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Tovala Review 2024: Is The Pricey Oven Worth It?

Our Top Choice For 2024
Get a $49 tovala smart oven
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Author Zoran Trifunovic
Zoran Trifunovic
Updated on Apr 11th, 2024
Fact checked by Deborah Leigh

In this Tovala review, you’ll learn how it’s unlike any meal delivery service I’ve encountered. It doesn’t just offer meals. It also has a microwave-sized smart oven. The oven is designed to take the guesswork out of cooking – all you need to do is scan a QR code to calibrate it to the correct settings. 

You’re probably wondering if the foolproof meal prep justifies the extra cost and counter space. For one, the oven itself is priced at $249 (without discounts). I’d like to go over all the details with you, so you have a clear understanding of what exactly you can expect here.

Whether Tovala is worth the price depends on your particular needs. It’s great if you want fresh, prepared meals that can be on the table in less than 20 minutes. However, the cost of that smart oven seems to be a bit of a hurdle, at least in my eyes. But at least it has more functionality than simply heating Tovala’s own meals.

Smart oven can be used for other meals
It’s an expensive service
Food is ready in 30 minutes or less
You have to buy the smart oven
The smart oven cooks multiple components
Filters tend to disappear

What’s on the Tovala Menu

You’ll find 30+ meals to choose from each week at Tovala. This includes a good mix of chicken, pork, beef, and fish dishes. Most are single-serving recipes, though a few will serve 2.

Your subscription requires you to order a minimum of 4 meals per week, with a maximum of 16. There’s no discount for larger orders.

Meal Options


Is Tovala Good For This Diet?


Yes, there are lots of weekly options


Yes, you can get several options


Yes, you usually get a few or several veggie meals


Yes, there are usually at least several options each week


No, sadly there aren’t any keto meals


No, unfortunately, you can’t get paleo meals


No, this service is not suitable for vegans

The kind of cuisines on offer are mostly classic American or Tex-Mex style dishes. Think Buffalo Chicken Flatbreads, or Chicken and Sweet Potato Burrito Bowls, as well as some Italian and Asian-inspired recipes.

Around half the menu is labeled as Calorie Smart, at least a few of the dishes will be vegetarian, and a few are tagged as Carb-Conscious. Some of them will also overlap. And while there’s some variation, you typically won’t have options if you’re a vegan. But if you’re after gluten-friendly recipes, you’ll usually find several of them on the menu every week. Tovala's Smoky Coffee-Rubbed Chicken Breast with Southwestern Salad

It’s also important to note that the kitchens aren’t gluten-free by any means. I’d definitely be wary of this if you have a serious allergy. All info regarding ingredients, allergens, and nutritional value is available when you click through to each dish on the menu.

Tovala doesn't offer add-ons, so you won't find any appetizers, snacks, or desserts on its menu. If you can't live without snacks and delicacies, like myself, I think that you'd find Factor is a much better choice.


Some of the meals are customizable, and these are clearly labeled with a Customize tag. This usually means you can change the side dish, like replacing mashed potatoes with roasted green beans. Other times, it means you can add an optional dessert like the Sticky Toffee Cake.

Customizable recipes let you swap out the protein in a dish. Use the arrows to browse different versions of the meal. When I was looking at the Sesame-Crusted Salmon, I found several variations including Sesame-Crusted Shrimp and Sesame-Crusted Chicken Breasts. I think this is a great feature for picky eaters. Tovala's Sesame-Crusted Chicken Breast and Sesame-Crusted Shrimp

I found some dishes a bit basic, though they are nutritionally balanced. There’s a decent variety, and each dish includes proteins and veggies. However, I wish some meals were more interesting without having to pay an upcharge for add-ons.

You can also use various filters and tags to narrow down your options. And they are Calorie Smart, Carb Conscious, Vegetarian, Spicy, Gluten Friendly, and Customizable. Plus, the oven itself offers a variety of ways to cook meals that are healthier than frying or sauteing. Ultimately, it’s up to you to look at the nutritional information on each dish and decide what works for you. Tovala's meals with tags highlighting their main features

The service doesn't accommodate ingredient replacement requests. So, carefully check if the meal contains foods you're intolerant to. If yes, all you can do is skip the meal.

You may notice missing filters while browsing the menu for the upcoming weeks. The service shares its weekly menus 3 weeks ahead. But, by the time you hit that third week, some personalization options may appear or disappear. For instance, on my penultimate check for week 3, I didn’t see the Carb Conscious filter. This time, the Spicy and Mediterranean Diet filters were absent until I checked the third week. Tovala's meal type filtering system for 2 weeks

Overall, there really aren’t many options in terms of customization. If you’re looking for more flexibility to customize your meals, I recommend checking out HelloFresh instead. Also, it advertises upcoming meals 6 weeks in advance. And its plans and personalization options stay put.

As our reviewer discovered, HelloFresh’s meals are far more customizable than Tovala’s. Read more about HelloFresh’s customizability feature in our full HelloFresh review.


You’ll get your Tovala oven before your meals – within 3 to 5 days of signing up. As well as the oven itself, you’ll also get these items:

  • Metal baking tray

  • Oven mitt

  • Measuring cup (for use with steamer function)

  • Recipe cards

Your first shipment of meals will arrive a week or so after the oven, giving you time to set it up and familiarize yourself with it. Don’t forget, you can also use it to cook more than just Tovala’s own meal kits. Tovala unboxing

The meals arrive fresh and individually packed in trays that are kept cool in transit with ice packs. Nothing should arrive frozen – and the food isn’t intended to be frozen at home. Instead, you should store everything in the fridge, where it’ll keep for around 3 to 7 days. 

The packaging is pretty clear and contains all the information you’ll need to store and cook everything – from the best-before date to the QR code that you need to scan to get cooking.

I was delighted to discover that everything was recyclable, too. The cardboard box is curbside recyclable, but most of the rest of the packaging is recyclable as well. 

Cooking (and Eating) with Tovala

Tovala meals couldn’t be easier to prepare. The ingredients arrive prepped but raw – and the oven is designed to cook them to perfection. This means you only have to do the bare minimum, such as add a splash of oil or toss the ingredients in a prepared marinade. 

Simply assemble the components in the included aluminum trays. Most dishes call for 2 trays: one for the protein and another for the side dish. You can also cook multiple components at once, making this smart oven much more than just an overpriced microwave. Tovala oven's design and its dimensions

You only have to scan the QR code, and Tovala’s oven does the rest. It uses Wi-Fi to access the chef-created cooking cycle for your dish and includes several different cooking methods. Some of them are baking, broiling, toasting, and steaming.

Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to prepare Tovala’s meals without the smart oven. In fact, if you want to try Tovala’s meals, you have to commit to purchasing the oven, too.The meals usually take around 20 minutes to cook, depending on the dish. For the process to work, you’ll need to install the Tovala app on your phone and connect the oven to your Wi-Fi network. Then, you’ll get a notification when the meal is ready. Ingredient's of Tovala's Smoky-Rubbed Chicken Breast with Southwestern Salad

You can also use the app to create cook cycles or make meals from the app’s library. You can scan to cook more than 850 brand-name grocery products, too, including Eggo® Waffles and Pop-Tarts®.

If you love tech, you’ll probably enjoy the app. But using the oven relies on you having a stable internet connection. For a lot of people, it’s much more convenient to order from a standard meal delivery service like Home Chef and use your usual oven. 

Shortlist of My Favorite Meals

Even with all that in mind, there’s still plenty to love on the Tovala menu. Now, I’m going to take a quick dive into 3 of my favorite Tovala meals. 

Filet Mignon with Balsamic Caramelized Onions

Filet Mignon with Balsamic Caramelized Onions is a Premium Tovala meal. Ingredients include sliced potatoes, filet mignon, and caramelized onions. Beef, Parmesan cheese, and steak seasoning are at the core of this recipe. Tovala's Filet Mignon with Balsamic Caramlized Onions

This dish appears when you filter the menu by the Calorie Smart tag. It has 450 calories, making it suitable for people on a lower calorie diet. The recipe also has 45 grams of protein, so it could be good for those on high-protein diets as well.

Creamy Tortellini Soup with Roasted Broccoli in Basil Vinaigrette

This Creamy Tortellini Soup with Roasted Broccoli in Basil Vinaigrette is my favorite low-calorie vegetarian dish. The soup is sufficient on its own, if you ask me, but the broccoli side dish adds some extra healthy greens. Tovala's vegetarian Creamy Tortellini Soup with Roasted Broccoli in Basil Vinaigrette

This dish is slightly more caloric than Filet Mignon, but not by much - 530 calories. It might not bulk you up with only 14 g of protein, though. It's still a filling option that contains 29 g of fat, with no trans fat.

Italian Sausage & Eggplant Caponata

If you're a fan of Italian cuisine, the Italian Sausage & Eggplant Caponata is a great option for dinner. This dish is also ideal for those who are mindful of their carb and calorie intake. It's also an excellent choice for active individuals due to its high protein content. Tovala's carb-conscious Italian Sausage & Eggplant Caponata

In addition to pork sausage and eggplant, the dish includes onions, Parmesan cheese, and marinara sauce. The serving size is 435 g, and 1 portion contains 520 calories, 25 g of carbohydrates, 30 g of fat, and 39 g of protein. It also has 8 g of dietary fiber.


Starting from

Minimum Order

Shipping Fee

$9.99 per portion
4 meals per week for 1 person
$9.99 (or free on orders of 6 meals or more)
$299 for Smart Oven
1 oven 1 person
$9.99 or free with introductory discount

$349 for Smart Oven Pro

1 oven 1 person


The $299 or $349 oven (plus $9.99 shipping) is easily the biggest expense when signing up for Tovala. With the number of competitors out there these days that don’t require you to make such an investment, I really don’t see the point of it.

With that in mind, Tovala meals are individually priced, so you may pay as little as $9.99 per serving for something like Penne Alla Vodka. Premium dishes, on the other hand, like the Filet Mignon, are upwards of $22.98 per serving. Shipping is free as long as you order at least 6 servings, otherwise it’s $9.99.

However, the company frequently offers discounts that let you get the oven at a far lower price. When you commit to buying a certain number of meals over the course of a set number of weeks, you can sometimes get it for much less too. I always check for these deals. The latest active one I found is: Get a $49 tovala smart oven.

This all puts Tovala at the pricier end of the meal delivery service scale. And there are other options out there that offer similar-style, easy-prep meals for a lower cost. My recommendation is Fresh and Easy, where prices start at $7.99 per serving – with no required equipment purchase, as discussed in our official Fresh and Easy review.

You can pay for the service’s dishes and the oven with a credit card.

Tovala accepts returns for its meals and ovens. Return unused food in its original packaging up to 14 days post-delivery. You can send back the smart oven within 100 days from purchase. But note that it has to be fully operational and in its original packaging. Initiate the return of both meals and an oven by contacting the service's customer support.

Shipping & Delivery

Tovala ships to all 48 contiguous states. You check your zip code at the start of registration just to be sure.

You can use the app to make changes to your order. But any changes have to be finalized by 6 pm CT on Wednesday the week before your shipment. You also need to choose your meals by this time, otherwise, Tovala will pick them for you (unless you pause your subscription). 

The service delivers Monday through Friday, and you will likely be able to select your delivery day from a few choices. Note that your options may be limited depending on your zip code and your proximity to Tovala’s Chicago headquarters.

How Tovala Works

It’s easy to sign up for Tovala. But managing your subscription can be more complicated, depending on your commitment status.

How to Sign Up

  1. Click on Get Started. Enter your zip code and email address to begin the process.

a screenshot of tovala's homepage

  1. Enter your zip code and email address.

a screenshot of tovala's sign up process, entering your zip code and email address

  1.  Add the smart oven to your order.

a screenshot of tovala's smart oven upsell

  1. Choose your favorite number of meals. Once you choose the number of meals, select your preferred delivery date. 

Tovala's order size selection

Once you complete the order, you’ll receive it in the following week.

  1. Enter the rest of your information. Once entered, continue to the checkout and order your first meals.

a screenshot of tovala's final checkout screen

Managing Your Subscription

Tovala makes it easy to change the size of your order, skip a week, or cancel your subscription. These tasks can all be performed directly in the app. 

But here’s the catch: you need to commit to 6 weeks of meals for a discounted oven. You’ll have to pay full price for the oven if you don’t want to be forced to make new orders. Make sure you understand the policy if you want to try this service. 

Thankfully, canceling is easy aside from the 6 weeks requirement. You can cancel your Tovala plan in just a few clicks on the website or in the app. Returning the Tovala smart oven, however, is more complicated. And, to be able to cancel, you’ll need to buy out of this commitment by paying full price for the oven.  Tovala's Smart Oven with meals

If you change your mind, you can only return the oven during the initial 100-day trial period. You’ll also have to contact customer service directly via email to start the return process. You can read more about canceling your Tovala subscription in this short blog post. It includes step-by-step instructions on how to cancel, as well as some useful alternatives.

Most other meal delivery services I’ve reviewed are much more flexible. You can skip, pause, or cancel at any time without having to commit to a certain number of meals or weeks. 

Customer Service

When dealing with Tovala, I found it a little difficult to get some questions answered. The chief issue is that it’s not easy to get in touch with a real person. There’s a phone number and a chat feature, but both have limited hours of support.

Tovala also offers email support as well as a customer service request form that includes the option of a video or audio recording – not something I’d seen before. This method allows you to clearly outline your question and even show the Tovala team the issue (or issues) you’re having. 

This makes it easier for Tovala’s customer support experts to understand your query and aid you in the best way possible. But again – I found it to be super unusual, and kind of annoying, quite frankly. The top meal delivery services offer customer service via chat. For instance, HelloFresh’s live chat team generally connects with you in less than a minute.  Tovala's help request form allowing customers to record video or audio

The customer support email response time was satisfactory, with a response received within 48 hours. However, despite the potential for quicker responses via chatbot or phone, the absence of clear information regarding the availability of live service agents makes it difficult for me to recommend these options.

I suggest emailing or sending a video for the most reliable assistance if you need to get in touch with Tovala regarding a specific problem – particularly if it pertains to your oven. The FAQ page is also a useful resource for some DIY tech support, meal info, and more.

How Tovala Compares to Other Meal Delivery Services

    • Tovala vs. Factor: Factor is perfect for those looking for easy, prepared meals tailored to specific dietary needs, including keto, calorie-smart, and low-carb plans. With no need for a specialized oven like Tovala, Factor offers the convenience of heat-and-eat meals without the added expense.

      • Tovala vs. Green Chef: Green Chef has more unique and novel dietary options than Tovala. Examples include Keto, Protein Packed, Vegan, Mediterranean, Gluten Free, and Calorie Smart. Plus, its organic, GMO-free ingredients cater to health-conscious consumers seeking sustainable options. And, unlike Tovala, Green Chef doesn't require a specific oven, making it far more affordable.

        • Tovala vs. HelloFresh: Unlike Tovala, HelloFresh doesn't require the purchase of a specialized oven. This makes it a more economical choice if you’re seeking convenience without the additional expense. And it has a much larger meal selection for you to choose from with over 70 meals a week. What’s more, its meals are typically more affordable than Tovala’s recipes.

        The Bottom Line: Is Tovala Worth It?

        Tovala could be an okay option if you’re specifically in the market for a smart oven. But with the number of competitors out there offering equal – and often, better – quality meals without the added expense, I personally don’t believe it’s worth it for most people.

        While it has some features that can make your life easier, the oven can’t replace your microwave. For example, you can’t boil water or make popcorn in the Tovala oven.

        This service is best for busy individuals who want meals with minimum effort since the dishes are all single-serving. I’d say that it’s not ideal if you’re cooking for a large family. Tovala is also not suitable for all budgets.


        Is Tovala worth the money?

        It really depends on a few specific factors. For instance, Tovala’s meals are good quality but they’re also expensive. On top of the initial cost of the oven ($299 or $349 without discounts), I found Tovala’s costs to be at the pricier end of the scale, starting at $9.99 per serving. 

        You’ll also find that many of the more substantial meals are more expensive than that – typically around $12.99 per serving.

        Can you use Tovala without meal plan?

        To get Tovala’s meals, you’ll have to sign up for a subscription and purchase its own smart oven. However, you can pause or cancel your subscription at any time, as long as you haven’t purchased the oven at a discounted rate. 

        If you took advantage of the oven offer, you’ll have to commit to a set number of meals and weeks before you can cancel.

        Can you cook regular food in a Tovala oven?

        Yes, the oven can be used to cook non-Tovala food. It also works for baking, broiling, steaming, toasting, and more. However, only Tovala’s meal kits offer the convenience of pre-programmed cooking cycles. Tovala’s oven also comes with recipe cards to guide you when it comes to cooking other foods.

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