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Dinnerly Review 2022: Cheapest Meal Kits – But at What Cost?

Written by: Joey Kendrick on Apr 21st, 2022

Overview

Dinnerly’s mission is to be the most affordable meal kit delivery service on the market – and it certainly delivers on that right now. It’s even cheaper than EveryPlate, which also markets itself on affordability. But low prices naturally lead to compromises, right?  

Can Dinnerly really provide super-satisfying meals at such a low price? When I tried EveryPlate’s service, I quickly became tired of the limited menu. You’ll be pleased to hear that Dinnerly has much more variety. 

The sacrifices you’ll have to make by going with Dinnerly largely have to do with dietary restrictions. You’ll also notice other cost-cutting measures, such as digital-only recipe cards – a very doable trade-off for the low price.

While the recipes are simple and cost-effective, Dinnerly’s menu is both varied and hearty. If you don’t have any limitations on the sorts of food you can eat, Dinnerly is likely to be a great addition to your weeknight meals. 

What I Liked

  • Extremely affordable – prices from $1.99

  • 28 recipes to choose from each week

  • Option to order up to 24 servings per week

  • Current deal – Get 57.5% Off Your First Order!

What I Didn’t Like

  • The shipping cost offsets the low price by a bit

  • Digital recipe cards don’t offer visuals

  • No customization options

Dinnerly Is Best For

  • Families looking for money-saving meals

  • Unfussy eaters who don’t mind pared-back recipes

  • People who enjoy cooking but often lack the time 

Dinnerly May Not Be Great For

  • Individuals who only want one or two meals per week

  • Anyone with specialized dietary restrictions or allergies

What’s on the Dinnerly Menu

For a low-cost service, I was impressed by the number of recipes Dinnerly offers each week. With 28 dishes on the menu, Dinnerly offers more choice than many of its pricier competitors.

The company will automatically suggest meals for you each week based on your taste profile, but it’s a simple process to edit these and select your own. 

Dinnerly’s biggest competitor, EveryPlate, offers meals at a similarly low price. However, the menu is limited in comparison. Even some higher-priced competitors, like Home Chef, don’t offer as broad a selection.

The extensive menu helps make up for the fact that Dinnerly doesn’t let you customize any of the recipes, which you can do with many other services. However, there’s a solid mix of both meat-based and vegetarian meals. Dinnerly promises at least four veggie options a week but when I went through the menu, there were more than ten.

I also wasn’t expecting particularly high-quality ingredients in this price range, but I was pleasantly surprised. Dinnerly only sources sustainable proteins and produce from its trusted suppliers – and you’ll even get organic fruits and vegetables on occasion!

The menu features a healthy balance of American staples, like Buffalo Fried Chicken Tacos and Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers with Cheddar Jack Sauce, as well as crowd-pleasing dishes inspired by international cuisines – think Korean rice bowls, Greek flatbreads, Hungarian goulash, and more. 

There are nifty tags to help you sort through your options. You’ll see at a glance which dishes are kid-friendly, spicy, have no added gluten, and more.

I should note, however, Dinnerly offers few-to-no options for specialized diets like keto and paleo, and just a few options each week for vegans. If that’s what you need, it might be worth looking elsewhere, such as Purple Carrot or Green Chef. Otherwise, you’ll find the allergens clearly labeled.

Lastly, Dinnerly’s new Market offers ingredients and grocery items, plus seasonal desserts and snacks. These can be added to your usual subscription and will arrive with your meal kit order.  

Unboxing

As a low-cost meal kit delivery service, Dinnerly doesn’t add anything unnecessary to your box. It feels good to see that there isn’t any more packaging than I would have coming back from a trip to the grocery store.

Most of the time, the fresh produce – including tomatoes, garlic, and cucumbers – is placed straight into the box and not separately wrapped in plastic. Other services organize ingredients by meal in separate bags. But in my opinion, spending a few minutes sorting everything out is a small price to pay for reducing waste.

Most of the packaging is easily recyclable, but you might find a few plastic clamshells (for yogurts and other liquids), as well as some other plastic wrapping. Some of these (including the ice packs) are made of #4 plastic, which may or may not be curbside recyclable depending on your location,

Cooking with Dinnerly

Dinnerly’s pared-down recipes are primarily a cost-cutting measure, but the service also uses this to its advantage. Basic recipes with a few carefully-selected ingredients mean you can get hearty meals with little time and effort in the kitchen. It’s great for beginner cooks and those who want something quick and easy for a weeknight dinner. 

On average, the meals take around 30 to 40 minutes to get on the table – but you’ll spot those that take less time with the Under 30 Minutes tag.

Shortlist of My Favorite Meals

I know I’ve already mentioned this, but I can’t overstate how impressed I was with Dinnerly’s menu – there’s such a lot to choose from. 

Burgers are a family-friendly staple and a great example of a tasty and filling, cost-effective meal. Dinnerly’s Grass-Fed Burger with Caramelized Onions and Garden Salad is made with high-quality ground beef, and the onions kick a basic burger up a notch.

The Crispy Gnocchi with Tomatoes, Mozzarella and Pesto is a hearty meal for vegetarians. The soulful combination of carbs and cheese is livened up by vibrant and flavorful tomatoes and basil pesto.

Finally, Dinnerly’s Vegetarian Pad Thai with Carrots and Snow Peas is an excellent example of how much flavor you can get from simple ingredients. This combination of vegetables, peanuts, rice noodles, and lime is accentuated with tamari soy sauce and pantry ingredients like white wine vinegar.

The recipe cards are only available online. The lack of hard copies may bother you if you prefer to keep electronics away from potential kitchen messes. But you can always print the recipes yourself if you need to. I quite like the digital-only recipe cards, I’m used to looking up recipes on my phone and it has eco-friendly benefits, too. 

The main thing I struggled with – and that beginners might find hard – is the lack of photos to accompany the instructions. It’s another compromise to keep Dinnerly’s prices down but I prefer having photos of each step to make sure it looks right. The recipes are simple enough that you can get by without pictures but I’d recommend reading the steps carefully. 

Each recipe also includes a breakdown of the ingredients and equipment you’ll need to have to hand. This is important, as Dinnerly relies on you having quite a few pantry ingredients more than most meal kits I’ve tested. And they’re not all basics like salt and oil – for example, I definitely don’t keep white wine vinegar to hand.  

In general, the meals require around five to 10 minutes of prep work each, and you’ll typically be chowing down on your home-cooked meal within 30 to 40 minutes. This is about average for a meal kit so no complaints here. 

Shipping & Delivery

Dinnerly delivers to most of the contiguous US states but if you’re someone who likes to pick your own specific delivery date, you’ll probably be disappointed to hear that your delivery options are relatively limited.

Depending on where you live, you may have multiple options or just one. For reference, my address in New York City has four delivery date options. My brother’s address in suburban Kansas, however, only has one.

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

To help you keep an eye on your shipment, Dinnerly provides tracking information on your account page. Dinnerly uses different services depending on where you live, but you’ll usually receive a tracking number via email when your delivery is confirmed.

If you have a tricky address to find or live in a block with a door code, you can add instructions to your order to help out your delivery person.

Subscription

How to Sign Up

  1. Choose the plan you’d like: Select either the Two-Person Box or Family Box, and how many meals you want per week. Note that the more meals you order, the lower the cost per serving.

  1. Enter your address and pick a delivery day: Your delivery options will depend on your location.

  1. Input your payment information to finish setting up your account: You can pay via PayPal or by using a credit or debit card.

Once you’ve gone through these three simple steps, you can edit your taste preferences and pick out the meals for your first shipment.

If you want to add market items to your order, sign in to your account and head to Orders. Click the orange Edit recipes link. You 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 people who don’t want to commit to receiving meals every single week. Orders are automatically placed each week but it’s easy to skip them. In fact, you can skip deliveries as early as four weeks in advance or as late as five to six days before a scheduled shipment.

Canceling your Dinnerly subscription is just as easy and can also be done through your online account. This is a feature I’ve come to really appreciate, as many services still force you to get in touch with a representative in order to cancel.

You can check out this blog that walks you through each step of how to cancel Dinnerly

Customer Service

Since Dinnerly is a budget meal delivery service, I wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of customer support. You’ll be pleased to know that its customer service is actually quite comprehensive.

The Help Center has the answers to many frequently asked questions, but you can also call, email, or fill out the contact form on the website. The response time on emails isn’t immediate, so a phone call during business hours might be quicker if you need a swift answer.

When I called to ask about Dinnerly’s recycling options, I got through within 10 seconds. I was on the phone for less than a minute and was very impressed with the professional and friendly way the agent handled my request. 

Prices

Starting from

Minimum Order

Shipping Fee

$1.99 per serving

3 meals per week: $44.33 (with shipping) 

$8.99

Dinnerly is, without doubt, the most affordable meal kit delivery service I’ve seen, with a starting price of less than $5 per serving. However, this low price is only attainable if you order six meals per week for four people, the largest plan Dinnerly offers.

If 24 servings a week is too much food for you, have no fear! Dinnerly’s other plans are still pretty budget-friendly. Even the most expensive option (three meals per week on the Two-Person Box), costs less than $6 per serving, which is still on the lower end for a delivery service.

As well as its everyday low prices, Dinnerly often has deals for new customers, like Get 57.5% Off Your First Order!.

The Bottom Line: Is Dinnerly Worth It?

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

Instead, the compromises come in the form of simple recipes with fewer ingredients, digital recipe cards, and pared-back packaging. If these things don’t bother you, then Dinnerly is a great choice.   

However, if you have specific dietary requirements or want to expand your repertoire with more complex recipes, you’ll likely prefer a different meal kit. For anyone else, however, Dinnerly is a real gem that can fit into almost any budget.

FAQ

Is Dinnerly good value?

Dinnerly is the cheapest meal delivery service on the market, with prices starting at just $1.99 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.

Is Dinnerly a good meal plan?

Dinnerly is great if you want a low-cost meal kit and don’t have dietary restrictions. You’ll have multiple options in terms of plans and serving sizes, and dozens of recipes to choose from each week. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better meal plan in this price range.

Is Dinnerly the same as HelloFresh?

Dinnerly is unrelated to HelloFresh. However, Dinnerly’s biggest competitor in the budget meal kit space, EveryPlate, is owned by HelloFresh. 

Does Dinnerly deliver wine?

No, but Wine Insiders is a wine delivery service that sends you boxes of premium wine monthly.

You can learn more about what makes Wine Insiders stand out in our dedicated Wine Insiders review.

About The Author

Joey Kendrick

Contributing Writer, Delivery Rank

Joey is a writer based in New York City. He has covered many subjects, but food is his true passion. With his two cats as research assistants, he creates content for clients all over the world.

Joey is a writer based in New York City. He has covered many subjects, but food is his true passion. With his two cats as research assistants, he creates content for clients all over the world.

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