As Robert A. Heinlein famously noted, “there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.” Takeout meals are expensive, especially when you throw in delivery charges. And while you save money cooking at home, you spend valuable time planning menus, shopping for groceries, and preparing meals.
Meal delivery services take some of that burden off your shoulders. You choose your menu and they deliver meal kits with pre-portioned ingredients to your door. Some services even send you fully prepared meals you simply heat and serve!
If you’re curious about meal delivery services but worried about money – and who isn’t? – you’re in luck. We’ve compiled a list of the ten cheapest meal delivery services so you can eat healthy, tasty meals without busting your budget.
Dinnerly – Cheapest meal kit delivery service
Super affordable – order meal kits starting at just $4.99
Simple meals – delicious and fuss-free
Easy-to-follow recipes – ready in just six steps
EveryPlate is one of the cheapest meal delivery services on the market. It’s aimed at families and consumers on a tight budget, with servings starting from just $4.99. But while its meal kits are reasonably priced, it doesn’t sacrifice quality to keep prices low.
Instead, EveryPlate’s ingredients are simpler and its menu options are more limited than some other services. For example, it offers 14 choices compared to Home Chef’s 30+, with no customization options. But it’s hard to go wrong with meals like Chicken Scallopini in a Lemon Garlic Cream Sauce with Roasted Zucchini and Potatoes.
Learn more about EveryPlate’s affordable options in our expert review .
EveryPlate’s recipes are easy to follow and aimed at pleasing families. While it offers some vegetarian options, it’s not a good choice for those with allergies or dietary restrictions. But if you’re looking for excellent comfort food at a great price, EveryPlate is our top pick for the best budget meal kit service on the market.
Free shipping – on orders of more than three weekly meals
Environmentally responsible – from sustainable ingredients to recyclable packaging
Wine and dine – monthly wine deliveries to accompany your meals
With Blue Apron, you can order meal kits starting at $7.49 per plate . That means Blue Apron is certainly a jump in price from EveryPlate. However, it offers real value for money including adventurous menus, sustainably sourced ingredients, and limited-edition collaborations with other programs, such as WW (formally Weight Watchers) and Whole30.
Blue Apron offers a wide variety of interesting, healthy meals for two or four people, plus vegetarian and wellness plans for two. You can order two to four times a week, depending on your plan, with free shipping for orders of at least three meals a week and $7.99 shipping for two meals a week. Find out more in our full Blue Apron review .
The meal kits come with easy-to-follow recipes that take up to 40 minutes to prepare and pre-portioned ingredients packaged in insulated, recyclable containers.
Get high quality at a low price point – antibiotic-free, sustainable, and even some organic offerings.
Uncomplicated prep – most meals require under 10 minutes prep time and 40 minutes cooking.
Variety – plenty of choice for those following balanced, vegetarian, and pescatarian diets.
Starting at $4.69 a plate, Dinnerly is the cheapest meal delivery service on the market. Martha Stewart’s Marley Spoon is making a play for budget eaters with its Dinnerly subsidiary. So how is the food in Martha’s bargain basement?
Dinnerly offers a lot for its modest price. It brings you antibiotic-free chicken, sustainable proteins, and even some organic fruits and vegetables. Meals tend toward comfort food, but offerings like Low-Carb Crispy Za'atar Chicken Cutlets with Charred Broccoli and Tahini Sauce are hardly bland or boring.
Learn more about Dinnerly in our expert review .
Dinnerly refers to its meals as “unfussy and affordable.” Most kits require no more than 10 minutes of prep time and can be ready to eat in under 40 minutes. While there are many vegetarian and pescatarian options, Dinnerly is not well-suited to more restrictive diets such as paleo. But a household of two people who eat a balanced diet can eat three tasty, fresh meals a week for just $40.73 with shipping.
Kid-focused food – meals prepared especially for picky children
Budget-friendly – from $5.99 to $7.99 per meal
Upgraded family favorites – with fresh and healthy ingredients
Fun activities included – like stickers and a deck of table topics
Yumble provides tried-and-tested, nutritious meals your children will love – ready to heat and eat in a minute and a half. The dishes hide veggies and healthy ingredients in classic kids’ foods like Mac ‘n Trees – creamy macaroni and cheese with cauliflower in the sauce and a side of broccoli.
This super-affordable service ranges from $5.99 to $7.99 per portion, depending on the number of meals you order per week. Since these meals are designed for kids, the ingredients are more basic and serving sizes are suitable for kid-size appetites. You can also filter meals based on age, dietary preferences, and sensitivities .
If you’re a busy parent struggling to feed your kids, Yumble can be worth every cent. It frees up time and energy so you can make the exciting meals you crave without worry about picky eaters!
Personalize your plate – upgrade, swap, or double up on proteins
Ultimate variety – a wide range of delicious, easy meals
Oven-ready options – no prep, fuss, or mess
Home Chef delivers an unparalleled level of customization. Whether you’re a vegetarian, watching your carb intake, or have allergies, you’re sure to find food you love. If you’re short on time, choose 15-Minute Meal Kits or Grill/Oven-Ready meals; and if you have a special event coming up, try dishes from the Culinary Collection.
Although meals start at just $6.99 per plate, this price is mainly for salads. Most meals end up costing a few dollars more, especially with each ingredient swap or upgrade. Explore Home Chef’s options in our expert review .
You can order for two, four, or six people, which is great for larger families or those who love leftovers. Shipping costs $7.99 ($13.99 if your order comes to more than $50). If you’d rather save on shipping and pick up a ready-made meal in store, Home Chef is one of the only vendors that offers this option.
Family-friendly plans – cheapest choice for four people, four times a week
Wide variety of delicious meals – 27 weekly recipes, tested for taste and simplicity
Healthy, fresh food – high-quality ingredients with clear nutritional information
If you’re feeding a family of four, HelloFresh provides the cheapest meal delivery kits , full of fun, family-friendly food. Starting at $7.49 per plate, each recipe card includes ideas for getting your little ones involved in preparing healthy, delicious food.
Every week, HelloFresh offers at least 27 recipes for each of its meal plans including Vegetarian, Family Friendly, and Calorie Smart. Learn more about these meal plans in our expert review . HelloFresh is also health and environment-conscious, providing high-quality ingredients straight from the farm.
HelloFresh’s customer service is outstanding. Our reviewer raved, “I don’t think I’ve ever had such a good customer service experience.” The website is easy to navigate and allows you to filter by a number of menu preferences. There are many reasons HelloFresh is one of the most popular services out there, and price is one of them.
Lots of menu choices – choose from over 35 items
Fast cook time – from fridge to table in less than five minutes
Freezer ready – can be frozen and reheated at your convenience
If you’re not a fan of cooking or you’re saving toward a bigger kitchen, Freshly requires nothing but a microwave or an oven. Pull a Freshly meal out of the refrigerator and in minutes you’re enjoying a meal like Three-Bean Ancho Turkey Chili Bowl with Cheddar Cheese.
You can see just how quick and easy Freshly meals are in our expert review .
For those counting both carbs and pennies, Freshly switches out rice and potatoes for healthier ingredients like cauliflower and butternut squash. It prepares meals in its own kitchens then sends them out, avoiding the need for chemical preservatives.
You usually pay more for prepared meals than meal kits. But with prices starting at $8.49 per meal, Freshly is pretty good value and worth it for the convenience. Time is money, so it’s tough to top Freshly when it comes to getting a meal on the table fast.
High-quality organic ingredients – fresh produce, wild-caught fish, and hormone-free meats
Specialized menus – paleo, vegetarian, Mediterranean, gluten-free, and other options available
Environmentally friendly packaging – all packaging is 100% compostable and recyclable
Sunbasket offers something for everyone, with both meal kits and prepared meals. Regardless of which you go for, Sunbasket always provides some of the highest quality organic and clean ingredients, making it easier than ever to eat clean on a budget.
The additional cost of organic ingredients shows in Sunbasket’s prices. The Fresh & Ready prepared meals cost $8.99 each. Depending on how many meals you order, its meal kits cost between $10.99 and $13.99 per serving. But Sunbasket backs its products with a 100% money-back guarantee, so you can have confidence in every order you place.
Sure, there are cheaper services out there, but if you’re serious about eating organic or have more specialized dietary needs, Sunbasket is good value and an investment in your health. Find out more about Sunbasket’s extensive range of plans in our review .
Great for dieters – all meals are calorie-controlled
Flash-frozen meals – nutrients are preserved through freezing
Dieting has never been easier with the help of Diet-to-Go, providing single-serving, prepared meals to your door each week.
Simply pick your menu options and enjoy them in 2-3 minutes. This convenience does come at a cost, with a $19.98 delivery fee per weekly order. However, if you live near one of its local delivery sites, you can opt to pick up your meals for free.
Find out more about Diet-to-Go’s meal plans in our review .
Luckily, the meals themselves are affordably priced. Choose from two or three meals each day for either five or seven days per week, with the price dropping from $12.20 to $8.57 per meal (for the Balance, Original, or Women plans) as you increase your order.
Dietitian-designed – all meals and snacks are adequately portioned and nutritionally balanced
Choose from three different plan levels – Basic, Uniquely Yours, and Uniquely Yours Ultimate
Specialized menu plans – for individuals with health conditions such as diabetes and obesity, and dietary preferences, including vegetarian
The Nutrisystem weight loss program has been around for nearly 50 years and focuses on eating six small meals per day. Nutrisystem provides ready-made meals and snacks that are either frozen or shelf-stable.
You get a lot for your money – a full-service weight loss plan with all the meals you need, and coaching. For more details about Nutrisystem’s weight loss programs, check out our in-depth review .
There are three plans to choose from, each with its own pricing model. Basic starts at $8.93 per day, Uniquely Yours starts at $10.71 per day, and Uniquely Yours Ultimate starts at $12.86 per day. Each order is a four-week plan where you choose five or seven days' worth of breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks.
Starting Price Per Serving
Limited. Some vegetarian options
$7.99 or free with orders over three recipes per week
Vegetarian, wellness, diabetes-friendly, family-friendly
Under 30 Minutes, Kid Friendly, One Pot Meal, Healthy, Special
Family-friendly, picky eaters
$7.99 for orders over $50, $13.99 for smaller orders
Meal kits, prepared meals
Vegetarian, pescatarian, calorie-conscious, carb-conscious
Vegetarian, low-carb, low-calorie, family-friendly
$3.99, $6.99, or $12.99
Gluten-free, peanut-free, dairy-free.
Meal kits, prepared meals
Paleo, vegetarian, lean & clean, gluten-free, carb-conscious, Mediterranean, diabetes-friendly, pescatarian
$19.98 per weekly delivery
Balance, balance-diabetes, keto-carb30, vegetarian
$19.99 per monthly order
Meal kit services save you meal planning and shopping time. They send you ingredients and recipes. You prepare those ingredients, cook them, and then serve them.
Prepared meal delivery services do all the preparation for you. When you get a meal from Freshly , it’s ready to go. Pop it in the microwave, and dinner is served!
Pricing between meal kits and prepared meals is all about deciding how much time and energy you want to put into cooking.
Meal kits, like Blue Apron , require a bit more time prepping the ingredients and cooking the meals. Where prepared meals, like Freshly, just need to be heated up and they’re ready to eat. It can save a lot of time in the kitchen to go with prepared meals, but it usually comes at a higher cost as well.
The best meal delivery service is the one that best suits your needs at a price you can afford. When we do the research to help you find your best meal delivery service, here are some of the things we examine:
Customer service: How well does customer support handle billing and delivery questions?
Flexibility: How difficult is it to skip a delivery, change a plan, or cancel a service?
Variety: Does the plan offer a wide range of foods that you and your family will enjoy?
Recipes: How clear are the meal kit instructions and what level of cooking experience is required?
Packaging: Do the ingredients stay cool until you get home and are the packaging materials recyclable?
Specialized diets: Does the service have options or plans for keto, paleo, lower-calorie, vegan, or other specialized diets?
Even the most budget-friendly meal delivery services guarantee delicious food delivered to your door – without compromising on quality or reliability.
Whether you’re a working parent or a busy student, meal delivery services save you time and money. They also save on food waste as they eliminate the opportunity to impulse buy food you don’t need and you’ll never be left with rotting ingredients you never get around to using!
If you’re trying to stick to a diet or incorporate more healthy, fresh foods into your life, meal delivery services are an excellent way to make sure you have good food at your fingertips, and they can be more affordable than you’d think.
From $7.49 per serving, HelloFresh has more menu choices, offers more customization options, and has a slightly more upscale menu than EveryPlate ($4.99 per serving). EveryPlate has recipes like French Onion Chicken with Roasted Carrots and Mashed Potatoes, while HelloFresh offers Rosemary Demi-Glace Pork Chops with Mashed Potatoes and Roasted Veggies.
With meals starting at $6.99, Home Chef is considerably more expensive than EveryPlate . But you get twice as many meal options and more customization. If that’s important to your household you may find Home Chef well worth the extra money.
You may be able to buy all the ingredients in a meal kit at your local grocery store for less than you pay per serving at a meal delivery service. But don’t forget to factor in the time spent planning your meals, shopping, and driving to and from the supermarket.
Plus, you get healthy recipes crafted by dietitians and other experts employed by meal delivery services. EveryPlate is a great example of an affordable meal kit that saves you hassle at a reasonable price.