Credit: Courtesy Freshly

Want to Try a Meal Kit Service? These Are the 12 Best to Try Now

Because let’s make 2021 a bit easier, shall we?
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Meal kit services have never been in more demand, and the market grows more crowded every day. Even if you love to cook, meal kits can make mealtimes fun and easy. Perhaps, you're a bit bored with your own cooking (especially after all those lockdown months). Meal delivery services, like Marly Spoon and Home Chef, offer delicious and creative recipes for you to try. If time is tight for grocery shopping and meal prep this season, "heat and eat" pre-prepared meals from services like Fresh N' Lean and Sprinly can save time in the kitchen (and at the store). And who can argue with the convenience of meals arriving at your door, all organized and ready to go? Of course, deciding which meal kit is best can depend on what you're looking for. We tested the latest meal kits and here are our top 12 by category, along with how much they cost and what they offer. 

The 12 Best Meal Kits of 2021

Blue Apron
Credit: Courtesy Blue Apron

Best Overall: Blue Apron

One of the OG meal delivery services, Blue Apron is big for a reason. Its products are fresh and high quality, the recipes are simple and easy to follow, and there is plenty of variety when it comes to meals and flavor. I also love that Blue Apron periodically partners with great chefs to create special offerings and offers an expanded menu during holiday seasons to help you cook up celebratory meals. The service offers options for all sorts of dietary needs.

Sign up now: From $8 per serving;

Credit: Courtesy Freshly

Best Variety: Freshly

Don't have the bandwidth to cook from scratch but still want high-quality, chef-inspired meals? Freshly is the service for you. Freshly offers individually packaged fresh (not frozen), heat-and-eat meals, and the service can accommodate a variety of dietary needs and preferences. You can opt for as few as four meals per week or as many as a dozen, choosing each meal from a broad menu of options to customize for your household. Meals can all be heated in the microwave, stovetop, or in an oven, so you have the flexibility of a quick zap for a work-from-home lunch for one or a homier skillet dish.

Sign up now: From $52 per week;

Credit: Courtesy Sunbasket

Best Organic: Sunbasket

Led by executive chef Justine Kelly (of James Beard Award-winning fame), Sunbasket offers tasty meal kits and heat-and-eat meals. Most of Sunbasket's produce, eggs, and dairy ingredients are USDA-certified organic, and meat and seafood are sourced from sustainable farms and fisheries—basically, ingredients you can feel good about consuming. Sunbasket offers dishes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well as snacks and separate proteins. To accomodate for a variety of dietary preferences, Sunbasket has ten different meal plans, including Lean & Clean for under-600-calorie meals based on whole foods, Mediterranean, Paleo, Carb-Conscious, Gluten-Free, Chef's Choice, Vegetarian, Pescatarian, Fresh & Ready, and Diabetes-Friendly.

Sign up now: From $9 per serving;

Credit: Courtesy Marleyspoon

Best Recipes: Martha Stewart & Marley Spoon

This is Martha Stewart's foray into meal kits, and it is unsurprising that the quality is very high. As one would expect from the queen of the kitchen, Martha Stewart & Marley Spoon recipes are easy to follow, and the results are delicious. The ingredients are all pre-measured (reducing food waste), and recipes are six steps or fewer with pictures for added reference. You'll get your choice of nearly 30 different recipes per week, and a lot of the ingredients are custom for the service, such as special spice blends designed by Martha.

Sign up now: From $9.50 per serving;

Hello Fresh
Credit: Courtesy Hello Fresh

Easiest to Prepare: HelloFresh

With meal kit options like Family Friendly, Pescatarian, and Quick and Easy, HelloFresh will undoubtedly have something that works for you and your household. The subscription service is easy to use, with plenty of flexibility to skip weeks as needed, or to cancel without penalty. HelloFresh partners with chefs to ensure that the meals are as delicious as they are simple to prepare.

Sign up now: From $8 per serving;

Home Chef
Credit: Courtesy Home Chef

Most Customizable: Home Chef

If you want a lot of flexibility to customize your meals, this is the service for you. Home Chef lets you upgrade recipes, swap ingredients, double up on meals, or switch the protein. Choose fast five-minute meals or get into some serious cooking with recipes that might take 30 to 50 minutes. Address your dietary needs by noting preferences like carb-conscious or vegetarian. Depending on your selections, your box will include meal kits for you to cook, pre-prepped meals ready for the oven or grill, entrée salads, and even specialty culinary collection recipes that might teach you some new cooking skills. The portions serve two, so this service works well for couples or single folks who want yummy leftovers.

Sign up now: From $9 per serving;

Credit: Courtesy of Factor

Best Protein Options: Factor

Factor is a meal delivery service offering single serving pre-made meals for those seeking a healthy and active lifestyle. With flexibility for different diets, this service is ideal for people who are super conscious about the types of food they eat. Factor especially puts an emphasis on clean eating, starting at the farm. This company is committed to top animal welfare standards, meaning the protein in its meals is fresh, antibiotic- and GMO-free, and free of byproducts. There are three meal plans available (Chef's Choice, Keto, and Calorie Smart), and serving options ranging from four to 18, making this an ideal meal delivery service for a single person focused on clean eating. 

Sign up now: From $60 per week;

meal delivery subscriptions
Credit: Courtesy of Daily Harvest

Best Frozen Options: Daily Harvest

With nutrients locked in practically the moment the produce leaves the farm, Daily Harvest offers its customers healthy, plant-based frozen meals. These single-portion snacks are designed to reduce food waste, and because they're frozen, they can last far longer than fresh meal delivery options. With an extensive menu featuring treats like smoothies, chia bowls, flatbreads, and soups (to name a few), this service is like a bistro via mail, bringing yummy breakfast and lunch snacks right to your door. Customers can choose from three box sizes and customize their box with any items of their choosing.

Sign up now: From $54 per shipment;

meal delivery subscriptions
Credit: Courtesy of Hungryroot

Best Grocery Options: Hungryroot

Hungryroot is technically a grocery service, but because it offers recipes with the suggested ingredients, all of which can be delivered, it fits in well with traditional meal delivery services. You can filter the recipes by cook time, serving size, dietary needs, and proteins to make a custom box that will serve all of your cooking preferences. Unlike a traditional grocery store, where you peruse the aisles and grab a little of everything (which may or may not be consumed), Hungryroot steers you toward groceries that will create specific recipes, reducing food waste and saving you money in the process.  

Use code MEREDITH30 to get 30% off your first two orders and a free gift in every delivery through November 5.

Sign up now: From $59 per shipment;

meal delivery subscriptions
Credit: Courtesy of Sprinly

Best Gluten Free: Sprinly

These pre-made meals are ideal for those with a severe gluten allergy or intolerance because all Sprinly meals are 100 percent gluten free. In every Sprinly order, you can get six, 12, or 18 single-serving meals that are plant-based, organic, and allergy friendly. The menu is diverse with dishes like curry, tofu, fajitas, and quinoa. For added convenience, these meals are pre-made and only need to be heated for about three minutes by microwave, oven, or stovetop. Six new menu items are added every week, but don't worry, customer favorites tend to find their way back into circulation every few months. 

Sign up now: From $109 per week;

meal delivery subscriptions
Credit: Courtesy of Purple Carrot

Best Plant-Based: Purple Carrot

Plant-based diets are good for your body and the planet, and an easy way to have consistent access to healthy vegan meals is through Purple Carrot meal delivery service. This company puts the focus on sustainable food practices, which creates healthy and high-quality meals, and reduces carbon emissions at the same time. Purple Carrot offers breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks as either meal kits or prepared meals. The prepared meals can be ready in minutes and serve one person, whereas the meal kits take around half an hour and can serve two to four people, depending on the recipe. This organic meal delivery service brings fresh ingredients to your table without compromising on nutrients or flavor. Customers also save $20 on their first shipment.

Sign up now: From $72 per week;

meal delivery subscriptions
Credit: Courtesy of Fresh N' Lean

Best Pre-Made: Fresh N' Lean

With offerings across categories like Protein+, Keto, Paleo, Vegan, and Bulk, Fresh N' Lean's ready-in-minutes meals can give everyone a little something. These diverse culinary creations arrive in thin packages that you can stack in the fridge. Simply heat and eat, for the simplest of dining experiences. Customers love that this easy meal delivery service helps them stick to specific diets without sacrificing on time. 

Sign up now: From $52 per week;