The 5 Best Cheap Meal Delivery Services to Try This Year
These reliable and flavorful meal kit delivery services won't break the bank.
Finding the cheapest meal delivery service could lead you down a rabbit hole that may never stop. With meal delivery services becoming increasingly popular during the pandemic, this list will help you avoid the never ending chase.
If you're like us and find yourself at home the majority of the time, there are more meals to plan out versus when you’re at the office and constantly on the go. As tempting as a DoorDash or Postmates order can be, it’s a habit that can get expensive, fast. Plus, having ingredients or meals delivered to your door gives you a different level of convenience that's hard to beat. Still, the most common question is: at what cost?
Are there cheap meal delivery services?
There's a common misconception that meal kits are disproportionately expensive compared to grocery shopping, but this often isn't the case. Depending on how many meals you eat per day and the types of recipes you like to make, the cost per serving varies—it can sometimes even be cheaper than what you would normally spend at the grocery store.
The cheapest meal delivery service options start at under $5 per serving, and it gets even lower with introductory deals. Have we piqued your interest yet?
How to choose a meal delivery service?
When looking for the cheapest meal delivery service, there happen to be quite a few. You don't have to compromise on quality or taste, either—yet another myth about cheap meal prep delivery. All of the services that we recommend below come with diverse menus and either deliver fresh ingredients or pre-made meals to your door. The range of those recipes will differ depending on the service, but we'll jump into that later.
To pick the right budget-friendly meal kit, you'll want to consider a few things. The most obvious is price; the range across all services is usually between $5 to $15 per serving. What you actually want to eat is another important factor when selecting your meal kit. Taking a look at menu options beforehand is the way to go (if the company allows it), and don't forget to check out add-ons like extra sides or proteins.
Other considerations for cheap meal delivery services largely surround your lifestyle. Are you vegetarian or only eat gluten-free? You'll want to make sure the service you choose has enough meal options for your preferences to keep you satisfied from week to week. Also, think about how often you eat to determine how many meals you should subscribe to per week. Finding that sweet spot will help you cut down on food waste.
We'll also let you in on a little secret: All of the best meal delivery services offer a sign-up bonus, discount, or free trial. You shouldn't have to pay the full serving prices for at least the first few weeks that you try out a service. Most companies also have easy cancellation policies in case you want to take a break for a while.
We took all of those factors to determine the best cheap meal kit delivery services for 2022. Here are companies that made the cut.
Best Cheap Meal Kit Delivery Services
With some of the most 5-star reviews we've seen on weekly recipes, it’s hard not to agree with the masses when it comes to HelloFresh. The meals are notably both delicious and super simple to prepare. Some meals, like the Creamy Chicken and Bacon-Filled Ravioli, take as little as 15 minutes to prep. HelloFresh sends you three to six recipe boxes per week, including all the ingredients and a step-by-step recipe. While you'll need some essential kitchen and pantry items like eggs, salt and pepper, and your cooking utensils, HelloFresh boxes include everything else—even condiment packs.
HelloFresh has six general meal plans to offer according to different meal preferences, with each meal starting at $7.49 per portion. Feeding a family, watching your calories, or eating pescatarian? There's a plan for you. You can even upgrade your box to more gourmet options if you're looking to splurge a little, or select extra side dishes and on-the-go breakfast options. HelloFresh is also incredibly flexible, allowing you to amend, skip, or cancel your order weekly.
Daily Harvest's frozen meals arrive at your door “almost prepared”, making it one of the most efficient options on our list. We dare to say that this meal delivery service has almost no prep involved—recipes take a max of five minutes to whip up after thawing from the freezer.
The OG items on the Daily Harvest menu are the smoothies. Other options include flatbreads, bowls, and homemade non-dairy mylks. Daily Harvest recipes are a true testament to the fact that some of our childhood favorite indulgences like a PB&J (Raspberry + Mulberry Seeded Forager Bowl) and a mint chocolate chip milkshake (Mint + Cacao Smoothie) can be seriously healthy. Recipes are organic and contain only whole fruits and vegetables. As a result, you'll never catch yourself struggling to pronounce ingredients in Daily Harvest recipes.
You can choose from various subscription plans, from small to large boxes containing 9 to 24 items. Daily Harvest is impressively affordable, with meals starting at $5.99 and only getting as expensive as $9.99.
Use the Promo Code: DH40 and get up to $40 off your first box when you sign up!
The beauty in Hungryroot is that it's the only place you need to go for your weekly grocery shopping. You’ll take a quiz to tell the service a little bit about your dietary goals and habits, and they suggest a bespoke grocery plan to fit your needs. Grocery plans are versatile to match your lifestyle, whether you're gluten-free, dairy-free, meat-free, or anything in between. You'll get snacks—like fresh and straightforward cherry tomatoes and Siggi's yogurt—to reach for during that inevitable midday slump. You'll also get recipe suggestions like a Niçoise salad or a veggie stir fry. The good news is, Hungryroot's suggested recipes are easy to whip up in around ten minutes with a maximum of just four ingredients.
You can expect Hungryroot to help you plan for your upcoming meals, or if you want to be in charge of what’s on your plate simply edit the cart before delivery each week. Plans start at around $65 a week and are based on the personalization and how much food you add to your cart. Don’t forget, shipping is free for deliveries over $70.
Do you ever crave your mom's homemade meatloaf or a hot cup of classic tomato soup? EveryPlate is here to make it possible with its cheap meal prep kit. You get home-cooked favorites that are easy to make and usually take about 30-40 minutes to cook. The menu features around 17 different recipes, each crafted to be completed in six steps or less. You can select meat, seafood, and veggie options each week, with personalizations offered on the majority of meals. It's worth noting, though, that the service hits the nail on the head with comfort foods, but dietary restrictions or options are not top of mind here. You won't find specifics like plant-based, keto, or paleo plans, but they do usually have around five vegetarian meals per week to pick from.
This is the second cheapest meal delivery service we've tried, coming in at $5.49 per serving for two and $4.99 per serving for four. And when you add in special sign-up promotions, we've seen the price go to under $3 per serving.
Home Chef has the most extensive menu selection by far among the services on this list, with 20+ menu items per week to choose from. You'll find carb-conscious options like Dijon-Cider Vinaigrette Chicken with Feta Asparagus, and heartier (yet still fancy) meals like the Bistro Burger au Poivre. Home Chef also has plenty of options for those counting calories and looking for healthier meals, but vegetarians will find only a few options on the menu per week. While this is a bummer for some, don't forget that Home Chef lets you customize certain dishes to help align with your dietary preferences.
Home Chef meal kits start at $8.99 per serving—there is an order minimum of $49.95 per week, though. In most cases, you can choose from two, four, or six servings for meals and two to six recipes per box, making Home Chef one of the best home meal delivery kits for families. The shipping charges vary for this service, usually ranging from $7.99 to $13.99, depending on your location and order. Again, keep in mind that this is before promotions. With a welcome offer, the first month can be closer to $30 per week. Average cook times per meal range from 15 minutes to an hour, but Home Chef also offers a Fresh and Easy collection for no or low prep meals—perfect for busy days and lazy nights.