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Dinnerly Review 2024: Why It's So Cheap

Our Top Choice For 2024
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Author Joey Kendrick
Joey Kendrick Writer
Updated on Jul 12th, 2024
Fact checked by Emma Vince

Overview

Dinnerly is possibly the most affordable meal delivery service on the market. Its meal kits are well-crafted and delicious despite the rock-bottom pricing, which starts as low as $2.12 per serving. Surprisingly, Dinnerly’s menu has more variety than many other, more expensive companies, allowing you to choose from more than 100 items each week.

There’s still a trade-off for Dinnerly’s low prices, though. Some of the dishes are overly basic, with very few ingredients, and there are limited options for specialist diets. Plus there aren’t any images used in the recipe instructions.

Ultimately, I had to try this service for myself. I signed up for Dinnerly to test out its website and other features. Most importantly, I cooked and taste-tested a collection of various recipes from its menu.

While the recipes are pared-back, Dinnerly’s menu is still varied and hearty. If you don’t have strict limitations on what you can eat, it’s a safe option for easy weeknight meals. Here’s what I found when I took a deep dive into Dinnerly’s offerings…

Pros

Cons

Super affordable$11.99 weekly shipping cost
100+ menu items per weekRecipes don’t include pictures
Order up to 6 meals per weekLimited support for special diets

Dinnerly’s Menu: 100+ Affordable Yet Tasty Meals 

Image of a Dinnerly box in a table with various ingredients set out in front of it

Dinnerly has 100+ dishes on the menu each week, which means it offers more choice than many of its pricier competitors. For a low-cost service, I was impressed by the number of recipes on offer.

The ingredients are also higher quality than I was expecting for this price range. Dinnerly promises to source only sustainable proteins and produce from its trusted suppliers, including antibiotic-free chicken and grass-fed beef. You’ll even get some organic fruits and vegetables on occasion. 

The only downside? If anything, the menu is almost too big. Between the entrees and the extra marketplace items like snacks and desserts, there’s a lot to sort through each week. If you generally have trouble making decisions on what you want to eat each week, you may be wary of Dinnerly’s extensive selection! 

Meal Options: Dinnerly Offers Something for (Literally) Anybody! 

8 example dishes from Dinnerly's weekly menu

Dinnerly’s menu is filled with crowd-pleasing meals and family-friendly favorites. 

It features a healthy balance of American staples, like Homestyle Chicken and Biscuits, alongside internationally-inspired dishes like Pork Vindaloo or Veggie Gorditas. 

You’ll also find a selection of more expensive PremiYUM recipes, like the Miso-Glazed Salmon (pictured), for weeks when you want to splurge on fancier proteins and sides.

Stock photo of Dinnerly's Miso-Glazed Salmon with Sweet Chili-Roasted Broccoli & Carrots

On the other hand, Dinnerly has launched a budget Saver range. These meals are even cheaper than the core menu. They’re marked with a Saver badge on the menu and will save you around a dollar per portion. These basic dishes include risottos, curries, salads, and other super simple recipes. Screenshot of 2 meals in Dinnerly's saver range

Dinnerly’s menu also includes additional items like breakfasts, appetizers, and desserts. These extra options are often seasonal and make it possible to round out your weekly menu or stock up for special occasions. There are even some microwavable prepared meals for ultra-easy lunches.

Some diets, such as vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free, are well-represented, but there are few options for specialized diets like keto and paleo.  

If you’re looking for more diet-friendly options, Purple Carrot or Green Chef cater to these needs. They’re both more expensive than Dinnerly, but that’s the unfortunate trade-off for special dietary needs.

Excellent Range of Customization Options 

Dinnerly has an impressive number of customization options for a budget service. There are 20+ customizable dishes on the menu each week, each one clearly marked with the Customizable tag. When I checked this week’s menu, I counted more than 40 customizable dishes.

You won’t have as many options as you get with a service like Home Chef, which gives you multiple protein choices, plus the option to double-up or upgrade. However, as expected, Home Chef’s more extensive customization options come with a higher price tag.

Dinnerly’s customization options range from protein upgrades to dietary swaps. For a small upcharge, you can add meat such as chicken to an otherwise-vegetarian dish for extra protein. A pasta dish may have a gluten-free pasta substitution available. Screenshot of the protein customization options for a Dinnerly meal

Other dishes have multiple custom options. The Everything Bagel Burger typically comes with ground beef, but for an additional $0.99-2.99 per serving, you can swap it out for ground turkey, organic ground beef, or a plant-based alternative.

Please also keep in mind that all allergens are clearly marked, but you’ll have to check each recipe individually, which can be time-consuming. Also, those with severe allergies should note that Dinnerly can’t guarantee against cross-contamination since every meal kit is prepared in the same facility.

Dinnerly’s Menu at a Glance

Diet

Is Dinnerly Good For This Diet?

Vegetarian

Yes, there are many options

Vegan

Yes, there are some options

High Protein

Sort of, some meals could be high in protein

Low Carb

Yes, there are many options

Organic

Sort of, there are some organic upgrades

Gluten-Free

Yes, there are many options

Keto

No, there are rarely keto options

My Unboxing Experience with Dinnerly: Pretty Great Overall

As a low-cost meal delivery service, Dinnerly keeps its packaging minimal. More expensive services often divide their ingredients by recipe, but I actually prefer Dinnerly’s approach. There’s no more packaging than I would have coming back from a trip to the grocery store.

Fresh produce, like tomatoes, garlic, and cucumbers, is placed straight into the box. Many services will wrap each ingredient in plastic or other materials. While this can be more convenient, I think spending a few minutes sorting everything out is a small price to pay for reducing waste.

Image of packaged ingredients set out on a chopping board

Meats and seafood are delivered fresh and kept cool in transit with reusable ice packs. Dinnerly recommends consuming fresh fish within 2 days, ground meat and chicken within 3, and other meat and fresh veg within 5 days.

There’s little in the box besides the ingredients themselves. I noticed a single piece of thick, cardstock paper labeled “Extra Bite.” It has news and promotions about upcoming recipes and seasonal items.

Dinnerly’s box is made from paper sourced from sustainably managed forests, and it can go straight into your curbside paper recycling. The insulation in my box was also curbside-recyclable, but you may receive different insulation depending on where you live.

Examples of Dinnerly ice packs and plastic packaging

Cooking and Eating with Dinnerly: Extremely Quick + Simple (but No Pics!) 

Most Dinnerly recipes can be made from 6 or 7 main ingredients, which you’ll get in your box. You’ll also usually have to add 3-4 staples from your own pantry. Thanks to the limited ingredients, I found most of Dinnerly’s recipes to be beginner-friendly. 

Incorporating fewer ingredients is obviously a cost-cutting measure, but I think the scaled-back recipes are perfect for Dinnerly’s target audience. Weeknight dinners should be quick and easy, after all, so you don’t want meals that are too complex and take ages to cook.

Screenshot of the first 3 steps of a Dinnerly recipe

Most meals take around 30 to 40 minutes to get on the table. For extra-busy nights, look for tags like Under 30 Minutes. There are also recipes with time-saving hacks, such as the No Chop meals (which don’t require a knife) or One Pot recipes (that use fewer dishes).

The Ready Made! range is the quickest option on the menu. These meals fall under the PremiYum category so cost more, but they can be on the table in minutes if you heat them in the microwave (and 10-15 minutes if you warm them in the oven).

Each recipe includes a breakdown of the equipment and ingredients you’ll need. Like most meal kits, Dinnerly expects you to provide some staples like salt, pepper, and oil. I’ve also seen garlic and ketchup on these lists. Occasionally, a recipe will call for something less common, like white wine vinegar, so it’s good to check each recipe before confirming your order. Screenshot of a Dinnerly recipe card.

Minor Downside: Recipes Aren’t Always Clear 

My biggest complaint is that there are no photos to accompany the instructions. Kitchen newbies might find it frustrating to follow a step-by-step recipe without pictures. All you get is a photo of the completed dish, though I guess that’s better than nothing!

The meals themselves are easy to make, but I think the recipes could be clearer. The service promises that its meals can be ready in just 5 or 6 “simple steps”, but I think that’s misleading. A single step will often include multiple actions. Screenshot of the final 3 steps of a Dinnerly recipe

The more actions you include in a step, the easier it becomes to make a mistake. The recipe pictured above has cheeky jokes for steps 5 and 6, but the earlier steps are densely packed. Personally, I’d prefer it if the recipe was better paced.

Quick update: Since testing out Dinnerly, I’m pleased to hear that it now delivers paper copies of its recipe instructions. Physical copies may be preferable and easier to use for some people. If you don’t want to receive these, you can always opt out in your account. Personally, I see the digital-only recipes as an eco-friendly alternative to putting everything on paper – but I’m used to looking up recipes on my phone.

Shortlist of My Favorite Meals

I tried a range of dishes to get the most out of my Dinnerly experience. My menu included a vegetarian dish, a low-cal dish, and an easy-cleanup tray bake. I ate the 2 meat-based dishes within the 3 days recommended by Dinnerly, and the veggie dish within 5 or 6 days.

Overall, I find it hard to fault these recipes at the price point. I have some minor gripes – and I’ll share them – but I want to emphasize the value for money here. These meals were only slightly less impressive than those I’ve had from more expensive competitors, but they come at a much cheaper price. 

Regardless of your budget, though, the food has to be to your liking! Here’s my experience with 3 Dinnerly recipes:

Low-Cal Halal Cart-Style Chicken Dinnerly's Halal Cart-Style Chicken over rice in a bowl

My favorite recipe from my Dinnerly box was the Halal Cart-Style Chicken. This sort of meal is a common street food where I live in New York, and I was excited to make it at home. It was also a very easy recipe, as there wasn’t much to do besides season and cook the chicken and rice.

The dish is labeled as Low-Cal, but it certainly didn’t taste like a diet food. Though it has far fewer calories per serving than my other meals, I didn’t notice any difference in how tasty or satisfying they were. 

Flavorwise, the chicken is definitely the star here. The unique spice blend is hard to replicate, and the tangy garlic sauce is a favorite of mine. The rest of the dish is simple but yummy, with turmeric rice and fresh, crisp lettuce and tomato to brighten it all up.

Falafel & Eggplant Sabich-Style Sandwich Dinnerly's Sabich-Style Sandwich on a plate

This vegetarian dish was a little odd. I was probably more excited about it than the other recipes I tried. The combination of falafel, eggplant, and pepperoncini sounded absolutely delectable. Unfortunately, the end result felt a bit clunky.

The pita was damaged in transit, and I think my eggplant might have been past its prime. I’m not an eggplant aficionado or anything, but it didn’t taste right. I ended up picking it out of my sandwich. The pita itself was still tasty, at least. Image of falafel in a pan with oil being turned with a spatula

Overall, I wasn’t crazy about this dish. I love all the components in theory, but something didn’t quite come together correctly. I don’t know if it was just the eggplant, the falafel (which was just fine), or what. As someone who usually eats vegetarian, I was surprised to dislike this.

Tray Bake: Chicken Tikka Masala Dinnerly's Chicken Tikka Masala Tray Bake

This dish had the potential to be my favorite of the week. I love Tikka Masala-style dishes, and the tray bake (a new offering at the time) promised stress-free prep and cleanup. Unfortunately, I misread the recipe and didn’t cover the tray with foil as directed, so my rice was undercooked. The flavors, however, were delicious. Photo of rice being stirred into a tomato-based sauce in an oven-ready tray

The issue I had made me realize how helpful images are when following recipes. Coupled with the fact that Dinnerly crams multiple actions into a single “step,” the lack of pictures made it easy to make mistakes. This was my fault, but I know other home cooks will experience similar frustrations. 

Overall, I highly recommend this recipe. The Indian-inspired flavors really come together in an exciting way, and the single-tray preparation couldn’t be more convenient. Just be sure to read the recipe closely!

Recipes Summary


Difficulty Level

Estimated Cook Time

Actual Cook Time

Calories Per Serving

Best For

Low-Cal Halal Cart-Style Chicken

Easy

20-30 minutes

35 minutes

560 calories

Low-calorie diets

Falafel & Eggplant Sabich-Style Sandwich

Easy

20-30 minutes

40 minutes

820 calories

Vegetarians

Tray Bake: Chicken Tikka Masala

Easy

40-50 minutes

50 minutes

710 calories

Easy-prep weeknights

Prices: Dinnerly Is the Cheapest Meal Delivery on the Market

Starting From

Order Size and Price (Before Shipping)

Shipping Fee

$8.04 per portion

2 meals for 2 people/week: $32.16

$11.99

$7.04 per portion

3 meals for 2 people/week: $42.24

$11.99

$6.54 per portion

4 meals for 2 people/week: $52.32

$11.99

$6.44 per portion

5 meals for 2 people/week: $64.40

$11.99

$6.24 per portion

6 meals for 2 people/week: $74.88

$11.99

$7.14 per portion

2 meals for 4 people/week: $57.12

$11.99

$6.14 per portion

3 meals for 4 people/week: $73.68

$11.99

$5.89 per portion

4 meals for 4 people/week: $94.24

$11.99

$5.59 per portion

5 meals for 4 people/week: $111.80 

$11.99

$4.99 per portion

6 meals for 4 people/week: $119.76 

$11.99

Dinnerly is the most affordable meal kit delivery service I’ve seen. Meals start at less than $5 per serving, though you’ll need to subscribe to Dinnerly’s largest plan size and get 6 meals per week for 4 people in order to bag this price.

All of Dinnerly’s plans are budget-friendly, so don’t worry if you don’t require 24 servings of food each week. In fact, even Dinnerly’s smallest plan – 2 meals per week for 2 people – is still cheaper per serving than most other meal delivery services.  Screenshot of 4 Saver-tagged dishes on Dinnerly's menu

To keep costs down even more, you can add a few Saver dishes to your order each week. And if you’re a new customer, you can get your first order even cheaper by using a discount code. I check for these all the time. The latest active code I found for Dinnerly is: Get $170 off your first 6 boxes!.

The $11.99 shipping fee is more expensive than some other services. Dinnerly isn’t the only service raising its shipping prices, but this could definitely eat into your budget. I was also surprised to see there’s no free shipping threshold: you have to pay for shipping no matter the size of your order.

Shipping & Delivery: Surprisingly Smooth

Dinnerly delivers to most of the contiguous US states, though your delivery options may be more limited depending on your location. I could choose from 6 different days for my address in New York City, while my brother’s address in suburban Kansas only offered 4. Check your zip code to see what days are available to you. A map of Dinnerly's delivery area

As Dinnerly grows, so does its delivery map. The last time I reviewed Dinnerly, my brother’s address only had a single delivery day option. If this trend continues, Dinnerly’s delivery service will likely become much more flexible in the future. Screenshots comparing Dinnerly's delivery day options in different regions.

Dinnerly does a good job of making sure the food is delivered fresh and on time. You can’t choose a specific time slot, but the food is packaged in a well-insulated box and should remain at a safe temperature even if you can’t get to your box right away.

You can track your Dinnerly order via your account page or the app. The courier service used often depends on where you live, but you’ll receive a tracking number via email when your delivery is confirmed.

My Dinnerly order arrived without incident by noon on a Thursday. I was able to grab it right away, and all my ingredients were still cool and fresh when I transferred them to the fridge.

How Dinnerly Works: Step by Step Guide

Signing up to Dinnerly and managing your future orders couldn’t be easier: 

How to Sign Up (Just 5 Simple Steps)

  1. Pick your plan: Choose how many people you need to feed and how many meals you need each week. You can also make your box vegetarian on this screen by checking the box. Once you’ve selected your box size, you’ll see the estimated cost upfront.  Screenshot of Dinnerly's select a box screen of the sign up process

  1. Enter your zip code and your email address: At this stage, Dinnerly will check it delivers to your address.  screenshot of Dinnerly's set location sign up screen

  1. Complete your delivery details: Next, you can choose your delivery day, pick the date for your first delivery, and fill out your address details. There’s a handy section where you can leave instructions for your delivery driver.  Dinnerly's delivery details screen

  1. Input your payment information: You can pay via PayPal or by credit card. If you have a coupon code, this is where you can apply it. You’ll also set up your password on this screen.  screenshot of Dinnerly's payment sign up screen

  1. Choose your meals: Now it’s time to pick the meals for your first order!

You’ll also get the chance to modify your ingredient preferences. At any time, you can go to your Account Settings and click on Edit Taste Profile. You’ll see a list of ingredients with checkboxes for you to mark what you like. Dinnerly will stop recommending meals containing any ingredients you don't check off.

You can also easily add extras to your order. Just sign in to your account and head to Orders. Click the orange Edit Recipes link. You’ll find the Market next to All Recipes where you can choose any items you’d like to add to that week’s order of meal kits.

Managing Your Subscription

Dinnerly is a great choice for anyone who needs a service that’s flexible. Orders are automatically placed each week, but it’s easy to skip them. In fact, you can skip deliveries as early as 4 weeks in advance or up to 6 days before a scheduled shipment.

Many services push you to get in touch with a representative in order to cancel your subscription, so we tested Dinnerly’s cancelation process. I’m pleased to report that canceling your Dinnerly subscription is easy to do through your online account.  Dinnerly's account cancelation page

You can make any changes you want from the Settings page. Every meal delivery service is going to hit you with a questionnaire or try to tempt you with a discount, but Dinnerly is on the friendlier end from my experience.

Customer Service: There’s Room for Improvement

For a budget service, Dinnerly's customer support stands strong. Instant information is easily accessible either by exploring the FAQ page online or using Dinnerly’s automated chat. Yet, for urgent account-related inquiries, a phone call is likely your best option. 

Dinnerly promises an "automated support sous-chef", but this feature fell short on answering many of my questions. While the future may bring us flawless AI-based customer service, we're not there just yet. Screenshots of two interactions with Dinnerly's automated chat.

After the chatbot fell short, the next thing I did was send an email. At the time of writing, I’d waited 2 weeks for a reply from Dinnerly. All I ended up receiving was an automated email apologizing for the delay and a code for $5 off my next order.

I tried Dinnerly's phone line with a question about recycling. I was talking to someone in less than 10 seconds. My call lasted under a minute, and I was happy with the way the friendly and professional agent helped me. 

Based on my experience, I recommend calling Dinnerly for any information that isn't in the FAQ. The email service is unreliable, and the chatbot isn’t particularly sophisticated.

How Dinnerly Compares to Other Meal Delivery Services

    • Dinnerly vs HelloFresh: HelloFresh is quite similar to Dinnerly; both services offer similarly large menus, are great for families, and cater to the same dietary needs. HelloFresh is a little more expensive at $3.32 per serving, but you’ll get fresh, seasonal ingredients and more amenities, like highly-rated Hall of Fame dishes and recipe cards with high-quality photos for each step.

      • Dinnerly vs Blue Apron: Blue Apron’s meals are more expensive, with prices from $5.59 per serving for meal kits and $12.49 for prepared meals. At 80+ recipes per week, the Blue Apron menu is not as large as Dinnerly’s, but you can expect dishes of a higher quality. The menu is generally more gourmet and exciting, with tons of flavor and new ingredients.

        • Dinnerly vs Marley Spoon: Marley Spoon is Dinnerly’s parent company, so it feels much like an upgraded version of the budget service. Marley Spoon is slightly pricier per serving, but its Martha Stewart-approved recipes are impressively delicious and often a little more complex. The menu is also huge with 100+ dishes each week, including desserts, breakfasts, and prepared meals.

        The Bottom Line: Is Dinnerly Worth It?

        Dinnerly is a great choice for anyone in search of budget-friendly meals. If you’re looking for the most affordable meal kit, you probably expect to make some compromises on menu choice or ingredient quality, but you won’t have to with Dinnerly.

        I think the trade-offs are worth the low price. These include things like fewer and more pared-back ingredients, a lack of step-by-step images on the recipe cards, and minimal packaging. I’d recommend Dinnerly to just about anyone who isn’t bothered by these kinds of compromises.

        People with specific dietary requirements will likely prefer a different meal kit service. I encourage you to check out the menu to see what your options might be. If its meals suit your needs, I think Dinnerly is a real gem that can fit into almost any budget.

        Dinnerly isn’t the only budget-friendly service out there, however. If you want more options, check out our list of the cheapest meal delivery services – complete with the latest active deals!


        FAQ

        Is Dinnerly good value?

        Dinnerly is the cheapest meal delivery service on the market, with prices starting at just $2.12 per serving. Dinnerly employs a few cost-cutting measures in order to keep its prices low, but I found that the quality of its meals and ingredients were still impressive for the price. By that metric, Dinnerly’s value is hard to beat.

        Can Dinnerly be gluten-free?

        Dinnerly offers a solid selection of No Gluten Added meals each week. However, you can’t automatically exclude gluten from your meals, and there’s no special gluten-free menu. Dinnerly doesn’t have a separate gluten-free facility, so there’s a risk of cross-contamination as well.

        Dinnerly offers amazing value for people without dietary restrictions. If you have a serious gluten allergy – or any food allergy, for that matter – you may want to look elsewhere for your meal delivery needs, like Green Chef.

        Are Dinnerly and EveryPlate the same company? 

        Dinnerly is unrelated to EveryPlate. Both services offer amazing prices on meal kits but are separate companies. EveryPlate is owned by HelloFresh, while Dinnerly is a subsidiary of Marley Spoon.

        How is Dinnerly so cheap?

        Dinnerly keeps its prices low by simplifying its recipes, packaging, and more. Dinnerly doesn’t skimp on ingredient quality, though, ensuring your meals are delicious and nutritious as well as affordable.  

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        We rank vendors based on rigorous testing and research, but also take into account your feedback and our commercial agreements with providers. This page contains affiliate links.Advertising DisclosureThis is a user-oriented comparison website, and we need to cover hosting and content costs, as well as make a profit. The costs are covered from referral fees from the vendors we feature. Affiliate link compensation does not affect reviews but might affect listicle pages. On these pages, vendors are ranked based on the reviewer’s examination of the service but also taking into account feedback from users and our commercial agreements with service providers. This website tries to cover important meal, coffee and pet food delivery services but we can’t cover all of the solutions that are out there. Information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.
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