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Dinnerly Review 2023: Cheapest Meal Kits – at What Cost?

Written by: Joey Kendrick on Dec 25th, 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 (especially when you use our discount – Get up to $142.75 off 3 orders, from $1.29 per portion!). But low prices naturally lead to compromises, right?  

I’ve tested and reviewed dozens of meal delivery services, and I quickly tire of the limited menus that sometimes go hand in hand with budget services. Yet Dinnerly has more variety than most – even the higher-priced companies. 

The sacrifices you’ll make with Dinnerly largely have to do with dietary restrictions. You’ll also notice other cost-cutting measures, such as digital-only recipe cards – which I find an acceptable trade-off for the low price.

While the recipes are pared-back, Dinnerly’s menu is still both varied and hearty. If you don’t have any limitations on what you can eat, it’s likely to be a great option for your weeknight meals. 

Pros

Cons

  • $9.99 weekly shipping cost

  • Digital recipe cards don’t offer visuals

  • No customization options

What’s on the Dinnerly Menu

For a low-cost service, I was impressed by the number of recipes that Dinnerly offers each week. With a whopping 45+ dishes on the menu, this service offers more choice than many of its pricier competitors.

The extensive menu helps make up for the fact that Dinnerly doesn’t let you customize its recipes. Most of the meals feature meat, but there are around 10 veggie options and three or four fish dishes each week.

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

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

PremiYUM meals offer deluxe ingredients for an additional fee.

The menu 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 three or four PremiYUM recipes, like Miso-Glazed Salmon, for weeks when you want to splurge.

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.

Screenshot highlighting the tags on Dinnerly's recipes

Dinnerly makes it easy to see which categories each dish falls under.

I should note, however, that 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 – but expect to pay more. Otherwise, you’ll find the allergens clearly labeled.

Lastly, Dinnerly’s Market addition offers a select number of ingredients and grocery items, as well as seasonal desserts, snacks, and breakfast options like Chocolate Cupcakes or Oat & Chia Pancakes. These can be added to your usual subscription and will arrive with your meal kits.  

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 items like 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.

Examples of Dinnerly ice packs and plastic packaging

Bottles and containers are made of #1 recyclable plastic, and bags are made of #4 recyclable plastic.

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 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 advertises simple recipes with just six ingredients. In practice, however, there are almost always more. Some meals come with a couple of extra ingredients, and almost every dish calls for pantry staples like salt or oil. Still, I found most of Dinnerly’s recipes to be beginner-friendly. 

And even though having fewer ingredients is obviously a cost-cutting measure, I think the pared-back recipes are perfect for Dinnerly’s target audience – particularly those who want a quick and easy weeknight dinner.

My biggest complaint is the lack of photos to accompany the step-by-step instructions. Kitchen newbies might find it frustrating to follow a whole recipe without pictures. All you get is a photo of the completed dish, which I guess is better than nothing!

This is another compromise to keep Dinnerly’s prices down, but I prefer having photos to reference when I’m making a recipe for the first time. Especially because Dinnerly is one of those services that crams an entire recipe into “just five steps.” While it makes for good marketing, it’s a little misleading when a single “step” includes multiple actions.

Screenshot of the first three steps of a Dinnerly recipe

Dinnerly's step-by-step instructions are easy enough to follow – but I'd have preferred pictures of each step to help keep me on track.
 

That said, most of Dinnerly’s recipes take around 30 to 40 minutes to get on the table, so they’re pretty quick. Look for the Under 30 Minutes tag for those nights when you have no time to waste.

Shortlist of My Favorite Meals

I know I’ve already mentioned this, but I can’t overstate how impressed I am 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, filling, cost-effective meal. Dinnerly’s Grass-Fed Burger with Caramelized Onions and Garden Salad is made with high-quality ground beef, and the sweet onions kick a basic burger up a notch.

Dinnerly's Grass-Fed Burger with Caramelized Onions

This grass-fed burger is elevated with tangy caramelized onions.

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 a savory basil pesto.

Dinnerly's Crispy Gnocchi with Tomatoes, Mozzarella & Pesto

This Italian-inspired vegetarian dish is wholesome, hearty, and satisfying.

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.

Dinnerly's Vegetarian Pad Thai

Some select pantry ingredients liven up this takeout classic.

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.

Personally, I see the digital-only recipe cards as an eco-friendly alternative to putting everything on paper. I’m used to looking up recipes on my phone anyway. A tablet would work well for people who want a bigger screen.

Each recipe includes a breakdown of the equipment and ingredients you’ll need. Like most meal kits, Dinnerly expects you to provide some pantry staples like salt, pepper, and oil. Occasionally, a recipe will call for something less common, so it’s good to check them before confirming your order.

The Pad Thai (pictured), for example, calls for white wine vinegar. If you don’t keep that to hand, you’ll need to get some or find a substitution (like rice vinegar).

Screenshot of a Dinnerly recipe card.

Dinnerly makes it clear which utensils and pantry ingredients you'll need for each recipe.

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 a specific delivery date, you'll be disappointed to hear that 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.

Screenshots comparing Dinnerly's delivery day options in different regions.

Dinnerly's delivery options are limited outside of larger metro areas.

Regardless, 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 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 via your account page and the Dinnerly app. The service used depends 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

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

How to Sign Up

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

Screenshot of the first step to the signup process.

Your price-per-portion will adjust depending on the size of your order.

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

Screenshot of the second step to the signup process.

Your delivery day options will depend on your address.

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

Once you’ve gone through these three simple steps, you’re ready to pick out the meals for your first shipment!

You’ll also get the chance to modify your ingredient preferences here. 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 with any ingredients you don't check off.

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 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 up 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 on the phone or via email 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. Overall, I’d rank it as pretty decent. The fastest ways to get information are by browsing the FAQs or reaching out to Dinnerly’s automated chat.

The FAQ page is decent enough, but I was more intrigued by what Dinnerly refers to as its automated support sous-chef. This seemed like a nifty feature to get some extra information, but half the questions I asked seem to stump the robot. Technology may one day bring us a flawless AI-driven chat, but I don’t think we’re there yet! 

Screenshots of two interactions with Dinnerly's automated chat.

Dinnerly's Chatbot is programmed to answer some simple questions, but it is far from comprehensive.

Unfortunately, reaching out to customer service via email didn’t get me any closer to my answer. At the time of writing, I’d been waiting two weeks to get an email back from Dinnerly. All I’ve had in the meantime is an automated email apologizing for the delay – plus a code for $5 off my next order. Yet I’m still waiting for an answer to my original question…

If the automated chat was strike one and the unanswered email was strike two, will the phone line be strike three?

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

I guess the moral of the story is to skip the email and just call Dinnerly with any questions! 

Prices

Starting from

Minimum Order

Shipping Fee

$2.12 per serving

3 meals for 2 people per week: $48.33 (with shipping) 

$9.99

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, 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 $7 per serving, which is still on the lower end for a delivery service.

Of course, the cheapest way to try Dinnerly is to use our special deal for new customers: Get up to $142.75 off 3 orders, from $1.29 per portion! 

This is the only way to get Dinnerly for the low, low price of $2.12 per serving and a perfect chance to test this service out for yourself.

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 expect 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 dishes, you’ll likely prefer a different meal kit. For anyone else, however, Dinnerly is a real gem that can fit into almost any budget.

For other money-saving meal delivery services, check out our list of the Best Cheapest Meal Delivery Services – complete with special deals and coupons.

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 weekly orders and there’s no special gluten-free menu. Dinnerly doesn’t have a separate gluten-free facility, so there is a risk of cross-contamination as well.

Dinnerly offers an 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. They both offer amazing prices on meal kits, but have different parent 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, ensuring your meals are delicious and nutritious.

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.
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