Durham is a mid-size city with a strong food culture and lots of farmers markets where it’s easy to find fresh produce for delicious meals. And yet, some of the locals seem to prefer the convenience of meal delivery services.
This made me curious, so I set out to find the best meal delivery services in Durham in an attempt to understand the phenomenon. I learned that you can have fresh ingredients delivered to your doorstep packed as pre-portioned meal kits or prepared meals and that the offer is diverse enough to satisfy even the pickiest foodie.
I came to love Home Chef’s diverse menu due to its collection of simple, easy-to-prepare, customizable recipes that work for the entire family. But I don’t expect everyone will have the same preferences, so make sure to check my entire list of the best meal delivery services in Durham!
Home Chef – Best service for convenient, simple, tasty meals
Blue Apron – Great service for a fine dining experience
Purple Carrot – Best service for a vegetarian or plant-based diet
HelloFresh – Best family-friendly meal kit delivery service
Sunbasket – Best for diverse culinary preferences
See 5 more meal delivery services in Durham
Flexible meal plans (easy to change your preferences)
30+ unique recipes per week
Three dietary options including veggie, low-carb, or cal-conscious
Current deal: Get 60% off your first three boxes
Durham is a city where people enjoy flexibility and diversity when it comes to food. That’s why a service like Home Chef, where customization and variety are the main drivers, is so popular. The customization options alone (you can upgrade or swap the protein) make Home Chef the best option in what Southern Living Magazine once called the “tastiest town in the South”.
The Home Chef menu includes family-friendly international culinary options packed as easy-to-cook meal kits (some take under 30 minutes to prepare), breakfast options (ready in around 10 minutes), and extras such as snacks and protein.
Plus, as my colleague’s detailed Home Chef review states, you’ll also find delicious oven- and grill-ready options that make dinner-time a lot more interesting. The ingredients are always fresh and selected at the peak of their nutritional level to enhance the taste and the texture of the food.
Over 85% of Blue Apron packaging is recyclable
19+ unique recipes per week plus add-ons
Dietary options include vegetarian, carb-conscious, diabetes-friendly, and WW™ recommended
Current deal: Enjoy $110 off across your first 5 orders
Blue Apron tries to find the balance between high-quality meals and affordable prices and sweetens the deal with an excellent wine offer (not included in the main menu). This is quite interesting since Durham is well-known for its local breweries and craft beer culture.
The meal kit recipes vary in complexity, but I found the step-by-step cooking instructions extremely helpful (especially the ones that include extra tips). Check our well-detailed Blue Apron review for more on this.
On the other hand, if you’re not too much into cooking your meals, Blue Apron also has a few delicious prepared dishes that only need about three minutes to heat up in the microwave. Blue Apron have recently added a small number of weekly add-ons which include protein packs, breakfasts, and desserts.
I like that all the ingredients are fresh, sustainably sourced, and portioned to fit the number of servings (Blue Apron’s menu is designed for couples and families). This way, Blue Apron helps reduce food waste and provides you with perfect portion control.
Meal kits and prepared meals
20 unique recipes (kits and prepared meals) per week
Easy to find nutrition info for each recipe
Current deal: Get $30 off with code carrot30
Purple Carrot’s menu fits extremely well with Durham’s farm-to-table culture where local farmers bring fresh, ripe produce to the city’s farmers markets. The service offers the same quality of ingredients but it also packs everything up in delicious meal kits and prepared meals delivered to your doorstep (perfect for busy people with no time to shop or cook).
Based on my colleague’s excellent Purple Carrot review, the recipes follow specific diets such as vegetarian, vegan, high-protein, low-cal, gluten-free, and more. In fact, the menu looks so good that it convinced even a meat-eater like me to switch to plant-based foods for a while!
I also liked the convenience of the meals – even the meal kits come with the ingredients sliced and diced. All you have to do is throw them in the pan/pot (following the instructions) and wait for the meal to cook.
Fresh and affordable
25+ unique recipes per week
Meals designed by professional chefs and nutritionists
Durham is a city with many family-owned restaurants where it’s easy to find warm, comfort foods that fit the preferences of both adults and children. Therefore, it’s easy to see why HelloFresh, a meal kit service with a family-friendly menu, is quite popular.
Plus, the menu is inclusive! There are lots of classic recipes but you’ll also find options for vegetarians, pescatarians, and low-carb or low-calorie diets. And, according to my colleague’s in-depth HelloFresh review, there are easy-prep meal kits that take about 30 minutes to cook.
To be fair, I was more interested in the menu diversity, since there’s a well-balanced mixture of American, Mediterranean, and Asian cuisine. Also, I like the meat to starch and veggie ratio in each serving.
99% USDA-certified organic fresh produce, eggs, milk, and yogurt
Responsibly-raised meats from reliable farmers
Meal kits and prepared meals
Durham has a strong global culinary culture with an incredible offer of international food specialties. So, anyone who wants to replicate this diversity at home will love the Sunbasket menu!
As my colleague puts it in their amazing Sunbasket review, the service offers a wide range of dinners, breakfasts, lunches, and snacks. I especially loved that, besides connecting cultures through culinary goodness, Sunbasket also supports specific diets.
There are options for low-calorie foods (under 600 calories), paleo, vegetarian, vegan, carb-conscious, pescatarian diets, and more. But, if you want single-serving meals, you’re limited to the Fresh & Ready menu – the meal kits come in two servings.
Fast and easy-to-cook recipes
40 unique recipes per week
Five dietary options including vegetarian, low-calories, or dairy-free
I found Marley Spoon’s meal kits convenient for anyone who hasn’t got the time to go shopping for fresh ingredients and cooking every day. Also, the subscription is affordable, the ingredients are well-selected, and everything is pre-portioned to reduce food waste and keep portion sizes under control.
Of course, as my colleague pointed out in this impressive Marley Spoon review, most people choose this service due to its collaboration with Martha Stewart. However, once you try it, you most likely will find recipes to fit your taste.
I was also charmed by the simplicity of the recipes since they can be cooked in six steps (or less). Overall, the offer is diverse enough to fit the needs of “America’s foodiest small town,” as Bon Appetit once called Durham.
Single-serving meals and no cleanup time
55+ unique recipes per week
Dietary options include gluten-free, plant-based, or carb-conscious
Freshly is the perfect meal delivery service for when things get so busy you don’t want to waste any time with cooking or preparing the food. You just get the prepared meals out of the fridge and heat everything up following the instructions (you can use a microwave or an oven).
I love the menu variety and the fact that there are around seven plant-based options every week. I like that Freshly is trying to be more flexible by introducing proteins and sides in its offer. This provides a bit of wiggle room when it comes to customization. For more, check out my colleague’s detailed Freshly review.
Overall, Freshly is focused on super-easy yet nutritious options that combine meats with starchy foods and veggies in a balanced manner. Also, Freshly is a certified gluten-free food service so you know they take gluten-free meal preparation seriously. And, while there are some dishes that do contain gluten, these are prepared separately, to avoid cross-contamination.
Two-serving meals ideal for couples and families
12+ unique recipes per week
Seven dietary options including gluten-free, keto, paleo, or vegan
According to Green Chef, when all the ingredients are pre-measured and prepped, and the instructions are crystal-clear, even the most unskilled of cooks can produce a restaurant-worthy meal. And, based on my experience with this brand, this is correct!
Green Chef is a USDA-certified organic meal kit service that does most of the work for you – read my colleague’s informative Green Chef review for more info on this.
When it comes to the menu, I’m not too happy about the lack of single-serving meals. While the price per meal is affordable, it’s still a bit of a hassle to order two servings of the same meal when you don’t share the food with another person.
However, if you’re feeding a family, Green Chef is a fantastic choice! First, the menu is diverse enough to satisfy even the pickiest family members. Second, it can satisfy most families out there (even large ones), since you can order up to four meals for six people per week). And third, the price per meal goes down ($5.99 per serving) with larger orders.
Meals ready in about 30 minutes
17 unique recipes per week
Pre-portioned ingredients to avoid food waste
EveryPlate is a great option for non-fussy eaters who don’t want to spend a lot on their meals but also don’t have the time to go shopping. In Durham, which is an important academic center, EveryPlate’s target audience will most likely be college students.
The menu includes classic American recipes mixed with a few Asian ones, and each meal has a good ratio of meat, veggies, and starch. It’s like having home-cooked meals every day, as my colleague puts it in their detailed EveryPlate review.
However, be prepared to spend more than 30 minutes on a recipe. Since the ingredients don’t come prepped, you have to allocate time for peeling, chopping, washing, and dicing. Still, it’s a better alternative to eating take-out every day.
Fast delivery from local restaurants
Wide range of menus
Lots of dietary options
Gubhub is a food delivery service that can bring you prepared meals from registered restaurants within a few miles from your location. The food reaches your doorstep in as little as 20 to 45 minutes and you can enjoy it on the spot – no extra prepping or heating needed.
In Durham, 260+ local restaurants, pizza places, and other locales are registered to Grubhub. So, if you crave some Burger King and/or sushi in the middle of the night, you can place an order and it will reach your doorstep in no time.
Plus, if you’re a member of Grubhub+ (GH+), you won’t have to pay for delivery on orders of $12 and over. Just make sure to get your meals from restaurants that are registered to GH+. Also, whether you’re using the app or ordering directly from the website, you can get special deals or rewards that’ll bring the overall cost per meal down!
$6.99 Per Serving
$5.74 Per Serving
$8.50 Per Serving
$3.32 Per Serving
$4.27 Per Serving
$2.99 Per Serving
$6.90 Per Serving
$5.99 Per Serving
$1.49 Per Serving
2 meals for 2 people
2 meals for 2 people
3 meal kits for 2 people/6 prepared meals
2 meals for 2 people
2 meal kits for 2 people/4 prepared meals
2 meals for 2 people
4 prepared meals
3 meals for 2 people
3 meals for 2 people
Varies by supplier
Kits, speedy kits, oven-ready, prepared
20 - 60 min. meal kits
Meal kits, prepared meals
20 - 30 min. meal kits
Fresh & Ready meals, 30-Min Meal Kits
30 min. meal kits
30-minute meal kits
30-minute meal kits
I have to be honest – I had a bit of a hard time choosing only 10 meal services in Durham. There are so many options out there that it’s quite challenging to round everything up. But I managed to get to a shortlist by following the tips below:
Delivery in your area: Check to see if the service delivers in your area (based on zip code) and if the cost of delivery keeps the overall cost affordable.
Meets your specific dietary needs: If you follow a plant-based diet, check to see if the menu includes enough options to keep things interesting for an entire week. Also, check if the menu changes and how regularly.
Good menu diversity: Meal delivery services give you the chance to try new recipes and cuisines in the comfort of your home and at your own pace. So look for a service with global diversity and easy-to-understand cooking instructions.
Prices that fit your budget: A good meal delivery service should be convenient and affordable. Plus, many companies have discounts and promotions that help keep the cost down even if you’re no longer a new customer.
Yes! Durham is a city where you can easily find a wide range of meal delivery services that fit your needs, budget, and preferences. If you’re interested in my first choice, go check Home Chef’s meal plans, but also keep in mind there are other interesting options on the market.
Overall, if you don’t want to spend your time researching recipes, shopping for ingredients, and cooking, meal delivery services are a fantastic alternative.
Home Chef is the top choice on my list because the menu includes a good variety of cuisines and you have the possibility to customize your meals by upgrading or swapping the protein. Plus, most of the recipes are meal kits, but there are also options for breakfast and snacks.
All meal delivery services strive to create meals that support a healthy lifestyle, but the cheapest one on my list is EveryPlate ($1.49 per serving). However, this doesn’t mean the company cuts corners when it comes to the freshness of the ingredients or the quality of the meals.
It depends on what you’re looking for. If you want veggie meals, then Purple Carrot’s Prepared Meals section is held in high regard by many of its customers. On the other hand, if you’re looking for refreshing recipes that contain meat, Sunbasket’s Fresh & Ready menu is a fantastic option.