Dinnerly and HelloFresh both offer a convenient solution for families who are tired of the hassle of grocery shopping and meal planning. In this piece, I’ve compared Dinnerly and HelloFresh based on ease of preparation, variety of meals, and overall value, with a particular focus on family-friendly options.
Both services have their benefits, but HelloFresh stands out as the superior choice for busy families looking for delicious, healthy meals without the stress of planning and shopping. The meals are nutritious and exciting, and the recipe cards are cleverly designed so everyone can help out in the kitchen.
Both Dinnerly and HelloFresh allow you to simplify your weeknight dinners and elevate your cooking game with meals the whole family will enjoy – but read on to find out why I’d recommend HelloFresh as the top meal kit delivery service.
Both HelloFresh and Dinnerly offer a wide range of options to suit different tastes and dietary needs. The menus from both services are pretty extensive – Dinnerly offers more than 100 items each week, including desserts, breakfasts, and extras, while HelloFresh offers a similar number when you consider the subscriber-exclusive HelloFresh Market alongside its 50+ meal kits.
Dinnerly’s meal kits boast just 6 ingredients per recipe. Although this simplifies the dishes and helps keep Dinnerly’s prices accessible, those looking for more varied and complex flavor combinations (not to mention physical recipe cards) might prefer HelloFresh’s menu.
The majority of Dinnerly’s menu is classic American cuisine – think burgers, pasta dishes, chicken cutlets, and more – with some global influences like Mexican, Indian, and Mediterranean. On the other hand, HelloFresh has a slightly smaller selection of meal kits, but it offers more cuisine variety with meals like Sweet Ginger Pork Chops, Falafel Power Bowls, and Chicken Ramen.
HelloFresh’s menu also includes “specials” and seasonal dishes linked to calendar events, such as Mother's Day. You’ll also spot some 10- and 5-minute lunch and brunch options.
Both Dinnerly and HelloFresh have premium dishes on the menu, too. These are available at an additional cost since they include pricier sides and more expensive cuts of meat, including shrimp, truffle, and steak.
You’ll also spot a number of prepared meals on Dinnerly’s menu. These are limited but can be useful if you have a busy night planned or no energy to cook. The number varies from week to week and includes meals like Ready Made! Cheese Enchiladas. HelloFresh offers a solid range of easy-prep and quick-cook options, but you won’t find any microwave meals.
You can add additional market items to your order with both Dinnerly and HelloFresh. Dinnerly’s extras cover quick-cook desserts, breakfasts, snacks, and sides, while the HelloFresh Market stocks breakfast bites, sides, extra proteins, fresh produce, and more.
Dinnerly comes out on top for customization since it offers more menu flexibility. You can customize lots of the meals on Dinnerly’s menu, with the option to swap the protein in many dishes for an organic version, a plant-based alternative, and more, as well as switching many of the veggie sides. In some pasta dishes, you can even go gluten-free.
HelloFresh also offers some swaps, but only on around 12 dishes per week. These mainly include the option to switch out the protein or the side dish or add meat to an otherwise-vegetarian meal.
The level of customization for major dietary preferences is limited with both services. HelloFresh and Dinnerly clearly list allergens in their recipes, but you’ll need to click on each dish to identify if a recipe is suitable. Note that neither service is recommended for those with severe allergies since all the kits are prepared in the same facility.
HelloFresh gives you the option to select a plan preference when you sign up. This will automatically filter the menu to show you the kinds of meals HelloFresh thinks you would like each week. However, you’ll always have access to the full menu if you want more options.
Dinnerly doesn’t offer plan preferences, but you can tick a box for veggie-only meals. Unfortunately, there’s no other way to filter the recipes on Dinnerly’s extensive menu other than by noting the tags on each one. These include Low-Carb, No Added Gluten, Dairy Free, Healthy, and more.
HelloFresh offers a good selection of vegetarian meals, with 14-15 options per week, plus some plant-based meals. There are plenty of veggie options on the Dinnerly menu, too, but fewer vegan offerings. Both services also have a solid number of low-carb and lower-calorie dishes for dieters.
Making your first order is similar for both services, but HelloFresh lets you select dietary preferences. For both HelloFresh and Dinnerly, you start by creating your account, selecting your plan size, and then you can start picking meals for your first box.
HelloFresh and Dinnerly make it easy to edit your account, too. With both services, you have the option to skip weeks, change your plan or delivery address, and pause or cancel your subscription at any time by logging in on the website or mobile app.
One key difference between the two services is delivery options. HelloFresh allows you to select a specific delivery day for your meals – usually from a few different options – while Dinnerly’s delivery day is predetermined based on your location. HelloFresh delivers to all contiguous states and Dinnerly delivers to most of them, but both will confirm whether delivery is available when you enter your zip code to sign up.
Both Dinnerly and HelloFresh prioritize the use of environmentally friendly materials in their meal kits. The food items are shipped in compostable insulated liners and recyclable or resusable ice packs, which are housed in cardboard boxes.
Dinnerly takes a more basic approach with recipe organization. Your box will contain all the ingredients for the recipes you’ve chosen for that week, but they won’t have been sorted. Some veggies and produce even arrive loose. This is partly a cost-cutting measure that helps to make Dinnerly so affordable. You also won’t find any physical recipe cards, which makes it somewhat less convenient.
HelloFresh, on the other hand, provides printed recipe cards for each dish. All the ingredients are sorted into labeled paper bags, making it easy to identify and locate the ingredients you need for each recipe.
It’s easy to recycle HelloFresh and Dinnerly’s packaging. Most of it can be added to your curbside collection – check for details about specific plastic recycling in your area. I’d also give extra points to HelloFresh for its clear commitment to sustainability – you’ll find a wealth of info on the website about recycling, reducing food waste, social impact, and more.
Both HelloFresh and Dinnerly do a great job of offering crowd-pleasing, easy-to-cook dishes. For both services, the meals generally take around 20-40 minutes to get on the table, though Dinnerly does offer some prepared meals which naturally take less time.
Dinnerly’s menu tags make it easy to identify the easiest meals. Look out for categories such as Under 30 Minutes and One Pot Meal. There’s also Easy Clean Up! and No Chop! recipes.
The service advertises that all its recipes can be created “in 5 simple steps”, but in reality, you’ll usually find that a single step will often include multiple actions, so this is kind of misleading. The online recipes also don’t have photos to accompany the steps, so there is definitely more room for error.
HelloFresh’s recipes may seem more complex, but they’re just as easy to make. Some dishes might take longer than Dinnerly’s – particularly those that are considered Premium Picks – but the recipe cards are clear and concise, and you’ll find step-by-step photos on each one.
I like that there’s a diverse range of 10- and 20-minute HelloFresh recipes, too. This means you can pick and choose how complex you want your meal to be. Look out for tags such as Easy Prep and Quick, and of course, you can specifically select the Quick & Easy plan when you sign up.
HelloFresh is the clear winner here thanks to the real humans behind the chat. Both services have standard chatbots that respond to key phrases. However, I struggled to get the Dinnerly chatbot to understand my request – in the end, I resorted to entering just a single word to get a helpful response.
HelloFresh gave me the option to transfer to an agent. This meant I was able to get a clear answer to a question without having to figure out how best to phrase something so the chatbot would understand.
Both Dinnerly and HelloFresh offer online assistance through their websites, as well as the option to contact customer support via email or phone. They both also have extensive FAQ pages which answer the most important questions.
Dinnerly is widely known for its affordability. With prices as low as $2.12 per serving, it’s great for families and couples on a budget. And despite the fact HelloFresh is still competitively priced compared to many other meal delivery services, it can’t beat Dinnerly in this round.
Dinnerly’s starting price is based on the largest weekly order of 6 recipes per week for 4 people. The price per serving does increase the fewer meals you order, but even at 2 meals for 2 people per week, Dinnerly comes in at just $8.04 per portion – cheaper than HelloFresh’s largest plan.
HelloFresh is still an affordable meal kit delivery service. Its prices start at $3.32 per serving (though our current discount will help you save even more: 18 free meals + first box ships free + 3 surprise gifts with code DR18HF)
Shipping fees are comparable, too, so this is something to consider. HelloFresh charges $10.99 per delivery and Dinnerly charges $11.99. But in terms of overall cost, Dinnerly is the winner of this category.
Families; meals on a budget
Families; recipe variety
$2.12 per serving
$3.32 per serving
2 meals for 2 people per week
2 meals for 2 people per week
100+ choices per week
50+ choices per week
Prepared meals; quick-cook meal kits
Easy prep meal kits; easy cleanup kits
Allergies catered to
Vegetarian, low-carb, low-calorie, dairy free, no added gluten
Vegetarian, pescatarian, vegan, low-calorie, low-carb, high-protein
Automated chatbot, email, phone
Live chat, automated chatbot, email, phone
I really like HelloFresh for several reasons. It has a healthy menu with lots of different ingredients and dish types. It has great customer service, and I love how easy it is to get the whole family cooking every night with the colorful and easy-to-follow recipe cards. This service often makes our top 10 meal delivery services list, and it's easy to see why.
Conversely, Dinnerly is an excellent choice for those on a strict budget or who prefer simpler recipes. Its affordable prices, customizable menu, and straightforward approach to meals allow you to take advantage of the convenience of meal kits without stretching your budget.
Dinnerly is a cheaper alternative to HelloFresh. It offers meals starting as low as $2.12 per serving, making it one of the most affordable meal kit delivery services out there. Despite the low price, Dinnerly still offers fresh, high-quality ingredients and simple yet delicious recipes.
Both Dinnerly and HelloFresh offer easy-to-prepare meals. Dinnerly promises meals ready in just “5 simple steps” but – in reality – the recipes often feature more actions than that. The recipes do have fewer ingredients though, which may appeal to some. Look out for tags such as No Chop! One Pot Meal, and more. Dinnerly also offers some prepared meals.
HelloFresh recipes tend to feature more ingredients but the recipes are easier to follow thanks to the step-by-step photos and clear instructions. You can spot tags such as Easy Prep and Easy Cleanup on the menu.
Yes, HelloFresh caters to some dietary restrictions, with options for vegetarian, pescatarian, plant-based, low-calorie, and low-carb diets. When you sign up, you can specify your preferences, and the menu will be tailored to your needs. Also, each recipe card includes a complete ingredient list and allergen information, allowing you to make informed decisions about what you eat.