get?: Dinnerly is all about simplicity. Their recipe cards are digital, so there’s less paper to keep track of, and their crowd-pleasing, affordable recipes tend to use fewer ingredients. That means less time between you and a yummy dinner for yourself or your family! Pick between 3-5 meals per week. Check out our Dinnerly reviews to learn more!

Which special diets do they cater to?: Vegetarian, but not consistently.

Example recipes: Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese Croutons, Creamy Gnocchi with Spinach and Fried Scallions, BBQ Fried Chicken, Grass-Fed Beef Sloppy Joes

Ships to: US only

 

That wraps up our list of the Best Cooking and Meal Kit Subscription Boxes! Did your favorites make the list?

Written by Anna Reilly

Anna Reilly

Anna loves collecting little treasures, be they pop-culture finds, handmade mementos, or new potions to put in her makeup bag. Beauty boxes got her interested in the subscription world, but now she’s swooning for all things kawaii!

225 Comments

  1. I have yet to try any of these services! Freshly is the most appealing to me — preparing lunches for the work week always kills me, & I usually end up eating junk. I think having a meal already made would help me out.

    I juuuuust dipped my toe in trying meal subs when MSA sent out a promo in the newsletter for Every Plate. My first delivery is due to arrive this week!

    • Hello Fresh has been my favorite ! I would love to try Crate chef or sun basket they all look wonderful !

      • I would like to try those two as well! I have only tried Blue Apron and it was convenient

      • Would love to try the meats! Butcher box!

    • I just signed up for Freshly and LOVE it! I mean, I’ve only had 2 meals but I started with the 2 I thought I would like least and actually loved them both! I’ve heard the selection can get repetitive but my next few deliveries seem to have pretty great variety. I’m a super picky eater, too, and was very surprised at how many of the meals appeal to me. Overall I’ve been really impressed with the quality of the meals and think the value is great since it’s basically the same (or less) per meal than meal subs where I’d have to actually cook.

    • I’m getting my first delivery from Freshly next week & I’m very excited! I also signed up to try Daily Harvest & that first order arrives in a few days. I’m disabled & only eat once or twice a day, so I’m hoping to improve my nutrition & health. I have my fingers crossed!

  2. I’d recommend home chef for anyone wanting traditional type meals. We’ve been with them for several years. I’d love to try butcher box since I’m not grilling and using my instant pot more than getting home chef.

  3. I would love to try sun basket or green chef!

    • I haven’t tried sun basket but green chef has been great for me. I’ve used it for almost a year and have been very pleased. The food is organic with a lot of variety. They handle issues very promptly and professionally.

  4. I’d love to try Butcher Box

  5. I’d most like to try Freshly.

  6. Hello Fresh has been my favorite

  7. I loved Green Chef. Would love to try Butcher Box.

  8. Blue Apron

  9. Blue Apron has been a favorite for a long time. I love that I can cancel week to week well ahead. Freshly sounds amazing! Or those smoothies…

  10. blue apron

  11. Once again, please post my comment MSA.

  12. I have tried the following meal kits over the last year: blue apron, hello fresh, sunbasket, plated, marley spoon, green chef, and home chef. I choose the vegetarian meals for each kit with their introductory offer over a few weeks.

    I highly recommend the vegetarian meals for green chef and plated. i would love to recommend sunbasket because they were often delish but they have problems sourcing their organic veggies on some weeks. When i finally run out of meal kit trials, i will probably switch back and forth between green chef and plated.

    Hello fresh and blue apron were pretty average and uncomplicated for their veggie meals, marley spoon serves up very simplistic veggies meals that i couldve made from my own pantry anyways and home chef serves up downright gross veggie meals where I skip the week more often than not and probably wont even finish out my trial run at a reduced price this month.

    I really want to try both gobble and purple carrot. Gobble looks like they have recently stepped up their veggie offerings and purple carrot always seems to have good looking vegan meals but does not offer a good introductory price.

  13. Have been wanting to try hello fresh or blue apron!

  14. I used blue apron for almost a year. It was perfect because I could pick my delivery day and the food was always fresh, lasted the longest in my fridge and tasted amazing.

  15. Butcher Box

  16. I love gobbly! Their vegetarian meals are so good!! I’d love to try sun basket!

  17. I want to try eating healthier, and Green Chef or Daily Harvest sounds good.

  18. Would like to try Blue Apron!!! Heard a lot of great things about it.

  19. I haven’t used any of these yet. I’m curious but hesitant to make the investment since I don’t mind grocery shopping and cooking.
    Years ago I went to Let’s DIsh, a meal assembly place, a few times. Having a quick dinner on hand sure comes in handy!

  20. I’m a big fan of Sun Basket!

  21. Butcher Box looks so good!

  22. I’ve tried Hello Fresh which we really enjoyed! I’d love to try Blue Apron!

  23. I’ve never tried a meal delivery subscription. I would try Butcher Box first.

  24. I loooved Peach Dish, but sadly, they are no more. I’m looking at this Freshly right now seeing if it will work for me. Seems interesting.

  25. Purple carrot!!!

  26. Which one is best for picky eaters? I was just researching these! I want to try Hello Fresh or Plated.

  27. I have been eyeing Crate Chef forever!

  28. Sun Basket is lovely – interesting recipes, organic ingredients. I’d love to try Green Chef!

  29. I like sun basket and Blue apron. I would love to try Butcher’s box.

  30. I have had Blue Apron for quite a while, and love it. I have skipped more often than not over the past year, but it’s easy to do that and when I DO get the meals, they are great. I tried Hello Fresh and had issues with every box, so I cancelled. Would love to try more companies. My cousin loves Daily Harvest.

  31. I’ve never tried a meal kit but I’d love to try Butcher Box or Dinnerly

  32. I have tried most of the meal kits above, but have yet to try Daily Harvest. I have heard great things and love the idea of selecting the smoothies, soups or bowls. I think the 24 plan would make a great “cleanse” alternative!

  33. We have enjoyed Hello Fresh & Blue Apron. I’d love to try Butcher Box or any new ones that delivery to our area!

  34. I would try Butcher Box because I think my bf would find it intriguing. Then he would cook for me!

  35. I am only familiar with Hello Fresh and heard good things about them. I never tried a Meal Subscription but always wanted to. Seems like more Meal Subscription Services have popped up over the past 2-3 years. I just wish the prices were a little bit lower so I could convince my husband to try it…every time his answer is “too expensive” but he will pay $30 for Sushi for himself lol

  36. I have highly enjoyed both Hello Fresh and Blue Apron. I would love to try Purple Carrot, Daily Harvest, Plated or Sun Basket. Thank you for all the giveaways!

  37. Blue Apron

  38. I love Hello Fresh, it is the one I always go back to. Home Chef is a good box too. I wasn’t a big fan of Blue Apron. I really want to try Plated or Green Chef next I think.

  39. Just started last week with Hello Fresh – and… so far, so good! It definitely helps to have other ingredients on hand though to “boost” the taste quotient (i.e. add’l veg, spices).

  40. Haven’t tried any of these. I would most like to try hello fresh or blue Apron

  41. I already get Sun Basket and think it’s great. I would like to try Cratechef or Butcher Box.

  42. I loved Gobble + Freshly!

  43. Hello Fresh seems lovely

  44. I haven’t tried any meal subscription services yet, but Blue Apron looks good. Thank you for the chance to win.

  45. I really like Home Chef. It’s been the best one I have tried so far. I would really like try to try Butcher Box.

  46. Would love to try blue apron!!! These look so cool to try since cooking is sometimes hard for. Me to come up with ideas I like the idea of everything in a box has exactly what you need to make a great meal would love to try !!

  47. I haven’t tried any. I think I would like to try the Butcher block because my family wants to try more meat but I never know what to buy. My second choice would be the Blue Apron for a mix of meals.

  48. I haven’t tried a box yet, but I’d probably try Home Chef.

  49. I haven’t tried any of these but would love to try hello fresh

  50. Absolutely love Home Chef but really want to try Butcher Box!

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