With services such as Every Plate and Dinnerly coming out at less than $5 per meal for fresh, easy-to-make dishes, meal delivery services are getting people to gather around the table—and leave their wallets in the other room.
This is one of the reasons that meal kit delivery services have become so popular as of late. They help you create unique, delicious, and healthy meals at home, without having to do any shopping. These delivery services also help you come up with ideas for new dishes, and let’s be honest, a lot of us only have so much bandwidth each week for creativity and new ideas.
So without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the cheapest meal kits on the market.
1. Every Plate
Cheapest meal delivery service, period.
- $4.99 per serving
- Shipping costs $8.99 per box
At just $4.99 per meal, Every Plate tops the list of most affordable meal delivery services. Young singles, college students, and budget-conscious customers are likely targets for these easy-to-make meals, which include all of the ingredients, simple recipe cards, and the promise of saved time as well as money.
Every Plate’s meals take about 30 minutes to cook and promise not to wreak too much havoc on your kitchen and sink. The meals tend to be on the hearty side, accessible and never too adventurous. Dishes like chimichurri steak and cheesy pork sausage sloppy joes seem tailored to a college student’s taste buds, though the menu usually includes an entree like lemon rosemary chicken to balance it out.
If there’s one downside, it’s that the weekly menu only features 8 meals. But at less than $5 a meal for either 2 or 4 people, which means 6 or 12 meals per week, it’s hard to criticize, even if it means a repeat of your favorite dish over the course of a week. Every Plate’s a good choice for anyone trying to ease into cooking or slash their take-out bills in half.
Cheapest meal delivery service for families
- $4.99 per serving
- Shipping costs $8.99 per box
Dinnerly’s no-frills meal delivery service promises home-cooked meals without the mess or the bills. At less than $5 per meal with all the necessary ingredients and easy to follow recipes, it’s a nice alternative to eating out that can foster more family or couple’s time at the table.
Dinnerly says its meals feature grass-fed beef and antibiotic chicken, which is hard to believe given the low price of each meal. But the site explains its cost-cutting measures: instead of skimping on quality, Dinnerly foregos printed recipe cards for all-digital instructions and takes a simplistic approach to packaging and marketing. That means you’ll have to log onto the site for your recipes, but for $5 meals with quality meats and veggies it seems hardly a compromise.
The menu itself rotates every week and offers more than a dozen meals. There’s a nice balance between vegetarian and meat dishes as well as gluten-free options and kid-friendly meals. Dinnerly offers a two-person box as well as a family box, both with options for 3, 4, or 5 meals per week.
Cheapest prepared meal delivery service
- $8.99 per serving for for 12 meals per week
- $9.99 per serving for 6- and 9-meals per week
- $12.50 per serving for 4 meals per week
Freshly delivers protein-rich, gluten-free meals to your doorstep, with the option of ordering up to 3 meals per day and 12 meals per week. Freshly, as you may have guessed from the name, doesn’t include any frozen food—all meals are prepared using fresh, all natural ingredients (and thus, have a fridge shelf-life of about 4-5 days). Freshly also offers a rotating menu of 30 meals per week, so there’s little chance of you getting bored with your food.
Freshly meals are gluten-free, prepared in a peanut-free environment, and contain no refined sugars. If there are other foods that you don’t want in your meals, you can customize your plan and request meals that don’t contain dairy, eggs, pork, turkey, fish, soy, and more.
As for pricing, Freshly isn’t expensive, nor is it cheap. It’s simply fair. Especially when you order the 12 meals/week subscription, in which each meal comes out to $8.99. And remember, you’re getting chef-prepared, healthy food delivered to your doorstep. All you need to do is pop it in the oven or microwave. Yep, the pricing is pretty fair.
Plus, shipping is free, and you can choose your day of delivery and cancel your subscription at any time.
Cheapest weight-loss meal plan
- $10.54-$14.29 per day
- Free shipping
Nutrisystem got to be the biggest name in the business by designing diets that have customers eating 6 small meals per day, including snacks. The meals are planned by nutrition experts and if you don’t lose weight in the first 2 weeks, just ask for your money back.
Note that the cost of Nutrisystem’s plans are broken down by day, not by serving. That’s because unlike the other services on this list, Nutrisystem is a complete weight-loss plan that covers all of your intake over the course of the day.
A typical day might include maple brown sugar oatmeal for breakfast, chicken and cheese broccoli for lunch, meatballs and pasta for dinner with popcorn and peanut butter celery sticks interspersed throughout. Nutrisystem offers 4 plans that include more options and diet resources with each.
5. Frozen Garden
Cheapest smoothie delivery
- $6.07 for 14-pack of green smoothies
- $6.78 for 14-pack of paleo-friendly smoothies
- $5.99 for 30-pack of smoothies
Frozen Garden specializes in ready to blend green smoothies that you can just open, add water, and blend. They are arranged into a wide variety of smoothies, such as calorie counter, sweet tooth, and liquid lunch, to name a few. With each smoothie, you can easily view the nutrition information and ingredients in a flash. It will also show what the company says the smoothie is best for (digestion, brain health, etc).
There is also a wide variety of green frozen smoothies, that use a base of dark leafy greens so that you get all those health greens—even if you aren't a fan.
Now, it’s not a subscription service, you can’t order a plan that automatically renews every month. But the prices tend to be lower than the competitors, and also, you’ll definitely have flexibility.
6. Blue Apron
Cheapest chef-created meal delivery service
- Starting at $7.49 per meal
- 2-people and family plans with vegetarian and Weight Watchers options
- Free shipping on all plans with 3 or more meals per week; otherwise $7.99
Blue Apron’s meal delivery service falls near the more affordable side of the spectrum despite a surprisingly sophisticated selection of chef-created Mediterranean dishes. Starting at just $7.49 per meal and featuring plans for couples, families, vegetarians, and even Weight Watchers participants, Blue Apron’s meal service offers something for taste- and health-conscious eaters at affordable prices.
Blue Apron’s meals feature non-GMO ingredients, local and seasonal produce, and sustainable seafood and meats all sourced from family-run farms. Every week you’ll find a new menu of about 8 meals such as sweet and spicy salmon, fennel and olive pasta, and Cajun-spiced steak with biscuits and maple butter. Specialty menus for vegetarians and Weight Watchers customers are smaller but feature tailored meals crafted with the same attention to taste and quality ingredients.
There are four meal plans to choose from: 2- and 4-person signature meals as well as the vegetarian and WW plans. Each plan includes an option for 2 or 3 meals a week, except the family option which includes 4 servings for either 2, 3, or 4 meals per week.
7. Home Chef
Cheapest vegetarian meal delivery service
- As low as $7.99 per serving
- Free shipping for orders over $45
Home Chef gives you the option of picking from 14 different meal options every week, including vegetarian, low-carb, and low-calorie meals.
A novel aspect of Home Chef is that it learns what you like and sends you meal suggestions based on your preferences. In addition, all of the recipes—including fun stuff like Cajun Shrimp Tacos or Chicken with Green Peppercorn Sauce and Panko-Crusted Broccoli—should only take you 30 minutes or less to make.
With meals as low as $9.95 per serving, and free shipping on orders over $45, a couple can eat 3 home-cooked meals every week for as cheap as about $50.
8. Martha & Marley Spoon
Cheapest boutique meal delivery service
- $9.50-$12/serving for 2-person plan
- $8.70-$9.50/serving for 3-4 person family plan
- Free shipping
Martha & Marley Spoon is devoted to bringing a touch of lifestyle maven Martha Stewart to each and every kitchen. The service uses artfully-crafted recipes taken from Stewart’s cookbook, with 10 different options to choose from each week.
All of the recipes have only 6 steps and are designed to take about 30 minutes, so you don’t need to be a professional to enjoy the types of premium recipes you’d expect from Martha Stewart.
Each week you can choose from meat, fish, and vegetarian options. There will always be additional options that are clearly marked as “gluten-free,” “vegan,” “kid-friendly,” “healthy,” and “customer favorite.”
When it comes to saving money, Martha & Marley Spoon has a per serving price that stacks up well to the competition, and shipping is always free, no matter how much you order.
Cheapest nutritional meal delivery service
- $9.99/serving for veggie and classic plans
- $8.74/serving for a family plan
- Free shipping
A fun, easy, and delicious option you may want to try is HelloFresh. The company is geared towards busy people who want to eat healthier but don’t have the time to go shopping and think of new meals all week long.
Customers get to pick from a variety of HelloFresh meals designed by chefs and dieticians. HelloFresh has something for everyone, from recipes that take less than 30 minutes, to variety meals, meant for those looking for something a bit more adventurous.
The HelloFresh menu includes things like Honey Sriracha Chicken Legs with Basmati Rice and Green Beans, Pan-Seared Steak with Roasted Butternut Squash and Green Beans Almondine, and One-Pan Hearty Pork Chili with Kidney Beans and Poblano Pepper.
One drawback of HelloFresh is that you only get 8 recipe options per week, but with premium ingredients and brilliantly-crafted recipes, you’ll have more than enough to work with.
Another draw with HelloFresh is that the shipping is always free, making it one of the more affordable options on the market.
Cheapest meal delivery service for foodies
- $11.95/serving for 2-serving plan
- $9.95/serving for the 3- or 4-serving plans
- $7.95 for shipping on 2-person plan
- Free shipping on orders over $60
Something of a meal kit plan for foodies, Plated puts a big emphasis on using premium ingredients and offering recipes that you’re probably only used to tasting at restaurants. These can range from Spicy Crunchy Shrimp Bowls to Hoisin Duck Buns.
All of the recipes use fresh, seasonal produce and antibiotic-free proteins, and the plans are flexible if you need to cancel or delay a delivery.
Plated offers as many as 20 meal offerings per week, as well as 2 dessert options, including fun stuff like S’mores Pies and Berry Turnovers.
Even if a meal company is a couple dollars less per serving, if the shipping for the competitor is free, the per-serving price difference is negated.
With a company like Hello Fresh, which has free shipping on all orders, it can make a big difference, especially when shipping can easily tack on an extra $10 per order.
With some companies, shipping is only charged on smaller orders, for singles or couples. In these cases, it may actually pay off to spring for a 3-person or 4-person plan which comes with free shipping, thus offsetting the cost of the additional servings.
Most meal kit delivery companies have special introductory offers to get you to try out their services. For instance, with Home Chef you can get $30 off your first order and $10 off your second order, and with Sun Basket, you can get $35 off your first order.
With deals like these, it definitely pays off to give meal kits a shot, and even play the field some until you find one that you really like.
So, What’s for Dinner?
We’ll admit—if dinner is just the footlong hotdog at the convenience store or the dollar menu at the drive-thru, then a meal kit isn’t a cheaper option. But if you’re looking for healthy, interesting recipes that use premium ingredients and help you hone your cooking skills, then a meal kit is about as affordable as it gets. For slightly more than the price of fast food, you can take your home cooking to a whole new level and finally see what all the fuss is about.