We tried 20 meal delivery kits — here are the best of 2023

Lifestyle /

After three years and counting of fending for ourselves in the kitchen during the pandemic, it’s about time to start thinking outside of the box — and into the meal kit box.

Meal kit boxes of recipes and their ingredients can offer the combined powers of mixing things up in the kitchen and crossing off some of those New Year’s resolutions, from wanting to eat healthier to spending less time at the grocery store.

For me, a mid-20-something who has graduated from the microwave and into the culinary world of two or more pots on the stove at a time, I wanted to try out as many meal kits and delivery companies as possible. I started this journey in the last week of December 2020 and since then my meal kit adventure has taken off.

For this 2023 refresh, I tested, re-tested, tasted and built box-forts with 20 meal delivery services and counting, ranging from plant-based to protein-packed, fresh to flash-frozen.

My conclusion? There’s truly a meal kit for everyone, many with exclusive New York Post deals running all the time for new users and specials for true meal kit masters. They range in skill level just as much as they range in dietary preferences, price and serving size to fit every household.

The hard part is just deciding which to try, which is why I tried them all for you first.

Here’s everything you need to know about all the meal kits you’ve been hungry to try.

Sophie Cannon smiles under a fort of meal kit boxes
There’s no place like a home built of meal kit boxes … and 2020, 2021 and 2022 were full of them.

Five meal kit boxes sit around an open oven.
I promise the oven was off for these meal kits! The beauty of trying so many companies was that some were intensive and others, like these, were microwave friendly.


Use these handy links to jump to a specific meal kit, or scroll down and peruse them all while waiting for your first boxes to ship.

Need help choosing a meal kit? Jump down to the bottom of this article for an FAQ:

Starting at $8.99 per serving, take $90 off across your first three orders with code NYP90OFF

A Home Chef box and food
Home Chef meals came not only pre-portioned but bagged up per meal, making unboxing a breeze.
Sophie Cannon

Home Chef brings the elements of comfort food and home cooking to your doorstep, with recipes tailored to fit your schedule.

When curating my own box, I imagined all the types of meals I cook in order to go about my day well-fed and on-time. I ended up choosing a classic cooking meal with a 35-minute cook time, a faster 15-minute option and an oven-ready dish for those nights when you can’t bring yourself to do much more than turn on the oven and set the table.

For a taste-test, I went with the happy medium of the three, opting for the 15-minute hoisin pulled pork with jasmine rice. The first note to make is on the notes themselves. The recipe cards were super well-organized, making my type A personality very happy.

Three Home Chef recipe cards
Sophie Cannon

After unzipping the correct package for my meal, the cooking process was as easy as promised, clocking in at about 20 minutes due to my slower chopping skills.

The four-part directions were a breeze to read, and also featured photos for those who need a photographic confidence boost to compare their cooking to. The meal itself was flavorful, easy and didn’t taste like a time constrained cook at all.

With new meals offered weekly, choose between regular meal kits, 15-minute meals, easy-prep and oven-ready and extras like a protein pack of meats and fish to supplement a kit or make your own recipes with. Many meals can also be customized with Impossible Foods products, for those who go meat-free without sacrificing taste.

A bowl of pulled pork and rice in a blue bowl
The pork bowl made for a perfect dinner, plus a lunch with the leftovers that reheated very well in the microwave.
Sophie Cannon


  • A ton of options for different schedules, including 15-minute meals and oven-ready bakes
  • Easy-to-use zipper-bag packaging, and even easier-to-use recipe cards with cook time, expiration date, difficulty and spice levels
  • Great variety of meals for each week, and in many meals the meat can be substituted for Impossible Foods vegan options


  • Everything included except salt, pepper and oil

Starting at $11.99 per serving, use our links for 6 servings for $36

A Gobble meal kit box with fresh food and cookie dough
Sophie Cannon

Not only for Thanksgiving, Gobble is the meal kit that serves up generous turkey-day-sized portions no matter the season.

The first thing I noticed about Gobble was just how much fresh produce I received in my order. For the beautiful Italian flat iron steak meal, which is supposedly two servings, I got a huge bag of ripe cherry tomatoes and an entire bundle of green onions. Even though this meal’s side was a creamy polenta, I could have just as well made a side salad of marinated tomatoes with the leftovers. For my miso-baked salmon, I got a giant bag of fresh broccoli and a ton of jasmine rice. During the unboxing alone, it was evident that Gobble values quantity and quality. One last thing that didn’t go unnoticed? The four balls of cookie dough that came with my meal, not that I had any room left in my stomach after the meal to come. A second dessert stomach is a thing, right?

Two Gobble recipe cards
The recipe cards are easy to follow and the photos make it clear what your finished product should look like.
Sophie Cannon

Another thing to note was the smaller, more compact recipe cards. While they are so much easier to save and store in a kitchen drawer than full-sized pieces of paper, they are also a bit more cramped in terms of directions and information. I couldn’t find an estimated cook or prep time like on other company’s cards, and the cooking directions were a bit complicated looking as they follow a more crowded paragraph format.

After gathering salt, pepper and oil, not included in the box, I decided to pick the steak as my meal, as I was making this for a filling dinner after a long day at work (well, work is cooking meal kits, so I can’t complain). While cooking red meat has always been a subject of some fear for me, the steaks were already cut into the two portions, so my hand-to-raw-meat interaction was a breeze, and isn’t bad even for the more squeamish.

Steak in a pan with green onions and tomatoes
Have you ever seen more vibrant veggies? The quality produce and meat made this dish a 10/10.
Sophie Cannon

Since there wasn’t an estimated time on the recipe card, I set my own timer. The total time for my medium-rare meal came out to 29 minutes and 33 seconds, prep work included. For a full steak dinner that yielded enough for two portions and leftovers of the polenta and veggies, this is the kit for hungry families who want to spend some quality time together in the kitchen.


  • The box comes with super generous portions of fresh produce and pantry staples such as rice that can be saved for later or fed to a hungry crowd
  • You’ll get quantity and quality, as the fish and steak were both fresh and tasty


  • Recipe cards are a bit harder to follow than some due to small size, but easier to store and reuse for later
  • No cook time estimations on the cards, but when timed even a full steak meal was under 30 minutes, prep to plating

Starting at $13.95/standard meal

An array of packaged salads and meals with orange wrapping in front of an orange and brown cardboard box
Territory Foods meals come pre-packaged and fully prepared, labeled with heating instructions and nutrition facts.
Sophie Cannon

Commuters, school-lunchers and healthy eaters better listen up.

As someone who spends far too much money at Sweetgreen only to find myself hungry again, finding filling and yummy salads and bowls that I can bring into the office can be a challenge. This is where I think Territory Foods fits in nicely.

The pre-made meals come refrigerated to your doorstep, each made with health in mind, even if you don’t choose the paleo, keto, vegetarian, vegan Whole30, plant-based or low-fat options. They are also all made without gluten or dairy, which is super great for those with allergies in the house.

The coolest part for me, though, was when I took a peek at the packaging and the menu, to find out that my options were actually tailored to my region, partnering with local chefs and restaurants to create the weekly menu of over 35 rotating options. My Ginger Garlic Chicken Salad was not only ready-to-eat and delicious, but was also made by Chef Rachelle Slotnick of Chantilly, VA. While this isn’t as local as running out to my local Brooklyn bodega for produce, I really liked the traceability of the meals.

Also a nod to the packaging, the removable slip contains the calories, protein, fat and carbs of each meal, should you be tracking yours, as well as the eat-by date and the warming instructions (if needed) on the back. The meals themselves do look a bit like cafeteria plates with little Solo-brand dressing containers and all, but for me, I didn’t mind, as they really do remind me of pricey salad fast-casual restaurant meals without the hassle and price.

A hand holding an orange food label for the salad in front of it on a wooden table
The garlic chicken was delicious, and tasted just like my favorite salad bowl takeout, from a far more pricey place than this cost.
Sophie Cannon

The last thing that really sets Territory Foods apart is the pricing plan structure. Like many meal delivery companies, they are priced out per meal, starting at $13.95 per meal for the standard plan. However, for those that eat smaller meals or are planning to use this as a fridge-stocking mechanism for snaking, they also offer a Boost Size meal with about 250 to 450 calories, starting at $10.95 per meal.


  • Perfect for taking to work, school or having an easy lunch at home, with recyclable packaging and to-go style dressings and condiments.
  • 35+ different weekly menu options for keto, paleo, Whole30, vegan, vegetarian, low-carb, low-fat, plant-based and more.
  • All meals do not contain gluten, dairy, refined sugars, nitrates, chemical preservatives or artificial colors.


  • Not the most upscale packaging or gourmet meals, but plenty of actually filling salads, bowls and even some choices for breakfast, snacks and desserts.

Starting at $9.99 per serving, use code NYP90 for $90 off across first four orders, plus free shipping on the first box

The new Sunbasket packaging for 2022, with an array of their Fresh & Ready meals.

This is the older packaging from 2021, showcasing the classic cook-it-yourself meals and some snacks, too.


Sunbasket is truly a ray of sunshine for those who value organic ingredients and getting a healthy and delicious meal on the table.

The meal kit service offers two different types of meals; the traditional cook-it-yourself type with the organic ingredients and recipe cards in the box, and the ready-made kind called Fresh & Ready, where all you need is an oven or a microwave and you’re good to go.

They also cater to almost any type of diet under the sun, offering kits for paleo, vegetarian, pescatarian, clean-eaters, gluten-free, diabetes-friendly and a chef’s choice option for those wanting to expand their culinary horizons. For my box, I decided to do a mix of everything, getting one oven-ready meal that was gluten-free, dairy-free and pescatarian and one regular meal kit to be cooked up.

A package of Sun Basket shrimp paella
The instant options are also delicious, with microwavable packaging for an easy re-heating process.
Sophie Cannon

For the instant option, I was sent a shrimp paella with fire-roasted tomatoes and bell peppers, instantly taking me back to Spain where I tried the dish for the first time. Instead of a bulky pan to cook my paella, I was given a microwave safe container, cutting my cook time to just six minutes total. I was wary of overcooked and rubbery fish with dry rice, but the dish came out moist and delicious, so either I have a magic microwave or the people at Sunbasket knew what they were doing when it comes to microwavable meals.

They have a full breakfast menu with options for different types of eggs, oatmeals, breads and spreads, and even juice, smoothies and a coffee-in-a-can that looks awesome. Moving on to lunch and dinner, they have both the ready-made meals as well as cooking options, a whole section for pastas and sauces, extra protein packs, and of course, snacks. This site had some of the most variety I had seen so far in my meal kit quest, and can 100% be eaten for every meal of the day without getting bored of the selections.

For the traditional meal, I went for their Italian sausage and vegetable skillet with spicy green harissa. This meal was also gluten-free, soy-free and dairy-free, and also paleo, and labeled as spicy for those who can’t take the heat. The veggies included all had organic stickers on them, and were fresh and crisp as I was chopping them up. I also noticed that they were full sized, ultimately serving a bit more than the two promised portions.

A blue bowl of sausage and veggies
When you do choose to cook, the ingredients are fresh and hearty — like this sausage bowl I whipped up in less than 30 minutes.
Sophie Cannon


  • Wide array of options for both pre-made and traditional cook meals for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert and snacks
  • Ready-to-eat meals taste fresh, even when microwaved
  • Ample amounts of organic produce and nitrate-free meats in the traditional meal kit; can serve more than the serving size and perfect for hungry families
  • Smaller recipe cards for easy storage, and also found online or on the app for iPhone and Android

$4.99 per meal, use our link for $104 off throughout your first 3 boxes with code NYPEP

An orange box of EveryPlate meal kit and produce in a box
Even though this is a budget meal kit, the portions were generous and the produce aplenty.
Sophie Cannon

EveryPlate is another affordable option, this time from the Hello Fresh family. The kit includes recipe cards, fresh produce, meat and fish coming packaged on ice, and a brightly colored box that arrives on your doorstep for no supermarket stops along the way. For less cash than any fast food meal, the options are also healthier, and the produce that came in my box was all fresh and full-sized, overflowing out of the box.

A box with fresh veggies and seasoning
My produce basket was overflowing with fresh veggies and packaged seasonings.
Sophie Cannon

As I was cooking up my chicken sausage tomato soup, I noticed the recipe cards had some other helpful tips to save food waste. There were also plenty of helpful notes to reassure a home chef who is just starting out.

A white bowl of red tomato soup
Happy soup season — I ate bowl after bowl, but the recipe did indeed yeild multiple servings.
Sophie Cannon

After devouring the soup — a great meal for any winter’s day — I checked out the site to see what other offerings they had. Each week, they lay out 16 different meals to choose from, ranging from chicken, pork, beef to fish and veggie-based. The plans are customizable for your household’s needs, allowing you to order for two or four people, three to five meals per week. The best part is that no matter the combination, each standard meal is still $4.99 per serving.


  • A huge amount of super fresh veggies, large seasoning and sauce packets and big portions of dry ingredients such as rice and pasta
  • At only $4.99 per serving, this is one of the best bangs for your buck, without sacrificing flavors or fresh ingredients
  • Smaller recipe cards for easy storage, but still very easy to read and follow with extra tips included


  • No options for vegans or other dietary preferences other than vegetarian and pescatarian

Starts at $8.49 per portion

A yellow box and brown bag that say "Martha Stewart and Marley Spoon" with an array of groceries on the wooden table
The sunny yellow packaging was very comforting, just like Martha herself.
Sophie Cannon

Martha Stewart can do no wrong — well, at least when it comes to food.

For those that don’t know, you can get pretty close to having Martha as a live-in chef with her meal kit company, Martha Stewart & Marley Spoon. The kit is a traditional one, with 40 recipes loaded onto the site weekly to choose from and fresh ingredients shipped out according to your plan. You can opt for the two-person or the four-person plan and then select the amount of meals you need per week, from just two to six.

I wanted to go all out comfort food, as I knew Martha would be proud of that decision, choosing the Pastrami Spice-Rubbed Steak and the Cheesy Sausage Brunch Bake for something a bit easier. When unboxing the ingredients, I liked how the included recipe cards listed out exactly what I would need, making for easier sorting in my fridge and also to make a mental note of the extras I would need, like butter, oil, vinegar and some household spices. The cards also lists the cooking tools you need, as well as allergens and nutrition per serving.

Because these recipes are from the Martha Stewart, I wasn’t surprised that my cook time of about 35 minutes was slower than her listed time of 25 on the steaks, so if you need to sharpen your knife skills that is more than okay, it just may take a bit longer.

A plate of steak, potatoes and beans with an image of that recipe
The steak and potatoes are a classic American meal from a classic American chef. The gravy was the best part, followed by the onion dressing topping the beans.

A blue dish of a breakfast casserole on a table
This was the best thing ever after a holiday gathering, with the ciabatta bread soaking up my drinks from the night before and the lovely comforting eggs and sausage on the inside of the casserole warming me from the inside out. Good on you, Martha.


However, I was rewarded for my time and effort, as the steaks were perfectly seasoned with her spice blend and the recipe yielded lovely mashed potatoes and green beans for a very all-American dinner.


  • Delicious and high-quality meals — but what else would we expect from Martha?
  • Perfect for the home cook who likes a balance of easy meals and learning new skills. Also great for home-cooked dinners with easy directions and no need to go grocery shopping.
  • Options for specific diets, including vegetarian and low-carb recipes, in addition to the classic comfort foods.


  • Make sure to check your zip code for delivery, as some areas in the Midwest and others are not eligible as of time of publication.

Starting at $10.99 per meal, take $90 off your first three boxes with code NYP90OFF

Factor75 meal kit meals and juices
The cooking instructions are printed on the back of each color-coded box or package.
Sophie Cannon

If your resolution this year is to cook less but eat healthier, Factor is for you.

A new sister-site to the HelloFresh family, Factor is unlike the rest of its siblings in that no cooking is required — unless you consider using a microwave cooking.

I decided to cook my pumpkin pancakes in the microwave, to see if they really stand up to the chewy-making effect a micro can have on some frozen foods.

The pros: the pancakes certainly weren’t rubbery, and they provided ample butter and syrup, which instantly makes for a great breakfast — or, in my case, a perfectly fine dinner. The cons: even though it was a microwave meal, there are a few sticky steps, such as flipping each (hot) pancake and then making sure the butter is melted all the way through the stack of three cakes. As for the taste, neither a pro nor a con. They definitely tasted like healthier pancakes — butter and syrup helped — and the addition of the nuts on top was a satisfying touch.

A stack of pumpkin pancakes and a green juice
The hearty breakfast was perfect for food on the go, or before a busy morning. Pair it with a juice for even more flavor and nutritional value.
Sophie Cannon

To wash it all down, I also grabbed one of the cold-pressed juices — Factor also offers wellness shots in addition to their four juice flavors. The pineapple turmeric basil juice sounded super interesting, and sure enough it was as tasty as it was vitamin-packed. The option to go to my fridge instead of a 9-dollar-a-pop juice shop with a hipster barista is worth it in of itself for me.

In terms of variety, if you’re planning to factor in Factor into breakfast, lunch and dinner, too, you certainly can and not get bored of your options. There’s even dessert options too — the dark chocolate peppermint keto-friendly cheesecake was my personal favorite.

The very best part of this kit for me was the ability to feel like I was having a fancy meal without any of the work. For those truly don’t want to, or don’t have time to cook, the grab, micro, and go method is a definite perk.


  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner and desserts all come frozen and ready to reheat and eat
  • Great option for those on-the-go and also health conscious
  • Offers options for different diets including keto, paleo, plant-based, low-carb, vegetarian, pescatarian and meat-eaters, too


  • Have plenty of freezer space to store meals or order a smaller plan (they range from four meals a week all the way up to 18 meals per week)

Starting at $7.99 per serving, take $130 off across six order plus your first order ships free

A Blue Apron box with food and recipes
The iconic blue packaging was a joy to see at my doorstep, filled with fresh ingredients and seasonings included in the “Knick Knack” bag for safe keeping.
Sophie Cannon

Strap on your aprons, it’s time to get cooking with a kit that will make you feel like a master chef in no-time.

Blue Apron was one of the first meal kit companies to hit the market, and it has continued to be ultra popular — for good reason. Their ingredients are full-sized and appeared insanely fresh. I chose the harissa chickpea shakshuka with pita and the pesto chicken pasta as my meals, and received full cans of tomatoes, chickpeas, a whole bag of Brussels sprouts, a full bulb of garlic and the most beautiful large green pepper I’ve seen.

What’s a meal without wine? For those who know little about pairings, and for a home sommelier who wants to try something new, the meal kit service also doubles as a wine guru, offering a wine pairing subscription on their site.

An assortment of red and white wine and a Blue Apron pairing kit
Did we mention they also sell wine subscriptions?
Sophie Cannon

For a healthy and hearty meal, I went with the shakshuka with za’tar pita. As promised on the recipe card, the meal took roughly 30 minutes to prepare, and only used two pans — one for the meal and one to toast the bread, although I’m sure you could use a toaster oven if you have a lack of pans or burners. The shakshuka was a different recipe than I was used to, but thanks to the packet of za’tar seasoning and the fresh mint and feta cheese that came with, it tasted pretty darn close to needing a passport.

A pan of shakshuka eggs and tomatoes
This seriously looked straight out of Israel and tasted like it, too.

A hamburger and fries on a plate next to a picture of the same
How did I do? I think the egg Gods were looking down on me, as this was the perfect fried egg for my burger that looked just like the photo.


The rest of the Blue Apron offerings look to be just as filling and have full-sized ingredients. It’s ideal for feeding a hungry family, or for the culinarily-inclined who like to know exactly what ingredients they are using and from where they came.


  • Full-sized ingredients, super fresh produce and makes large portions
  • Offers a wine subscription box as well, to pair with your cooking creations
  • A bit more in-depth cooking, with great tasting results
  • Perfect for a hungry family or those who want to spend more quality time in the kitchen

Starts from $4.99 per portion

A purple box of Dinnerly meal kit with the ingredients on the wooden table
This meal kit serves up delicious meals and fun grocery items for a mix-and-match meal your family will love.
Sophie Cannon

Dinner is served, and fast!

We reviewed this kit back in 2020, but sadly since they didn’t yet deliver to Minneapolis, I had a colleague test the meals. This year, it was my new home in Brooklyn that allowed me to try the delicious meals, as they do ship to New York as well as most of the contiguous US states (you can check by entering your area code on the site) from three warehouses in New Jersey, Texas and California.

The thing that sets this meal kit apart is the affordability, as I was shocked to see that portions start at just $4.69, with options for a two-person box or a family-sized box of four portions. You can choose between three and six meals per week, and pick if you want the box to be vegetarian.

As a carnivore myself, I left the box unchecked and ordered three meals, trying to see the full range of options when it came time to cooking, prep and clean-up. I loved to see that many meals only required one pot or pan, while others on the weekly menu are listed as 30-minute meals or meals with no knife required — perfect for cooking with the kids and those with no knife skills.

A small head of lettuce in a hand
This was the cutest (and freshest) head of mini lettuce I have ever seen, and needed to share it with the world.
Sophie Cannon

A few other things I noticed while cooking up my Buffalo Fried Chicken Sandwich was just how fresh the ingredients were, admiring the tiny head of butter lettuce and the soft dinner rolls. This was a 30-minute meal, and it truly was, as I was able to toss the green beans in the oven and work on the chicken at the same time, without feeling stressed or getting too messy.

A plate of a buffalo chicken sandwich on a plate with beans and a computer screen showing that same dish
I now have a deeper appreciation for fried chicken, after now having made it from scratch.

A pan full of red sauce, cheese and gnocchi on a stove
The one-pan gnocchi was super easy and also delicious, something Dinnerly does very well.


One thing to note is that the Dinnerly recipe cards are digital, so don’t be alarmed when opening your box and they aren’t there. I personally like this for recycling sake, but it was a bit tricky to not touch my computer with oily hands when trying to scroll to the next step. The plus side is that the recipes live online, so no need to store sticky cards in your bookshelf or try and photocopy for later.


  • Dinnerly is one of the most affordable meal kits out there, perfect for families and new chefs alike.
  • Vegetarians will rejoice at their meat-free offerings
  • Digital recipe cards are on the site, so no need to keep a paper copy.


  • Make sure to check your zip code for delivery, as some areas in the Midwest and others are not eligible as of time of publication
  • Everything was included except for pantry staples like flour, salt, pepper and eggs, so be sure to check recipes before heading to the store if needed.

Starting at $11 per serving

A Purple Carrot meal box and the ingredients
The plant-based ingredients came pre-packaged per meal, making it easy to meal prep and plan when I wanted to cook each one.
Sophie Cannon

100% plant-based, 100% stands up to the taste-test, too.

Purple Carrot is one of the vegan and vegetarian-friendly meal kit boxes that friends had been telling me to try for a while now, and I’m so glad I did. Though I am a carnivore through and through, I found that Purple Carrot is a great introduction to vegan eating.

When choosing a meal to cook, I knew I wanted something that I loved already in its original meaty form, made vegan, to really put the box to the test. I picked the vegan chick’n and dumplings with oyster mushrooms and green beans, which had a hefty cook time of 40 to 50 minutes, according to the recipe booklet.

After I had chopped everything down to size and foraged for my mushroom heads (well, picked them apart from the woody stems, but it sure felt like foraging) 15 minutes had already ticked by. The rest of the cook was pretty straight forward, used minimal dishes, and came out almost exactly like the photo, albeit a bit more soupy of a sauce.

A cutting board with veggies
I love chopping and prepping, especially when the ingredients are so fresh and colorful.
Sophie Cannon

Did this vegan dupe stand up to comforting chicken and dumplings? Absolutely. And I didn’t feel like taking a food-coma nap afterward since all the ingredients were so light and nutritious. Another pro; everything was included in the box expect salt, pepper and oil, as they made sure to package vegan butter, flour, baking soda and thyme into pre-measured baggies.

A bowl of soup with mushrooms and a recipe card
Can you believe this is vegan? The “chicken” dumplings were the best, and no meat was required.
Sophie Cannon

For those who do want to eat plant-based for all three meals of the day and then some, the site does offer a lot of different options, changed up every week. On the site now, curate your box with eight different dinner options, two breakfasts, two lunches and six different snacks from an array of vegan companies.


  • Totally plant-based meals that don’t sacrifice taste
  • Great for plant-based eaters or an easy introduction for non-vegans to try it out
  • Fresh ingredients, all pre-packaged per meal for easy prep and meal planning for the week.
  • Creative recipes that are tasty and not just tofu or veggies.


  • A a bit more prep work but worth the extra chopping time for the taste
  • Everything was included (even baking soda and butter) except for oil, salt and pepper

Starting at $9.58 per serving, use our link for $60 off across your first 4 orders

A green Freshly box and containers of food sit on a table
Freshly comes pre-packages in cardboard sleeves, which also include heating instructions.
Sophie Cannon

Freshly is the way to go when looking for ready-made meals that heat up in a snap and are substantial enough to satisfy for a lunch or dinner for one.

The pre-made meals come refrigerated on ice, making it easy to store right from the box to your fridge for safekeeping. The meals are single servings, making portion control a breeze as well as prep (there isn’t any) and cleanup (also none).

The site offers a weekly menu of options, ranging from comfort food such as the BBQ and mac and cheese I was about to inhale, to asian-style chicken, turkey meatballs and even a carb-swapping cauliflower bowl. They are sorted into different categories as well, such as Crafted Classics, their Signature Collection and Takeout Twists.

A white container of mac and cheese and BBQ beef sit on a table
Okay, I should have plated this to look prettier, but the taste of the creamy pasta and hearty meat was delicious and well cooked.
Sophie Cannon

My meal fell under the Crafted Classics umbrella — what is more classic and comforting than a plate of barbecue and creamy mac and cheese? After microwaving for about three minutes, my meal was ready to go and I was transported to the south for some of the most tender barbecued beef. It was hard to believe that this meal was microwaved, as the meat retained all of its moisture and the mac and cheese was delicious, too.

Freshly is the meal service for those who either don’t love to cook or simply don’t have the time, but still love to eat great meals without heading out to a restaurant or grocery store take-out bar.


  • High-quality meals with a weekly rotating menu of options for lunches and dinners
  • All meals come fresh and pre-made, meaning no mess or cleanup afterward, aside from the icepack and packaging it comes with
  • Perfect for on-the-go eating or those that don’t want to have to cook every night while still eating well
  • Meals heat up quickly in the microwave without drying out or tasting stale

Starting at $8.74 per serving, use our link for 65% off and free shipping on your first box 

A beef meal from HelloFresh
Say “hello” to HelloFresh meal, that each come in a recyclable bag with each meal’s ingredients inside.
Sophie Cannon

HelloFresh and hello, easy directions for gourmet-looking meals.

Once you’re ready to cook, each meal is laid out in six easy steps. How they can make both one-pot pasta and a full steak meal into just six steps in beyond me, but it works and makes meals manageable for all skill levels.

Three recipes from HelloFresh
Colorful photos on the recipe cards are appetizing, and offer helpful plating recommendations. The cards also include a calorie listing for those counting.
Sophie Cannon

I decided to go big or go home with my test cook, choosing a steak with mushroom cream sauce and roasted potatoes and carrots for a Monday night dinner. HelloFresh packages each set of ingredients conveniently into individual brown paper bags. Once unpackaged, I did a quick wash and dry for the produce, and the rest of the meal was pretty straight forward.

I timed the cook, and sure enough it was pretty close to the estimation on the cards — 47 minutes for me for a slightly more well-done steak and an older oven for the crispy potatoes.


  • Easy to customize meals and skip weeks. Can order meals for two or four people, with two to six meals per week
  • Easy to follow and aesthetically pleasing recipe cards in the box for each meal
  • Accurate estimates for prep and cook time for an easy weekly schedule.


  • Make sure to have kitchen staples such as salt, pepper, butter and oil in the house, as they are not included in the box.

Starting at $5.99 per serving, use code NYPOST for up to $40 off your first box.

A box of Daily Harvest meals and frozen meals on a counter
The packaging was almost too cute to open — well, almost.
Sophie Cannon

Daily Harvest truly means daily, as I happily ate a breakfast, lunch and a dessert in one sitting when diving into my box of frozen meals and snacks.

They keep it simple; everything comes frozen on dry ice (careful with kids if they help with the unboxing process!) and ready to either reheat, blend, or in the case of ice cream, thaw and enjoy. Since there wasn’t much to actually cook, I took a look at their site while my sweet potato and wild rice harvest bowl was heating up in the microwave and my ice cream tempering on the counter. The site has loads of options, ranging from smoothies and lattes for a quick drink or start to the day, followed by oat and chia bowls for breakfast, harvest bowls, flatbreads and soups for lunch or dinner, bites for, well a quick bite, and scoops for dessert, which is Daily Harvest’s name for their non-dairy ice cream.

Their plans range by items, not by servings or meals per week like other companies, which is great for those who don’t abide by traditional meal times, are busy and need quick bites during the day or simply love pre-made but super nutritious meals in a snap.

A pint of ice cream, a bowl, and a cup of coffee sit on a counter
Even the coffee came from a Daily Harvest package, so you really can enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Sophie Cannon

My sweet potato bowl took about four minutes in the microwave, and I was surprised by how well it turned out. I’d never microwaved avocados or white beans before and was expecting a less-than-savory texture, but was instead given a well-cooked but still fresh tasting meal in under five minuets flat.

All in all, Daily Harvest is a great kit to have on-hand and in-freezer at all times, whether it be as part of your daily routine or a great fall back when waking up late and needing a quick smoothie or bowl or a dinner for the family on busy nights.


  • Great selection of meals, including breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, drinks and desserts
  • Perfect for on-the-go eaters, busy people who forget to eat but want to be nutritious.
  • Most meals heat up in the microwave or stovetop in under 10 minutes, others need to be blended and some you can eat frozen (ice cream and frozen treats)


  • Make sure to let ice cream thaw 10 minutes before digging in (I know it’s hard) to get a creamier texture

Plans range from $65 to $185 per delivery, get $100 off your first four boxes of with code PLANTS100

A box of Splendid Spoon meals and smoothies on a kitchen counter
The rainbow of colors truly was splendid to see!
Sophie Cannon

Splendid Spoon is a top pick for those who can’t be bothered with pots and pans but value healthy and tasty plant-based meals and drinks.

The company is less meal kit and more delivery option for nutrient-packed soups, bowls, smoothies and wellness juice shots. When setting up my account, the first thing to make note of was just how many options for breakfast, lunch and dinner there are. There are currently 31 different bowls and soups, six varieties of noodles, five lighter “reset” soups for diet days, three wellness shots, and 16 flavors of smoothies. I’d say a combination for every day of the week, but there are so many more than that.

In unboxing, one quick thing to remember is that there is dry ice that comes on top of your order, so make sure to have an adult unpack and dispose of the ice.

Smoothies from Splendid Spoon
This smoothie tasted like a milkshake, but far more healthy than actually drinking one.
Sophie Cannon

As for the meals, the smoothies and wellness shots can be thawed in the fridge or enjoyed as an icy treat. I chose the latter for my mango guava smoothie due to my impatience, and it was a refreshing option that I sipped on during this whole review, and eventually melted into a drinkable smoothie. The wellness shots are more like a few sips, but great as an ice cube or a liquid — up to you. The soups, however, should be reheated in my opinion and can be warmed in the microwave, as the bowls they come in are micro-safe and BPA-free. Can I hear it for no dishes?


  • Plant-based people take note as every meal and smoothie is plant-based
  • Not boring, as there are more than 50 options ranging from soups to bowls to smoothies
  • Great for on-the-go meals and snacks for busy people, post-gym pick-me-ups and no dishes to do after


  • Not a total replacement for every night of the week (but pretty close)

Starting at $25/day

Sakara meal kit with a tote bag, food and a brown box
A meal kit that comes with a tote bag? How trendy!
Sophie Cannon

Clean eating has never been easier with Sakara Life calling the shots for every meal of the day.

The plant-based and nutrition-focused meal delivery service is one that can really revamp the way you eat breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. The meals each come in a take-out style container, with a sticker indicating when I should eat the meal right down to the time and day of the week. Don’t tell, but for this test, I pulled out a Saturday breakfast and a Friday dinner, just to see the range of offerings… and because I needed to know what a pink poppy seed muffin looked like, even though it was 6 p.m.

The best part for me was the portability and ease of the whole thing, especially as someone who skips breakfast or opts for a muffin when running late.

While heating my dinner bowl, a Sakara burger with chili cashew creme, I decided to browse the site to see what sort of plans they offered. For those that want to try out a weekly meal plan but are a bit timid, they do have a one-week trial to test the waters. If you like it, you can set up a reoccurring subscription and have Sakara Life meals all week long, your choice as to which meals of the day and for how many days. Bonus points for being super customizable, as some may want just a few days a week and others an entire fridge of pre-planned meals for their three squares.

A muffin, orange, and salad with a veggie burger
For on-the-go on the way to yoga or Pilates, this meal kit makes total sense.
Sophie Cannon

With my burger bowl, after incorporating the cashew creme and the other garlicy dressing, I do have to say that while not a burger in my meat-eating eyes, this was one of the best salads I have had — ever. I’m always wary of salads that come pre-made, as it is always a game of dodging wilted lettuce and mushy greens. Even though this bowl was shipped to my door, everything was crunchy and fresh, no wilted leaves in sight.


  • Plant-based to a whole new level; very healthy salads, breakfasts and bowls for super clean eating
  • Unique offerings; not just trying to mimic traditional meals with plants, but creating whole new dishes and flavor profiles
  • Labeled options for every day of the week, three meals a day; takes the planning out of meal prep
  • Offers a detox program as well


  • Sacrifices some flavor for health but replaces with superfoods and a rainbow of nutrients

Plans start at $65 per delivery, use our link for 30% off plus a free gift

A box of Hungryroot groceries and food on a table
This was the easiest grocery shop, as I didn’t even have to lift a finger.
Sophie Cannon

If you find yourself rooting around your kitchen all day for meals and snacks, Hungryroot may be the best choice for you.

When I first signed up to make my profile, I was taken through a fun, almost Buzzfeed-style quiz that had me pick and choose my favorite types of foods and think about my eating habits. Being honest with myself, I was sure to check the boxes for liking sweets and snacking, skipping breakfasts and adding snacks to my dinners. At the end of the quiz, you are presented with a customized plan of meals and servings, as well as the option to add on breakfasts, snacks and sweets.

A black and white recipe sheet from Hungryroot
The recipes come all printed on one sheet to save some space, but you can also go rouge and make your own creations with the ingredients.
Sophie Cannon

While some of the food is Hungryroot brand, such as the veggies, pasta, meat and rice, some of the other items, including snacks, deserts and even the buns for my burgers, were from other unique brands. This was actually really cool to see, as by ordering one box, I was exposed to new products that I can now go out and but on their own when I run out — looking at you, Pipcorn cheese balls!

I chose to cook a Hungryroot brand spinach feta turkey burger on an Ozery OneBun multigrain bun with Hungryroot avocado crema. The burgers came in pre-formed, pre-cooked patties, and were super easy to pan sear while the buns toasted, all in all totaling about 10 minutes total for a healthy and hearty lunch. The burger itself was delicious, and something I would seek out in a grocery store to buy again.

A turkey burger on a plate with avocado and ketchup
For an easy lunch, this turkey burger hit the spot and even came with a portion of guacamole as a topping.
Sophie Cannon

While this particular meal was on the easy side, while browsing the site I was happy to see a whole range of options, including groceries to have in the fridge, which I found to be super unique and well-needed in the traditional meal kit space.

This company is great for those who have a culinary mind and like cooking their own recipes but also like trying new ones, especially with healthy ingredients and fun new products. Plus, it saves a trip to the grocery store and scrambling to plan a weekly menu on the spot.


  • Plans can include full meals, snacks and sweets — perfect for mindful eating all day
  • A super fun and unique combination of a grocery delivery service with options to choose recipes as well — great to re-stock the fridge and help spark inspiration for meal planning
  • The mix of Hungryroot branded items and other brands is a great way to explore new products
  • Great for those who like to cook on their own terms but also enjoy a new recipe now and then


  • Recipe card is found on the back of your order receipt and not too colorful, but gets the job done

Starting at $11.99 per serving

Green Chef meal bag and box
For colorful meals that follow a healthier lifestyle, Green Chef is for you.
Sophie Cannon

The green cousin of Hello Fresh, Green Chef stands out as a traditional meal kit with better-for-you options. When researching all the kits on the market, I noticed that Green Chef offered the first Keto options for those on the fad diet trend. Now, they offer an array of other options too, from vegetarian to plant-based to good old fashioned carnivore.

Another highlight is the allergen-friendly notes on the cards, as there are indications on each ingredient that say if it could trigger an allergy, for example an “SH” next to the shrimp and an “S” next to the sesame sauce for those with a soy allergy.

A shrimp pasta meal from Green Chef
Is this Asian takeout or did I do this myself? We can’t believe it’s the latter option either.
Sophie Cannon

I went with the sesame shrimp noodle bowls from their gluten-free menu, which claimed to take 25 minutes to cook. The cooking itself stood up to the pretty picture on the recipe card, and so did the cook time; a great sign for those who only have a half-hour lunch break or don’t want to cook for hours only to eat in minutes. The kit came with everything I needed, sans salt, pepper and cooking oil, so make sure you have those on hand.


  • Great for those with specific diets like Keto, Paleo or plant-based
  • Also great for those with allergies in the house, as the cards indicate allergens in each basket ingredient
  • Super fresh-tasting fish that comes on ice in the box
  • Each meal takes six steps to complete, usually under about 35 minutes; perfect for quick lunches and dinners

Starting at $8.99/meal

A green box of Mosaic foods and a few boxes of meal kit items and soups
Soups, oats, noodles and more!
Sophie Cannon

You don’t need to puzzle over this one, as we’ve put it all together for you. Mosaic is another frozen meal delivery service that sends breakfast, lunch and dinner to your door and can be reheated in the microwave in five minutes or less for a quick and healthy meal.

To build your plan, Mosaic operates on an à la carte basis, with a minimum order of $70 and free shipping on orders over $100. I personally love this style, as it helps to eliminate food waste and saves room in the freezer for exactly what you want.

When filling your cart, choose from Veggie Bowls for lunches and dinners, Oat Bowls for breakfasts, Soups for a great snack or meal and Mosaic+ meals for something a bit more gourmet to spice things up. Each category is priced out differently, but you can mix and match to reach your minimum box order. Furthermore, deliveries are super easy to customize, as you can get a recurring box every week, every two weeks or every four weeks, with the option to pause or cancel should you be out of town.

For my trial box, I ordered a few things from each category but decided on soup and some noodles for lunch. The directions were pretty straightforward, as all you need is a microwave and about five minutes of patience before food is served. The soup took an initial five minutes and then an additional two, as per the instructions, so be sure to read the packaging for the exact cooking time.

A box of noodles, a plate of noodles with chopsticks and a bowl of brown soup
For a full meal, I opened a noodle dish and a hearty soup.
Sophie Cannon

After the glorious sound of my microwave’s ding, I enjoyed the Spicy Dan Dan Noodles and a cup of Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Soup. I actually had leftovers because it was so filling — always a pro when it comes to plant-based foods.


  • À la carte style, so long as you meet the minimum order of $70
  • Free shipping on orders over $100
  • Customize your delivery time as well, with options for every week, every two weeks or every four weeks. You can also skip or cancel at any time
  • Menus are super easy to read and have specific details on nutrition, ingredients, protein content and more


  • Mosaic specializes in veggie bowls, soups and oat bowls, so not for those that are looking for other options. (But bowls include dishes like pasta and curries, for example, and not just vegetables!)
  • Pay attention to order and shipping minimums

Starting at $9.99/meal, use code NYP100 for $100 off across the first 5 orders

A cardboard box with green writing that says FRESH on it and then a stack of meals in the same packaging. One shows a salad with chicken inside.
For portable salads and meals, Fresh Meal Plan has you covered.
Sophie Cannon

If you’re in the market for a “new year, new you” style of healthy eating but don’t know where to start, Fresh Meal Plan is it.

Especially with diets like keto and paleo becoming all the rage, this meal plan is one of the best to cater to those diets while also being surprisingly filling. I am always a skeptic when it comes to pre-packaged salads and fresh greens, but when my order arrived I was pleasantly presented with a super fresh and crunchy Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad that I ate a few days after receiving my box.

The flexibility of this meal delivery system is also something to note, as you can order meals a la carte for $12.99 per meal or you can subscribe to the service and save up to 23% depending on your package. They offer six, 10 or 14 meals per week, with prices between $9.99/meal and $11.99/meal, still a dollar less than the a la carte option. They last up to 10 days in the refrigerator, so stocking up is definitely an option.

I wanted to try a full day’s worth of meals, so I also tried the All American Keto Breakfast, which had eggs, bacon, sausage and a berry compote — no toast though, hence the keto diet. I opted for the microwave and while the bacon was perfectly crispy and sausage heated all the way through, I should have reheated the eggs differently. Also note to remove the dressing and sauce containers under the plastic film before microwaving, as I narrowly avoided a very melty and messy situation.

A side by side image showing the packaging of a Fresh Meal Plan meal and then some eggs, sausage, bacon and coffee.
For an easy keto breakfast, Fresh Meal Plan has got you covered. As a tip, remove the sauce and the eggs before microwaving for a better texture from the fridge.

A photo of a burger patty, sweet potatoes and a pickle
For best results, remove the pickle and sauce before microwaving the patty and fries and you’ll have yourself a hearty keto lunch or dinner.


As stated above, I fell in love with the filling and fresh Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad, which also happened to be keto, including the creamy dressing included on the side. I loved how this was a true ready-made meal, with no heating or even re-plating required. If you spend too much time and money on take-out health food or the Whole Foods salad bar, this is the kit for you.


  • Great options for keto diets as well as paleo, vegan and generally healthy meals
  • The salads are very filling and great for work lunches on the go or quick dinners, and super easy to transport in recyclable containers
  • Can order a la carte or on a subscription basis to fit any lifestyle, ranging from six meals/week to 14


  • Some meals do better in the oven or stovetop rather than in the microwave, like eggs, but others can be eaten right from the fridge, like the salads and bowls

Starting at $6.90 per meal, use code POST30 to take 30% off your first order for new customers

A blue box that reads "RealEats" and four packaged meals on a brown table
This was the most unique packaging I have seen, with plastic baggies of the food made to be heated in water.
Sophie Cannon

RealEats provides real, fresh food and a really fresh new way to heat and eat, too.

This service is another ready-made one, but with a cool sous vide style of cooking. When I got my box of meals, I was immediately intrigued by the packaging, as each meal was vacuum sealed into individual plastic baggies, separating the main course with any sides or sauces that come with the meal in their own bag. This was super cool and also great for storage space in the fridge and freezer, since they don’t come in a bulky box, but a bit heavy on plastic waste if that is something that bugs you.

I started with breakfast and set a pan of water to boil for my Hearty Roasted Breakfast Hash. I have never boiled my breakfast before, but after six minutes in the water, I removed with tongs as instructed on the label and carefully cut the baggy to reveal my meal. It was cooked all the way through and seasoned well, the only challenge being not burning my fingers when plating right from the water.

A pair of tongs dips a bag of potato hash into a pot of water
Never have I ever boiled my breakfast before, but I’m now very glad I did.

A plate of potato hash on a white plate with a cup of coffee and a fork on a brown table
After carefully cutting open the baggie, this was the finished product, which was cooked all the way through and seasoned super well.


While my next meal of Dijon Mustard Steak was busy boiling (still so cool and so weird!) I took a look at the menu and saw they offer a wide variety of weekly meals, mostly for meat-eaters but with some choices for keto-dieters and a few vegetarian options, too. They also offer soups, chili, sides, greens, drinks, smoothies and a la carte snacks in addition to their meals and even options to add individually packaged cuts of meat like chicken, steak, fish and more to enhance your box.

There is also flexibility in the type of plan you choose, with options for four meals per week, six, eight or 12. You can also toggle the “add breakfasts” option to add the same amount of breakfast meals to your plan, which also affects the price per meal. Keep in mind, these are all single serve, which is perfect for single-person households or as a great way to bring meals on the go, so long as you have a microwave or a pot of boiling water handy.

Three bags of potatoes, veggies and a steak with mustard sauce
Each element of my meal was packaged individually, with a three-minute cook time for the beans and potatoes and a six-minute label on the steak — although I was able to use the same pot of water for all of them!

A plate of steak, potatoes and green beans and carrots on a white plate
I was so shocked at how tender the steak was after it boiled for the allotted six minutes, not to mention how well-seasoned everything was.



  • Super easy to store, heat and eat, due to the sous vide style of boiling to reheat, which takes about six minutes from refrigerated
  • Veggies remained crunchy and meat was very tender and not overcooked after the 6-minute boil or less, making for a well-seasoned and well-cooked meal for one
  • Lots of options weekly, but mostly for meat eaters who love chicken and steak-based meals
  • Perfect option for single-person households or smaller families, as each meal is single-serve
  • Many ingredients are sourced from local farmers in upstate New York, supporting independent farms in the area while also using fresh and healthy produce and meats


  • Not for families or for leftovers, as each meal is pre-portioned for one smaller meal.

Meal kits compared

Name Price Shipping Diet
Home Chef $8.99+ Free over $45 Most all diets, vegetarian, carb-conscious, calorie-conscious
Gobble $11.99+ Free on first box, then $8.99 Most all diets, vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free
Territory Foods $13.95+ $7.95+ Most all diets, paleo, Keto, plant-based, vegetarian, vegan, Whole 30, low fat, low carb
Sunbasket $9.99+ Free on first box, then $7.99 Most all diets, gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, vegetarian, added sugar free
EveryPlate $4.99+ $9.99 Most all diets, vegetarian.
Martha & Marley Spoon $8.69+ $11.99 Most all diets, low calories, dairy-free, low carb, vegan, vegetarian
Factor $10.99+ $9.99 Most all diets, Keto, low calorie, vegetarian, vegan
Blue Apron $7.99+ $9.99 Most all diets (and wine!), vegetarian, WW friendly, diabetes friendly
Dinnerly $4.99+ $11.99 Most all diets, low calorie, low carb, vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free
Purple Carrot $11.99+ Free on first box, then $10 Plant-based/vegan
Freshly $9.58+ $9.99+ Most all diets, gluten-free, dairy-free, plant-based, carb-smart, calorie-conscious
HelloFresh $8.99+ $9.99 Most all diets, vegetarian, vegan, carb-smart, calorie-smart
Daily Harvest $5.99+ Free Plant-based, organic
Splendid Spoon a la carte pricing Free on orders over 10 meals Plant-based, gluten-free, non GMO
Sakara Life $25/day+ Price varies Plant-based
Hungryroot $65+ per delivery Free on orders over $70, $6.99 otherwise Groceries; most all diets
Green Chef $11.99+ $9.99 Most all diets, Keto, paleo, gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian.
Mosaic Foods $8.99+ Free on subscriptions of 12 items or more Vegan and vegetarian
Fresh Meal Plan $10.49+ Price varies Most all diets, Keto, paleo, vegan, lean
RealEats $9.44+ $9.99 Most all diets, plant-based, vegetarian, vegan, Keto, low-calorie, wheat-free, dairy-free

Meal Kit FAQ:

What is the difference between a meal kit and a meal delivery service? Well, this one is a bit tricky, as both are included in this roundup and there is some overlap. A meal kit is usually a subscription-based program that sends ingredients and recipes to your home. A meal delivery service may be the above, or be pre-cooked meals or grocery items in addition or instead of ingredients for a specific meal.

Do you need to subscribe to the meal kit? Most of the time, yes! Usually a subscription is needed to try the meals, however, some companies also have a marketplace that sells items a la carte.

How often do offerings and menus change? Typically, sites will switch up their meal offerings on a weekly basis

Do I have to be a good cook to use a meal kit? No! Meal kits come in many different skill levels, from simply microwaving to more intensive chopping and cooking. They can also be a great way to learn how to cook and teach children.

What to look for when choosing a meal kit:

Diet: Pay attention to the dietary options each service caters to, from vegetarian and vegan to Keto and paleo.

Household Size: Count the number of people in your family and then account for how much they eat to best calculate how many servings you need to feed everyone. Some kits detailed above have larger portions, while others are single serve only.

Budget: Meal kits and services have a wide range of prices. Some offer free shipping while others have a minimum spend, and other specialty or health-related plans may cost more.

Time: Think about how long you want to be cooking for each night. Some meals require 30 or more minutes to cook, not including cleaning up. Others are microwavable and thus don’t require clean up time, either.

Check out New York Post Shopping for more content.

Source link