Cook a perfect meal in 30 minutes; no shopping needed

A review of the top meal kit delivery services

 

Make cooking for yourself easy

 

“I owe everything to cooking – my basketball career, my MVP trophy,
my championship ring, and my 3 point shot.”
-Chef Curry

“I want to cook, but I just can’t!”

By this point, we all know that being able to cook your own meals is an amazing life skill. Not only does it give you complete control over what you eat, but it also provides some pretty amazing satisfaction that comes along with adulting at a high level by being a chef. Just take it from Chef Boyardee.

 

“Nobody respected me until I became a chef.
‘Mr. Boyardee’ just doesn’t have the same ring to it.”
-Chef Boyardee

The thing is, although most people say they want to cook more, few actually do anything about it.

We’ve all heard every excuse in the book:

  • “I don’t have time”
  • “I don’t know how”
  • “It costs too much”
  • “I could just order Seamless”
  • “I can never understand the Swedish Chef’s cooking videos”

Guess what? Those excuses are not doing you any favors. Just take it from the Swedish Chef:

 

“Those excuses are a bunch of
Do de dooo shmergin blergin de durr de doo!”
-Swedish Chef from the Muppets

The reality is that there are simple solutions to all of these challenges. You can get the ingredients for meals delivered to your door. You can take online cooking classes. You can plan out your meals in advance to save money.

But man, if only there was a way to get all of those combined…If only there was a way to get food delivered to your door, cheaply, with all the ingredients and all the cooking directions for people of all different skill levels.

Wait, what? That does exist?!

Introducing meal kit delivery

A number of services now exist that deliver pre-proportioned ingredients and recipes for delicious, healthy and easy to prepare meals right to your door (although none that we know of offer Swedish lessons).  

They exist because some gaps have emerged. The first is a gap in the amount of time you wish you had to do what you’d like to do (like cooking a meal for yourself or your partner) compared to the amount of time you actually have.

The second is a gap between the skills you’d like to have and the skills you actually have. Very few people have the intuitive kitchen skills that their grandmas had. They can’t just look in the fridge, pull out some ingredients, and whip up a meal. They need some guidance.

Between these gaps, the meal kit industry emerged.

Companies in this industry deliver recipes for delicious meals along with the ingredients to make them. They deliver the ingredients for several meals at the beginning of the week, and then you can make them as you find time. No thought necessary.

A ton of these companies have cropped up in the last year or two, serving every kind of meal imaginable. And although having options is awesome, there are now so many that you really need a guide to figure out which one is best for you.

Oh shit, what’s that? BestMe made a guide?! Nice!

A review of the top meal kit delivery services

Favorite Picks

I have tested a number of these services and compiled research from around the web to understand the ones I haven’t tried (so you don’t have to).

At the end of this article, there’s a table that gives you a quick overview of the services, but I’m going to give you my top three favorites upfront to help make this decision easier.

 

Best all-around choice: Green Chef (recommendation based on personal experience and reviews)

Green Chef has the best quality ingredients I’ve seen. The meat, fruits and veggies look like food you would hand pick yourself at the grocery store. They offer meal kits for people with all different dietary requirements including: paleo, gluten free, vegetarian, carnivore, omnivore, and vegan. I can’t speak for all the diet options but if the other 5 are as good as the “Carnivore” box then they will be damn good. All foods are also responsibly sourced and certified organic. 

Current Deal: Four free meals when you sign up for your first delivery

Consumer Reports Score: Excellent

Try out Green Chef


Runner up: HelloFresh (recommendation based on personal experience and reviews)

An excellent value choice (just $11.66 per meal) that doesn’t compromise on taste. There are always 6 options per week (including one from celebrity chef Jamie Oliver) and you get to choose three of them. Each meal comes boxed separately so there is no need to do any food sorting. It doesn’t get any easier than this. Available everywhere in the continental US.

Current Deal: $40 off your first delivery

Consumer Reports Score: Excellent

Try out HelloFresh


Best vegetarian/vegan option: Purple Carrot (recommendation based on reviews)

Purple Carrot is the only national (delivering to 36 states), 100% vegan delivery service we know of, making it the obvious pick for people who are trying to keep animal-based products out of their diet. It was also co-founded by food world badass, and former NY Times food columnist, Mark Bittman. Although we haven’t tried Purple Carrot yet, reviews for the service are positive. Purple Carrot chooses the meals they send you, which is nice if you don’t want to think, but not so good if you’re not into the recipe they send you.

From my perspective, it might be smarter to choose the vegan option from Green Chef, as the tastiness scores from most reviews are higher, but I wanted to include Purple Carrot as the only large scale vegan operation out there.

Current Deal: $20 off first order

Consumer Reports Score: Very Good

Try out Purple Carrot

With those out of the way, here’s a quick comparison chart of all the top services, with additional detail below!


Comparison Chart:

CompanyStarting Cost  per MealCurrent Deal

$11.50$40 off your first delivery

$11.992 or 4 free meals in your first week

$9.99$30 of your first delivery

$12.50N/A

$11.33$20 off first order

$121 free meal for two people

 

Additional Detail:

 

Claim to Fame: One of the recipes each week from Jamie Oliver

Coverage Area: Across the continental USA

Starting Cost per Meal: $11.50

How it Works: Great variety with 6 meals to choose from each week.

Unique Benefit: Value

Current Deal: $40 off your first delivery

Meal Pictures: 

greenchef.jpg

Claim to Fame: A number of different diet options including Vegetarian, Omnivore, Carnivore, Paleo, Gluten Free and Vegan

Coverage Area: Across the continental USA, though limited in Wisconsin and Minnesota

Starting Cost per Meal: $11.99

How it Works: No matter the diet there is an option for you. Quality organic ingredients to suit your needs!

Unique Benefit: Variety

Current Deal: 2 or 4 free meals in your first week

Meal Pictures: 

Claim to Fame: The OG of meal kit services and the lowest cost per meal of the services listed

Coverage Area: Across the continental USA

Starting Cost per Meal: $9.99

How it Works: 6 meals to choose from each week

Unique Benefit: Value

Current Deal: $30 of your first delivery

Meal Pictures: 

Claim to Fame: Meals are inspired by good ol’ fashioned southern home cooking

Coverage Area: Across the continental USA

Starting Cost per Meal: $12.50

How it Works: Pick your meals a la cart or get a weekly subscription

Unique Benefit: Side dishes

Current Deal: N/A

Meal Pictures: 

Claim to Fame: The only vegan delivery service that ships nationally

Coverage Area: 36 states across the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and West Coast

Starting Cost per Meal: $11.33

How it Works: Purple Carrot ships the same vegan meals out to all subscribers

Unique Benefit: 100% Vegan

Current Deal: $20 off first order

Meal Pictures: 

Coverage Area: Across the continental USA

Claim to Fame: They were on Shark Tank, and you can add dessert to your meals

Starting Cost per Meal: $12.00

How it Works: Choose from 9 meals, including vegetarian, pescetarian, omnivore (you can also add dessert)

Unique Benefit: Dessert

Current Deal: 1 free meal for two people

Meal Pictures: