What’s the best cheap meal delivery service?
If you’re looking for the cheapest meal delivery service, we’ve put together a list that’ll satisfy both your appetite and budget in one fell swoop. With affordable meal kits at around $5 or $6 a serving, EveryPlate remains the best cheap meal service you’ll find. As a bonus, we loved just about every recipe we tried during several rounds of testing.
Read more: Are Some Meal Kits Cheaper Than Buying Groceries? I Did the Math
Budget-friendly certainly doesn’t have to mean bad, and that includes for meal kits and prepared meal delivery services. If you’re looking to eliminate a few weekly tasks — grocery shopping, meal planning, prep, cooking — without going broke we tested dozens of the top wallet-friendly services to find the very best cheap meal subscriptions in 2023.
Best cheap meal delivery services for 2023
Cheapest meal kits compared
|Service||Recipes per week||Diets good for||Average price per serving||Shipping per box||CNET rating|
|Dinnerly||50+||Vegetarian, keto, paleo, gluten-free, diabetic, pescetarian||$6||$10||7.8|
|Home Chef||28||Keto, low-calorie, gluten-free, pescetarian||$10||Free on boxes over $40||8|
|HelloFresh||50+||Vegetarian, keto, paleo, gluten-free, diabetic, pescetarian||$9||$9||8|
|Blue Apron||16||Vegetarian, low-calorie, gluten-free, pescetarian||$10||$10||8.2|
Cheapest prepared meal services compared
|Service||Subscription only||Meals offered||Meals options per week||Diets good for||Price per serving||Shipping per box||CNET rating|
|Mosaic Foods||Yes||Lunch, dinner||80||Vegan, vegetarian||$6-$12||$8||9.2|
|Daily Harvest||No||Breakfast, lunch, dinner||100+||Vegan, vegetarian, low-calorie, Whle30, paleo||$7-$10||Free||8.8|
|Fresh N Lean||Yes||Breakfast, lunch, dinner||18||Keto, paleo, Whole30, gluten-free Mediterannean, vegan, vegetarian, high-protein||$11-$15||Free over $40||9.2|
|Home Chef Oven Ready||Yes||Lunch, dinner||7||None||$9||Free on boxes over $40||8|
How we test meal kits and meal delivery services
Over the past few years, we’ve tested nearly every meal kit delivery and prepared meal delivery service we could get our oven mitts on, and that includes the best budget meal delivery services. Many of the menu options for the meal delivery services we’ve listed include nutritious plant-based food or high-protein recipes with lots of veggies and lean meats.
To test each cheap meal delivery service, I tried at least four and sometimes as many as 10 meals from any given service. I always choose a range of meals from the various menu and meal plan offerings. For instance, if a meal subscription service offers vegan or vegetarian meals I was sure to try at least one. I also mixed up the cuisine types to include pasta, meat dishes, bowls and other various styles offered by the brand.
To test the best cheap meal kits, there was another set of standards and protocols to adhere to. Here’s more on how we test meal kits at CNET.
Factors to consider when choosing a meal delivery service
After you’ve picked between meal kits or meal delivery, you’ll want to find a service within your budget. There are meal kits with recipes for as cheap as $5 a serving with basic menus and no-frills recipes. More expensive services include recipes with more exotic ingredients, high-end cuts of meat and organic produce but can cost as much as $15 or $20 a serving.
Meal kit or prepared meal delivery
The first big decision you’ll make is whether you want meal kits, which require some prep and cooking, or a prepared meal service that sends fully cooked meals that are ready to heat and eat. Meal kits will demand more of your time and energy but they’ll also cost a little less per serving. Prepared meals require almost no time and energy, other than what it takes to actually eat the food, but typically run a few bucks more per serving.
While most meal delivery services have healthy options, some are much healthier than others. If you’re keen on eating low-calorie, low-carb, plant-based or pescatarian food, certain meal kits and meal delivery services will be better than others. Our list of the healthiest meal delivery services for 2023 is a good place to find all the most nutritious options.
Number of meals per week
With almost every service, the more meals or servings your order per delivery, the cheaper it becomes per meal. But you’ll want to hone in on exactly how much food makes sent for your household. If you can’t imagine yourself cooking more than twice per week, don’t order more than two meal kits because they typically won’t last more than a week in the fridge.
Most prepared meals either arrive frozen or can be frozen after unboxing. That means it’s less of an issue if you order too many meals on your first go around. Most services allow you to change the number of meals or servings in your plan even after you’ve started.
Why you should trust us
Our meal delivery experts have logged more than 5 years of cooking more than 75 meal kits and tasting more than 100 prepared meals from various services to help land on our list of the best healthy meal subscriptions in 2023.